Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living

October 10, 2018 by  
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Berlin-based architecture office rundzwei Architekten recently completed a light-filled home that showcases the many material benefits of cork . Named the Cork Screw House, the sustainably minded abode boasts a facade and roof clad in natural cork, a material that not only gives the building a highly textured appearance, but also contributes significantly to the home’s energy efficiency thanks to high insulation values. The cork home is set on a base of rammed concrete and comprises a series of split-levels for flexibility. The decision to clad the home in cork emerged from the client’s desire for a house with good acoustic performance. Initially drawn by the acoustic insulation properties of cork, the architects were ultimately convinced by the sustainable benefits of the material, which is made from granulated cork waste that has been pressed into naturally weather- and mold-resistant panels without any artificial additives. In addition to insulating cork panels, the architects carefully chose a natural materials palette and steered clear of chemical adhesives. Wood fiber and cellulose were used as additional insulation, while timber and gypsum fiberboards were selected for their ability to absorb humidity and create a comfortable indoor environment. Created for a family of three, the Cork Screw House is organized around a central, atrium -like staircase illuminated by a skylight. To side-step planning regulations that mandated a maximum floor size of 100 square meters, the architects lowered the base floors and designed the timber-framed upper floors as a series of split-levels, bringing the gross floor area to over 320 square meters. On the ground floor, full-height glazing floods the interior with natural light. The home also includes an exterior sunken pool that’s surrounded by rammed concrete walls for privacy. Related: Elegant cork-clad artists’ studio slots into a bijou London garden Due to the selection of natural materials and ample daylighting, the building “doesn’t need an active ventilation system despite the very low energy standard,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Through a stratified heat storage system supplemented by roof integrated solar panels, the heating supply is almost self-sufficient adding to the efficiency of the building’s overall performance.” + rundzwei Architekten Photography by Gui Rebelo

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Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living

This gorgeous converted bus hotel in Scotland pulls out all the stops

October 10, 2018 by  
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The world is full of cookie-cutter lodgings, but for those looking for a bit of character on their next vacation, The Bus Stop is now taking reservations. Located on a working farm in northeast Scotland, this old,  converted bus has been renovated to provide a peaceful retreat where guests can enjoy the beautiful, panoramic views of the rolling green hills for which the country is famous. There are two restored old buses tucked into the East Lothian countryside. Both have been renovated with everything needed for a glamping-style getaway . The interiors sleep up to four, with a king-size bed in the back as well as two bunk beds. The large bedroom has a glass skylight on the ceiling to allow guests to enjoy a bit of stargazing as they drift off to sleep. Related: Vintage red double decker bus is converted into a cool, retro hotel The living room is light and airy with a wood-burning stove to keep guests warm and toasty on chilly evenings. Natural light brightens the interior thanks to an abundance of windows. Guests can enjoy a fully-functional kitchen with a small refrigerator, a stovetop, a microwave and all of the essential utensils. The bathroom has a rainfall shower and is stocked with complimentary luxury toiletries. Of course, the best part of the bus hotel is its peaceful surroundings. Guests can enjoy the expansive views from open-air decks with ample seating for dining, socializing or simply taking in the landscape. The outdoor space is the heart of the hotel and comes complete with a charcoal barbecue and fire pit. As an extra bonus, there is also a wood-fired hot tub for relaxing with a nice glass of wine. When they are not soaking in the warm suds, guests can enjoy a stroll around the working farm, which is home to alpacas, horses, sheep and chickens. + The Bus Stop Via Tiny House Talk Images via The Bus Stop

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This gorgeous converted bus hotel in Scotland pulls out all the stops

The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes

September 26, 2018 by  
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Canada-based  Minimaliste Houses knows a thing or two about building tiny homes that stand up to harsh winters, but even when charged with building a home for the California coast, the designers used many of the same principles to create an energy-efficient and durable structure. The 28 foot-long Eucalyptus tiny home is completely off-grid , relying on roof-top solar panels, tight thermal insulation and natural light to make the home completely self-sustaining. When the builders were approached by a client who wanted a tiny home to live on the California coast, there’s no doubt that they felt it would be an easy project. However, the client also requested a structure that would have a strong resell value years down the line for potential buyers looking to live in a colder climate. This meant that the tiny house had to be durable to withstand various climates for years to come. The result is a gorgeous, custom tiny home that boasts a timeless design for virtually any location. Completely off the grid, the structure generates its own power thanks to a large grid of 260-watt solar panels on the roof. The energy hub of the home is comprised of eight batteries and a 4,000-watt inverter to power the home’s electrical needs, including all of the kitchen appliances. Related: 8 tiny homes built tough for off-grid living In addition to its energy efficiency, the tiny home has a fresh, modern aesthetic. The exterior is clad in white cedar panels, creating a contemporary cabin-like feel that continues through the interior. Inside, ultra high-ceilings add more space for the dual sleeping lofts and create room for people of above-average heigh t. The floors and ceiling are also clad in wood panels that contrast nicely with the all-white walls. The design is open and airy, with an abundance of natural light thanks to various large windows around the home. From the living room, a stairwell with hidden storage leads up to the main bedroom. A unique hand rail made of steel pipes adds an industrial touch to the design. On the other side of the living room is a loft area, which can be used as a reading space or guest room. The bathroom is compact, but there’s enough space for a large stand-up shower, combo washer and dryer and composting toilet . At the heart of the home is the kitchen. Typically an area that is cramped and dark, the Eucalyptus’ kitchen is anything but. The U-shaped kitchen is lined with bamboo countertops that add extra space for the client, who loves to cook. There’s a large sink, propane oven and even a floor-to-ceiling pantry that slides out to provide plenty of storage for culinary staples. + Minimaliste Houses Photography by JP Marquis via Minimaliste

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The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes

Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

September 14, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based architecture studio SuperLimão and architect Gabriela Coelho recently completed GSC, a massive multi-use collector’s gallery built from shipping containers and other metal materials. Located in a lush area of São Paulo, the spacious complex also contains an office, a gym, a small workshop, a kennel and additional gallery space for the client’s other prized items. The industrial character of the cargotecture project was softened with the addition of turf and potted plants, while passive solar techniques were employed to maximize energy efficiency. Covering an area of nearly 19,400 square feet, the GSC is a multilevel project that houses the garage on the ground floor and uses a series of reused shipping containers stacked on top to form the upper level. Rather than place all the containers side by side in a row, the architects strategically arranged the 10 containers to promote natural ventilation, lighting and sight lines between the different areas. The interstitial spaces between containers were converted into green space with seating and timber decking. The roofs of the containers were also landscaped with rows and rows of potted plants. “One characteristic that differentiates our project from the usual container projects that we are used to seeing is that this particular project is totally adapted to our climate while utilizing the maximum passive techniques of form to maximize energy efficiency and take advantage of reusable materials from the container itself,” the architects explained. “All of the spaces have windows on three different levels. They not only allow for ventilation , but they also perform at an optimal level on days without wind. The exterior walls are finished in a ceramic paint and work in conjunction with the roof covered in foliage to thermally regulate the internal environment thus reducing the use of air-conditioning equipment.” Air conditioning is only used during the hottest parts of summer. Related: 13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island The interiors of the containers were renovated to house a variety of rooms, yet the look of the original walls and doors was preserved to reference the building material’s history. Full-height glazing creates a sense of permeability that continues throughout the structure. Outside, rainwater is collected in a large cistern and reused. + SuperLimão Via ArchDaily Images by Maíra Acayaba

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Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

Danish-inspired holiday cabin is a dreamy Pacific Northwest hideout

July 19, 2018 by  
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Seattle-based design practice Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects is no stranger to creating charming cabins that embrace nature in the Pacific Northwest . So when a local family tapped the firm for a vacation home on a wooded plot overlooking the Hood Canal, the architects delivered with a clean and modern dwelling thoughtfully integrated into the site. Called ‘The Coyle’, the gabled buildings draw inspiration from the owner’s Danish roots and are wrapped in dark-stained cedar siding to recede into the surroundings. Located on a meadow of a long peninsula facing the Hood Canal, The Coyle is backed by a dense Douglas Fir forest and overlooks views of the water. The architects used the classic Danish sommerhus (summer cottage) for the starting point of their design, which emphasizes “clean, economical forms and materials.” Since the clients were on a budget, care was taken to integrate the site’s existing structure, which was repositioned and remodeled. “The angle of the cabins to one another was carefully decided to maximize views while still being aware of the additional burden it might place on the budget,” explain Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects. “The clean, minimal finishes selected by the clients — and their hands-on approach that included staining the cedar siding — also helped bring the costs down.” Related: An old 1930s home gets a modern makeover into a cozy beach cabin The clients, a family of outdoor enthusiasts, were also keen to adopt an indoor-outdoor living experience. In response, the architects separated the program into three gabled structures, each of which opens up to generously sized decks through wood-framed glazed doors. Ample glazing brings plenty of natural light to the interior, which is minimally dressed with white-painted walls, beamed ceilings and light timber floors. The holiday home is spacious enough to accommodate the client’s family as well as visiting guests. + Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects Images by Alexander Canaria and Taylor Proctor

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Danish-inspired holiday cabin is a dreamy Pacific Northwest hideout

Energy-plus home is a beacon of sustainability in Tel Aviv

July 17, 2018 by  
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Israeli architecture firm Geotectura recently completed a striking modern home that can produce more energy than it needs. Located in Tel Aviv , the energy-plus home — called the Eco360 — combines traditional passive design principles with improved energy-efficient systems such as solar photovoltaic panels and a gray water system. The sustainable house also embraces views of the outdoors and offers plenty of natural light. The project brief was for a modern home that could elegantly incorporate sustainable features with minimal maintenance. The client desired a house that would serve as an environmentally-friendly example for other developments. In addition to being equipped with solar panels and a gray water system, the Eco360 house also features durable and recycled materials . Aided by the mild Mediterranean climate, the energy-plus home requires little, if any, heating thanks to its highly efficient insulation and passive solar design . The energy generated from simple household items, like a hair dryer, can be enough to heat the home. Due to the client’s desires to embrace views of the sea to the west, Geotectura doesn’t face south as recommended in traditional passive solar design teachings. As a result, the architects used BIM (Building Information Modeling) to determine the optimal building envelope and positioning to harness passive design features while facing west. Related: Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israel’s oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables “The client’s hope is that the house will inspire others to consider ways in which they can also use these green principles in building and that it will serve as a model of efficiency and environmental sensitivity,” wrote Geotectura in its project statement. “The house reveals and reflects the ideas of sustainability with more than 50 green design features. The hope is to raise awareness about green design challenges and solutions.” + Geotectura Via ArchDaily Images by Lior Avitan

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Natural light floods this energy-efficient Dublin home from all sides

July 2, 2018 by  
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London and Dublin-based design practice Anthro Architecture recently completed Villa 9010, a light-filled dwelling that takes cues from the region’s breezy seaside vernacular. Located in Dakley, South County Dublin, the energy-efficient Villa 9010 was completed for a young family in the side garden of the client’s redbrick childhood home. Triple-glazed windows combined with underfloor heating, highly efficient insulation, an air-to-air heat pump and mechanical heat recovery ventilation ensure a low-energy footprint with a BER rating of A2. Villa 9010 is a contemporary, energy-efficient take on the nearby buildings found in the coastal village and is also inspired by the grandeur of the eye-catching 19th-century castellated school gates next door. Constructed in the place of the client’s former garage and boat shed, the new steel-framed and concrete masonry villa is divided into two levels, with the primary living spaces placed on the ground floor while the four bedrooms are located above. A cantilevered oak staircase that connects the two floors serves as a focal point and the open risers offer views to the sunken living area and rear garden. “The Client[s] were drawn to the sense of optimism and escape that comes with a seaside villa and sought to create a light-filled energy efficient home suitable for a young family that was in-line with their modest budget,” wrote Anthro Architecture in a statement. “Defined by the imposing 19th century castellated gates to the neighbouring school, the design carefully carves a space for a new residential dwelling, nestling itself respectfully beside its prominent neighbour while also drawing on the wider context of the bright seaside villas in the surrounding area.” Related: Incredible glass home stays comfortably snug even in extreme temperatures The interiors are minimally dressed with white walls and oak floors that emphasize the play of light throughout the home. Aluminum-framed timber glazing overlooks views of the outdoors. The most light-filled space in the house is undoubtedly the double-height library illuminated by skylights and a large south-facing triple-glazed atrium . + Anthro Architecture Images by Ste Murray

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Natural light floods this energy-efficient Dublin home from all sides

A 1940s home gets a modern update with reclaimed materials

May 26, 2018 by  
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Australian studio Porter Architects has sensitively restored and updated a 1940s dwelling in Lake Wendouree, Australia into a modern and light-filled family home. Large windows, contemporary furnishings and finishes breathe new life into the Ballarat property, but the clients and architects were also careful to preserve the home’s original historic elements as well. As a result, recycled and reclaimed materials were used throughout the renovation. Renovations can often be stressful affairs, especially when it comes to older properties like the Lake Wendouree House. Fortunately, however, clients Tom and Meeghan McInerney bought a home that had been extremely well looked after. Its previous owners were two sisters who had lived there for 60 years and kept detailed records for maintenance. Careful upkeep also meant that the original timber paneling and decorative plasterwork were kept in pristine condition. However, the home felt too dark for the couple, who wanted a home that not only was filled with natural light , but would also embrace the outdoors. To preserve the existing architecture as much as possible, Porter Architects created a contemporary extension that opens up to the north-facing backyard and timber patio through large windows and a folding operable glass wall. The Lake Wendouree House’s original front, which they kept intact, contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a study, while the new addition serves as the heart of the home with an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room. Unsurprisingly, the client’s favorite room is the light-filled kitchen that features a marble backsplash and counters. Related: Mid-century Dutch farmhouse gets a bold contemporary makeover To match the existing hardwood floors found in the original structure, the architects installed recycled floorboards in the rear extension. To give the traditional brick exterior a modern refresh, the architects added timber paneling and added reclaimed 1940s bricks in a contemporary pattern. The extension’s minimalist interior features whitewashed walls, timber paneling and furniture, and contemporary furnishings and fittings. + Porter Architects Images by Derek Swalwell

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‘World’s first floating kitchen’ is a food truck for the seas

January 22, 2018 by  
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Hungry jet skiers or boaters could soon be able to cruise up to a floating kitchen in Dubai and order food. Aquatic Architects Design Studio (AADS) came up with Aqua Pod , dubbed the world’s first floating kitchen – and Gulf News said it will be coming to the city later this month. Aqua Pod takes the idea of a food truck to the water. The floating structure will make it easy for those in marine crafts to grab a snack. AADS founder Ahmad Yousuf told Gulf News there are two potential ordering systems: in one, a delivery jet ski from the Aqua Pod passes out flags to boats or yachts , and boaters raise their flag to make an order. The delivery jet ski will take orders and deliver food. In the second scheme, people can jet right up to Aqua Pod to place an order – although that system would only work for smaller crafts. Related: Floating Solar Orchid Pods Could Bring Pop-Up Restaurants to Singapore’s Waterfront What food will Aqua Pod offer? Burgers, to start. Yousuf said their client went with burgers because it’s an easy meal to eat, although they might expand the menu to include pizza or desserts depending on how successful the concept is. Electricity will power the floating kitchen. But won’t it leave a lot of litter in its wake? Yousuf told Gulf News the pod “has a built-in system that allows it to collect any trash in the sea. So even if someone makes an order from us and then throws that trash into the sea – which is out of our control – the Aqua Pod can take in all that waste into one of its tanks, which is then discharged afterwards.” The Aqua Pod can easily move around, floating to where the demand is. Yousuf told Gulf News it will start operating in Jumeirah, and reach areas like “Al Sufouh Beach, Kite Beach, and the Palm Lagoon one and two.” + Aquatic Architects Design Studio Via Gulf News Images via Aquatic Architects Design Studio and Christoph Schulz on Unsplash

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‘World’s first floating kitchen’ is a food truck for the seas

Huge factory turned into a cozy residence with plenty of room leftover for the residents’ hobbies

January 16, 2018 by  
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This former factory in Nobeoka, Japan, now functions as a modern home for a couple who wanted to preserve the industrial legacy of the building. Considering the fact that the building was large enough to house production and manufacturing facilities, Schemata Architects reorganized the layout to include several voids that will serve as areas where the owners can enjoy their future hobbies. The building occupies a corner lot in Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan . It grew over time to reach its current total area of 4736 square feet (440 square meters) distributed across two floors. The project started as an initiative organized by a Japanese magazine BRUTUS, which invited readers who wanted to renovate their houses as well as several selected architects, and matched each reader to their favorite architect. Related: Tokyo factory is transformed into an industrial-chic Blue Bottle Coffee cafe Schemata Architects renovated the building working in close collaboration with the client and his wife, who wanted the project to preserve the history of the building. In discussing the design, the team reached the conclusion that the optimal size of the residential part would be as small as 1829 square feet (170 square meters). This meant that there was a large unused floor area that had to somehow be incorporated into the concept. They decided to keep these spaces as voids that will accommodate the clients’ future passions and hobbies. “Such voids, created somewhere between the interior and the building envelope , generate a dynamic space that raises expectations for something to happen,” said the architects. + Schemata Architects Photos by Takumi Ota

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Huge factory turned into a cozy residence with plenty of room leftover for the residents’ hobbies

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