A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

July 12, 2018 by  
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A small mountain lodge has replaced an old ski lift station on the Krkonoše mountains in the Czech Republic. Czech studio ADR designed the ?erná Voda, named after a nearby stream, to serve as a place of respite for short-term guests of a nearby lodge’s owner. The isolated retreat stands in a meadow apart from the Horní Malá Úpa village, among tall trees and lush shrubbery that shroud the cabin in serenity. Stepping inside the ?erná Voda, guests will find a bright, minimalist design. Light timber, which covers the walls, floors and ceilings, creates an open, airy feel. The kitchen space offers a sharp contrast with blackened wood cabinetry. The simple interior draws focus to the large windows and their picturesque views of the mountains , including Sn?žka, the highest mountain peak in the country. One window opens to the outdoors and allows a breath of fresh air into the cabin. Upstairs, a sleeping loft outfitted with protective netting offers a quiet space for visitors to rest. As natural light filters into the ground floor at daybreak, the loft benefits from the pitched ceiling and retains some darkness for guests who prefer to sleep in. During cooler months, a small wood-burning stove keeps the cabin toasty and inviting after a long day of exploring the outdoors. The mountain lodge blends into its forested surroundings in the summer with its dark metal and blackened wood cladding. When the landscape becomes blanketed in snow, the gabled cabin stands out boldly in its environment. On the west end of the home, a deck extends the living areas to the outdoors. The ?erná Voda mountain lodge has been nominated for a 2018 Czech Architecture Award , which promotes projects that embrace the public and the environment by both new and seasoned architects. + ADR Images via Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma / BoysPlayNice

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A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

June 14, 2018 by  
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Within the world of glamping, there are plenty of wide-ranging amenities meant to provide luxury and comfort. But one savvy Lithuanian company, Eurodita , is bringing the glory of outdoor living back to basics with its simple, but beautiful, wooden camping pods . Inspired by the shape of Quonset huts, these compact, self-sustaining structures are great options for backyard sheds or mountain retreats. The camping pods are available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest one measuring just 80 square feet and the largest at 185 square feet. The curved shape, which draws inspiration from the design of Quonset huts, offers a sense of spaciousness to the compact interior. Related: Loch Ness Glamping Provides Cozy Eco Camping Pods for Monster Watching & Outdoor Adventure The entryway is a tiny deck that can be used as a sitting space or barbecue area. A set of double doors with double-glazed grid windows flood the interior with an abundance of natural light . The layout depends on the size of the pod, but the smallest of the series can fit a double bed, a small sitting area with table and chairs and a folding bench. Although they do not come equipped with bathrooms or kitchens, washrooms can be installed upon request. Buyers can also order electrical connections. Made from rot-proof Nordic spruce, the tiny wooden cabins are fully insulated thanks to the extra thick logs used in their construction. The pods are weather-resistant, waterproof and built to survive long-term in extreme climates. They are ideal for a variety of uses, from sheds and guest studios to off-grid retreats tucked into remote areas. Additionally, these sweet little cabins can be delivered in flat packs or fully assembled to almost anywhere in the world. + Eurodita Camping Pods Via Apartment Therapy Images via Eurodita

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These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

Frida Escobedos 2018 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London

June 14, 2018 by  
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Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has unveiled this year’s Serpentine Pavilion —a dark and porous envelope that wraps around an inner courtyard with a shallow pool of water. Located on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, the temporary summer pavilion is built with walls of concrete roofing tiles stacked together in a staggered formation on steel poles. The open voids in the stacked tile walls give Escobedo’s pavilion a sense of lightness by allowing natural light and views to pass through. At 38, Escobedo is the youngest architect ever tapped for the design of the annual Serpentine Pavilion. She is also the first solo woman selected for the commission since Zaha Hadid , who designed the first pavilion in 2000. For the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion, now in its 18th iteration, Escobedo took inspiration from domestic Mexican architecture and British materials. An enclosed courtyard —a common feature in Mexican houses—forms the heart of the pavilion, which comprises two rectangular volumes set on a north axis in a nod to the Prime Meridian, a global standard for time and geographic distance. In contrast, the outer walls of the pavilion are aligned with the Serpentine Gallery’s east facade. Escobedo designed lattice-like walls of British-made cement roof tiles that take inspiration from Mexico’s traditional breeze walls, known as celosia. The mirrored underside of the canopy and the triangular pool on the ground reflect the movement of light and shadow to heighten visitors’ awareness of their surroundings. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today “My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the express of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms,” Escobedo said. “For the Pavilion, we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.” The Serpentine Pavilion opens June 15 and will run until October 7, 2018. + Frida Escobedo Photography © 2018 Iwan Baan

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Frida Escobedos 2018 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London

The pre-fab tiny Skyview Cabin is crafted from all-natural and low-impact materials

June 1, 2018 by  
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The modular Skyview Cabin is a rustic, yet sophisticated tiny cabin made out of all-natural and low-maintenance materials. Designed by Arno Schuurs and Paulien van Noort of the Netherlands-based Qoncepts Agency , the structure is clad in untreated Oregon Pine panels and features a glass wall that seamlessly connects the interior to the exterior. The construction of the wooden cabin , which is just 452 square feet, began with two prefabricated sections. The modules and additional fixtures were then transported to the building site, a beautiful meadow covered in wild flowers just outside of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials The frame of the tiny cabin is constructed from concrete and raw steel. The builders installed steel pillars with an innovative screw foundation technique that lifts the structure off the ground for minimal impact on the landscape. After the frame was constructed, the architects began to put all of the pieces together, so to speak. The construction plan focused on using all-natural materials, such as local pine planks for the exterior and oak fishbone panels for the flooring. However, the main focus of the cabin was to create a strong connection to its idyllic surroundings. The tiny home has several large windows to let in light and provide stellar views from nearly every room. The large deck, which is partially enclosed, leads to the entrance. A large glass facade surrounds a pleasant seating area that is the heart of the home, perfect for entertaining or just sitting and enjoying a good book. Inside, the home is clad in pine and includes a compact living space and open kitchen and dining area. The sleeping loft, accessible by ladder, is referred to as the cabin’s “bird’s nest” and offers guests a king-sized bed surrounded by windows. + Qoncepts Agency + Getaway Deluxe Via Dwell Photography by Annelore van Herwijnen

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The pre-fab tiny Skyview Cabin is crafted from all-natural and low-impact materials

Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat

June 1, 2018 by  
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Want to lower your environmental impact? Go vegan . That’s one idea researchers uncovered in what The Guardian described as the most comprehensive analysis thus far of farming’s impact on Earth. University of Oxford scientist Joseph Poore, who led the study, told The Guardian, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases , but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car .” “Animal product-free diets…deliver greater environmental benefits than purchasing sustainable meat or dairy ,” according to Oxford’s statement on the study published today in the journal Science . Scientist Thomas Nemecek of Swiss agricultural research group Agroscope joined Poore to create a database of close to 40,000 farms in 119 countries to assess environmental impacts of 40 major foods representing 90 percent of what we eat. Related: Here’s what could happen if America went 100% vegan They discovered that meat and dairy generate 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and use up 83 percent of farmland — but offer just 37 percent of protein and 18 percent of calories, The Guardian reported. Without dairy and meat consumption, global farmland use could be slashed by over 75 percent. The scientists also uncovered variability in producing the same food: for example, high-impact beef producers raising beef cattle on deforested land use 50 times more land and create 12 times more greenhouse gases than low-impact beef producers raising cows on natural pastures. But there’s still a sharp comparison between beef and plant protein like peas: even low-impact beef generates six times more greenhouse gases and uses 36 times more land. You might think grass-fed beef has a low environmental impact, but the researchers discovered the product’s impact was still higher than that of plant-based foods. Poore told The Guardian, “Converting grass into [meat] is like converting coal to energy. It comes with an immense cost in emissions.” Many food experts praised the study. The University of Edinburgh’s Peter Alexander told the Guardian he was impressed but said, “There may be environmental benefits, e.g. for biodiversity, from sustainably managed grazing and increasing animal product consumption may improve nutrition for some of the poorest globally. My personal opinion is we should interpret these results not as the need to become vegan overnight, but rather to moderate our [meat] consumption.” + University of Oxford + Science Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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This super-insulated concrete "cabin" hides a surprisingly cozy interior

May 15, 2018 by  
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Brutalist-inspired architecture is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when imagining cozy countryside cabins, but two daring designers have created a 900-square-foot house — made primarily of concrete blocks — in the Catskills. The homeowners, architect Jason Shannon and designer Paola Yañez of J_spy Architecture , created the contemporary home with a cluster of three cubic volumes and a white metal box for the roof. The result is a high-end, modern and eco-friendly retreat that sits on six acres of beautiful grassy landscape. The house was designed to be a serene getaway, a place to escape the city and return to nature. While many people choose to “nestle” their country homes into natural surroundings, this design stands out among the expansive fields thanks to its modern, bold aesthetic. The three cubist volumes made of concrete blocks and large white top floor create a fun juxtaposition to the flourishing, organic background. Related: Prefab Pyrenees cabin minimizes site impact and building costs The interior of the home is contemporary with a welcoming feel. Large windows and doors framed in mahogany provide an abundance of natural light and stunning views. Although the concrete walls were left unfinished on the exterior, the interior blocks feature a polished facade. The main living space has a beautiful 14′ ceiling clad in birch plywood that is interlaced with fabric to help absorb noise. With concrete as the primary building material, the home is extremely energy efficient . A geothermal heat pump is connected to the home’s concrete radiant floor, which emits both hot and cool air. The upper floor, which is clad in white metal, hangs over the dimension of the house for two reasons: to provide passive solar heating and to create high ceilings. In addition to the concrete blocks and radiant heating, the home also has a tankless hot water system and a condenser clothes dryer. To create a tight envelope that reduces energy loss, the house was insulated with a spray foam in the walls and ceilings. According to the architects, the efficient home is not only a reflection of how they live their personal lives, but also depicts their work ethos. Shannon explained, “This was our chance to say, ‘Let’s design the house as modern as we think we would like to be in the rest of our work.’” + J_spy Architecture Via Dwell Photography by Amanda Kirkpatrick

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This super-insulated concrete "cabin" hides a surprisingly cozy interior

Brooklyn Grange announces a new location in a former WWII shipyard

May 15, 2018 by  
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Inhabitat is thrilled to announce that New York City urban farming group Brooklyn Grange is launching its first location outside the city — at Kearny Point in New Jersey. The location holds its own storied past: a former World War I and World War II shipbuilding yard in an industrial area that’s spiraled downhill, Kearny Point is undergoing redevelopment under recycling corporation Hugo Neu . Inhabitat caught up with Brooklyn Grange COO and co-founder Gwen Schantz and Hugo Neu CEO Wendy Neu to learn about the project’s emphasis on not only economic revitalization but also the restoration of local ecology . At Kearny Point in New Jersey, Brooklyn Grange will help with  landscaping , converting just under three acres of sod into a native meadow. In addition, the group will help transform about an acre of former parking lot space into a demonstration garden, complete with a vegetable patch and children’s play area, as well as host plant sales and educational workshops. Although none of these gardens will be on rooftops, Brooklyn Grange does plan to host green roof workshops using a Kearny Point roof. Related: 6 urban farms feeding the world Schantz told Inhabitat, “We know what these industrial spaces can become and how they can be reinvented. We’ve seen the evolution of the Navy Yard. When we talked to the people at Hugo Neu about their vision about Kearny Point, we really got it. It resonated with us.” Neu is one of the people behind that vision. She told Inhabitat that Kearny Point, which is between the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, was once a main economic driver for the area as “one of the most productive shipbuilding facilities in the world.” During World War II, 35,000 people worked on the 130-acre site. But after the war, the shipbuilding industry died in the United States. Hugo Neu acquired Kearny Point in the 1960s and dismantled ships, but that operation shut down around 1985. Until recently, Kearny Point was an industrial warehouse distribution facility. “ Hurricane Sandy was a defining moment for us because we were approximately four feet underwater. We’d never had any kind of issue with flooding. My late husband and I know climate change is coming and the environment is changing dramatically, and we had to think about what we were going to do with this site,” Neu told Inhabitat. After her husband passed away suddenly, Neu joined forces with Steve Nislick, former Edison Properties CEO, with the goal of doing “something transformative.” The new vision for Kearny Point includes offices for startups, coworking spaces, and a waterfront opened to the public. “The opportunity to take a heavy industrial site like this and integrate all the new technology – wind, solar, stormwater – and be able to show we can have people growing businesses without having to harm the environment but also actually improve it at the same time is, to me, a very compelling opportunity,” Neu said. Brooklyn Grange is “an indication of just what the possibilities are.” The project’s native meadow serves as a prime example. According to Schantz, when people try to convert land into meadows or gardens, they sometimes kill what’s growing there with pesticides . Brooklyn Grange is taking a more natural approach: they’re suffocating grass and enriching the soil with the help of recycled materials , such as leftover cardboard from a nearby shipping company and wood mulch from a local tree service, both of which the urban farming group inoculated with blue oyster mushrooms. Once this process is complete, they’ll plant native flowers and grasses. “Our approach is, let’s take this strip of land which has had a rough history along a railroad track, it has not been loved the way it could be, and give it a new lease on life and make it a place where insects and birds can feed and nest, and restore it the way it might have looked before there was a shipyard here,” said Schantz. How will Kearny Point handle natural disasters in the future? Neu said that not only are they raising the site up two feet, they’re creating at least 25 acres of open space and putting in bioswales to boost the site’s resiliency. “We’ll have underground parking that will serve as reservoirs for water that comes onto the site. We’ll remove as many impervious surfaces as possible, which is huge in terms of the amount that gets discharged into the Hackensack, and we’re going to do everything to improve the quality of what gets discharged,” said Neu. “I want to minimize our impact as much as possible. We have to be able to figure out how to have people prosper without destroying the environment and further degrading it.” Brooklyn Grange’s first plant sale will be Sunday, May 20, from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. “We’re really excited to be reaching out to our neighbors across the river,” Schantz said. “We know there’s already a culture of gardening here in the Garden State, and so we’re excited to bring some of our urban farming techniques and our general mindset of sustainable, organic gardening to the local community and hopefully get people excited about growing their own food .” + Brooklyn Grange + Hugo Neu + Kearny Point Images courtesy of Valery Rizzo

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Brooklyn Grange announces a new location in a former WWII shipyard

Interstellar cabins ring Snhettas otherworldly planetarium in Norway

May 3, 2018 by  
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An out-of-this-world design upgrade is coming to Solobservatoriet, the world’s largest solar observatory north of the Alps in Harestua, Norway . Snøhetta just unveiled their designs for the site’s new planetarium and visitor center as well as seven “interstellar cabins” arranged like orbiting planets around the planetarium’s golden dome. The astronomical facility is located 28 miles of Oslo at an elevated site 1,900 feet above sea level. The star of Snøhetta’s new designs is undoubtedly the Planetarium , a half-sunken structure designed as the first thing visitors see when they arrive to the facility via the forest footpaths. At the heart of the Planetarium is the 100-seat “celestial theater” housed in a golden orb engraved with constellations that appears to emerge from the earth and is visible from outside. Skylights as well as a sloping and accessible green roof planted with grass, wild heather, blueberry, and lingonberry bushes wrap around the golden dome. In addition to the theater, the Planetarium’s lower level includes a reception, cafe, exhibition area, and a ramp that leads up to an exhibition mezzanine and outdoor green roof. Outside, seven “interstellar cabins ” are arranged around the Planetarium like unique orbiting planets. Six of the planets alternate between 27 and 33 feet in diameter and accommodate up to 10 to 32 people respectively, while the smallest planet, Zolo, measures nearly 20 feet in diameter and houses just two guests. The new visitor’s center will be placed near the original solar observatory. Related: Snøhetta unveils plans for world’s first “energy-positive” hotel in the Arctic Circle “The new Planetarium and cabins represent an ambitious expansion of the current and modest facilities, turning the entire site into a publicly accessible and international knowledge hub while also providing expanded support spaces for activities such as teambuilding, lectures and seminars,” wrote the architects. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

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Interstellar cabins ring Snhettas otherworldly planetarium in Norway

Tent cabin clusters perfectly blend into the Californian forests

July 11, 2017 by  
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This family retreat hidden in the forests of Northern California is very different from your typical weekend home. Berkeley-based Envelope Architecture + Design designed the Forest House, a holiday retreat broken up into nine minimalist boxes hoisted off the ground for minimal site impact . Clad in stained timber, the cluster of one-room cabins blends into the heavily wooded landscape. Located in Mendocino County a few hours from San Francisco, the Forest House was built for a couple and their three young children. The structure’s nine tent cabins are organized within four clusters, all hooked up to plumbing and electricity, and spread out across two acres around a central concrete-paved plaza. The buildings are raised several feet off the ground on 4×4 posts for a treehouse -like effect and are carefully placed to preserve existing trees. A network of wooden paths connects the raised cabins. Related: Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact The roofs are topped with treated Army canvas anchored with nylon ropes. “The tented roofs and walls allow a connection with the natural setting—its sounds and changing seasons—while large clear and mirrored-bronze glass windows frame views of the landscape and neighboring ‘rooms,’” wrote the architects. “Wood-framed walls and floors lend warmth and support the comforts of modern living, deep within the forest. Here, the forest and house are one with indoor and outdoor rooms suspended between the treetops and canopy floor.” + Envelope Architecture + Design Via Gessato Images via Envelope Architecture + Design, © Richard Barnes

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Tent cabin clusters perfectly blend into the Californian forests

Tent cabin clusters perfectly blend into the Californian forests

July 11, 2017 by  
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This family retreat hidden in the forests of Northern California is very different from your typical weekend home. Berkeley-based Envelope Architecture + Design designed the Forest House, a holiday retreat broken up into nine minimalist boxes hoisted off the ground for minimal site impact . Clad in stained timber, the cluster of one-room cabins blends into the heavily wooded landscape. Located in Mendocino County a few hours from San Francisco, the Forest House was built for a couple and their three young children. The structure’s nine tent cabins are organized within four clusters, all hooked up to plumbing and electricity, and spread out across two acres around a central concrete-paved plaza. The buildings are raised several feet off the ground on 4×4 posts for a treehouse -like effect and are carefully placed to preserve existing trees. A network of wooden paths connects the raised cabins. Related: Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact The roofs are topped with treated Army canvas anchored with nylon ropes. “The tented roofs and walls allow a connection with the natural setting—its sounds and changing seasons—while large clear and mirrored-bronze glass windows frame views of the landscape and neighboring ‘rooms,’” wrote the architects. “Wood-framed walls and floors lend warmth and support the comforts of modern living, deep within the forest. Here, the forest and house are one with indoor and outdoor rooms suspended between the treetops and canopy floor.” + Envelope Architecture + Design Via Gessato Images via Envelope Architecture + Design, © Richard Barnes

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Tent cabin clusters perfectly blend into the Californian forests

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