Minimalist, energy-efficient cabin is glazed in a mirror-like shine

November 26, 2019 by  
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Prolific Russian architect Alex Nerovnya has recently revealed designs for SOL House, an energy-efficient cabin with massive, double-glazed walls with a mirror-like shine that renders the building almost invisible when viewed from certain angles. Following the architecture team’s penchant for minimalist and contemporary designs set in nature, the SOL House features clean lines and a simple, gabled shape. Cross-laminated timber and steel elements form the structure of the house, which is painted black on the exterior to make the building recede into the forest surroundings. Conceived as a comfortable weekend retreat for guests looking to reconnect with nature, the SOL House spans approximately 100 square meters and features a generous, wraparound timber deck. The most striking element of the two-story building is the south-facing, glazed facade that provides an unbroken view of the outdoors from both floors. According to Nerovnya, the reflective glass can be treated with a special ultraviolet coating to prevent bird collisions while still appearing completely transparent to the human eye. Related: Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico The interior features a relatively open layout, with the rooms oriented toward outdoor views, whether through the double-height, glass facade or the large windows on the east and west sides. Steel construction supports the weight of the glass walls but is hidden so that only the timber construction is exposed. The minimalist interior includes an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living area as well as a master bedroom and bathroom. “Three guiding principles that our team kept in mind when designing this project were clean shapes, genuine natural materials and energy efficiency ,” the architects explained in a project statement. “We were inspired by the possibility to merge commonplace, classic architectural shapes with the wild environment.” + Alex Nerovnya Images via Alex Nerovnya

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Steven Holls new solar-powered concert hall plays up the dramatic contrast between new and old

July 16, 2019 by  
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New York-based Steven Holl Architects and Architecture Acts has won an international competition to design the new 1,300-seat concert hall in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Created as a “perfect acoustic instrument in its case,” the acoustics-driven design has a strikingly contemporary appearance with a rounded zinc-clad exterior that stands in dramatic contrast with the Ostrava Cultural Center, a modern classicism-style building that will be overlapped by the new concert hall. In addition to optimized acoustics, the shape of the new building is engineered to minimize energy demands and the hall will be entirely powered by rooftop solar panels. Slated to begin construction in 2022, the new building has a roughly teardrop-shaped form with the concert hall positioned at the rear to shield it from urban traffic noise. The new entrance on the promenade appears to float over the top of the existing Cultural center and connects to a new sky-lit lobby. The rounded facade is clad in zinc with a titanium oxide smog-eating coating and punctuated with triple-glazed windows to prevent heat gains. The roof is topped with solar panels, while stormwater will be collected from the roofs of the Cultural Center and the new building and then treated and collected in a garden pond to create a cooling microclimate. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid for Russia’s new Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Concert Hall “The smooth case of zinc holds an “instrument” in an extended vineyard-type plan made of concrete and maple wood,” explain the architects in a press statement. “Czech composer, Leoš Janá?ek’s theories of time will guide and give order to the concert hall’s interior geometry. Acoustic wall panels are organized according to scasovani, or rhythm, in three variants: Znici = sounding; Scitaci = counting; and Scelovac = summing.” The new concert hall will fulfill a decades-long dream of Ostrava to provide a more suitable space for the Janá?ek Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the leading orchestras in the Czech Republic . The concert hall competition was the biggest architectural competition in the city’s recent history. The opening ceremony for the new concert hall and refurbished Ostrava Cultural Center building is scheduled for 2024. + Steven Holl Architects Images Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

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Steven Holls new solar-powered concert hall plays up the dramatic contrast between new and old

Solar-powered Ring House heals a scarred hilltop landscape in Greece

May 20, 2019 by  
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On the southern coast of Crete, Greek architectural firm decaARCHITECTURE has turned a commission for a modern residence into an opportunity for land preservation. Named the Ring House for its rounded shape, the house was created to follow the existing topography and looks like an extension of its hilltop location. The site had been scarred by environmentally insensitive infrastructural development but has now recovered its original morphology and has been replanted with native flora . Located in the seaside village of Agia Galini, the Ring House is surrounded with beautiful sea views, yet suffers hot summers. To create a cooling microclimate , the architects built part of the structure into the earth and added several protected shaded areas, as well as an inner garden planted with a variety of citrus trees and edible plants. The resulting effect is one that the architects liken to an “oasis within an intensely beautiful but physically demanding environment.” “At a broader scale, the house is a landscape preservation effort,” explain the architects. “In the past, the topography had been severely scarred by the random and informal carving of roads. The excavation material extracted during the house’s construction, was used to recover the original morphology of the land. Furthermore, a thorough survey of the native flora was done in order to understand the predominant biotopes in the different slopes in the plot. During the spring, prior to construction, seeds were collected on site and cultivated in a green house to grow more seeds. These were then sowed over the road scars for the regeneration of the flora.” Related: Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views Concrete beams that follow the existing topography of the hill and frame the inner garden define the Ring House. The entrance sequence begins from the parking pad to a long, curved walkway that wraps around the inner garden and provides access to the bedrooms on one side of the home and the open-plan living areas on the other side. The house is powered with rooftop solar panels. + decaARCHITECTURE Images by decaARCHITECTURE and George Messaritakis

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Solar-powered Ring House heals a scarred hilltop landscape in Greece

Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles

March 19, 2019 by  
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Crafted to embrace spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the Ziering Residence is defined by its dramatically curved architecture and walls of glass. Local practice SPF: architects designed the contemporary house that’s perched high in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles and engineered to take advantage of passive systems, including cooling ocean breezes and the thermal mass of concrete floors. The home also reduces its energy footprint with rooftop solar panels and solar hot water heaters. With Pacific Ocean views on one side and the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains on the other, the solar powered  Ziering Residence was designed to embrace panoramic views on both sides while maintaining a deliberately low-slung profile so as not to obstruct views for neighboring residences. For privacy, the street-facing facade of the dwelling is clad in an ipe wood rainscreen. In contrast, the courtyard side is wrapped in sliding floor-to-ceiling glazing that seamlessly connects the interiors to the outdoors. The spacious 9,000-square-foot home is marked by an open-floor plan. The main living areas are housed in the curved section of the building, along with a guest suite, and overlook views of the ocean as well as the outdoor pool, courtyard  and long wood deck. A large kitchen and parlor connects the curved wing with the bedroom wing that juts out towards the ocean and contains the master bedroom. The lower level, which is partly submerged underground, contains an office, two additional bedrooms, a study, technical rooms, a sauna and a gym. Related: Wave-inspired Rainbow Bridge in Long Beach is covered in mini gardens and twinkling LED lights In addition to rooftop solar panels and passive solar principles , the Ziering Residence reduces its energy footprint by limiting the mechanical AC to only the kitchen, master suite and study. “A patented ‘Climate Right System’ designed and fabricated by the project engineer coordinates and controls all the systems, and a heat recovery ventilation program provides for the continuous cycling of fresh outside air,” the architects add. “Resulting utility costs are kept to a minimum, and like the rest of the home’s design and intent energy use is dictated, maintained, and heavily influenced by the natural climate.” + SPF: architects Images by Bruce Damonte

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Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles

A historical 16th-century building in Austria gets a green makeover

March 4, 2019 by  
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When architectural studio Peter Ebner and friends was tapped to design a building with two residential units in Salzburg, Austria , the firm not only had to contend with an abandoned historic property onsite but also the challenge of pushback from the local community. Although the existing 16th-century building had been neglected for years, fear of change to the building’s historic appearance sparked anxiety among the community and drove the architects to take an especially sensitive approach. The resulting renovation and expansion includes two new floors strategically stacked above the historic part of the building to echo the roofline of the medieval Hohensalzburg Fortress. The design also integrates energy-efficient technologies to dramatically reduce the building’s power consumption. Peter Ebner and friends has dubbed the adaptive reuse project “a hidden treasure” after its secluded location and its unusual design, which merges historic and modern architecture. The original building was built in the 16th century under Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Reitenau. Despite being used for a variety of purposes over the years, the building still retains the original Prince-Archbishop’s coat of arms on one of its facades. Romanesque columns from Salzburg Cathedral can also be found on the ground floor. In contrast to the ivory-colored stucco facade of the renovated historic building, the two-story contemporary addition is wrapped in a reflective metal facade that the architects compare to an “iridescent water surface.” With two owners, the residential building features a flexible interior with rooms of various sizes and shapes that can be closed off or combined depending on intended use. “[We] wanted to create a likeness of the historical city, with its alternation of squares and lanes, open and intimate spaces,” said the architects, who were inspired by the urban planning principle of diversity championed in Vincenzo Scamozzi’s treatise ‘The Ideal of Universal Architecture.’ Related: Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape Moreover, the Hidden Treasure Gestüthalle project also boasts a reduced energy footprint. Compared to similar residential buildings in Austria, the building consumes 90 percent less power thanks to green technologies , such as an underground heat pump. + Peter Ebner and friends Via ArchDaily and Elizaveta Klepanova Images by Paul Ott via Peter Ebner and friends

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Architects design gorgeous forest-enveloped home with lounge space on its green roof

March 4, 2019 by  
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Brazilian firm, MF+ Arquitetos have unveiled a beautiful wooden home design with a massive open-air lounge on its sprawling green roof. Located in a lush green forest outside of Madrid, Casa Spain is a 6,400-square-foot family home built to be a refuge in the woods. Designed to seamlessly blend into its forestscape and natural topography, the home’s heart is located on its dual-level green roof, which comes complete with a lounge area and fire pit. Although the gorgeous family abode is tucked into a forest, the home design was inspired by the homeowners’ desire to re-create a bright and airy beach home, but surrounded by greenery instead of ocean views. The result is a spectacular forest refuge that is fully integrated into its surroundings thanks to its contemporary volume and natural building materials. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina Using the building site’s natural environment as inspiration, the designers choose to create a organic volume made up of glass, stone, wood and concrete. Made up of two overlapping and perpendicular volumes, the home was strategically orientated to make the most out of the views. Both of the home’s levels make use of the wooden-clad eaves and panels of folding brise soleil to reduce solar heat gain and provide natural ventilation throughout the interior. The bottom level of the home sits on a small hill with an expansive stone platform that wraps around the ground floor. Large floor-to-ceiling glass panels open up to the outdoors and flood the interior with natural light . The upper level of the home is a smaller recessed volume that opens up to the roof of the bottom level, revealing a spectacular green roof that sits up high in eyeline with the dense tree canopy. With a large dining table, lounge area, fire pit and native vegetation, this outdoor terrace space is definitely at the heart of the home’s design. + MF+ Arquitetos Via World Architecture Images via MF+ Arquitetos

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Architects design gorgeous forest-enveloped home with lounge space on its green roof

A 1960s home gets a modern facelift with solar panels and rainwater collection

February 25, 2019 by  
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Needing more room to accommodate their growing family, a young couple enlisted the help of North Melbourne-based McManus Lew Architects to turn their single-bedroom villa into a modern three-bedroom dwelling. Built in the 1960s as part of a 10-unit development, the property — dubbed Kew Villa — needed to maintain a consistent exterior appearance to match the neighboring buildings; however, the interiors could be changed to better fit the clients’ contemporary lifestyle. The home was also outfitted with solar panels that return excess energy to the power grid, a rainwater catchment system and recycled construction materials. Spanning an area of a little over 1,300 square feet, the increased size of the Kew Villa was made possible with the purchase of a modestly sized and underutilized yard next to the original property. Since indoor/outdoor living was important to the clients, the architects not only retained the home’s existing south-facing courtyard but also added a new deck area on the north side that connects to the surrounding garden. Massive panes of glass and glazed doors create a seamless connection between the indoors and the deck, which serves as an outdoor living room with a built-in bench, planter box and a retractable awning for shade. “[The dwelling] boasts the features of a much more substantial home and demonstrates that comfortable and private family living can be achieved in unexpected places,” the architects said in a project statement. “Materials were selected to both sit comfortably amongst the existing textures and quietly to allow the appreciation of space. Honest timeless materials such as recycled brick , blackbutt timber and plywood work in harmoniously and are both classic and contemporary.” Related: A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living Dominated by white walls punctuated with timber surfaces and greenery throughout, the light-filled interior feels bright and spacious. Access to ample natural light and operable glazing helps reduce the energy demands of the home. Energy costs are further offset thanks to a photovoltaic system. Rainwater is collected to service the toilets. + McManus Lew Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Emily Bartlett Photography via McManus Lew Architects

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A 1960s home gets a modern facelift with solar panels and rainwater collection

Minimalist TRIPTYCH house pulls the Quebec outdoors in

December 12, 2018 by  
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Nestled in the Laurentian Mountains about a hundred kilometers from Montreal is TRIPTYCH, a crisp and contemporary home that blurs the boundaries of indoor and outdoor living. Designed by Montreal-based architecture firm yh2 , the residence was built in the image of three interconnected pavilions fitted out in a natural material palette as well as full-height glazing to pull the forested landscape indoors. Envisioned as a “theatrical stage for the surrounding nature,” the sculptural abode was carefully situated and angled for optimized views accentuated by the roofs that slope upwards in three directions. Constructed over the span of two years in Wentworth-Nord, Quebec, TRIPTYCH includes 2,500 square feet of living space spread out across two floors. The main living spaces—comprising an open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living room—are centrally located on the first floor in addition to an office, spacious outdoor terrace, and a guest suite located in the west wing. The master bedroom, on the other hand, is found on the ground floor’s east wing beneath the living room and is separated from the interior parking garage on the east end by centrally located storage and utility rooms. “The architects designed this building with a classical triptych in mind,” explains the firm in their project statement. “It features a central piece, with direct views of Lac St-Cyr, and two side pavilions meant to be in more intimate contact with the nearby trees. The project is about the idea of fragmentation; it evolved from the desire to integrate three discrete shapes among existing trees on naturally sloping grounds.” The three pavilions are connected with two glassed-in passageways. Related: Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact Natural materials were predominately used in construction. Eastern cedar planks clad the exterior facade and continue into the entrance area to blur the line between the indoors and out. The interior walls and ceiling are mainly gypsum board or white cedar while the floors are white oak or polished concrete. Black aluminum casings on the wide patio doors and windows provide a pop of contrast against the light-colored wood. + yh2 Photo credit: Maxime Brouillet

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The Nogal House saves energy with smart site-specific design

November 15, 2018 by  
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Mexican architecture practice BGP Arquitectura recently completed the Nogal House, a contemporary dwelling in San Pedro Garza García, Mexico that’s shaped by its environment in more ways than one. Named Nogal after the existing type of walnut trees on site, the building features a curved and asymmetrical layout informed by the locations of the trees and site preservation goals. The residence also adopts passive solar principles to minimize its energy footprint and uses insulated double glazing throughout. Spanning an area of 670 square meters over three floors, the Nogal House stretches east to west on a triangular site. Nature plays a central role in the design of the home, with its curvaceous, organic forms and natural materials palette . The boundary between indoor-outdoor living is blurred through full-height glazing and use of steel, rattan and wood-based furnishings, designed by the architects to match the colors and textures in the gardens. Multiple timber patios built around the walnut trees extend the living space to the outdoors. “The entrance to the house is through the middle level, where living, dining room and kitchen are located besides a home theater that, by opening and closing doors, could be an independent extra room for the house,” explained the architects of the layout. “A double-height space connects this level with the upper library, studio and pool area with a grill. In the ground level, in touch with the patios, are the bedrooms and the family room, in a more intimate atmosphere.” Related: Zigzagging green terraces make up a luxury residential block in Mexico City In addition to strengthening the dwelling’s connection with the outdoors, the operable walls of glass also flood the interiors with natural light to minimize dependence on artificial lighting while allowing for natural ventilation. Windows were minimized on the south facade to further reduce HVAC requirements. The home is also partly buried into the ground to take advantage of thermal mass ventilation and equipped with low-maintenance landscaping, low-flow fixtures and low-energy appliances. + BGP Arquitectura Photography by The Raws via BGP Arquitectura

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The Nogal House saves energy with smart site-specific design

Nature-inspired Teak House welcomes Vietnams lush forests indoors

October 8, 2018 by  
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Architect Pham Thanh Huy of Vietnamese design firm 282 Design recently renovated a villa into the Teak House, a Northern European-inspired getaway in the cool highlands of Ng?c Thanh in northern Vietnam. Inspired by the surrounding pine forest landscape and spurred by sustainable principles, Pham Thanh Huy created the contemporary home mainly with teak wood sourced from sustainably managed forests . In addition to the predominate timber palette indoors, the house embraces the living forest with full-height walls of glass as well as with a live tree that grows up through the center of the residence. Located on a pine hill in Flamingo Dai Lai Resort, the renovated Teak House serves as a retreat from the busy city. Spanning an area of 460 square meters across two stories, Teak House is clad in a combination of teak wood and rough artificial stone, materials that are carried over to the interior to blur the line between indoor and outdoor living . Teak was selected for its durability, which was of particular importance because of the harsh climate in northern Vietnam. To keep the focus on the outdoors, the interiors are minimally and cleanly detailed. The furnishings are mainly Nordic in style, including the suspended fireplace. The ground floor of the residence includes a living room, kitchen and dining room that connect to the front yard and back garden. On the mezzanine level is a small bedroom, while two additional bedrooms are found on the floor above, as is a long lap pool on the upper floor. Related: Beautiful light-filled home puts a modern twist on the humble bungalow “Teak House is the result of a journey seeking for the beauty of architecture in the interplay between culture and environment,” the architect said in a project statement. “In this interesting and arduous journey, we have been looking for the harmony of architecture, interiors, materials and natural wood techniques to create a delicate and sustainable house.” + 282 Design Via ArchDaily Images by Quang Tran

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