Charred timber cladding and a green roof connect this Victorian-era home to nature

May 31, 2018 by  
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To embrace indoor/outdoor living, this Victoria-era house in London is outfitted with a handsome new extension wrapped in Shou Sugi Ban cladding. Designed by Neil Dusheiko Architects , the Black Ridge House provides a modern contrast to the original home’s Victorian brickwork. Inspired by biophilic design principles, the new-build was constructed with several energy-saving features — such as a green roof and underfloor heating — and sustainably sourced timbers to connect the home to nature. Inspired by the rooflines of the area’s early Warner houses, the Black Ridge House features gabled volumes clad in Kebony , a sustainable and durable alternative to tropical hardwood. The engineered wood was charred using the Shou Sugi Ban technique to create a beautifully blackened finish that’s also weatherproof. “The extension forms a contrast to the Victorian brickwork so that the two elements of the house are distinct and a separate visual language is used,” the architects wrote. “Our design embraces the philosophy of Biophilic design principles, addressing our innate attraction to nature and natural processes. By constructing the extension out of a natural product [timber] whose surface is formed by a natural process [fire] — we celebrate nature. The design also includes ideas of wabi-sabi — a world view that is based on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Beauty is seen as being ‘imperfect, impermanent and incomplete’.” Related: Norway farmstead receives a gorgeous modern renovation with Kebony wood The extension includes an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living area on the ground floor, while a new master bedroom and skylit bathroom are located on the upper floor. The building opens up to the garden through large double-glazed metal windows. Airtight detailing, underfloor heating, ample access to natural light and an insulating green roof keep energy demands to a minimum. From the sliding door made with reclaimed timber panels to the oak worktop and cupboard doors, the light-filled interior utilizes natural materials. + Neil Dusheiko Architects Images © Tim Crocker

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Charred timber cladding and a green roof connect this Victorian-era home to nature

LED lighting company aims to bring a little ‘friluftsliv’ into our hectic lives

May 31, 2018 by  
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No matter what stresses you deal with on a daily basis, the practice of reconnecting with nature is always beneficial. Scandinavians call this connection ‘friluftsliv’ (pronounced free-loofts-liv). Literally translated to “open-air living,” the term refers to the value of spending time in remote natural locations in order to rejuvenate ourselves, mentally and physically. Of course the problem is that our daily schedules are not always conducive to taking a nature-based break. As a solution, a forward-thinking lighting company, Festive Lights , has unveiled a line of LED-based lights geared toward bringing  friluftsliv into your home. With little effort, you can incorporate Festive Lights’ products into your day-to-day atmosphere, so even when you can’t get outside and connect with nature on a deeper level, you can still convert a little outdoor deck or garden into a peaceful oasis. Related:These dazzling zodiac lamps let you bring the heavens indoors The lights are specifically made to provide discreet lighting around greenery and create a warm, pleasant environment. The line includes various lights that use LED bulbs or solar energy. The Solar Bluebell Flower is a beautiful lantern with an integrated solar panel that brings a touch of romance to any garden, without wasting energy. String Dragonfly Fairy Lights, which have various settings, can light up any indoor or outdoor space. Even if you have little to no outdoor space, there are plenty of ways to bring nature indoors. Festive Lights offers a series of Rose Gold Metal Lantern Fairy Lights that use LED bulbs to emit a soothing light. The Nordic Rectangle Frame made from twig and filled with warm white LEDs is a unique accessory that welcomes nature into any room. With just unique lighting and a few plants here and there, you can easily begin to embrace  friluftsliv , even in your hectic everyday life. + Festive Lights Images via Festive Lights

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LED lighting company aims to bring a little ‘friluftsliv’ into our hectic lives

Charred timber home perched above Silicon Valley takes cues from nature

January 15, 2018 by  
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High above Silicon Valley sits a striking home with a two-story volume clad in blackened cedar. Schwartz and Architecture designed the residence, named Shou Sugi Ban House after the traditional Japanese method used to burn the wood to wrap it in a layer of carbon highly resistant to water, fire, and mold. The charred timber volume is an extension to an existing one-story home, the interior of which was also substantially remodeled by the architects. Located on the crest of a hill in Los Gatos, California, Shou Sugi Ban House is a 4,350-square-foot renovation and expansion project that takes inspiration from the surrounding landscape, including the texture and look of boulders, bark, and leaves. “Enlarging an existing home that has an already strong and complete architectural character can be challenging,” wrote the architects. “Here, we anchor the existing one-story home with a new two-story independent volume, using it both as punctuation mark and counterpoint to the existing composition. We clad the addition in traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban burnt cedar siding both to anchor home with site and to create the visual weight necessary to anchor the existing exuberantly-roofed horizontal building.” Related: Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite In contrast to the extension’s dark facade, the airy interior features whitewashed walls with natural textures applied throughout. A family room occupies the lower level while a bedroom is placed upstairs. Views of the outdoors are framed through large full-height glazing making it feel as if the interior is open to the outdoors. A particularly beautiful feature of the new extension is the minimalist floating staircase made of painted-steel and cantilevered walnut treads that the architects liken to leaves growing on a branch. + Schwartz and Architecture Images via Matthew Millman

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Charred timber home perched above Silicon Valley takes cues from nature

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite

October 2, 2017 by  
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This stunning timber home by the lake sensitively embraces its Midwestern landscape with its design and use of local, reclaimed materials. Designed by Desai Chia Architects in collaboration with Environment Architects (AOR) , the Michigan Lake House boasts stunning lake views and a striking folded roof. The site-sensitive home features a native plant palette and stormwater management in addition to locally sourced and salvaged materials. Located on a woodland bluff, the 4,800-square-foot Michigan Lake House comprises three offset structures: one for the communal areas, including the living room, kitchen, and covered terrace; and the two others that separately house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms. A dining area breezeway connects the three structures. The undulating roof takes inspiration from the natural rolling terrain as well as the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages. The roof also cantilevers over the south end of the home to provide shade for the lakeside-viewing terrace. Related: Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature Shou Sugi Ban timber—charred to protect the wood from rot and pests—clads the exterior to blend the home into the landscape. The use of dark timber continues inside the home but is offset by light-colored ash, which was inhabitat.com/tag/reclaimed-materials reclaimed onsite and milled into custom furnishings, flooring, ceiling panels, and trim work. “The interiors of the house embody the indigenous landscape that once thrived with old growth ash,” wrote the architects. Locally sourced stone was used for the outdoor seating areas, pathways, and steps. + Desai Chia Architects + Environment Architects Images via Desai Chia Architects

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Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite

Timber cabin on wheels lets you hit the open road in luxurious comfort

August 25, 2017 by  
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Seek adventure on the open road without leaving the comforts of home—that’s the charm of ESCAPE , a Wisconsin-based company that designs and builds RVs that look like tiny towable cabins. We’re always impressed by ESCAPE’s line of tiny homes on wheels and their latest addition, Escape ONE XL, is no exception. Clad in charred wood siding, the ONE XL was launched this month and comfortably sleeps up to eight inside a surprisingly lavish modern interior. We’ve seen many tiny homes on Inhabitat but few pull out all the stops like the Escape ONE XL. Designed as the larger version of the Escape ONE , this tiny mobile home measures 30 feet in length (35 feet with the hitch), 8.5 feet in width, and nearly 14 feet in height. The 388-square-foot cabin is wrapped in unique Shou Sugi Ban siding and punctuated with low-e windows and a glazed door that lets in ample natural light. It includes two sleeping lofts on opposite sides, one accessible via a staircase with hidden storage and the other via ladder, that fit a queen bed, full, or twin beds. The interior is handsomely lined in timber, including Raw Lodgepodge Pine center match with pine trim, laminate flooring with an oak hardwood option, a pine solid core bathroom door, and handcrafted wood details. The first floor features a spacious living room that’s separated from the bathroom by a large kitchen. A ceiling fan hangs above the kitchen. Closed cell foam insulation made with recycled materials boasts an average of R30. Related: Escape Traveler is a tiny cabin on wheels that can be moved anywhere In addition to its beautiful timber craftsmanship, the ONE XL includes luxury amenities, particularly for a tiny mobile home. The kitchen features maple cabinetry, a deep sink, a fridge and freezer, solid butcher block tops, microwave, and full-size range with four burners. The living room is multipurpose with built-in LED lighting , storage, and large windows. The bathroom has a 60” tub and shower with a large vanity, Toto toilet, towel bars, vent fan, and option to change the tub into a soaking or jet tub. Additional options, such as a flatscreen TV with Blu-ray and inhabitat.com/tag/off-grid/ off-grid capability are available. The Escape ONE XL , which is over 100 square foot larger than its predecessor Escape ONE, starts at $69,800. + Escape ONE XL Via Dezeen Images via Escape

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Timber cabin on wheels lets you hit the open road in luxurious comfort

Cozy charred timber box adds a new social heart to Dublin home

August 18, 2017 by  
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A tiny new addition has made a big impact on a terraced home in North Dublin. Stephen Kavanagh Architects designed Copeland Grove, a sun-soaked home refurbishment and extension that connects to an existing garden. Formerly a leaky kitchen extension, the new timber-and-glass structure provides transformative panoramic views and greatly increases thermal comfort. Lighting was key in the design of the 24-square-meter timber extension. Full-height glazing and a skylight increase solar heat gain and let in abundant natural light. At night, concealed LED strips and pendant lighting provide enough illumination without the need for visible lamps, thus reducing visual clutter. Related: Charred timber pavilion slides back and forth to expose rooms to the outdoors Charred timber wraps around the timber-framed building to complement and contrast with the main home’s white facade. The interior also features timber in the exposed wooden beams and choice of furnishings. Light-colored tiled floors and walls reflect light and contribute to the extension’s light and spacious appearance. The project cost £110,000 for construction and took 14 weeks to build. + Stephen Kavanagh Architects

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Cozy charred timber box adds a new social heart to Dublin home

Zero-energy timber and steel home is buried into a natural dune

December 27, 2016 by  
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VVKH architecten designed Villa Meijendel in Doornweg, the Netherlands to a client’s custom specifications – but they also had a big helping hand from nature. Clad in timber charred Shou Sugi Ban timber, Villa Meijendel is a site-specific home that is half-buried in a high dune and largely sculpted by the forest landscape. Solar panels, heat pumps, and the high thermal mass of the building’s concrete structure helps the home produce as much energy as it consumes. The Villa Meijendel comprises three levels, two of which are partially built into the dune . The ground level contains a garage and technical room. The building’s unusual form was dictated by local regulations that only allowed a small and compact building volume on the relatively narrow lot located on the edge of the Meijendel nature reserve . The first level of the home includes two bedrooms, a master bedroom, wellness room, entrance, and office, while the topmost level includes a large living room and kitchen. Related: Prefab Dutch ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ House Features a Low-Maintenance Charred Timber Facade The home is modern and minimalist with unpolished concrete, steel, charred wood , unfinished wood, and anodized aluminum. Split levels in the house create a variety of views inside the home and out towards the landscapes through the large expanses of glazing. “Every detail, such as the door handle or stairs, is precisely thought through and designed,” write the architects. “Villa Meijendel is a fascinating artefact, a sort of wooden forest hut fully integrated in the landscape and with a strong connection between the interior spaces and immediate surroundings. Trees, light and dunes have sculpted this remarkable house.” + VVKH architecten Via ArchDaily Images via VVKH architecten

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Zero-energy timber and steel home is buried into a natural dune

Stanfords new humanoid robot diver explores depths too dangerous for real people

December 27, 2016 by  
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The world is filled with coral reefs that need protecting and deep sea shipwrecks worth investigating, but these actions can come with great risks to the fragile human body. Researchers at Stanford University have combined the agility of humans and the hardiness of machinery to create a revolutionary, humanoid robotic diver . OceanOne has already successfully explored a shipwreck from 1664 and is said to have limitless potential for future conservation research . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1HmgP9l4VY Described as looking like a robotic mermaid, OceanOne features a human-like face and arms with a “tail” that houses its batteries and thrusters. Its eyes allow researchers to see exactly what it sees and its arms can be fully controlled by the team sitting comfortably above water. OceanOne’s hands are the most unique feature, equipped with sensors that tell the person in control if it is grasping something heavy or light, firm or delicate. This feature is essential for careful recovery dives. Related: Engineers build robotic carp that can dive and turn like a real fish “OceanOne will be your avatar,” said Stanford computer science professor Oussama Khatib. “The intent here is to have a human diving virtually, to put the human out of harm’s way.” By creating a robot to do the work too dangerous for people, much more of the ocean can be explored and dangerous labor, like underwater oil-rig maintenance, can be completed safely. OceanOne can work in tandem with human divers or on its own. In April of this year, the robot visited the site of the 1664 shipwreck of La Lune off the southern coast of France . No humans have ever touched the remains, but OceanOne was able to give researchers a front row seat to the wreckage and recover delicate items from the site. The future will hold several more robots, who can complete highly skilled tasks together and open a whole new world of ocean exploration. +Stanford University Via Stanford News Images via YouTube (screenshot)

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Stanfords new humanoid robot diver explores depths too dangerous for real people

Black Barn is a self-sustaining, off-grid version of historical English architecture

July 7, 2016 by  
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The yet-completed home will feature a bevy of green elements. Charring timber , an ancient Japanese technique, is used to preserve the wood without chemicals. The dramatic line of the roof draws the eyes to its unique angle, which hovers above the wild meadows on a concrete foundation. Locally-sourced timber, aggregate, and flint will be used in the construction, paying homage to the natural landscape. Related: Author builds tiny solar-powered off grid cabin for under $2,000! The home will be equipped with a solar array, bio-diesel generator, and battery storage. On-site sewage treatment and water accessed through a borehole mean the home is completely off the grid . An orchard of fruit trees and vegetable gardens reduce the family’s food footprint in the 300 square meter home. Heating and cooling are simplified with the heavily insulated walls and roof, as well as a widely overhanging gable over the balcony. A southern-located concrete slab absorbs heat during the day and disperses it throughout the space as the indoors become cooler. The barn is a perfect home for a family who loves the countryside , history and architecture as much as living in an environmentally conscious manner. +Studio Bark Via ArchDaily Images via Studio Bark

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