Light-filled timber home is a modern zen haven in Seattle

July 18, 2017 by  
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How do you combine countryside tranquility with urban style? MW|Works Architecture+Design strikes a thoughtful balance in Helen Street, a beautiful modern home with handsome craftsmanship and careful attention to detail. Filled with light and views of the landscape, this lovely Seattle home is built largely of wood, from the heavy reclaimed timber cladding to the naturally weathered cedar plank roof. Helen Street was commissioned by clients who had been living on a rural property east of Seattle but found themselves drawn back to the vibrancy of city life. Thus, the architects were tasked to create a home with a smaller footprint than the client’s former house that still retained the peaceful setting of the countryside as well as easy indoor/outdoor living. The new-build is located on an urban corner lot in the walkable Madison Valley neighborhood next to Washington Park Arboretum , and comfortably houses the two clients and their two dogs. Related: Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces A courtyard is located at the heart of the home, bringing natural light and greenery deep in the interior. “Territorial view corridors helped identify where the building could be very transparent and where privacy was more important,” wrote the architects. “The material palette was simple with a largely glassy main level with solid volumes crisply detailed in cement panels.” Naturally weathered cedar planks clad the roof plane and master suite, while stacked and blackened reclaimed timber clad the exterior. + MW|Works Architecture+Design Images by Andrew Pogue

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Light-filled timber home is a modern zen haven in Seattle

Larger-than-life pineapple origami structure pops up on a historic UK landscape

July 18, 2017 by  
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If you love pineapples, prepare to pine over this gorgeous sculpture that’s popped up at the National Trust’s historic Berrington Hall in Herefordshire. Heather and Ivan Morison of Studio Morison designed Look! Look! Look!, a stunning sculptural pavilion in the shape of pineapple origami. The temporary installation is both beautiful and functional, and also draws attention to iconic landscape designer Capability Brown’s final masterpiece, the walled garden at the Georgian mansion. The Look! Look! Look! pavilion was developed as part of the National Trust and Arts Council England’s Trust New Art , a program of projects that brings new art to unique and historic settings. The dusty pink pineapple pavilion is instantly eye-catching and takes inspiration from Berrington’s Georgian history, particularly the use of exotic fruit like pineapples that were thought to have once been grown at the garden as a symbol of the family’s wealth and contemporariness. The pavilion’s delicate folds echo the geometric shapes found in the mansion’s interior. Studio Morison used paper origami to craft the pineapple structure and then worked with structural engineers Artura to bring the designs to life. Set on a sunken metal foundation frame, the 100-square-meter pavilion is made of CNC-milled timber pieces constructed into an intricate jigsaw totaling 90 frames. A special weather-resistant woven fabric, supplied by Mermet, is overlaid atop the timber structure. The interior features a weather-resistant wooden cobbled floor. Related: Luxembourg bar renovation mimics Japanese origami for a low footprint “The final piece looks strong and sculptural from far away, but takes on a translucent appearance from inside,” reads the press release. “The artists have also created bespoke, sculptural furniture housed inside the pavilion which echoes the geometric form of the structure.” Look! Look! Look! is open to the public until December 2019 and hosts a series of programs such as music and yoga. + Studio Morison Images via Ivan Morison

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Sprawling MW House blends into the Peruvian landscape with an undulating green roof

July 13, 2017 by  
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MW House by Riofrio+Rodrigo Arquitectos acts as an extension of the desert hills in Peru . Resembling the relief of the rocky landscape and featuring an undulating green roof, this seasonal house establishes a direct relationship with its surroundings and offers a series of rich indoor and outdoor spaces to its occupants. The house comprises two L-shaped blocks that house different functions. The first one is the main house which accommodates the living room, dining room, kitchen, wine cellar and a bedroom. This volume also features spaces that direct the view of the main rooms of the house towards the nearest hills. Related: Peru’s Chontay house was made using locally-sourced wood and clay to help it blend in with the surrounding mountains The second, smaller side houses service rooms and the entrance, laundry, bedrooms, car parking, kitchen and a storage space . An open courtyard connects the main house with secondary and guest bedrooms and allows occupants to enjoy a direct connection to nature. All of this is enclosed under a green roof that helps the home blend seamlessly with the landscape. + Riofrio+Rodrigo Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photos by Juan Solano Ojasi

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Sprawling MW House blends into the Peruvian landscape with an undulating green roof

Futuristic solar fabric canopy reacts to heat, sunlight, and movement

June 28, 2017 by  
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MoMA PS1 just completed one of its most experimental and coolest installations to date. The Long Island City-based contemporary art museum wrapped up construction on Lumen, an immersive and interactive installation made with solar-active canopies that glow at night. Designed by Jenny Sabin Studio , Lumen reacts like a living entity to light, heat, and movement, creating different engaging environments from day to night. Set to open to the public Thursday, June 29, Lumen will be on view in MoMA’s PS1 courtyard during summer 2017. The futuristic canopy was selected as the winner of The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1’s annual Young Architects Program that challenges emerging designers to create a temporary, outdoor installation addressing environmental issues and forward-thinking design. Jenny Sabin Studio designed Lumen with over a million yards of digitally knitted fiber made from recycled photo-luminescent textiles that absorb solar energy during the day and emit glowing hues of blue, pink, and purple at night. The cellular canopies are stretched overtop the courtyard and give the space an extraterrestrial vibe. Suspended from the canopy like stalactites are 250 tubular structures. A hundred robotically woven recycled spool stools are scattered throughout the courtyard like stalagmites. Related: Futuristic canopy made of knitted solar panels wins 2017 Young Architects Program at MoMA During the day, the canopy’s integrated misting system sprays water to cool visitors in hot weather. Lumen’s use of mist for cooling and its multicolored glowing backdrop at night creates a dynamic setting for the 20th season of Warm Up , MoMA PS1’s pioneering outdoor music series. MoMA PS1 writes: “Socially and environmentally responsive, Lumen’s adaptive architecture is inspired by collective levity, play, and interaction as the structure transforms throughout the day and night, responding to the density of bodies, heat, and sunlight. The result of collaboration across disciplines, Lumen applies insights and theories from biology, materials science, mathematics, and engineering—integrating high-performing, formfitting, and adaptive materials into a structure where code, pattern, human interaction, environment, geometry, and matter operate together.” + Jenny Sabin Studio Images by Pablo Enriquez

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Futuristic solar fabric canopy reacts to heat, sunlight, and movement

Japan’s House of 33 Years was once two separate buildings in two different towns

May 15, 2017 by  
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The past and the future coexist in this daylit house in Nara, Japan . Tokyo-based architecture studio ASSISTANT designed the house as a cluster of small buildings for an elderly couple who places great value on preserving memories. The result is a steel-framed structure that was built in several different locations and then assembled on-site to create several overlapping spaces. Local carpenters in Aomori built the main quarters of the house using locally available materials . The project was initially installed as part of the “Kime to Kehai” exhibition at the Aomori Contemporary Art Centre. After the exhibition, the team disassembled the structure and loaded it on a truck to transport it to Nara, where it was reassembled as the House of 33 Years. Related: Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads Students at the Sendai School of Design built the rooftop pavilion as an homage to Philip Johnson’s Ghost House. Before becoming a permanent part of the house, the pavilion was installed in the courtyard of a university campus and used by the students as a space for growing vegetables. + ASSISTANT Via Archdaily Lead photo by Shinkenchiku-sha

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Japan’s House of 33 Years was once two separate buildings in two different towns

Green-roofed Cantilever House floats above the Malaysian rainforest

May 2, 2017 by  
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This green-roofed house juts out over the lush rainforest of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Architecture firm Design Unit Sdn Bhd envisioned the Cantilever House as a “forest” of industrial steel columns that create a weightless-looking volume. Passive House design features – including an adjustable envelope – minimize the building’s impact on the environment. The house consists of two independent structures constructed of exposed structural steel and concrete, framing a large courtyard with a swimming pool . A long ramp connects the “steel box” to the ground. The opaque appearance disappears once inside– the double glazed full height sliding glass screens and adjustable glass louvers bathe the interior in natural light. This operable envelope wrapped in external sunscreens made from perforated stainless steel provides optimal natural ventilation and allows views of the surrounding rainforest . Related: Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia The two structures of the house serve different functions– one with living areas and bedrooms, and the lower one accommodating an art gallery and cinema. The grass-covered roof establishes different micro-climates and creates gardens for relaxation. These spaces allow occupants to enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle which maximizes contact with nature while minimizes disturbance to the site. + Design Unit Sdn Bhd Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Lin Ho Photography

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Green-roofed Cantilever House floats above the Malaysian rainforest

This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

April 21, 2017 by  
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From beneath this traditional thatched roof in the Netherlands emerges a stunning glass greenhouse. Lochem-based Maas Architecten conceived the Modern Countryside Villa as two contrasting volumes: an opaque, timber-clad space, and a transparent glass structure that lets the outside in. The Modern Countryside Villa, located on the edge of the town of Berlicum in North Brabant, has an H-shaped plan with contrasting wings that house different amenities. The timber-clad volume accommodates a garage and storage space , while a greenhouse-like structure protruding out from underneath the thatched roof functions as a studio space. The second wing houses the main living areas. The wooden volume in front of the living area houses a kitchen, pantry and toilet, while the master bedroom has direct access to the sheltered courtyard with a swimming pool and terrace. Related: DAPstockholm’s Energy-Efficient Villa Midgard is Nestled Into the Swedish Countryside The transparent parts of the house are sheltered by a grove of trees that lines the plot towards the nearby road. Large glazed surfaces provide an abundance of natural light and expansive views of the picturesque surroundings. + Maas Architecten Via Dezeen Photos by Edith Verhoeven Save

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This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

April 20, 2017 by  
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Giant “light cannons” funnel natural light deep within this new high-tech “eco city” in China. NBBJ designed the Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Center as an incubator for innovative technology and environmental companies. To strengthen the project’s sustainability, the design team included green roofs , water retention systems, natural ventilation , responsive facades and geothermal conditioning. The Nanjing Eco-Tech Park includes an exhibition hall, research offices and residential buildings. The Exhibition Center welcomes visitors a they approach the island from downtown Nanjing. The peaks on the building’s roof each have an oculus that funnels natural light inside the structure. The complex consists of eight, pentagon-shaped office buildings with large interior courtyards. Related: Amazon’s biosphere domes are slowly taking shape in Seattle The architects conducted light studies to come up with optimal daylighting and shading strategies for different times of the day and year. Light gets diffused by the cone geometry of the light cannons, while the overhangs function as passive solar shading devices. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The Exhibition Center is the first structure to be built on the island, and it has received the MIPIM Asia Best Chinese Futura Project Bronze Award. + NBBJ Via World Architecture News Lead photo by Paul Dingman

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Huge "light cannons" funnel daylight deep within this ultra green eco city in China

Conservation group names America’s most endangered river

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Lower Colorado River is one of the United States’ most vital waterways. Besides providing drinking water to 30 million Americans in cities such as San Diego, Las Vegas, and Tucson, the river also irrigates about 90 percent of the country’s winter-vegetable supply. But it’s in danger of being tapped out, according to American Rivers , an environmental group named it the most “most endangered” river in the nation. The reason is a simple case of demand outpacing supply. Coupled with the trend of intensifying droughts, the Lower Colorado is being depleted faster than it can replenish itself. “The Lower Colorado is the lifeblood of the region and grows food for Americans nationwide, but the river is at a breaking point,” said Matt Rice, Colorado Basin director for American Rivers. “It is critical that the Trump administration and Congress support and fund innovative water management solutions.” Related: The EPA just spilled 1 million gallons of mustard-colored mine waste into a Colorado river Proposed federal cuts , plus Trump’s determination to roll back environmental regulations set by his predecessor, offer no recourse. “Americans must speak up and let their elected officials know that healthy rivers are essential to our families, our communities and our future,” Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, said. “We must take care of the rivers that take care of us” Other rivers under similar duress include California’s Bear River, Washington’s South Fork Skykomish River, and Alabama’s Mobile Bay Basin. Via U.S.A. Today Photos by Denny Armstrong and Sharon Mollerus

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Conservation group names America’s most endangered river

Times Square now has double the public space

April 20, 2017 by  
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The most visited destination in the United States now has double the public space—an amazing feat unimaginable just ten years ago. When New York City temporarily closed part of Broadway Street at Times Square to traffic and created a pedestrian plaza in 2009, many dismissed the experiment as foolish. But the removal of cars in favor of public space proved an incredible success and with the pilot project turned permanent, Times Square was forever reinvented. Today, the city announced the official completion of their reconstruction project: a 2.5-acre permanent pedestrian-only public plaza on Broadway designed by architecture firm Snøhetta. With an average of 45 million visitors each year—many of who look up at the billboards instead of the path in front—Times Square is notorious for its pedestrian traffic. Before the addition of pedestrian plazas, the exposure to vehicular traffic, slow-moving pedestrians , and small sidewalks made visiting Times Square an unpleasant, polluted, and sometimes unsafe experience. However, with the re-direction of vehicular traffic and the return of public space to pedestrians, Times Square dramatically transformed into a welcoming civic space. Pedestrian injuries decreased by 40 percent and crime in the overall area decreased by 20 percent. Air pollution has even fallen by as much as 60 percent. This week marks the official opening of the completed Times Square reconstruction project, designed by Snøhetta and completed in 2016. Together with the NYC Department of Transportation , Department of Design and Construction, and the Times Square Alliance, the architecture firm carved 2.5 acres of pedestrian space out of a project site known as the “Bowtie” in the heart of the Times Square Theater District, bounded by Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets. The first phase of the pedestrian street opened to the public in spring 2014. An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers and visitors agreed that the plaza has enhanced Times Square and made it a more pleasant place. Related: Snøhetta Selected to Design A New Car-Free Times Square “Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta. The Bowtie is designed to accommodate multiple speeds of pedestrian circulation—330,000 people move through Times Square on average every day—using subtle design cues. Street furniture and other design elements also create a welcoming space to linger. Conceived as “an outdoor room right in the heart of Manhattan,” the plaza includes ten fifty-foot-long granite benches plugged into the city’s power grid and connected to 400-amp, 200-amp, and 20-amp power sources. The reconstruction project also allowed for major overhaul of outdated infrastructure, including the sewer lines below. + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

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