Handsome timber-clad extension embraces Australias great outdoors

August 3, 2018 by  
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When the residents of a home in Eganstown, Australia, decided to add a modest extension to their house, they were looking for more than just extra breathing room. Enlisting the help of Melbourne-based emerging design practice Solomon Troup Architects , they envisioned the extension as a way to more fully embrace the expansive hillside landscape. The resulting structure—named the Limerick House—does just that, all while referencing the outdoors with its natural materials palette . Covering an area of nearly 2,100 square feet, the Limerick House offers a twist on the original home’s pitched forms with an asymmetrical gabled roof inspired by the lean-to timber shearing sheds found throughout the local landscape. “The gabled form of the addition responds to the existing pitched roofs of the existing house,” explains Solomon Troup Architects. “The new addition has the same dimensions and shape as the existing three railway cottages used to build the existing house, but is sloped on the eastern boundary to create a doorway, used to link the house to another existing house on the property.” In another nod to the local sheds , the new extension is built mainly from timber. Spotted gum decking boards—stained black—clad the exterior and will develop a silvery patina over time. In contrast to the dark facade, the interior is lined with light-colored silvertop ash boards, which the architects say give the addition the look of a “warm winter weekend cabin.” Related: A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience The extension houses an open-plan kitchen and dining area, freeing up room in the main house, which now includes a master ensuite, two bedrooms and a living room that opens up to a cozy den through a sliding door. A massive steel-framed pivoting door opens the new structure up to the outdoors and a spacious timber deck partly sheltered by a deep roof overhang. Large windows let in plenty of natural light and views. + Solomon Troup Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Tatjana Plitt

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Handsome timber-clad extension embraces Australias great outdoors

These bold, eco-friendly bathrooms reduce water usage by 80%

August 3, 2018 by  
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Hong Kong-based design practice Ida&Billy Architects have completed an unusually eye-catching bathroom redesign for a Guangzhou shopping mall that boasts striking looks and sustainable elements. Crafted with human comfort in mind, these renovated toilets at the TaiKoo Hui mixed-use development are almost a destination in themselves due to the colorful patterned aesthetic, sculptural clean lines and adherence to green design principles. In addition to the use of recycled materials and gray water recycling systems, the eco-friendly bathrooms also feature air-purifying indoor plants. Tucked underground, the bathrooms at TaiKoo Hui are designed to embrace their subterranean location with a modern grotto-like appearance featuring curved doorways and openings. White paint brightens up the curved walls while LED strips illuminate the space. The original bathroom layout was preserved during the renovation to minimize structural and piping changes. The original sandstone and gray tiles were crushed and turned into aggregate for the newly cast dark gray terrazzo floors. “The sustainable design toilet aims to raise the environmental awareness in the public realm and to become the role model of sustainability in the commercial and retail sector,” the architects explained in their project statement. “The design aims to tie back to nature, formally as well as environmentally. Sustainability, spatial sculpting and human comfort drive the whole design.” Related: 8 toilet designs that could save millions of lives around the world The architects chose glass fiber reinforced gypsum (GRG) panels (made with recycled content) to create the curved surfaces that seamlessly connect the walls to the ceilings in the eco-friendly bathrooms. Aided by two fans for circulation, indoor plants improve indoor oxygen levels and bring a splash of green to the windowless space. Collected and filtered gray water is used for irrigation. The waterless urinal and water-saving toilets are estimated to save water usage by 80 percent and reduce waste by 60 percent on a daily basis. + Ida&Billy Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Ida&Billy Architects

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These bold, eco-friendly bathrooms reduce water usage by 80%

The Goldtree House is designed for sustainable family living

August 3, 2018 by  
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When kids hit their teens, your house suddenly feels smaller. The atmosphere is hectic, groups of friends traipse in and out, and parents often retreat to a bedroom for peace and quiet. However, one clever family with teenage twins got ahead of the curve, asking Hartree and Associates Architects to remodel their home to accommodate these changes and create a private apartment for the parents down the road. The owners of the Goldtree House, a 1950s home in East Fremantle, Australia, wanted the renovation to include ample space for their children to entertain guests, as well as help the house withstand frequently inclement weather. They also needed a revamp that adhered to their firm budget while providing the best views of nearby Fremantle Harbor. The first step was removing the existing roof and constructing a new top story. The added level includes a new master bedroom, plenty of living space, and a kitchen with sweeping views all around. The owners envision this level as their private “apartment” many years in the future. The ground level is devoted to the needs and tastes of teenagers and their friends. The internal spaces were simplified and revamped to include ample views of the surrounding landscape as well as optimum sunlight and a current of internal breezes. The floor plan easily flows from the entryway to the great room for adolescent games and socializing. It also provides easy access to the terrace, thriving garden and pool, the latter of which was designed to eliminate the need for a privacy fence. Related: A 1950s house receives a bioclimatic renovation in Mexico Besides a photovoltaic solar panel array , the home also includes eco-friendly water and energy management through natural air ventilation, energy-efficient fixtures and equipment, and native garden plants that require minimum watering. Two wind turbines and storage batteries for power are also part of the home’s green technology. The twins were involved in the renovation from inception through completion, which gave them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. They proudly share the outcome with their friends. + Hartree and Associates Architects Images via Robert Frith

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The Goldtree House is designed for sustainable family living

Architects build their own rammed-earth office around existing trees

August 3, 2018 by  
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Paraguay-based design firm  Equipo de Arquitectura has created a number of innovative structures, but when it came to constructing their own office space, its designers decided to go back to basics. The team has just unveiled the Caja de Tierra – a beautiful,  rammed-earth construction that was built around existing trees. When the architects set out to build a new office space for themselves, they decided to focus the design on nature, with the goal of fostering a sense of connection to the earth. As the structure’s concept began to take form, the architects decided they would employ just three basic materials: earth, wood and glass. Related: Striking rammed earth home blends into the hills of Santa Fe The architects built the cube-like structure on-site themselves. First, they had to sieve the earth to eliminate rocks, roots and large particles. Once the soil was “clean”, they mixed it with cement and placed it in mold-like modules. The mixture was then pummeled with a pressure tool to get rid of air and pack it tightly into place. When the elongated, 30-cm-thick earthen blocks  reached a sufficient consistency, the team placed them on top of each other, forming four beautiful rammed-earth walls. The result? A gorgeous facade with red and orange tones that blends seamlessly into the natural surroundings. Contrasting with the all-earthen walls is a large glass skylight, cut into one of the corners in order to flood the interior with natural light – a feature that also reduces the structure’s energy usage. In keeping with the environmentally-conscious design, all of the furniture and doors were made out of reclaimed wood. With a lot surrounded by greenery, the team did what it could to protect the existing plants growing on-site. Specifically, the architects designed the layout to leave space for two existing trees . A flame tree is framed in an all-glass box that juts into the interior while a majestic guavirá tree holds court right in the middle of the office space. + Equipo de Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Leonardo Mendez and Federico Cairoli via Equipo de Arquitectura

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Architects build their own rammed-earth office around existing trees

Heres your chance to stay at the first Airbnb on the Great Wall of China

August 3, 2018 by  
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If the climbing the Great Wall of China is on your bucket list, here’s your chance to check it off and take part in a one-of-a-kind overnight experience. Airbnb has teamed up with the Beijing Tourism Development Committee to bring the Great Wall onto the hospitality service site as a temporary lodging option. However, making a booking is not as easy as it typically is on AirBnB—hopeful guests will have to enter a contest for a chance to win. Working together with historians and preservations groups based in Beijing , the Airbnb team sensitively transformed a centuries-old Great Wall watchtower into a temporary suite complete with a bedroom, bathroom, dining area and living space. The elevated structure offers 360-degree views of the wall and lush scenery. “Known as one of the greatest architectural feats in human history, the Great Wall was built as a border to protect Chinese states against raids thousands of years ago,” reads a statement from Airbnb. “Today, it is widely considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world, bringing visitors from all walks of life together.” This unique Airbnb was created to bring attention to tourism to China by spotlighting its most famous icon and one of the world’s great wonders. Related: The Great Wall of China is slowly disappearing Airbnb will select the four winners (who can bring a guest) from the contest based on their responses to a prompt that asks about boundaries and human connections. During the stay, each winner will have the chance to experience different aspects of Chinese culture, from seal engraving to learning calligraphy. Guests will also have the opportunity to hike the Great Wall and enjoy a multiple-course gourmet dinner accompanied by Chinese music. Winners will be announced after August 11, 2018. + Great Wall of China Airbnb

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Heres your chance to stay at the first Airbnb on the Great Wall of China

This stunning underwater art museum is now open in the Maldives

August 2, 2018 by  
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British environmental artist Jason deCaires Taylor recently completed his latest work, and it’s his most stunning to date— The Sculpture Coralarium , presented as the world’s first semi-submerged tidal gallery space. Located in the middle of the Maldives’ largest developed coral lagoon at the island resort Fairmont Sirru Fen Fushi, the partially submerged art gallery is primarily experienced in the water and guests are invited to snorkel and swim their way to the installation. The museum’s human-like sculptures, built of marine-safe neutral-pH material, are designed to promote coral growth and provide additional marine habitat over time. The Sculpture Coralarium is the Maldives’ first underwater museum and took approximately five months to install. The artwork begins with a long swimming pool that transects the beach and leads to a coral-lined pathway submerged in the sea. The 100-meter walkway is “sea-scaped” with endemic planted corals and serves as the symbolic threshold to another world. An additional five- to ten-minute swim reveals a submerged staircase, which connects to a cuboid six-meter-tall building with stainless steel walls. The walls themselves have coral-inspired laser-cut openings to allow water and marine life to pass through. The front facade is typically submerged to a median tide of three meters. A series of Jesmonite human-like sculptures were placed on the roof of the cuboid structure, while over a dozen more sculptures can be found on plinths at various heights and submerged at differing degrees. The sculptures were made using casts of the local population and combined with organic coral and plant-inspired forms. The sculptures will promote the growth of coral reefs. Related: Artist Jason deCaires Taylor Builds an Incredible Coral Reef from Sunken Statues “The underwater realm of the installation includes a series of children looking up towards [the] surface of the sea. This poses questions about the threat of climate change and sea levels rising and the consequences for future generations,” reads the project statement. “Overall the installation aims to draw all the elements of life on earth together, to portray a system where all components are dependent on each other, humans and the environment in coexistence, a leveling of relationships. The Coralarium becomes a portal or interface to the wonders of the underwater world.” + Jason deCaires Taylor Images via Fairmont Maldives

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This stunning underwater art museum is now open in the Maldives

Tiny Heirloom unveils ‘The Goose’ a custom tiny home with stunning interiors

August 2, 2018 by  
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Once again, the genius design team from Tiny Heirloom has unveiled another spectacular tiny home . Built on a gooseneck trailer, The Goose offers a spacious tiny home on wheels that can sleep up to six people and comes with all of the amenities of a conventional home — just in a compact size. Starting at $84,995, The Goose comes in three sizes and can be customized in various ways or, as the designers put it, you can “Build Your Goose.” Future homeowners can choose from a number of options in order to meet their specific tiny home needs, starting at the length of the home, which can be 27, 30 or 34 feet. The living area comes standard at 8 feet by 13.5 feet. Related: Rock climbing walls cover this tiny home built for adventure lovers The exterior of the home is inspired by a modern farmhouse aesthetic, with white cladding and a wooden front porch. Although the home is installed with LED lighting , the interior is well-lit during the day with an abundance of natural light. An all-white interior with multiple windows and optional skylights emits a fresh, healthy aesthetic. The design allows for a beautifully open space that is enhanced by exposed wooden beams crossing the vaulted ceiling. The tiny home’s layout puts the living room on one side and a separate master bedroom on the opposite side, elevated by a set of stairs. A large cook’s kitchen is equipped with modern appliances and has a fold-out table for dining. The Goose’s full-size bathroom puts the closet-like bathrooms typically found in tiny houses to shame. One of the best aspects of the tiny home is that it comes with various options to customize the space, including extras like additional closets and storage. For larger families looking to make the most out of the space, two additional sleeping lofts can be added. Extra amenities like an in-wall electric heater and a composting toilet are also available. + Tiny Heirloom Via New Atlas Images via Tiny Heirloom

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Tiny Heirloom unveils ‘The Goose’ a custom tiny home with stunning interiors

Casas Melhoradas explores sustainable and affordable housing in Mozambique

August 1, 2018 by  
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Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world—and its capital, Maputo, suffers from infrastructural challenges and urban sprawl. In hopes of initiating sustainable urban development in the city’s informal settlements, Johan Mottelson and Jørgen Eskemose of the Institute of Architecture, Urbanism & Landscape at KADK , the Mozambican NGO Estamos, and Architects without Borders – Denmark have teamed up to develop Casas Melhoradas , an affordable housing research project. Designed with urban density and sustainable practices in mind, the groups’ latest housing prototype features a low-rise high-density development sensitive to cultural and site context. Completed in 2018, the Casas Melhoradas housing prototype takes on a row-housing typology that fits six dwellings on a plot that normally would have been used for single-family housing, thereby combating urban sprawl and the capital’s “growing infrastructure deficit” through example. The primary building materials are concrete and compressed bricks made from local soil, which gives the earth blocks their reddish tone. The project was completed in collaboration with local builders, with whom the housing models, building techniques and production methods—including experiments with prefabrication—were tested. According to the project partners, “Casas Melhoradas is an applied research project on housing for low-income groups in the informal settlements of Maputo, Mozambique with a three-fold focus: 1) developing alternative construction methods to improve the quality and decrease the cost of housing; 2) developing housing typologies that utilize space and infrastructure more economically to initiate a more sustainable urban development; 3) engaging in construction of affordable rental housing through public and private partnerships to scale up the impact of the project.” Related: Awe-Inspiring Thatched Mozambique Home is Draped in Solar Panels The housing units, which are rented out through a local nonprofit housing organization that reinvests income into new housing projects, feature private outdoor kitchens (a necessity due to the predominate use of charcoal) equipped with gas stoves in an effort to reduce air pollution. Common courtyards offer shared bathrooms and laundry facilities. A green roof has also been installed to improve the microclimate. Casas Melhoradas is currently seeking donors and investors for future collaboration. + Casas Melhoradas

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Casas Melhoradas explores sustainable and affordable housing in Mozambique

A former Czech distillery is transformed into a vibrant co-working space

July 31, 2018 by  
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Czech architecture practice KOGAA Studio has transformed a former distillery into the Social Reactor, a new co-working space in the heart of Brno, Czech Republic. The redesign preserves the 19th-century building’s post-industrial charms while inserting a bright and modern aesthetic. The formerly vacant building now serves as an active gathering space with the power to regenerate a post-industrial area. Completed this year, the four-story property was originally part of a distillate factory founded by a Jewish family more than 200 years ago. The adaptive reuse project is accessed via an arched entryway that connects the street to a spacious outdoor entertaining space. This area, called The Yard, is complete with a pop-up bar integrated into a historic elevator — the cabin has been repurposed into a prep area, and the elevator shaft serves as the installation duct — and casual seating. The Yard also connects to a variety of indoor areas that include co-working spaces , offices, a dining area and a multipurpose events space. An upper floor houses a studio and workshop. “One of the latest and most impactive structural interventions was carried out at the second and third level of the building, where the central beam system was removed to create a double height hall and two balconies facing the central space,” the architects explained in a project statement. “The former is meant for presentations, lectures and workshops , while the upper balconies are dedicated to designers’ ateliers and offices. The new program is distributed across all three levels of the building, and the multiple functions are spread out across different spaces, creating a dynamic and challenging working environment.” Related: A former leather tannery is transformed into an apartment trio in Lisbon One of the most recent additions is a two-story timber volume — built from recycled materials and clad in polycarbonate and corrugated plastic — that houses a shared meeting room, kitchenette, library and extra co-working spaces. + KOGAA Studio Via ArchDaily Images © BoysPlayNice

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A former Czech distillery is transformed into a vibrant co-working space

This gabled home wraps around an existing pine tree in Mexico

July 31, 2018 by  
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The magnificent pines of Mazamitla, Mexico are more than just scenic background for this single-family home—one of the trees has been integrated into the architectural design itself. Architects Alessandra Cireddu and Carlos M. Hernández of Barcelona-based design practice Espacio Multicultural (de) Arquitectura (EMA) crafted the ‘House Around a Tree,’ a single-story abode punctuated by a mature pine tree. The house further embraces the landscape with its use of natural materials and an outdoor, cantilevered terrace that opens up to northwest-facing views of the village below and forest and mountains beyond. Set on a steeply sloped site, the House Around a Tree matches its narrow and linear plot with its rectangular mass. Measuring over 65 feet in length and nearly 20 feet in width, the home has an introverted appearance at first glance—a thick, nearly 10-foot-tall wooden door marks the entrance and, along with the opaque stone side wall , insulates the home from outside street views. The home interior, however, is an entirely different story. Stepping past the entrance takes visitors into an airy void punctuated by the mature pine tree, while large glazing on the southwest side of the home brings sweeping landscape views into the living spaces and bedroom. Related: A cypress tree grows through this hillside home in Los Angeles “The gable roof evokes the geometry of the traditional houses of the region, which is trimmed by a void which contains the pine,” explain the architects. “The natural location of the pine divides the house into 2 areas: the first one on the east side where the main room with bathroom and dressing room is located and separated from the rest of the house; the second one on the west side where we find the public areas, two bedrooms and a wooden volume containing the wet areas (laundry, half bath and full bathroom) that breaks with the constant linearity of the project both inside and outside.” + EMA Images by Patricia Hernandez Fotografia

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This gabled home wraps around an existing pine tree in Mexico

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