A modern farmstay suite minimizes site impact in Brazil

May 21, 2019 by  
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In the state of Paraná in the south of Brazil, architect Bruno Zaitter has created a contemporary and low-impact suite for the charming Hotel Fazenda Cainã in the countryside. Dubbed the Refúgio da Cainã, the building features walls of glass to take in sweeping views of the native forest, surrounding mountains and the city of Curitiba in the far distance. Elevated to reduce site impact, the prefab structure includes a repurposed container measuring nearly 40 feet in length. Spanning an area of 538 square feet, the modern Refúgio da Cainã has been dubbed by Hotel Fazenda Cainã as their Hannah Arendt suite after the renowned American philosopher and political theorist. Included in their Villa do Bosque collection, the contemporary chalet is equipped with full-height windows for taking in views of the large native forest to the south, as well as city and valley views towards the east. The streamlined interiors are dressed with a natural materials palette that complements the outdoors. “In this natural space marked by a wide green area and the characteristic geology of the site, the Refúgio da Cainã contemplates a simplistic structural concept that reveals the connection of the interior with the exterior by the minimal intervention in the natural environment,” explains the architect, who adds that the hotel is located in the area of a geological fault called the “Escarpa Devoniana.” “It has in its essence, the relation between the artificial structure and the natural universe, where the concept of the project is to harmonize with nature without trying to disguise it, revealing its straight lines as opposed the curved and organic lines of nature.” Related: Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou To reduce environmental impact, the architect reused a nearly 40-foot-long metal container for the bulk of the building, which includes the bathroom on one end, the bedroom in the middle, along with a dining area and living room on the other end. A “glass box” was added to the container and houses a sitting area enclosed on three sides by floor-to-ceiling glazing . The building is elevated with pillars to preserve the natural terrain and minimize site impact. + Bruno Zaitter Images via Bruno Zaitter

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A modern farmstay suite minimizes site impact in Brazil

A pair of monochromatic cottages are tucked into the idyllic Canadian forestscape

May 13, 2019 by  
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An idyllic forestscape setting that lies deep within the Canadian wilderness has inspired Montreal-based firm Appareil Architecture to build a vacation home in the form of two jet-black, pitched-roofed cabins. The Grand-Pic Chalet is actually made up of two monochromatic cottages separated by a connecting wooden deck, which allows the beautiful family home to sit in serene harmony with the surrounding nature. When the homeowners tasked the Canadian firm to create a cabin that would be a welcoming space to host family and friends, the design team was immediately inspired by the building site. Surrounded by soaring evergreen trees and a rolling landscape, the designers were drawn to create a welcoming but sophisticated space that enjoys a strong connection between the home and the forest . Related: The Little House clad in black cedar is nestled among Washington’s evergreens The house is a total of 1,464 square feet separated into two cabins. The main cottage contains the living room and open kitchen area, while the smaller cabin is used as a guest house. In contrast to the black exteriors, the interiors are clad in light Russian plywood panels. The open layout is perfect for socializing, either with a large party or small family gathering. A series of tall, slender windows let optimal natural light into the interior living spaces as well as provide stunning views of the forestscape. Taking inspiration from Nordic traditions, the minimalist interior design is comprised of a neutral color palette and sparse contemporary furnishings. A simple wood-burning chimney sits in the corner to keep the living space warm and cozy. Meanwhile, the core of the design is the open kitchen, which features a large island with bar stool seating — the perfect space for catching up with friends and family. + APPAREIL Architecture Via Archdaily Photography by Félix Michaud via APPAREIL Architecture

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A pair of monochromatic cottages are tucked into the idyllic Canadian forestscape

Ultra-modern ski chalet pays homage to Ontario’s traditional farmhouses

March 7, 2019 by  
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Toronto-based Atelier Kastelic Buffey has unveiled a beautiful family ski chalet tucked into a winter wonderland landscape surrounded by Ontario’s Blue Mountains. Although the black and white Alta Chalet boasts a thoroughly modern aesthetic, the home’s extreme pitched roof was inspired by the area’s traditional farmhouse vernacular. The design also boasts a number of sustainable features such as a high-performance glazing system, ultra-tight insulation and natural air ventilation. Located in a private ski club, the massive 3,000-square-foot Alta Chalet was designed for a family of five who love the outdoors. When first approached by the clients, the designers were intent on avoiding the typical ski chalet aesthetic, instead opting for a home that would pay homage to its farmhouse history . The project was also inspired by the area’s idyllic natural surroundings. Related: Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape “Alta Chalet communicates an ethos of contemporary design and elegant detailing that derives from the local vernacular tradition of the barn,” the architects explained. “Its iconic presence — defined by a reductive black-and-white color scheme and a tight, clean, gabled roof edge — complements the intelligence of its spatial and economic efficiency.” The home’s exterior is clad in jet black and bright white siding. Various blocks make up the ski chalet’s volume, which is marked by a large gable roof that looms over the lower volumes. The interior space, marked by white walls and wooden finishes, was designed with the family in mind. The open-concept kitchen, dining and living area is minimalist , but a strategic interior design scheme helps provide a welcoming living space that is perfect for both enjoying family time and entertaining guests. The home also has a south-facing outdoor deck to enjoy the crisp cold air while taking in the amazing views. Due to the extreme climate, the architects also focused on making the home as energy-efficient and resilient as possible. The ski chalet is wrapped in a low-maintenance, pre-finished Canadian pine siding and is heavily insulated to withstand the area’s frigid temperatures. Additionally, the home’s many windows are comprised of high-performance glazing in order to reduce energy loss. Along with a pleasant wood-burning fireplace, a hydronic in-floor heating system keeps the living spaces warm and toasty year-round. + Atelier Kastelic Buffey Via Freshome Photography by Shai Gil via Atelier Kastelic Buffey

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Ultra-modern ski chalet pays homage to Ontario’s traditional farmhouses

LSU researcher creates biodegradable plastic beads for Mardi Gras

March 7, 2019 by  
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Mardi Gras would not be the same without its plastic beads. For the past 200 years, people have given out freebies to parade attendees in New Orleans, starting with nuts and glass ornaments back in the day and eventually switching to the plastic beads that party-goers have grown accustomed to today. While the colorful beads have become a staple for the iconic celebration, leftover Mardi Gras beads end up littering the streets of New Orleans . Fortunately, one researcher has come up with an answer to the problem in the form of  biodegradable  beads. If the idea catches on, New Orleans could save a lot of money in cleanup and space in its landfills. In 2017, for example, the city gathered around 93,000 pounds of plastic beads after Mardi Gras was over, most of which was removed from storm drains in the city’s historic district. Related: 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads found clogging New Orleans catch basins To help curb the post-party cleanup, city officials invested in filtering devices to keep the beads from plugging up storm drains. While the devices keep the water flowing in New Orleans, they do not prevent the beads from ending up in the trash heap. But a professor at Louisiana State University named Naohiro Kato has created biodegradable beads from algae , which he hopes will replace the plastic beads traditionally given out during Mardi Gras. Although the biodegradable beads offer a long-term solution, the costs to manufacture the beads are much higher than their plastic counterparts. Unless those costs are reduced, Kato does not believe the biodegradable beads will be a viable solution. His company, Microalgae, is looking into cutting the costs by working with the nutraceutical industry, which produces algae-based products for the vegetarian market. If they are successful, the plastic beads of Mardi Gras could possibly be replaced by a much more eco-friendly alternative in the near future. Via Huffington Post Image via Patrick Black, Jr.

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LSU researcher creates biodegradable plastic beads for Mardi Gras

A 1960s Swiss chalet is transformed into a whimsical off-grid home

June 21, 2018 by  
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Swiss architecture firm Frundgallina has dramatically transformed a rundown chalet in the Jura Mountains into a whimsical self-sufficient dwelling punctuated by a variety of  gabled openings. The architects kept the structure’s exterior dimensions, but rearranged the interior by dividing the floor plan into four sections measuring approximately 86 square feet each. The gabled home operates off the grid and is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system. The chalet was built almost entirely of fir boards sourced from the Jura forests. Vertically oriented rough sawn fir clads the exterior, while the interior boards — also nailed vertically — were planed. Grooved-ridge fir from the same source was laid on the floors and ceilings as well. A thin folded sheet of stainless steel forms the gabled roof and is outfitted with a rainwater harvesting system. The gable theme continues through the interior where it can be seen in doorways and windows. The interior, divided into four identical volumes, was also split into two levels to create seven distinct spaces, each specially positioned to offer outdoor views. Some of the windows are also large enough to serve as entrances and as such, there is no designated formal door, but rather four entrances — one on each side of the chalet . Related: Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape “These ‘rooms’ are connected to each other by large, medium or small openings, allowing a playful, spiral stroll, and continuously guaranteeing the perception of the whole of the interior space, isolated from each other by strongly felt thresholds,” Frundgallina said in a statement. “On each facade are drawn a small and a large window, as well as a double door opening to the outside. Cutting the walls to different heights, they reveal to the visitor the principle of interior spatial organization.” + Frundgallina Via ArchDaily Images by J.-C. Frund

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A 1960s Swiss chalet is transformed into a whimsical off-grid home

This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

May 23, 2018 by  
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When a client with a large family reached out to ACDF Architecture for an extension of their rustic country cottage in Quebec , the Montreal studio responded with a modern building that provides a visually arresting contrast to the historic house. Dubbed the Chalet La petite soeur, the addition mirrors the original building’s dimensions with a sharply gabled roof. Unlike the existing cottage, however, the new building is clad in white-painted timber and a sheet metal roof for a crisp and modern appearance. Located on Lake Ouareau near the town of Saint-Donat in Quebec, the charming 1,400-square-foot countryside cottage and its new addition are designed to optimize enjoyment of the outdoors and views of the lake. The architects took inspiration from the surrounding landscape of birch trees when designing the new space, described as a “refined version of the existing house.” The chalet’s smooth, white-painted wood cladding mimics shiny birch bark and recalls the whitewashed walls of rural barns, while providing a sleek contrast to the natural silvery patina on the facade of the existing home. An elevated glass bridge connects the old cottage to the chalet and lies on an axis between the kitchen of the old building and the new living room. Glazed on both sides, the bridge overlooks views of the landscape and garden. The floor and ceiling of the bridge are finished in timber that matches the warmth of the existing home’s old wood planks. Both ends of the bridge are framed in wood, evoking the appearance of large picture frames. Related: Dreamy cabin is the perfect lakeside escape for large families An open-plan family room dominates the ground floor and overlooks spectacular views of the lake through large windows. The minimalist interior is dressed in polished concrete floors and natural wood details, like the central fireplace with a black-slatted wood surround. Hidden storage inside the built-in benches helps reduce visual clutter. The new master bedroom is tucked into the lower level, which is built of concrete. + ACDF Architecture Images by Adrien Williams

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Handsome timber chalet shows off the beauty of modern minimalism

June 12, 2017 by  
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The charms of simplicity are celebrated in this beautiful timber chalet tucked in the Alps of eastern France. Designed by French architecture firm Studio Razavi , the recently completed Mountain House carefully sidesteps cookie-cutter design with its modern interpretation of the traditional alpine chalet. Located in the French village of Manigod in a popular ski destination, the Mountain House was subject to strict building codes that the architects say allowed for “very little freedom of architectural expression.” Local guidelines dictated numerous design aspects, including building height and width ratio, roof slope, building material , and even window sizes, in order to preserve the region’s traditional vernacular. The architects skillfully overcame these obstacles by studying the historical buildings and then producing a code compliant design that put a contemporary twist on the local architectural culture. The 200-square-meter Mountain House features the traditional three-story chalet layout with a pitched roof. Unlike its neighbors, however, the new holiday home sits on a lower level made of concrete rather than stone and doesn’t include the ornamental elements that adorn many of the homes in the valley. Related: Mind-bending mountain chalet looks as if it could tip over at any moment The Mountain Home only includes the essential features, making for a simple and utilitarian, yet beautiful design. Pine clads the first and second floor and untreated timber planks line the interior. A few painted surfaces and textures, such as the artificial stone tiles in the bathroom and dark carpet flooring, break up the largely timber palette. Large windows flood the home with natural light while several overhangs protect against harsh sun. + Studio Razavi Via Dezeen Images © Olivier Martin Gambier

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