Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

June 12, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than dark cabins embedded into lush evergreen forests, and this tiny structure is no exception. The Black Villa in the Forest, designed by Russian architectural firm Archslon, has a certain air of mystery to it that is enhanced by its off-grid location just outside of bustling Moscow. The tiny cabin is a low-lying rectangular volume comprised of two blocks with an inner courtyard separating the two spaces. The entrance is through a small open area, which runs from the front of the house to the back. Related: Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zürich The front of the cabin is an elongated, open-air deck, or what the architects call a “bypass gallery,” that runs the length of one of the main blocks. The space is lined with a series of thin columns, giving a touch of modernity to the structure. The compact square footage and height was a strategic decision made to conserve as many existing trees as possible during construction. Clad in jet-black timber, the home was also designed to blend into its natural surroundings. The main living area is illumined by natural light thanks to a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Along with providing panoramic views of the picturesque scenery, the glazed wall creates a strong, continual connection to the home’s forestscape surroundings. The two blocks separate the home into two living spaces: public and private. On one side of the cabin is the living room and open kitchen. On the other end is the master bedroom that is connected with another small room that can be used as a small office or library. Like the living space, the master bedroom has fully glazed walls, further integrating the surrounding nature into the cabin’s interior. + Archslon Via Archdaily Images via Archslon

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Mysterious Black Villa is to be tucked in the lush forests just outside of Moscow

Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

June 11, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Lisbon-based architectural practice Studio 3A for a small residential project in the seaside village of Comporta, the architects knew that a major challenge would be keeping the house naturally cool during the oppressively hot summers. In keeping with their commitment to sustainable architecture, the architects used passive solar strategies and efficient insulation to mitigate solar heat gain. The firm also teamed up with design studio Mima Housing to prefabricate the buildings, named Cabanas in Comporta, which were topped with solar panels and sheathed in charred timber for a durable and maintenance-free finish. The architecture of Cabanas in Comporta follows a modular design of three types: the “intimate module” that houses the bedroom and bathroom; the “social module” for the living spaces with room for an outdoor pool; and the “service module” that also serves as storage for items such as the client’s car collection. Together with Mima Housing, Studio 3A prefabricated the modular buildings with oriented strand board sandwich panels and wooden joints. The facades are clad in timber charred black using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban. Related: The elegant MIMA Light prefab home ‘floats’ on thin air “As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project,” explain the architects. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which were another important point of our brief. With this construction type we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.” Heat gain is further controlled with a double blind system installed in both the interior and exterior. The external blind also zips down to protect the home from mosquito invasions. Strategic placement of the buildings optimizes solar orientation and access to cooling breezes. Dark cement flooring is used to take advantage of thermal mass, while photovoltaic panels and heat pumps help heat the buildings in winter. + Studio 3A Images by Nelson Garrido

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‘Funnel-shaped’ cabin in an Ecuadorian forest is made of locally sourced wood

March 22, 2019 by  
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When it comes to creating living spaces that meld into their environment, savvy architects are showing us that sometimes less is definitely more. Quito-based architect Emilio Lopez has just unveiled a beautiful cabin made with  locally sourced wood and bamboo. At approximately 1,200 square feet, Cabana Don Juan is formed like a boxy funnel, with both sides featuring large glazed walls that provide stunning views of the coast on one side and a lush forest on the other. Located in the country’s Manabí Province, the beautiful two-story cabin is tucked into a native deciduous forest. Built on top of a hill along the coast line, the home rests in a setting that is picture-perfect, with views of the ocean on one side and the forest on the other. Related: Sculptural wood cabin is an alpine retreat with magnificent views To make the most of its natural environment, Lopez designed the cabin in a unique funnel shape with two extended sides that feature ultra-high, all-glass facades. The shell of the home is made out of concrete and covered with locally-sourced Amarillo and Asta wood. The interior was clad in eco-friendly bamboo , which provides a warm and cozy atmosphere. The living space is approximately 1,200 square feet, spanning two levels that connect through double-height ceilings. The ground floor houses the living, dining and kitchen area, while the two loft-like bedrooms are on the second floor, facing the ocean. The open-plan layout with large windows not only embeds the cabin and its inhabitants into the surroundings but also provides natural light and ventilation throughout the year. + Emilio Lopez Via Dwell Photography by Jag Studio via Emilio Lopez

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‘Funnel-shaped’ cabin in an Ecuadorian forest is made of locally sourced wood

Sculptural wood cabin is an alpine retreat with magnificent views

February 15, 2019 by  
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Perched high on weather-beaten mountain is the Hooded Cabin, a sculptural wood cabin with a rugged exterior and a sleek interior. The contemporary building is the work of Arkitektværelset , a Norwegian architectural practice that embraced the many environmental and building challenges that the project posed. From the high altitude mountain conditions of Imingfjell, Norway to the strict building regulations, the limitations not only shaped the iconic form of the retreat but also encouraged “playful creativity” from the designers. Set at an altitude of 1,125 meters within an area close to, but not within, the danger zone of avalanche activity, the 73-square-meter Hooded Cabin is surrounded by a wild and windblown snow-covered landscape. The architecture team wanted to take advantage of the sublime landscape and oriented the little wood cabin to face panoramic views of the lake. A “hood” element was created to protect the glazed opening and comply with building codes, which stipulated gabled roofs angled at 22 to 27 degrees. “We kept the original idea of a ‘protecting hood’ from the initial project sketches,” head architect Grethe Løland of Norwegian studio Arkitektværelset said in a project statement. “The ore pine roof protects the ‘eyes’ of the cabin in the front and prevents rain to dribble down the main entrance in the cabin’s ‘neck’. The building becomes an understated iconic sculpture in an area that most cabins look alike, and our clients really liked its form.” Related: This Norwegian alpine cabin fits together like a 3D timber puzzle For a more striking visual effect, the cabin’s outer shell is built from angled unpainted pine paneling that contrasts with the black-painted main cabin “body.” Norway’s strict building codes also called for sectioned windows, standing wood paneling and triple bargeboards. Large windows bring nature and plenty of natural light into the sleek and modern interior, which is lined with oak floors and paneling. Built to sleep up to 12 people, the wood cabin houses a kitchen and living room at the view-facing front of the building, while the rear consists of the master bedroom, bathroom, a sauna that doubles as a guest room and an open attic that fits eight. + Arkitektværelset Images by Marte Garmann via Arkitektværelset

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Sculptural wood cabin is an alpine retreat with magnificent views

Solar-powered cabin is designed for ultimate flexibility and mobility

December 11, 2018 by  
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Buenos Aires-based firm  IR Arquitectura  has created a brilliant modular cabin designed to offer not only exceptional flexibility, but also stellar energy efficiency. The cabin is made up of five distinct prefab modules that can be configured in various shapes. Equipped with a solar heating water system, a solar kitchen, a trombe wall and solar lamps, the sustainable cabin can operate completely off-grid in virtually any location. The cabin is built out of prefabricated modules that are manufactured off site and transported to the desired location. The cabin can be configured in a variety of shapes. Various sections of transparent cladding in the roof and on the walls allow natural light into the interior. Additionally, the cabin’s wide swinging doors provide a strong connection between the cabin and its surroundings. Related: This series of modular wood cabins form a rustic retreat in the Catskills The modules are each clad in a thermal and waterproof coating to add a strong resilience to the design , which can be installed in nearly any environment. For example, after recently serving as a central building in an outdoor summer camp in Hungary, the cabin’s modules were dismantled and loaded onto a truck to be used in its next location. According to the architects, the cabin was inspired by the need to provide inhabitants with the basic functions of storing, dressing, cooking, heating and resting. Clad in natural wood paneling and framework, the interior space is light and airy, with a notable minimalist appearance. Behind the simple design is an intricate, sustainable profile. The modules are installed with multiple clean energy features such as a solar heating water system , a solar kitchen, a trombe wall and Moser solar lamps . + IR Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Bujnovsky Tamás via IR Arquitectura

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Solar-powered cabin is designed for ultimate flexibility and mobility

This calculator tracks the carbon emissions of your travels

December 11, 2018 by  
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The global community has become increasingly smaller in recent decades thanks to affordable travel . But just because distance is no longer a major barrier, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a negative side of traveling — the environmental impact. Now, thanks to Mission Emission by Oblik Studio, there is a new “ emission-free travel calculator ” that can calculate the emissions a vehicle will produce when commuting to specific destinations, and it also suggests sustainable, alternative ways to reach your destination. In addition to providing information on the emissions of a specific trip, the calculator will also tell you the carbon footprint of your trip and the damage your trip can cause to you and the environment. Users can find out the amount of time a tree will need to absorb the CO2 emissions from a specified trip. Related: How to use a carbon footprint calculator to maximize energy savings For example, when using the calculator, you will discover that the 120-mile drive from Los Angeles to San Diego in a small car that uses gasoline has a fuel consumption of 23.1 miles per gallon and CO2 emissions of 13.9 ounces per mile. Plus, it takes a tree 2.17 years to absorb the amount of CO2 emitted during the trip. The website comes from the Mission Emission project, which has a goal to raise awareness of the global pollution problem and the environmental impact of travel while helping users learn how to reduce their environmental waste. Recently, concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide have reached their highest level in 800,000 years. CO2 emissions rose a startling 60 percent between 1990 and 2014 before leveling off for three years. However, in 2017, they started to rise again. Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, heads of state and other world leaders have committed to fight climate change through policy. However, individuals still need to do their part in the fight, and the Mission Emission Project is hoping that the travel calculator will help people do just that. + Mission Emission Images via Mission Emission

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Get away from it all in this off-grid concrete cabin just steps away from the Appalachian Trail

December 7, 2018 by  
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For those looking to disconnect from the chaos of life, this off-grid retreat is just the place. Tucked into a rocky ridge along the Appalachian Trail, the 160-square-foot Lost Whiskey Cabin was created by the team at GreenSpur  to be a self-sufficient off-grid getaway – with a edgy twist. Clad in raw concrete with large steel-framed windows, the tiny solar-powered structure eschews the traditional log cabin aesthetic for a contemporary industrial vibe. The stunning cabin is the latest addition to the Lost Whiskey Club, an eco-friendly complex that includes a communal farmhouse, mobile whiskey bar, and various off-grid lodging options . Surrounded by 5,800 acres of incredibly scenic protected public land?, the complex is the perfect location for a low key escape from city life. Related: These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect The Lost Whiskey Cabin is a unique design that opts for a tough industrial look. Inspired by Scandinavian minimalism , the structure is designed around its primary use: to reconnect with nature. The walls of the cabin are made out of pre-cast concrete panels manufactured in GreenSpur’s own warehouse and later transported to the site. This method allowed the team to not only reduce construction time, but also reduce impact on the land . In addition to the concrete panels, the cabin was has a series of thick steel window frames that provide stunning views. The same steel was used on the cabin’s chimney. The interior design was kept minimal to put the focus on the amazing surroundings. The living space is comprised of a Murphy bed made out of reclaimed wood . The bed doubles as a dining table when not in use. Two singular chairs face a pair of massive floor-to-ceiling glass doors, which open out to an open-air deck that cantilevers out over the landscape. The heart of the cabin, the concrete platform was installed with a Dutch hot tub that, along with a chair and a hammock, lets guests soak up the breathtaking views in complete tranquility. The rest of the home is equipped with all of the basics, mainly furnishings that have multiple uses and were chosen for their flexibility and durability. “With a crackling fire that heats the hot tub, solar panels, cisterns, Murphy bed, shower and compost toilet, this off-grid structure is virtually maintenance-free, and should look and function the same 100 years from now,” says GreenSpur founder Mark Turner. + GreenSpur Via Dwell Photography by Mitch Allen via GreenSpur

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Get away from it all in this off-grid concrete cabin just steps away from the Appalachian Trail

Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

December 7, 2018 by  
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Traditional Christmas decorations can quickly get expensive and extremely wasteful. But you can change that in your home this Christmas season by turning everyday household items into holiday decor. All you have to do is take a shopping trip through your house and upcycle old stuff into Christmas decorations. With just a little time and creativity, you can create these holiday decorations for just pennies, and keep the waste at a minimum. Pasta Christmas tree All you need for this project is some raw bowtie pasta, cardboard plates, a hot glue gun, and spray paint. Choose a color of paint that will match your holiday decor, like silver, gold, or green, and paint your pasta before gluing the pieces together to make a tree. This is just the beginning. You can also use penne rigate, fusilli, rotelle, radiatori, ditali lisci, or pasta shells to make a variety of different ornaments. When you watch the video tutorial for this craft, it will give you a creative spark. And, the surprising thing is, the holiday decorations and ornaments don’t even look like pasta when you are done. Toilet paper Santas This is a craft idea that you can do with the kids. All you need is some toilet paper rolls, colored paper, a marker, glue, scissors and string. First, measure and cut a piece of red paper that will fit around the toilet paper roll, then use your marker to draw bricks. Glue the red bricks to your toilet paper roll, then use the red paper again to cut out Santa’s legs and part of his hat. You will need white paper for the “fur trim” of Santa’s hat and pants, and black paper for the toy bag, feet and mittens. Sock monkey ornaments If you have some old sock monkeys hiding in the bottom of the closet, or have some sewing skills, you can create some cute sock monkey ornaments to put on the tree. All you need to make your own sock monkey is a pair of socks, two buttons, cotton stuffing or polyester fiber, scissors and some needle and thread. Wine bottle cork Christmas tree Another super easy idea for upcycled holiday decor is a Christmas tree made from wine bottle corks. You can paint the corks or decorate them with buttons, glitter, and textiles before tying them in red ribbon. Or, you can keep it simple and arrange plain corks (possibly with some red wine stains) into the shape of a tree. Then glue them together and add a decorative ribbon. Bottle light tree With some rebar, wine and/or liquor bottles, and a few strings of Christmas lights, you can create your own bottle light tree to light up your front yard. The possibilities are endless with this project, and the bonus is you have to drink some booze to make it happen. Cinnamon stick candle holder All you need for this idea is some cinnamon sticks, hot glue, some ribbon or lace, and a few holiday embellishments that you can find in your yard, like pine cones. And, in just a few short minutes you will have custom candle holders that will make your house smell amazing throughout the holiday season. Recycled Christmas village You can take this idea and run with it any way you like. You can use plastic containers or mason jars to house trees you can make from paper. And, you can use cereal and snack boxes like BettiJo at Paging Super Mom to create your village . Tech lover wreath Do you have some old computer parts, cell phones, and cords taking up space in your home? Well, stop letting them collect dust and turn them into a holiday wreath. All you need is a wreath form and some old tech to create this cute, geeky decoration. Light bulb garland and ornaments This upcycled holiday decor idea uses old light bulbs, paint, and some ornament hangers. You can add them to some garland or hang them on your tree. And, if you want to take this idea to another level  — and you have some art skills — you can turn the light bulbs into reindeer, snowmen, Santas, or even a grinch with the right paint and crafty accessories. Lanterns It doesn’t get much easier (or cheaper) than this. You will want to start by creating a holiday image with vintage angels and stars, or any other Christmas-inspired thing you can think of. Then, print out your design and cut out a piece that will fit around a soup can and another that will fit a box of matches.  Finally, glue or tape the pieces to the can and matchbox, just don’t cover the striking surface on the box! Images via Personal Creations , Elin B , Diana_rajchel , Shutterstock

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Simple DIY upcycled holiday decor

An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest

October 16, 2018 by  
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Rising like a tree out of rich volcanic ash soil is the Shangri-la Cabin, the first structure in a series of mountain cabins in Las Trancas, Chile. Architect Nicolas del Rio of the Chilean architecture firm DRAA designed the geometric cabin that’s clad in timber inside and out and punctuated with large windows. Built of prefabricated structural insulation panels, the compact cabin boasts minimal site impact thanks to its elevated footprint, which also gives the dwelling a treehouse -like feel. Completed in 2016, the Shangri-la Cabin was created in close collaboration with the owners, who directed the construction process and enlisted the help of local workers. Not only did the owners work on assembling the metal stairs and railings, but they also charred the exterior wood siding with the Japanese technique of shou sugi ban to protect the cabin exterior from decay and pests. “All these tasks [were] learned through years of DIY experimentation and pod prototypes on land and sea” the firm explained. Topped with a sharply pitched roof designed to shed snow, the one-bedroom cabin spans three split-levels across 45 square meters of space. A concrete base lifts the living spaces three meters above ground to immerse the inhabitants in the tree canopy. The use of timber throughout — from the charred pine exterior to the interiors lined with planks from locally felled trees — tie the architecture to its heavily forested surroundings. The prefabricated SIP boards and their 212-millimeter polystyrene core provide high-performance insulation, while the layout with the air-lock entrance helps keeps out unwanted chills. Related: This cozy cabin in the woods was once just an old tool shed A small parking pad below the cabin connects to the main living areas via outdoor stairs. The entrance opens up to a small foyer with a sliding pocket door that separates the entrance from the bathroom and bedroom, also concealed beneath a pocket door. A couple steps down from the bedroom level lies the eat-in kitchen anchored by a wood-burning fireplace . A ladder leads to a sitting space that overlooks the kitchen. The architects said, “Cabin Shangri-la is a collaborative project that mingles in the wood with simplicity and respect for nature, surprising the strollers with a bold, geometric and structural proposal.” + DRAA Images by Magdalena Besomi, Felipe Camus

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An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest

These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials

October 12, 2018 by  
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Ambitious tiny cabin crafter  Jacob Witzling  has taken inspiration from childhood fairytales to build some seriously dreamy woodland dwellings for himself and his friends. Using  reclaimed wood  and other materials scavenged from construction sites, Witzling has designed and handcrafted a series of gorgeous tiny cabins tucked deep into lush forestscapes. Inspired by a deep respect for nature, all of his amazing cabins run 100 percent off the grid with no running water. It seems as if Witzling was destined to be close to nature. As a teenager, he moved into a 1920s cabin tucked into a wooded forest near his parents’ house. Although he would go home to do laundry and eat, he said that he always found himself drawn back to his real home in the woods. He has always preferred to live with simple pleasures. “Inside was a wood stove that I fed and stoked through the harsh winter nights,” Witzling explained. “I had my freedom and my fire. They were all I needed to be happy.” Witzling has taken his love of simple living and turned it into an amazing craft based on sustainability. Not only are all of his cabins built with reclaimed materials , but they are completely off-grid. They are powered by 12-volt D/C systems using deep cycle batteries. All water needed for drinking, cooking and bathing is collected from a well, and separate outhouses are equipped with composting toilets . Most of his wooden cabins are built on land owned by friends or acquaintances. He builds the structures with the agreement that he will have complete access after their completion. To date, he has built six amazingly unique cabins, including an innovative home on the bed of a pickup truck. Take a look below. Cabin 1 Witzling’s very first cabin was built for just $800. The two-story structure with a sloping shed roof was constructed out of reclaimed building materials , including salvaged wood, nails and screws leftover from construction projects, a local reuse store and straight from garbage pits. The cabin has two levels, a ground level of 100 square feet and a 70-square-foot sleeping loft. Witzling lived in this cabin for three years. Related: 9 brilliant backwoods cabins for reconnecting with nature Cabin 2 The second tiny cabin was built with wood salvaged from an old warehouse. Certainly fairytale-inspired, this 200-square-foot cabin takes on a cruciform shape with two pitched roofs covered in thick moss. Inside, there’s a compact living area and a 90-square-foot sleeping loft, all illuminated with natural light. Cabin 3 The third cabin (perhaps the most impressive) is a tiny octagonal structure with a pyramid roof featuring eight A-frame dormers. Witzling built the geometric cabin with his lifelong friend Wesley Daughenbaugh. Two large wooden doors open into the 135-square-foot interior, where many windows flood the space with natural light . The roofs are covered with metal sheets, chicken wire and a layer of moss. Cabin 4 The fourth cabin is quite distinct from the previous work in that the roof design is so eccentric. The cabin, which he built with his brother, Ethan Hamby, is set on an 80-square-foot, irregular base and topped with an  undulating pitched roof layered in small wooden shingles. The cabin was built with all reclaimed materials and is 17 feet long, 11 feet tall and 7 feet wide with a small, 30-square-foot sleeping loft inside. Cabin 5 The fifth cabin was a collaborative effort between Witzling, his brother Ethan and a childhood friend, Scott Pearson. The 200-square-foot wooden cabin , again made out of reclaimed lumber, is built on 25-square-foot alcoves on each side. A pitched 4-foot spire adds a chapel-like aesthetic to the cabin, which is surrounded by forest and adjacent to a small lake. Truck Cabin From off-grid cabins nestled into evergreen forests to homes on wheels roaming the highways, Witzling’s sixth project is a surprising twist to the traditional tiny cabin. Using the roof design from Cabin 4 as inspiration, he and his partner, Sara Underwood, built a tiny asymmetrical cabin on the bed of a 1979 pickup truck. The crafty duo are currently exploring the U.S. in their amazing creation. You can follow their adventures on Jacob’s Instagram . + Jacob Witzling Via Dwell Photography by Jacon Witzling, Sara Underwood, Forrest Smith, Chris Poops, Andrew Kearns, Erik Hecht, Justin D. Kauffman, Allen Meyer, Peter Crosby all via Jacob Witzling

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