Reused teak and earthy stone make up a luxury Goan home with canal views

November 24, 2020 by  
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In the village of Solid in North Goa, international architecture practice SAV Architecture + Design has completed the Earth House, a luxury home of 700 square meters that makes the most of its lush, tropical surroundings. Set next to a canal lined with coconut trees, the expansive home has allowed the outdoors to shape its design, from the massing that’s built to preserve existing mature trees to the natural materials palette. Internal courtyards, louvered semi-open spaces and an open-plan layout help achieve an indoor/outdoor living experience that makes the tropical landscape the focus. The Earth House’s site-specific massing comprises a series of long bays that open up to views of the canal that wraps around the north side of the site. Folding glass doors and large, glazed openings connect the indoors to the outdoor living areas, where sheltered patios with cane furnishings and a long pool extend the footprint of the home toward the canal. Upstairs, private terraces extend the bedrooms to the outdoors to continue the home’s constant connection with nature. Related: Luxury home in Kerala produces all of its own energy Inside, the home is centered on a white Fibonacci-style spiral staircase that serves as a sculptural focal point and connects to a spacious, double-height living room that overlooks the pool and canal. Teak wood is used throughout — from the custom-crafted entrance door to the wooden artwork wall in the living room — and imbues the home with a sense of warmth in contrast to the cool Goan-Portuguese concrete floors. “With large overhangs and exposed concrete roofs, the house is designed to brace the Goan tropical rains,” the architects said. “The inner courtyards around tall existing trees as the several louvred spaces keep the house passively cool and well-ventilated in the tropical hot climate. Most of the glazing is double-glazed and is oriented towards the north to allow minimal heat and direct sunlight into the house. The lines and forms of the Earth House are designed to connect constantly with its outdoors, bringing nature and all its coconut palm filled views in a modern, crafted and fluid manner.” + SAV Architecture + Design Photography by Fabien Charuau via SAV Architecture + Design

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Reused teak and earthy stone make up a luxury Goan home with canal views

Architect designs his own breezy, plant-filled home in Los Angeles

November 18, 2020 by  
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David Montalba, founding principal of Montalba Architects, recently completed a 5,450-square-foot personal residence in Santa Monica, California. The design is based around a vertical courtyard concept with movable wooden screens that make up the facade. These screens help cool the home in an energy-efficient way during the area’s hot summers. Several additional green design elements, including a Tesla Powerwall and solar panels, further reduce the home’s carbon footprint. At three stories, the home seamlessly merges indoor and outdoor with the series of operable wooden screens, providing just enough privacy from neighbors. The vertical courtyard connects all levels of the house while a concrete base acts as an anchor to the lower levels. Landscaped balconies and the enclosed courtyard are divided by lush plants and connected with a bridge. The result is an L-shaped plan centered around the courtyard, locking into the site while the second floor hovers above the concrete footing and living quarters on the ground floor. Related: Santa Barbara home is surrounded by wooden screens for natural climate control   “Given the lot’s size and the neighborhood, the biggest challenge was making sure we didn’t overbuild and maintained some degree of privacy with our immediate neighbors,” Montalba said. “This was achieved by creating a basement level and vertical courtyard in which the house is organized. Los Angeles has a long history of residential courtyard buildings and that in combination with the privacy it offered helped drive this concept.” The louvers provide cross-ventilation over the footprint of the house, while the strategically placed pool provides evaporative cooling to create a breezy corridor through the living area. Adjacent terraced gardens and the perimeter of the home are landscaped with native plants for shading, cooling and stormwater retention. Other eco-friendly features include a rainwater collection system for potable water, a Tesla Powerwall , solar panels and radiant heating and cooling systems. A vertical garden adds more plant life to the home, while a thermal mass in the basement helps further achieve comfortable temperatures year-round. Soft tones and organic colors are featured in the interior design, with floor-to-ceiling length windows to let in plenty of natural light. + Montalba Architects Photography by Kevin Scott via v2com

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Permaculture design expert Matthew Prosser builds a family dome home

November 18, 2020 by  
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Great design can be subjective, but few can argue with architecture that incorporates natural materials sourced directly from the land it’s built on. One stellar example of such design is in this one-of-a-kind dome home built in Turkey. Called the 44M2, the project was designed and crafted by Matthew Prosser from Holistic Progression Designs, a firm based in Turkey. Influenced by traditional building techniques in Asia, where the designer lived for 10 years, the building is part art, part function and entirely livable for the young family who inhabits it. Related: Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature 44M2 is made up of three domes. Two of the domes are bedrooms, and the third is the main living space composed of the bathroom, living room and kitchen. Each dome was created using natural plasters from the surrounding earth. The shape and colors blend into the landscape for a marriage between the building and the nature that surrounds it. Inside, high ceilings and naturally carved steps to the second level create flow and, according to Prosser, a “womb-like calming effect.” Aircrete bricks provide insulation, and passive design promotes cross-ventilation to naturally cool the home. In addition, passive solar techniques, such as the use of skylights and custom, round windows, help with natural lighting and heating. Each of these energy-efficient elements of the design match Prosser’s commitment to low operating costs for the family. Inside, custom built-in furnishings, including bunk beds for the kids, a master bed support, seating and desks, enhance the natural elements of the project. All surfaces from the floors to the ceilings are curved for a cozy, cave-like atmosphere. This includes benches, circular windows, arched doorways and countertops. Prosser works internationally, using his skills as an accredited International Permaculture designer to find regeneration solutions. He’s completed myriad projects ranging from home building to playgrounds to providing planning expertise for a wildlife sanctuary. + Holistic Progression Designs Images via Holistic Progression Designs

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Permaculture design expert Matthew Prosser builds a family dome home

Kamp C hits a milestone with largest 3D-printer for concrete

November 2, 2020 by  
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Belgium-based provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation in construction, Kamp C, recently used Europe’s largest 3D concrete printer to complete an impressive accomplishment. The company created the world’s first two-story house to be  3D-printed  in one piece, a 90-square meter dwelling measuring eight meters tall (the average size of terraced houses in the region). “What makes this house so unique, is that we printed it with a fixed 3D concrete printer,” Emiel Ascione, the project manager at Kamp C, said in a press release. “Other houses that were printed around the world only have one floor. In many cases, the components were printed in a factory and were assembled on-site. We, however, printed the entire building envelope in one piece on-site.” Related: Czech Republic’s first 3D-printed floating home will take just 48 hours to build The project’s goal is to raise interest in 3D concrete printing as a building technique in the Belgian construction industry. The industry, like many others, continues to face environmental challenges from material and energy consumption, producing the need for reduced  CO2 emissions  and waste streams despite the growing demand for high-quality, affordable housing. This first house serves as a test that researchers will monitor for solidity over time. In the future, the company hopes to get printing time down from three weeks to just under two days. Kamp C’s printed home is three times sturdier than those built with conventional quick build bricks, according to the company’s project manager. The printing technology saved an estimated 60% on material, time and budget, requiring less wire-mesh reinforcement than similar projects. Highlighting the principle of  circular architecture , the design accommodates multipurpose options from use as a house, meeting space, office or exhibition space. The model home includes an overhang with heavily curved walls and features  low-energy  capabilities with floor and ceiling heating, solar panels in the facade and a heat pump. Future designs will include a green roof. + Kamp C Via Apartment Therapy    Images © Kamp C

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Cold Spring Residence, a family’s low-impact weekend retreat

October 2, 2020 by  
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Developed by architect and artist couple Jared and Carolina Della Valle, this stunning family  retreat  in the Hudson River Valley is driven by high sustainability standards. Located on 11 acres in Cold Spring, New York near where Carolina grew up, the house functions as a weekend escape for the family. Wary of the environmental effect that a second home could present, the designer set out to create a building with minimal impact on its natural surroundings. While planning and building the home, the designer made every effort to lessen the environmental impact. Jared’s company, Alloy, prides itself on being guided by professionals seeking to positively contribute to the built environment with sustainability at the forefront. The firm developed New York’s first two  passive house  schools and Brooklyn’s first all-electric skyscraper. Related: Contemporary Camp O communes with nature in the Catskills Cold Spring Residence, standing at 4,500 square feet and built to passive house standards, features a full  solar  array providing year-round energy to the home. All of the site’s natural resources are preserved, and a newly-planted meadow fills the remaining landscape with native plants that thrive all year long. The majority of the house uses raw  concrete  and pine finished with a natural tar resistant to bugs and woodpeckers, with bleached oak for the interior. Bedrooms reside on the cantilevered upper floor, allowing sunlight into the living spaces. Meanwhile, a two-story deep skylight shines into the kitchen. Inside, the concrete walls use old forms to create intentional imperfections and inconsistencies to produce a more organic look. Jared found and restored a steel pipeline to construct the outdoor shower, and an indoor-outdoor terrace promotes uninterrupted views of the valley. A sense of  minimalism  remains apparent in the home’s design and construction, making it conducive to a low maintenance lifestyle. This style gives the family more time to relax while enjoying the property’s natural environment. + Alloy Development Via Wallpaper

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Cold Spring Residence, a family’s low-impact weekend retreat

Greenland ice sheet melting faster than in last 12 millennia

October 2, 2020 by  
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Greenland’s massive ice sheet is melting at a rate faster than experienced in the past 12,000 years, according to a new study in  Nature . Published on Wednesday, the study, dubbed “Greenland Ice Sheet Will Exceed Holocene Values this Century,” revealed that Greenland is already losing ice at a rate four times faster than any period in the past 11,700 years.  Earlier studies showed that the fast rate of ice melt will lead to rising sea levels and disruption in ocean currents. According to these predictions, Greenland’s ice contributes the most to sea-level rise, with advanced models showing it raising sea levels by 0.7 millimeters each year. Estimations predicted the rate of sea-level rise to increase an additional four times by the end of the century. However, the new study explains that the actual impact of Greenland’s ice sheet melting could prove even worse than earlier predicted.  The new paper offers a revised prediction, showing that increased greenhouse gas emissions may worsen the state of affairs. If nothing changes regarding the current state of global warming, sea levels may rise between 2 to 10 centimeters per year by the century’s end. According to Jason Briner, a geologist at the University of Buffalo and the study’s lead author, the changes humans have made to the planet are already affecting Greenland ice melting rates. “We have altered our planet so much that the rates of ice sheet melt this century are on pace to be greater than anything we have seen under natural variability of the ice sheet over the past 12,000 years,” Briner said. Briner adds that the current ice melting state is not caused by natural variability as it has been historically. Instead, the current state is purely caused by humans. Andy Aschwanden from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks wrote commentary on the research , saying that the only stopping greenhouse gas emissions can stop Greenland’s mass wasting. “Thanks to the work of Briner and colleagues, we are now one step closer to the goal of accurately and confidently predicting mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet. However, we are also increasingly certain that we are about to experience unprecedented rates of ice loss from Greenland, unless greenhouse-gas emissions are substantially reduced,” Aschwanden said.  + Nature Via EcoWatch Image via Pixabay

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Greenland ice sheet melting faster than in last 12 millennia

You can help monitor Amazon deforestation from your couch

October 2, 2020 by  
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While many people around the world worry about deforestation in the Amazon rainforest , to most of us, it’s still remote. Most people have never visited the Amazon, and many have no idea what they can do about deforestation. But a new online tracking system relies on citizen scientists to help monitor the Amazon via satellite. “You don’t have to be a climate scientist, you don’t have to be a data scientist, you just have to be a citizen that is concerned about the issue of deforestation,” said Elliot Inman, a researcher at systems analysis company SAS, as reported in Huffington Post . SAS worked with Austria-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis to create an app that depends on humans to look at images and help train artificial intelligence to spot deforestation. Related: These AI-powered cameras can sense poachers and save wildlife World Resources Institute oversees the resulting Global Forest Watch tracking system. First, a computer algorithm scans incoming images. When it identifies a place where trees have recently disappeared, it flags that image. Human eyes are needed to help discern what might have caused those missing trees. Volunteers scan the images for signs of human impact, such as roads, farm plots or tree lines that are suspiciously straight. This human input helps train the artificial intelligence , so that eventually the system will be able to digest images more quickly on its own. The system relies on consensus from multiple users. Sometimes it’s tricky to determine whether a brown patch on an image is due to humans burning trees to clear land for agriculture versus a natural forest fire . With a bit of training, citizen scientists are better able to notice small things that the computer might miss, such as a thin line that indicates a primitive road leading to the burned clearing. Data gathered by the system will help conservation organizations and governments identify when they should intervene to protect ecosystems. In the future, Global Forest Watch may even help predict where deforestation will happen next. All you need to help is an internet connection and a little bit of free time. + Global Forest Watch Via Huffington Post Image via Sentinel Hub

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A net-zero compact home in Seattle is inspired by Shibui minimalism

October 2, 2020 by  
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Refined, elemental and minimal: these words were the inspiration behind a recently completed net-zero home in West Seattle. Built to endure the test of time and incorporate elegance with an unobtrusive aesthetic and restrained size, the home takes inspiration from the Japanese concept of Shibui. Uncomplicated and honest, the concept of Shibui in design favors simple, subtle beauty. The architectural team followed the client’s suggestion to utilize the technique by creating a minimal -yet-elegant home with few superfluous touches. Though the design is uncomplicated, leading to a sense of peace while inside, it is not lacking in convenience. Despite being on the smaller side when compared to similar luxury homes, the 1,153-square-foot house still has an open-plan kitchen, a living and dining area, a den to be used as an office or guest room, two bathrooms and a garage with electric vehicle charging capability, bike storage and a trash room. Related: Twin timber buildings draw inspiration from traditional Japanese shrines The home also maintains a small carbon footprint with energy-efficient features like Passive House-certified windows for high thermal performance, LED fixtures and WaterSense-certified fixtures. To put more value on privacy, the home is set farther back from the street to create a sense of distance from the public. Setting the house back also gained the additional bonus of preserving an existing cherry tree onsite. There is a non-infiltrating bio-retention tank to collect rain and stormwater, filtering the collected water before applying it to landscaping inside the raised yard. The location of interior spaces, also guided by privacy and control, features diagonal views and sliding doors that block neighbor views. A large roof accommodates a substantial solar panel system and guards the home against the elements. On the upper level, the home opens fully to the west deck through patio sliders while roof overhangs provide protection for occupants. + SHED Architecture and Design Photography by Rafael Soldi via SHED Architecture and Design

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A net-zero compact home in Seattle is inspired by Shibui minimalism

This sustainable Jackson Hole residence has a LED-lit indoor slide

July 2, 2020 by  
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The Jackson Tech House not only has spectacular views of the Teton Range from its location high on a double sloped site, but it also has a number of unique and sustainable features. The style of the exterior incorporates a modern-yet-rustic look with natural moss rock and unpainted corral board wood siding, while the inside contains surprising features such as heated ramps and an indoor slide. The project was designed by Cushing Terrell and Hoyt Architects . The multiple layers of the home that hug the surrounding terrain are connected by heated concrete ramps, and the main level connects to a recreation room with an indoor slide embedded with color-changing LED lights . Related: Passive House-inspired home ushers in spectacular Grand Tetons views For added sustainability, there are solar panels incorporated into the design as well as a number of green roofs and sustainable furnishing materials, including dark wood, concrete and steel accents. Some of the custom features in the Jackson Tech House include flat-screen panels inlaid into the entryway floor and an adjustable system of chainmail shade curtains that work on a trolly. The inlaid floor screens can be used to display artwork, photos or other images. There is a pair of triple-stacked bunk beds in one bedroom; another bedroom holds two sets of bunk beds near a corner window with views of the rugged terrain outside. The yard that surrounds the front door is landscaped with drought-resistant plants and succulents. Outside, a Pickard steam injection pizza oven is included in the outdoor kitchen and dining space so that the owners can make and enjoy meals while enjoying the beautiful views of the Wyoming mountains. Inside, the kitchen features an extra-long bar island with a gas range and hood, stainless steel appliances and hardwood flooring on a raised platform. In the family room, which opens up into the kitchen, a mechanized fireplace has doors that slide up and out to stay hidden when not in use, and there is a designated slot for firewood. + Cushing Terrell Photography by Gibeon Photography via Cushing Terrell

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Naturally ventilated home in Thailand has a lush indoor garden

June 11, 2020 by  
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Designed by Studio Locomotive, this two-story home in Phuket, Thailand combines contemporary and biophilic design. The young owner wanted to build a debt-free, low-maintenance home despite limited financial resources. The result is the Prim House. The home was built to highlight basic needs on a plot of land about 1,000 square feet in size. While from the outside, the home may look like other common commercial buildings in the surrounding area, the Prim House enjoys plenty of natural light , cross-breezes and open-plan living spaces. Natural ventilation is supported by large openings, a vertical air well and skylights . This design eases maintenance and cost-of-living burdens, such as heating and cooling utilities, giving the homeowner more time and money to pursue other things. Related: Off-grid bamboo bungalow embraces nature in Thailand Cross-ventilation is primarily achieved through a series of prefabricated air vents built into the home’s rear wall and large window openings in the front. Central skylights encourage vertical ventilation while also releasing daylight into the interior. These skylights are essential in maintaining the sunken indoor garden located in the middle of the first floor of Prim House. The home’s staircase and catwalk, located just next to the garden, are made of perforated metal to allow even more sunlight to shine through the living spaces. A tall, exposed steel structural beam connects the first and second floors with ornamental climbing foliage. Prim House has a small kitchen with wooden accents and a patio just outside of the front door. There are two bedrooms and one bathroom, with a ventilating skylight passing over the bathroom ceiling to help keep the room dry and free from odors. Studio Locomotive kept parts of the building and fixtures exposed and utilized materials such as polished concrete and raw steel to stay as sustainable and minimalist as possible. + Studio Locomotive Images via Studio Locomotive

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