Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment

June 3, 2020 by  
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Developed by Nomadic Resorts, these prefab suites provide the perfect opportunity for a luxury eco-vacation  pretty much anywhere. The Looper tented suites incorporate recyclable materials and renewable energy to bring customizable accommodation to isolated and environmentally sensitive wilderness areas — such as rugged yet beautiful Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka. The tents can be popped up in all types of environments from deserts to mountains and everything in between, and are  prefabricated  off-site to allow for quick and easy assembly, disassembly and relocation. Related: These colorful glamping pods are tucked into a South Korean mountain range The Looper suites were created to use as little material as possible while leaving a minimal physical footprint, a feat accomplished by steel arches and a recyclable, weather-resistant tensile fabric exterior meant to last decades. The modular pods accommodate 28 square meters worth of living area with a 14-square-meter bathroom. A wrap-around deck is elevated on stilts so that the surrounding natural elements, such as  wildlife  and small bodies of water, can remain uninterrupted. The openings are made with low-E double glazing and the indoor/outdoor living areas come equipped with sustainable PV panels and a  rainwater  treatment system. The solar elements can be customized to reflect the unique outside conditions or the client’s specific needs. Style was certainly not compromised in the design of these versatile eco-pods, with the addition of materials such as copper, brass, leather and teak wood to elevate the interior. There is a spacious four-poster bed inside the main air-conditioned sleeping area and a freestanding copper bathtub inside the open-style bathroom, so guests can enjoy private views of the  outside terrain . The Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Sri Lanka, where the pods first debuted, arranged 28 Loopers in the shape of a leopard paw print on a beachfront property. Four of the luxury tented villas feature private pools and smaller “urchin” pods are also available to be used by families with children. + Nomadic Resorts Images via Nomadic Resorts

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Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment

Earth School offers kids interesting science lessons online

June 3, 2020 by  
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Kids stuck at home due to coronavirus have another opportunity for quality online learning. Earth School, a collaboration between TED-Ed (TED’s youth and education initiative) and the United Nations’ Environment Programme, is releasing 30 short videos to teach children about connections between nature and many aspects of society. The videos started dropping on Earth Day , April 22. Since then, the collaborators have released one video daily. The last video will be posted on June 5, World Environment Day. The videos will remain online and can be viewed consecutively or randomly. Related: Take a virtual dive with NOAA More than 30 organizations helped create the videos. The World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic and BBC contributed high-quality video footage, articles and digital interactive resources. The 30 video lessons fall into six categories: The Nature of Our Stuff, The Nature of Society, The Nature of Nature, The Nature of Change, The Nature of Individual Action and The Nature of Collective Action. The producers designed them to appeal to science-curious kids with topics like the lifecycle of a T-shirt, whether we should eat bugs, where does water come from and tracking grizzly bears from space. A press release stated the program’s three goals: to help kids and parents sort through a myriad of options to find a solid, reliable science source; to keep kids interested in nature even while they’re stuck inside; and to ease the load of harried parents who suddenly find themselves in charge of their kids’ education 24/7. Watching these videos will help children understand their roles as future stewards of our troubled planet. The last two weeks of instruction offer concrete ways kids can improve the world individually and collectively. As the press release explains, “We aim to inspire the awe and wonder of nature in Earth School students and help them finish the program with a firm grasp of how deeply intertwined we are with the planet.” + Earth School Image via Lukas

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Self-sustaining retreat in Idaho is the perfect social distancing getaway

May 20, 2020 by  
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When a family sought reprieve from the rigors of urban living, they asked Salt Lake City-based architecture firm Imbue Design to design a retreat for them in the “middle of nowhere” in southern Idaho. Because there were no utility connections for miles of the property, the architects created a self-sustaining retreat that follows passive solar strategies, harnesses solar energy and uses an airtight envelope to minimize energy use. Dubbed Boar Shoat, the single-family home that was created to serve as a crash pad and base camp for outdoor adventures has also become a welcome getaway during these uncertain times.  Located next to a natural berm by a grove of aspen trees, Boar Shoat is set on a 60-acre parcel of rolling hills with views of Paris Peak in the distance. In response to the client’s conceptualization of the project as a “spartan shelter”, the architects organized the home as a trio of small structures centered on a larger outdoor living space beneath an expansive canopy. The three volumes — consisting of the main residence, guest quarters and utilitarian storage — flank the outdoor living space on three sides and serve as windbreaks.  Related: Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient The exterior is clad in accordion metal panels selected for their weather-resistant and low-maintenance properties. The interior complements the outdoors with its simple design and full-height glazing that blurs the boundaries between indoors and out. Natural wood ceilings lend warmth to the interior, while the untreated concrete floors serve as a durable, worry-free surface. Walls were painted white to create a blank backdrop for the clients’ extensive art collection. To generate all of the home’s energy needs onsite, the architects crafted the building with an airtight envelope fitted with performance-enhancing windows and doors as well as superior insulation. Solar energy powers the electricity and heat with supplemental battery storage and a backup generator.  + Imbue Design Images via Imbue Design

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Self-sustaining retreat in Idaho is the perfect social distancing getaway

These upcycled shipping containers make eco-friendly offices

January 2, 2020 by  
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Sustainable architecture focuses on low impact construction and natural or recycled materials. The new marketing suite for Goldman Westlink is just such a building.  Designed by A Work of Substance , the office space currently resides in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun district, and was constructed from four shipping containers. The selection of shipping containers as the structure for the office was multi-faceted. They work as the perfect symbol for the client Goldman Westlink, which is a logistics company. In addition to representing the movement of goods, the shipping containers offer a sustainable option. They are recycled (or upcycled) , giving them a second life. Plus, the design is modular, allowing the company to break it apart and move it to another location. The construction and even a subsequent move will leave minimal impact on the land. Related: This prefab weekend retreat made from shipping containers can be ordered online Six interior spaces are born from four containers, all of which provide ample natural light and views of the surrounding scenery with massive windows. Timber accents soften the industrial feel of the metal and diffuse the building into the landscape. Stacking the containers allowed A Work of Substance to provide two stories of meeting and work space, along with an outdoor deck and sitting area. The long wooden board table and technology may resemble other office buildings, but the expansive views and minimalist design certainly do not. And while A Work of Substance prides itself on thinking outside the box, this is one box anyone would enjoy working in. A Work of Substance is an international design company with commissions spanning the globe, including Hong Kong, Niseko, Seoul, H?i An, Singapore, Bali, Flores, Paris, Megève Vancouver and Milan. As architects from A Work of Substance said, “At the very epicenter of hong kong’s design revolution, our 30-person shop uses design as a tool to rejuvenate culture and local neighbourhoods, creating works of substance that make hong kong a place people look to for inspiration. Ever daring and ever curious, we are constantly venturing into new projects and industries including the launch of our exclusive line of amenities, furniture and lighting. Throughout the evolution of substance we have developed strong partnerships with suppliers and deepened our knowledge of hong kong’s cultural landscape and its products.” + A Work of Substance Via Arch Daily Images via Dennis Lo

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Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare

December 5, 2019 by  
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When Marjo Dashorst and Han Roebers set their sights on designing a sustainable home in Zutphen, a municipality on the east side of the Netherlands, the couple turned to Amsterdam-based practice Attika Architekten to realize their dream. The goal was to develop an energy-efficient home that would not only meet all of its own energy needs through renewable systems but also be capable of producing enough surplus energy to charge an electric car . The resulting project, aptly titled the Energy Plant House, combines solar panels, passive solar strategies and a highly insulating envelope to achieve its energy-plus goals. In contrast to its more traditional, gable-roofed neighbors, the Energy Plant House sports a contemporary, boxy appearance. The three-bedroom home is spread out across two floors: a ground-floor volume clad in sand-lime brick and a partially cantilevered upper volume wrapped in reclaimed 60-year-old Azobé campshedding planks. Reused Stelcon plates anchor the terraces. Large sliding glass doors on the north and south sides of the home create a seamless connection between indoors and out. Related: Snøhetta completes world’s northernmost energy-positive building To meet the client’s goals of an energy-plus home, the architects installed 32 rooftop solar panels with a capacity of 9.6 kW. Energy production is supplemented with a 8kW heat pump with a closed source at a depth of 180 meters as well as a heat exchanger in the ventilation system. Energy efficiency is optimized with a well-insulated envelope and vegetated roofs. Strategically located windows — from the skylights to the tall east and west windows — flood the interior with natural light despite the northern orientation. Unwanted solar gain from the south end is mitigated with an overhang from the cantilevered upper volume; advanced remote-controlled outdoor awnings have also been installed to shade the residents from harsh sunlight. + Attika Architekten Photography by Kees Hummel Fotografie via Attika Architekten

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Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare

Cedar Haven is a forest retreat made with reclaimed logs

December 3, 2019 by  
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Blending contemporary design with natural materials, Washington-based residential architecture firm Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture completed a stunning timber home that feels like an extension of its alpine forest environment. Created for a homeowner who wanted a residence that echoed the tranquility of its mountain surroundings, the aptly named Cedar Haven was built mainly from timber and stone — much of which was reclaimed from the site itself. Several salvaged logs and other found objects from the surroundings were deliberately left in their natural state to emphasize the organic beauty of the design. Located on a site where a previous log home once stood, Cedar Haven was created in response to the client’s desire for a more contemporary house that still exuded the warm, rustic feel of a traditional log cabin . The result is a stunning, custom home that features a dramatic, light-filled great room with a massive stone fireplace, a sculptural spiral staircase and custom, handcrafted details throughout. The natural materials palette and large windows — particularly those in the double-height great room — blur the boundary between indoors and out. Related: A traditional log cabin in Colorado is the perfect winter wonderland retreat “The Cedar Haven project draws inspiration from the surrounding natural beauty,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Inside, vertical lines and artful asymmetry mimic the forest outside the soaring great room window. A staircase of spiraling posts echoes a grove of trees , and a colorful petrified stump captures the attention of all who enter.” In addition to the petrified stump, reclaimed wood is used for statement design pieces in the home. Cedar trunks act as eye-catching pillars inside and outside of the house, while a twisted tree trunk frames one of the three stone fireplaces. Reclaimed stones were also used to build the fireplaces and chimneys. + Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture Photography by Benjamin Benschneider via Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture

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Cedar Haven is a forest retreat made with reclaimed logs

Sculptural, solar-powered home generates more energy than it uses

October 24, 2019 by  
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In the Texan suburb of Addison just north of Dallas, 5G Studio Collaborative has completed the Winnwood Residence, a contemporary home that blurs the line between the indoors and out. Certified LEED Platinum , the single-family home offsets all its energy use with a 10 kW rooftop solar array and geothermal wells drilled beneath the driveway. Walls of glass, large skylights and outdoor living spaces immerse the residents in the landscape and help bring in natural light and ventilation to reduce the home’s energy demands. Completed in 2016, the Winnwood Residence is a sculptural, single-story home that spreads out across 4,600 square feet to embrace varied landscape views, one of which is a land and water conservation park funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the U.S. Department of the Interior; the front third of the client’s property has been designated as an extension to the conservation project across the street. To keep focus on the outdoors, the architects opted for a minimalist yet modern design of “a solid black plaster mass sitting within an enclosed garden.” The interiors are also simple and feature white walls of smooth reflective plaster and minimalist decor. Related: Solar-powered Austin home can save owners nearly $100K in energy costs “The exterior finish is black plaster, upon which climbing Boston Ivy is expected to overtake overtime; the shadowy blackness of the exterior surfaces allows one to truly enjoy light, not shadow, filtering through the trees,” the architects explained in a statement. “The architecture elegantly and quietly achieves its sustainability objectives; proposes a new vocabulary of architecture that is decidedly un-local yet celebrates Texas living and is very much about the landscape as it is about the interior.” The building will gradually blend into the lush landscape, which has been repopulated with native and adaptive species. To further reduce site impact, the architects installed a rainwater collection cistern beneath the driveway to minimize runoff and increase water permeability. Geothermal and solar energy power the energy-positive home. + 5G Studio Collaborative Photography by Adam Mørk via 5G Studio Collaborative

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Prefab houseboat in Prague features a spacious rooftop lounge

September 9, 2019 by  
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Normally, Czech Republic-based firm Freedomky stays busy building charming, energy-efficient, tiny cabins. But when the team was approached by a client looking to “live freely” on the water, the designers used the same space- and energy-saving techniques they use frequently to build Freedomky No. 59, a prefab houseboat with a flexible interior design that can be used as a work space or vacation home. Designed in collaboration with architectural studio Atelier Št?pán , the Freedomky houseboat was directly created with the client’s love of adventure in mind. As a fan of the company’s cabin designs, the client, who spent time in various glamping locations across Europe, wanted the architects to design something that would allow him to set up a home in Prague. The man wanted to be close to the center of the city without feeling the congestion of the highly trafficked area. Hence, the design team and the client decided to take it to the water. Related: A solar-powered houseboat designed for the water-loving adventurer The houseboat is a prefabricated structure comprised of two modules placed on a custom steel pontoon. The two separate units were joined together at a shipyard 25 miles north of Prague . Once the prefab construction was complete, the individual pieces were towed by boat to the home’s final installation site in the district of Smíchov in Prague. The journey took 18 hours, with the housing components passing under 14 bridges, including the famous Charles Bridge. Made with the same materials as Freedomky’s cabins, the boat’s exterior walls are crafted from eco-friendly wood or wooden components. Because of the humid environment, the designers replaced the larch facade normally used on their cabins with durable cement fiber boards. Working within the company motto of “free art of living everywhere,” the Freedomky team went to work designing a floating home with a breathtaking interior customized to the owner’s needs. The main objective was to create a flexible space, where the houseboat could be used as an office, an upscale living area or a weekend stay for guests. The interior of the houseboat is bright and airy, with modern furnishings that are flexible in their uses. The dining table can also be used as a work center, for example. The walls throughout the boat are painted a bright white, and the interior benefits from the natural light that pours in from the sliding glass doors and plentiful windows. At the owner’s request, there is a large rooftop terrace , which can be planted with vegetation. + Freedomky Via Dwell Photography by Lukas Pelech via Freedomky

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Prefab houseboat in Prague features a spacious rooftop lounge

A shipping container is recycled into a chic nature retreat in Brazil

September 2, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Bruno Zaitter with a request for a minimalist and sustainable getaway in Brazil’s Balsa Nova, the Brazilian architect and professor decided that cargotecture would be the perfect fit for the brief. Proving that less can be more, the architect upcycled a secondhand shipping container into a relatively compact 538-square-foot abode with a bedroom, bathroom, living and dining area, kitchen and an outdoor terrace. Most importantly, the structure, named the Purunã Refuge, immerses the client in nature with its large glazed walls that embrace panoramic views in all directions. Protected on the west side by a lush native forest, the Purunã Refuge is set at the foot of a geographical fault called Escarpa Denoviana and enjoys privacy, immersion in nature and views of the city skyline beyond. The project, completed in 2016, draws on Zaitter’s experience with recycling shipping containers into contemporary structures. As with its predecessors, the Purunã Refuge is elevated off the ground for reduced site impact. Related: A modern farmstay suite minimizes site impact in Brazil Raised 3 meters off the ground and accessible by outdoor stairs, the dwelling features a 12-meter-long container — comprising the sleeping area, a portion of the kitchen, the entrance and the bathroom with a soaking tub — that has been extended by two glass-enclosed volumes on either side. The larger of the two boxes houses the living and dining area as well as office space; the smaller box is a bump out of the kitchen that extends into the forest. Stretching northwest to southeast, the Purunã Refuge is accessed from the north side, which leads up to an outdoor terrace . “The project’s concept was to group the essential universes of human life — eating, sleeping, sanitizing, working and socializing — in a space of about 50 square meters with the greatest possible contact with the surrounding natural landscape,” Zaitter explained. “The biggest challenge was convincing people who still believe that large space equals comfortable space, and that small space is uncomfortable space. The refuge proved that less is more.” + Bruno Zaitter Photography by Sergio Mendonça Jr. via Bruno Zaitter

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A shipping container is recycled into a chic nature retreat in Brazil

thredUP partnerships open the door to secondhand shopping at major retailers

September 2, 2019 by  
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Whether it is a handbag from the 1970s or a leather motorcycle jacket circa 1999, what’s old is new again, and online retailer thredUP sees the circular economy movement as a thriving opportunity. The consignment retailer and secondhand shop recently kicked off RAAS, or Resale-As-A-Service, a project to attract traditional department stores to get on board with more sustainable fashion . “The closet of the future … is going to look very different than the closet of today,” said James Reinhart, CEO and co-founder of thredUP. “If you think back 10 years ago when we started, you had none of these direct-to-consumer brands. There was no such thing as rental. There were no subscription companies. In just these 10 years, we’ve had a radical shift in how people shop and buy apparel . And I think that shift is going to continue.” Related: G7 summit — Fashion companies make a pact to protect the planet The retailer collects around 100,000 pieces of secondhand items daily and says resale is growing 21 times as fast as the larger retail market; it could be a $51 billion market by 2023. Shoppers propelling the growing circular economy are Millennials and Gen Zers — the 18- to 37-year-old population — who are purchasing about 2.5 times more than any other age group. Big box stores, like JCPenney and Macy’s, have seen their sales yo-yo in recent years and have signed on with thredUP. In doing so, the retailers have three options: store pop-up, online collaboration or a loyalty program. Some experts believe department stores will lean toward pop-ups, because they tend to attract more shoppers. As reported by Forbes , pop-ups offered by thredUP will be between 500 and 1,000 square feet and “feature new items on a weekly basis, offering brands that aren’t already in a typical Macy’s or JCPenney. There will be 100 pop-ups by Labor Day.” According to Reinhart, the loyalty program has been the top option, where shoppers can purchase items from thredUP’s retail partners and also receive a “clean out kit.” Buyers use this kit to send in pre-loved clothing items to thredUP — thredUP retains the markup on resold items, consumers get credits and bonuses with the retailer and the retailer sees improved customer retention. It’s a win-win-win. thredUP has reportedly received more than $300 million in total funding for the project. It’s possible that thredUP’s RAAS initiative may help grow the circular economy and give struggling department stores a brighter future. + thredUP Via TreeHugger , Forbes and FirstResearch Image via Burst

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