Long Lodge is an elegant and sustainable mass timber retreat proposal in the woods

November 19, 2018 by  
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Mass timber construction is growing more popular thanks to efforts like the 2018 Maine Mass Timber Competition , which has prompted elegant and sustainable wood-based designs such as “Long Lodge,” a design concept that won a 2018 Honor Award. Proposed for a specific north-facing property along the Appalachian Trail, the building consists of two wings — one for living and the other for sleeping — joined by a central void that frames views of the “Caribou Pond Trail” that connects to the main trail. The cross-laminated timber building would be elevated off the ground to minimize site impact and would also be wrapped in full-length glazing for direct connections and views of the outdoors. The Long Lodge was designed by a four-person team: Yueqi ‘Jazzy’ Li as the design lead, Shuang Bao, Nan Wei and Braham Berg. To protect the building against winter winds from the west, the designers positioned the building on a north-south axis and installed full-height glazing along the south facade to take advantage of solar gain. Elevated wooden walkways lead to the building and convene in the central outdoor terrace with a lookout point and outdoor grill. The west “living” wing consists of the foyer, lounge, food bar, dining area, library, meeting rooms, a kitchen, food storage and a gear storage/drying room. The “sleeping” wing on the opposite side comprises all the sleeping areas, bathrooms and a staff room. Built with cross-laminated timber for everything from the roof trusses and structural panels to the columns and beams, the building is set on insulated continuous footing foundation. Related: MIT develops a sustainable, mass timber-building prototype modeled after the longhouse “The elegant horizontality of the lodge, punctured by the verticality of native pines, bring to mind the pairing of the most fundamental forms,” the design team explained in their project statement. “An upside down glulam timber truss provides a single roof pitch outside but two opposing slopes inside. The truss makes for an efficient use of material as well as providing flexibility for employing other building systems. As the building pinches in the middle and fans out toward the ends, these trusses accommodate varying spans of 25’-60’. Each truss is supported by a series of posts and beams near their ends and a CLT panel in the middle that does the heavy lifting.” + Maine Mass Timber Images by Yueqi ‘Jazzy’ Li, Shuang Bao, Nan Wei and Braham Berg

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Long Lodge is an elegant and sustainable mass timber retreat proposal in the woods

Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

November 19, 2018 by  
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Located in the mountainous area of Filefjell, Norway, a stunning, solitary cabin peeks out over the snow-covered landscape. Designed by Oslo-based firm  Helen & Hard Architects , the beautiful Gubrandslie Cabin, which is made out of prefabricated solid wood panels, is designed to provide a low-impact shelter that can withstand the extreme climate characterized by harsh wind and snow. Located on the border of Jotunheimen National Park, the private, 1,184-square-foot home is sturdy enough to withstand the weather while simultaneously leaving  minimal impact on the pristine landscape. Large snow falls can wreck havoc on structures in this area, so the architects built the cabin to be inherently sheltered from the elements. Related: Contemporary ski chalet boasts gorgeous panoramic views and a low-energy footprint The first step in creating the  resilient design was to research the local climate and geography. Using extensive wind studies as a guide, the architects formed the home’s volume into an L-shape to mimic the slope of the landscape. Additionally, the cabin is integrated deep into the terrain to protect it from the elements. The roofs are slightly slanted in order to make it easier for the wind and snow to blow over the structure, avoiding heavy snow loads. Using the same climate to the home’s advantage, the architects were focused on creating a serene living space that took full advantage of the stunning, wintry landscape. The volume of the cabin is divided into three levels that follow the topography. The ground floor, which is embedded into the landscape, houses a sauna as well as the garage and plenty of storage. On the first floor, an all-glass facade makes up the entryway, which leads into a spacious, open-plan living area. The living, kitchen and dining space was orientated to face another wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels , providing breathtaking views of the exterior landscape. On the back side of the cabin, which houses the bedrooms, clerestory windows follow the length of the structure, allowing natural light to flow into the spaces without sacrificing privacy. + Helen & Hard Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Rasmus Norlander and Ragnar Hartvig via Helen & Hard Architects

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Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

Prefab open-air theater pops up with speed in a London park

August 6, 2018 by  
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Completed in just seven months, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theater in central London is yet another example of how prefabrication can be a fantastic solution for site-sensitive projects strapped for time. Local architecture firm Reed Watts Architects designed the theater using a lightweight cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel system. Set amidst protected Royal Parks trees, the cultural institution houses new rehearsal studios and a catering kitchen, marking the first time in the theater’s 86-year history that its operations have been brought together onto one site. Spanning an area of over 5,000 square feet on the far corner of the site, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theater is designed to host over 1,200 people every night during the summer season. The architects installed the building during the winter season, when the Theater was closed, atop relatively small foundations to minimize site impact. The building exterior is clad in dark-stained larch at its base with more textured cladding higher up; the overall effect helps the structure recede into the landscape and makes it look like a natural extension of the existing Theater buildings. “Reed Watts have succeeded in delivering a significant new rehearsal facility for the theatre, as well as a state of the art kitchen to support the commercial catering arm of our business,” said William Village, Executive Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theater. “Efficiently utilising every inch of the available footprint, the sense of scale when entering the building is impressive, and yet the design is sympathetic to the magical ambience of the Open Air Theatre. Realised with an acute understanding of the natural environment and the importance of our location in the heart of Regent’s Park, one might be forgiven for assuming that these new buildings have always been a feature of the theatre’s infrastructure.” Related: A prefab chapel’s sculptural form amplifies the landscape in Uruguay Most of the programs are located on the first floor; however, a floor above provides extra room for rehearsal spaces and a green room. The new studio is double-height to provide added flexibility for dancers, actors and acrobats. The space is illuminated by roof lights and tall windows, heated with underfloor heating and mechanically ventilated (and cooled) from upper-level ductwork. + Reed Watts Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Simone Kennedy and David Jensen

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Prefab open-air theater pops up with speed in a London park

Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

May 17, 2018 by  
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Since 1967, first-year Yale architecture students have designed and built buildings to better the community — and last year’s project was a stellar showing in affordable housing. For the 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project , students completed a 1,000-square-foot home that explores cost-efficient and flexible design. Constructed in New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood, the dwelling was created to provide shelter for the homeless. The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless is a handsome prefabricated structure clad in cedar and topped with a standing-seam metal gable roof. According to the project statement, students were “challenged to develop a cost-efficient, flexible design that tackles replicability in material, means, and method of construction.” The house comprises two separate dwellings: one is a studio, while the other is a two-bedroom apartment with built-in storage. Related: Washington D.C. architect wants to shelter the homeless in decommissioned subway cars The project also marked the first partnership between the Yale School of Architecture and the non-profit Columbus House , an organization that has been providing solutions to homelessness in the New Haven area since 1982. The house was the 50th Jim Vlock First Year Building. For the 2018 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, the Yale School of Architecture will partner with SmartLam , the first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber in the U.S., which will provide CLT panels for the construction of a two-family home for the homeless. + Jim Vlock First Year Building Project Images by Haylie Chan and Zelig Fok

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Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

This prefab cabin is designed to take you off grid in the Scottish Highlands

March 30, 2018 by  
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A new piece of prefab architecture will soon bring artists, researchers, and travelers closer to the spectacular Scottish Highlands. Artist Bobby Niven and architect Iain MacLeod designed the Artist Bothy, a multipurpose cabin prefabricated in Scotland from sustainable materials . Conceived as an artist residency space, the gabled hut promises a low-impact and off-grid immersion in nature. The Artist Bothy was born from the Bothy Project , a network of off-grid artist residency spaces that aims to support artist mobility and access to the Scottish landscape. To withstand the elements, the 178-square-foot cabin was constructed from cross-laminated timber panels clad in Corten corrugated metal and Scottish larch. Insulated with 100 millimeters of wood-fiber insulation, the gabled structure frames views through double-glazed windows. Surface water drainage is handled by concealed downpipes. Related: Solar-powered seaside cabin blends prefab design with traditional building techniques Each Artist Bothy can be installed on site in less than a day. While the structures were envisioned for off-grid use, they can also be connected to electricity and water services. The compact interior features a mostly wooden interior and a mezzanine level for sleeping. Optional extras for added functionality include a kitchenette, bench bed, shelving units, tables, a wood-burning stove , and outer decking. The Artist Bothy is available to purchase starting from £39,000 ($54,731 USD) . + Bothy Project Images by Johnny Barrington

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This prefab cabin is designed to take you off grid in the Scottish Highlands

Sprawling nets suspended mid-air turn a forest into a climbing wonderland

March 30, 2018 by  
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You don’t need to know how to climb a tree to enjoy this marvelous climbing maze suspended in a Guangdong forest. When the school affiliated to the Luofu Mountain Chinese Classics Institute wanted to encourage children to pursue more physical activity, the school tapped Chinese design studio unarchitecte to design a place conducive to play in the forested valley. Taking inspiration from nature, the designers created the Climbing Park of Luofu Mountain, a system of white nets and climbing areas elevated into the air that promotes a closer connection with nature. Careful consideration was taken to protect existing healthy trees during the construction process, while precautions were also taken to avoid damaging tree growth. Metal posts were installed to provide extra support. Hundreds of white triangular nets were pieced together to form an undulating surface with dips and rises evoking the surrounding topography. Related: Green Treehouse Provides an Incredible Learning Playground Children can explore the Climbing Park from multiple entrances, while adults (who are also invited to play up above) can supervise down below. In addition to the nets surface, the designers also included other net structures like spiral tubes and hemispherical tents . “A forest can become a place for children to return to nature, to explore and to think, to sweat and to sit still alone. In the nature, they can forget themselves and can also search for their inner selves,” wrote the architects. “Building a climbing system, architects connect all the trees in the valley by hundreds of diverse white triangle nets to constitute a combination of various topological folding surfaces like a “white sea” for children to swim carefree.” + unarchitecte Via gooood Images by Zhang Hetian

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Sprawling nets suspended mid-air turn a forest into a climbing wonderland

The brilliant folding M.A.Di Home can be assembled in hours

November 15, 2017 by  
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The M.A.Di Home is an ingenious a-frame home that can be easily assembled in just a few hours. The foldable design, created by Italian architect, Renato Vidal, , is earthquake-resilient and can be equipped with rooftop solar panels LED lighting, and grey water systems to take it totally off-grid. The modular, flat-pack design of the M.A.Di Home is meant to create a streamlined, sustainable process between manufacturing and assembly. Thanks to their unique folding ability, the homes are prefabricated off site, flat-packed and easily transported via truck or container to virtually any location. Once onsite, the construction process includes unfolding each module before adding the roof pitches, interior flooring, and walls to the home. The company estimates that each structure takes a team of three just six or seven hours to assemble. Related: Affordable flat-pack Surf Shack shelter operates completely off the grid Made out of CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) with a galvanized steel frame, the foldable homes are designed to last, even through earthquakes. The walls are insulated with a high-density rockwool and a polyurethane foam is used to waterproof the home, increasing its thermal insulation as a result. The structures can be built to go completely off grid by adding solar panels , grey water systems, and LED lighting. Additionally, the homes don’t necessarily need to be built on a concrete foundation, allowing the structure to have zero impact on the environment. For living space, the modules come in a variety of layouts and sizes, starting at a 290-square-feet tiny home to a larger 904-square-feet family home. Each model is two stories and comes with a kitchen, dining area and bathroom on the first floor, with the bedrooms on the upper floor. The A-frame design allows for an all-glass facade that lets in optimal amounts of natural light. They can also be equipped with an upper floor balcony off the bedrooms and a deck space on the ground floor. + M.A.Di Home Via New Atlas Images via M.A.Di Home

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The brilliant folding M.A.Di Home can be assembled in hours

7 global megatrends that could beat climate change

November 15, 2017 by  
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Is it too late for us to avert disastrous impacts of global warming ? Maybe not, thanks to megatrends changing the way humans live on a global scale. The Guardian’s environment editor Damian Carrington laid out trends that could turn the tide: renewable energy , electric cars , plant-based meat , energy efficiency , batteries , coal dying, and planting new forests . It’s clear we haven’t yet won the battle – but there could be reason for hope. Even as our world is warming, we haven’t yet lost the fight against climate change . Christiana Figueres, former United Nations climate chief and Mission 2020 convener, told The Guardian humanity still faces serious challenges as the climate turning point is just three years away. She said, “But the fact is we are seeing progress that is growing exponentially, and that is what gives me the most reason for hope.” Related: Here’s some climate hope: global CO2 emissions stayed static last year The seven megatrends outlined by Carrington suggest we could win humanity’s most complex global struggle. First? The development of lab-grown or plant-based meat products. Cows are responsible for emitting methane , a powerful greenhouse gas that traps heat on Earth. And people’s appetite for meat is increasing. But investors from Bill Gates to the Chinese government are starting to back tasty, environmentally friendly alternatives. Then there’s renewable energy: production costs have plummeted and installations have soared. According to The Guardian, renewables comprised two-thirds of new power last year. On the other hand, coal’s grip on the world is slipping: production could have peaked back in 2013. The International Renewable Energy Agency expects a large battery storage increase, as batteries are connected to smart and efficient grids . Meanwhile, if current growth rates keep going, by 2030 80 percent of new cars will be electric, according to The Guardian, which would reduce carbon emissions. Home energy efficiency is also making progress. In the European Union, for example, since 2000, efficiency in houses, industry, and transportation has improved by around 20 percent. The creation of new forests is another megatrend “not yet pointing in the right direction,” according to The Guardian, as deforestation continues apace. But tree-planting in South Korea, China, and India has already scrubbed over 12 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Bloomberg New Energy Finance founder Michael Liebreich told The Guardian, “We are not going to get through this without damage. But we can avoid the worst.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos

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7 global megatrends that could beat climate change

Bright blue trekking tents are designed to pop up with speed in Iceland

November 13, 2017 by  
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As if Iceland’s gorgeous waterfall-studded landscape wasn’t enough to draw the eye, Stockholm-based Utopia Arkitekter has designed a bright blue cabin for installation along the country’s most famous trekking trails. Created for a competition, the Skýli (“shelter” in Icelandic) is a rugged yet beautiful structure that takes after the classic tent shape. These off-grid shelters are designed for minimal landscape impact and are estimated to take two to three days for on-site assembly. Skýli was designed for high visibility with its four triangular gables and steel cladding painted bright blue, a hue reminiscent of Reykjavik’s colorful urban architecture. Each structure comprises four rooms: two bedrooms; a multipurpose kitchen area and first aid room; and a dining room with storage space. The cabin accommodates 15 people. Four triangular triple-glazed windows let in natural light and frame views, while the inner shell and furnishings are made from light-colored cross-laminated timber . Utopia Arkitekter designed Skýli for quick and easy installation anywhere on the landscape with efficient delivery via helicopter. A system of plinths would serve as stable foundation for the cabin’s weather-resistant steel shell painted with GreenCoat® , the only product on the market using Swedish rapeseed oil instead of fossil fuel-based oils. “Skýli is designed for pristine environments where sustainable development is of the highest importance. Materials need to be eco-conscious, while also resistant to extreme weather, which is one of the reasons we decided to choose GreenCoat steel for the roof,” said Mattias Litström, from Utopia Arkitekter. Related: Compact floating cabin pops up in extreme remote locations Each cabin would be equipped with a solar panel and battery for limited energy storage. Rainwater can be collected from the roof and can be purified for potable use. Liquified petroleum gas powers the kitchen appliances and can be used for heating when necessary. The Skýli trekking cabin was recently nominated for the World Architecture Festival Award 2017 in the category “Leisure-led Development – Future Projects.” + Utopia Arkitekter

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Bright blue trekking tents are designed to pop up with speed in Iceland

Cozy egg-shaped treehouses offer stunning views of the Italian Alps

October 10, 2017 by  
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A pair of adorable egg-shaped treehouses is hidden away in one of Italy’s oldest forests. Architetto Beltrame Claudio designed these dreamy retreats, called Pigna, that overlook stunning views of the Italian Alps. Inspired by the shape and texture of pinecones, these shingled dwellings are carefully designed to blend into the landscape while serving as a cozy and elegant getaway. Pigna was originally conceived for an architecture competition in 2014 but was only recently completed this year in Malborghetto Valbruna, Italy. The 70-square-meter project comprises two treehouses and both are elevated ten meters off the ground with three stories each. The egg-shaped buildings were constructed from cross-laminated timber with wood fiber insulation. Larch shingles clad the curved exterior punctuated by two covered balconies framing views of the outdoors. Related: Egg-Shaped HemLoft Treehouse is Nestled in the Forests of Whistler “The project started from the desire to create a structure that is not only a refuge for man, but also a natural element of its environment, a mimesis of its surrounding,” wrote the architects. “From the tree, for the tree.” The treehouses are anchored to nearby trees. Both the first and second floors can be reached via outdoor stairs or a walkway. The first floor serves as panoramic covered terrace, whereas the second houses the main living areas with a small kitchen, bathroom, and living room. The bedroom with a double bed placed beneath a circular skylight is located on the third floor. Wooden stairs connect all three floors. + Architetto Beltrame Claudio Via ArchDaily Images via Architetto Beltrame Claudio , interior shots by Laura Tessaro

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Cozy egg-shaped treehouses offer stunning views of the Italian Alps

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