These wooden blocks can be stacked up to create cabins, treehouses, and wilderness shelters

July 31, 2017 by  
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Most cabins lie flat upon the earth – but Ofis Arhitekti just unveiled a wooden retreat that’s stacked up into the sky. The architects worked with C+C , C28 and AKT to create a beautiful library made from modular blocks at Ljubljana’s landmark medieval fortress. The basic modular unit provides accommodation for two people, with a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed and seating. If that isn’t enough space, the units can be stacked horizontally or vertically in order to form different configurations to accommodate a variety of locations and needs. Related: Three stacked spruce ‘shoeboxes’ reimagine a 1934 house in Ljubljana The units can be used as holiday cabins, tree houses, research units and shelters . The cabin can be fixed on the ground either by steel anchors or removable concrete cubes, making the interior space endlessly flexible and adjustable based on changing needs. The unit at Ljubljana Castle will serve as a temporary library, with each floor containing books on various topics. Spaces for reading and rest are tucked underneath the underpasses, and offer stunning views of the city. Both the structure and cladding promote Slovenian woodworking, traditional wood crafts and carpentry. + Ofis Arhitekti Photos by Janez Martincic  

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These wooden blocks can be stacked up to create cabins, treehouses, and wilderness shelters

BIG hides an invisible museum beneath Denmarks sand dunes

July 14, 2017 by  
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Don’t be fooled by these gentle sand dunes—hidden in the landscape is an “invisible museum.” Bjarke Ingels Group designed TIRPITZ, a recently opened museum embedded into Denmark’s protected Blåvand shorelines, also a historic war site. The TIRPITZ museum offers a unique experience within a building that skillfully camouflages into the dunes, providing a sharp contrast to its neighbor, a monolithic German WWII bunker . Developed by Varde Museums , TIRPITZ is a cultural complex comprising four exhibitions inside a renovated and expanded wartime bunker. The 2,800-square-meter “invisible museum” is mostly buried underground and looks nearly imperceptible from above until visitors draw close to the heavy bunker and see the walls cut into the dunes from all sides. An outdoor courtyard provides access to the four underground galleries—illuminated with a surprising abundance of natural light let in by 6-meter-tall glass panels—that connect to the historic bunker. “The architecture of the TIRPITZ is the antithesis to the WWII bunker,” said Bjarke Ingels , Founding Partner at BIG. “The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum. The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the Nazi fortress’ concrete monolith. The surrounding heath-lined pathways cut into the dunes from all sides descending to meet in a central clearing, bringing daylight and air into the heart of the complex. The bunker remains the only landmark of a not so distant dark heritage that upon close inspection marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.” Related: Century-old WWI bunker is reborn as a contemporary alpine shelter Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers designed the exhibitions to showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences that adhere to a storyline, from the Hitler-related ‘Army of Concrete’ to the exhibition of amber in ‘Gold of the West Coast.’ The building is built mainly of concrete, steel, glass, and wood—all materials found in the existing structures and natural landscape. The groundbreaking museum is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors annually. + BIG Images by Mike Bink Photography, Laurian Ghinitoiu,  John Seymour, Rasmus Hjortshoj, Colin John Seymour, Rasmus Bendix

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BIG hides an invisible museum beneath Denmarks sand dunes

This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

June 5, 2017 by  
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This underground holiday home in Greece is topped with a green roof that offers panoramic views of the Peloponnese peninsula. The owners commissioned LASSA Architects to design a house that would activate the periphery of the plot and provide a vantage point from which to observe the surroundings. The 1614-square-foot Villa Ypsilon is located in an olive grove in southern Peloponnese. A three-pronged concrete shell forms the roof and establishes three courtyards with different exposures to the sun. An eye-shaped swimming pool and sun deck are partially sheltered underneath a concrete lip that defines the green roof. Two other curved facades frame a sunken seating area and the main entrance to the building. Related: Take a Peek at a Stunning Secret Swiss Villa Hidden Into a Mountainside! “The design of the concrete shell and the courtyards’ orientation is such that it produces shadows at specific times of the day,” said the architects. “We are interested in the idea of form integration. That is, that form can be the result of overlapping and precise design decisions . . . in this case the vaulting concrete shell is structural, its bisecting axes frames specific views, its sloping [form] makes it walkable and its extent is a result of environmental optimization.” Related: Beautiful Underground Aloni House Blends in With The Earth Most of the structure is prefabricated, which significantly reduced assembly costs and construction time. The architects used a CNC machine to fabricate prototypes of the concrete shell and develop the final shape of the house. The use of locally sourced materials – such as concrete, terrazzo and marble – root the design in its cultural and geographic context. + LASSA Architects Via Dezeen Photos by NAARO

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This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

Buried Buddhist shrine unites man and nature in harmony

May 11, 2017 by  
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You don’t need to be a Zen master to appreciate this green-roofed Buddhist shrine in rural China. Designed by Arch Studio , the contemporary shrine is partially buried to minimize site disruption and to blend into the landscape. The building emphasizes connection with nature through its design and framed views of the woods and river beyond. Located in the outskirts of Tangshan by the riverbank, the Buddhist shrine serves as a space for meditation and contemplation. The concrete building is mostly buried underground and is embedded between seven mature trees. The shrine’s various rooms splay out like branches from a large central space and include the entrance, meditation room, tea room , living room, and bathroom. “The design started from the connection between the building and nature and adopts the method of earthing to hide the building under the earth mound while presenting the divine temperament of nature with flowing interior space,” said Arch Studio. “A place with power of perception where trees, water, Buddha and human coexist is thus created.” Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure The concrete surfaces are textured with the natural grain patterns from the pine formwork. Furnishings are constructed from gray-toned timber to match the concrete walls while the smooth terrazzo interior flooring contrasts with the outdoor white gravel. Skylights and large windows let in natural light and framed views. Courtyards with trees and bamboo punctuate the building. + Arch Studio Via Dezeen

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Buried Buddhist shrine unites man and nature in harmony

Nature and art overlap in this sinuous pavilion in Taipei City

January 19, 2017 by  
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Indoor and outdoor scenery overlap in this sinuous pavilion by Emerge Architects . The SINICA Eco-Pavilion was tailored to the existing trees on the site, and meanders in-between them to create an organic space where nature is as much on display as the exhibition housed inside the building. The building, located within a restoration area of Taipei ‘s leading academic institution, Academia Sinica, features long stretches of curved glass surfaces that facilitate ambiguous spatial perception for visitors. The line between the inside and outside disappears as one navigates the interior space and explores different exhibitions. Different spatial pockets such as the lobby, screening room and exhibition areas create fluid transitions. Related: Sinuous concrete pavilion is a spiritual oasis at the City of Hope research and treatment center Through interdisciplinary integration and collaboration between curators and architects, the pavilion establishes a strong dialogue with its surroundings. This diminished the distinction between architecture, landscape and art, merging them all into a single, unified experience. + Emerge Architects Via Architizer Photos by Kyle Yu, Sam Yang, WK Chou

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Nature and art overlap in this sinuous pavilion in Taipei City

Friends and family help repurpose a concrete carport into an inspiring home for an ALS patient

December 6, 2016 by  
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This temporary residence facilitates both physical and mental accessibility for a client diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). With the help of more than a 100 friends and family of the client, design studio Wim Goes Architectuur repurposed an existing concrete carport, which proved to be more suitable than the existing house, and created an environment that focuses on hope instead of sickness. Once the client no longer needs the space, most of the construction materials can be recycled or reused, celebrating the circle of life. The architects met with the client’s ergotherapist to figure out a solution that would work best for the client’s limiting circumstances. They converted the existing concrete carport into a barrier-free space built with the help of more than 100 friends and family members, and tutoring from professionals experienced with sustainable heating , ventilation, and home automation . Related: Assisted living home replicates a friendly American neighborhood to help treat patient memory loss After demolition, 83% of the project – straw and loam – will be used for fertilizing the landscape. All the technical equipment is returnable, while glass, metal and wood elements can be recycled . The entire project, including its construction, was designed to celebrate the circle of life. + Wim Goes Architectuur Via Archdaily Photos by Filip Dujardin

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Friends and family help repurpose a concrete carport into an inspiring home for an ALS patient

Heres every bank funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and how to switch

December 6, 2016 by  
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People around the world are celebrating the U.S. Army Corps’ decision to block the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, but that doesn’t mean the project is not forging forward in other areas. Locals at Standing Rock fear that this move is just a foil and a way to avoid protesters at the build site. Although many of us can’t join in the fight for tribal rights and clean water, we can make a powerful statement – by switching financial institutions away from banks funding the 1,172-mile-long underground pipeline set to transport crude oil across four states from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to an oil tank farm near Patoka, Illinois. Norway’s biggest bank, DNB, recently announced that it had sold its assets in the Dakota Access Pipeline and that it is reconsidering its loan, accounting for 10 percent of the total funding for the project. There are 17 banks directly funding the pipeline project, according to Food & Water Watch. They are: Wells Fargo BNP Paribas SunTrust The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Mizuho Bank Citibank (CitiGroup) TD Securities Credit Agricole Intesa SanPaolo ING Bank Natixis BayernLB BBVA Securities DBN Capital ICBC London SMBC Nikko Securities Societe General Related: Sign this petition to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline Switching banks is not just a form of protest at this point. While a long shot, a massive movement of money out of the project’s primary lenders could convince these banks to back out. The financial institutions are holding on to the remaining $1.4 billion that is needed to complete the pipeline, pending approval of final permits by the Army Corps of Engineers. After closing your account, you will of course want to open an account at a bank that isn’t financing environmental destruction and the trampling of Indigenous rights. Options include banks that fund renewable energy projects, community banks and credit unions. Related: 8 ways to help the water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation Banks supporting renewable energy Since the Connecticut Green Bank was founded in 2011 as the first green bank in the United States, green banks have expanded to New York, California and other states. Green banks are great tools for accelerating financing of clean energy projects by using public funds to leverage private capital investment. While green banks should be encouraged at every level of government, you will need a checking account from a commercial bank that invests in clean energy after switching out of one of the 17 banks financing DAPL. A 2014 Bloomberg Markets’ ranking of the world’s greenest banks includes Royal Bank of Canada, Goldman Sachs, Spain’s Banco Santander SA, UniCredit SpA of Italy, HSBC Holdings Plc of the UK, SEB AB of Sweden, Credit Suisse Group AG of Switzerland and JPMorgan Chase. However, it is important to keep in mind that in addition to renewables many of these financial institutions also invest in dirty energy projects. Community banks After big banks brought the economy to its knees during the 2008 Wall Street crash, many Americans rediscovered independent, locally owned and operated financial institutions, otherwise known as community banks . These old-fashioned neighborhood banks are a great way to go. Instead of investing in megaprojects like DAPL, community banks typically finance local projects that benefit the community they are located in. Credit Unions Switching to a credit union is another option. Credit unions are democratically controlled by members, not shareholders. They are not-for-profit institutions funded mostly by voluntary member deposits. Credit unions can also finance community and residential renewable energy projects such as solar PV, solar hot water, geothermal energy and energy efficiency sealing and insulation. Images via Sacred Stone Camp and Rob Wilson , Wikimedia Commons , Duncan Smith/Corbis , and The Street

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Heres every bank funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and how to switch

Luxembourg bar renovation mimics Japanese origami for a low footprint

November 25, 2016 by  
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The new structure that envelops the existing building looks like a folded sheet of paper that allows the interior to open up to the natural surroundings. Lightweight and self-supporting, the wooden structure helps orientate the bar and eating areas toward the outside and guides views to the tall tree stalks, while allowing the possibility of changing the project in the future. Related: Reclaimed Wood Clads This Japanese Izakaya’s Origami-Like Interior in Montreal The architects also refurbished the existing kitchen and eating area on the ground floor and formed a smoking area with a fireplace and small dining area. They partly removed the lateral outdoor terrace and replaced it with a white sand beach. + Metaform architects Via v2com Photos by Steve Troes Fotodesign

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Luxembourg bar renovation mimics Japanese origami for a low footprint

A beautiful perforated facade filters natural light into this office building in Rio de Janeiro

November 4, 2016 by  
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The open-plan floors of the building are supported by concrete waffle slabs, peripheral columns and load-bearing walls. All the installations and structural elements are distributed along the perimeter of the building. Related: Tivoli Eco Residences Leave a Light Footprint on the Coast of Northern Brazil The facade of the building comprises three different layers-a lattice of perforated aluminium, a green buffer and soundproof windows. It semi-transparent quality allows natural light into the interior and is aided by a large skylight . The library is separated by glass partitions that filter in daylight. + Bernardes Arquitetura Via Archdaily Photos by Leonardo Finotti

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A beautiful perforated facade filters natural light into this office building in Rio de Janeiro

Branching addition cuts through existing Swiss farmhouse to increase structural integrity

July 28, 2016 by  
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The concrete structure branches inside the old barn, allowing it to be easily converted into two residential units. Made up from board-marked concrete and extending across all three floors of the building, the addition forms doorway arches, service islands, and holds all the bathroom and kitchen accommodations and storage spaces . Related: Stacked timber beams act as multi-use office furniture in this renovated barn in Belgium Birch plywood and concrete dominate both the exterior and interior of the building, with patchwork patterns of stone, brick and timber marking the original walls deliberately left exposed to accentuate the rustic quality of the space. + Freiluft Architektur Via  Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by David Aebi

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Branching addition cuts through existing Swiss farmhouse to increase structural integrity

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