Breezy Ecuadorian brick home on stilts embraces cool tropical winds

August 7, 2018 by  
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Ecuadorian architecture firm Natura Futura Arquitectura has completed the Stilts House, an elevated brick home that opens up to the outdoors with a perforated facade. Located in General Villamil, a coastal canton of the province of Guayas, the Stilts House celebrates the UNESCO-recognized region’s superb climate and culture of great craftsmanship through its site-specific design. Built of local natural materials and concrete, the home spans 1,722 square feet across two floors. Named after its system of teak pillars, the Stilts House includes three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchenette, dining area, an enclosed outdoor courtyard , hammock space and two living areas, one on each floor. The main living spaces of the brick home, including the hammock area, are placed on the first floor, and the secondary living area and the bedrooms are located above. To tie the residence into its surroundings, the architects used locally sourced materials including traditional baked bricks laid in a pattern that allows ventilation; no glass was used. Related: This weekend home in Mexico blends in with the forest landscape “On the ground floor, and integrated with the outside and their day-to-day activities, there is a social area that closes in on itself, and opens toward the interior of the house as a rest area with hammocks ,” said Natura Futura Arquitectura in its project statement. “This will generate micro-climates, through the material and its new features.” Timber shutters and sliding doors provide additional privacy and can be easily opened up to connect the interior with the outdoors. + Natura Futura Arquitectura Images via JAG Studio

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Breezy Ecuadorian brick home on stilts embraces cool tropical winds

The affordable, carbon-positive CORE 9 house generates more energy than it uses

April 3, 2018 by  
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With its CORE 9 home, architecture firm Beaumont Concepts aims to redefine how affordable sustainable housing is designed and built. The compact, low-maintenance house can be adapted for energy ratings from 6 to 10-star, which allows it to accommodate a range of budgets. The architects collaborated with a team of building designers and thermal performance professionals in order to develop affordable homes that respond to Australia’s climate. The resulting design, named CORE, is a carbon-positive home that relies on renewable energy sources and feeds surplus energy back to the grid. Related: Passive Erpingham House in Australia is affordable, light-filled and easily replicable The team used a selection of recycled and sustainable materials with a low embodied energy . These materials themselves can be up-cycled or re-processed after use. Cross-ventilation and maximum use of northern light help to reduce heating and cooling loads. In order to keep costs as low as possible, the designers also incorporated an inverted roof truss, which allows more light into the building but doesn’t require any specialist construction methods or additional costs. + Beaumont Concepts Via Archdaily Photos by Warren Reed and Leo Edwards

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The affordable, carbon-positive CORE 9 house generates more energy than it uses

This tiny house on wheels can expand to meet the owner’s needs

March 30, 2018 by  
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Owning a house no longer means you have to stay in place. This tiny house on wheels, built to withstand extreme climates, can both change locations at a moment’s notice and expand in order to adjust to specific user needs. The Tiny House Company’s newest design, named Swallowtail, can be used as a primary home, weekender, studio, extended living space, or anything in between. Post-war homes inspired the tiny house’s design – it features a butterfly roof , timber screen, plywood cladding and corrugated sheeting. The butterfly roof has an integrated box gutter and downpipe for easy connection and rainwater collection , all hidden from view beside a paulownia timber screen. Related: This huge ‘tiny house’ on wheels can fit a family of five! The location of the doors and windows maximizes  cross-ventilation , and the walls and roof are well insulated. Durable and low-maintenance cladding and flashing ensure that the house retains a watertight seal at all times. The minimal floor plan keeps the interior looking uncluttered and clean, accommodating a range of optional extras and different furniture arrangements. Owners can add storage, shelving, optional window/door upgrades and additions, awnings, a planter box, higher-end fixtures, and additional cabinetry. Basic models of the home start at around $62,500. + The Tiny House Company Via Apartment Therapy

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This tiny house on wheels can expand to meet the owner’s needs

This passively cooled house in Australia features a green roof, recycled brick, and ocean views

March 22, 2018 by  
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The residents of Greenacres,  Austin Maynard Architects ‘ first completed project in New South Wales, originally asked for a light-filled home and a room with a view. The architects decided to take it a step further, building a house that not only affords ocean views from almost every interior space, but also incorporates the existing landscape and uses sustainable design to maximize energy efficiency. Perched on a steep block in Newcastle, the house utilizes the existing topography to create different spaces across three levels and provide expansive views of its surroundings. The garage lies hidden at the base of the property, with the entry path and garden weaving along the structure and through the green roof . A landscaped driveway reduces the visual impact of the hard surfaces in front of the house. Propped on three steel “legs” above this section, the building’s main level houses the kitchen, living and dining areas. And finally, two bedrooms and a bathroom are tucked in beneath this rectangular space. Related: Eco-Friendly Tinbeerwah House Rises on Steel Stilts in the Australian Bush Austin Maynard Architects also made sure Greenacres didn’t get in the way of its own view. Whether in the living space, the rear of the building, or any space in between, you have a clear view of the ocean, the Merewether Ocean Baths, and the city.   Related: Australia’s first carbon-positive prefab house produces more energy than it consumes In addition to these main design considerations, the architects included sustainable features to help save energy. They used locally sourced recycled brick throughout the house. The orientation, window shading, attention to cross ventilation, and central fish pond aid passive cooling and reduce reliance on mechanical ventilation. All windows are double glazed and protected from the northern and western sun. Water tanks, buried in the garden, provide ample water for the gardens and the toilets. The result is the best of both worlds: a house with stunning ocean views that also manages to be energy-efficient. + Austin Maynard Architects Via World Architecture News Photos by Tess Kelly  

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This passively cooled house in Australia features a green roof, recycled brick, and ocean views

20% of US population produces 46% of food-based emissions

March 22, 2018 by  
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A monumental new study demonstrates that one-fifth of the American population is responsible for nearly half of all food-based emissions. Popsci reports that people who eat a lot of animal protein, especially beef, account for a larger share of greenhouse gas emissions — although, author Sara Chodosh also illustrates the extreme complexity behind the study’s potentially groundbreaking conclusions. Read on for a closer look. Published in Environmental Research Letters specifically sought to understand how diet and associated emissions varies among the American population. Martin Heller, an engineer at the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems and study contributor, told Popsci it was surprising to realize just how varied they are. “I don’t think any of us really had a strong sense of how distributed the greenhouse gas emissions would be,” he says. “That was perhaps the most striking result.” Getting to the meat of the matter (sorry, I couldn’t resist) involved consulting several different databases and picking apart the life-cycle analysis of every morsel. Chodosh writes : “The NHANES survey results can tell you what a broad spectrum of American plates look like on any given day, but tells you nothing about the environmental impact of those foods. To do that, you have to go to the Food Commodities Intake Database, run by the EPA, and figure out how much meat might be in that meat lasagna, or how many tomatoes are in a generic salad. From there, you have to link the quantities of each type of food to the emissions associated with producing it.” Related: Garlic may be the key to slashing methane emissions from cows When evaluating the emissions of a single tomato, it was necessary to know how much fertilizer was used in its production, and then how much fuel was used to transport that tomato. With poultry, the researchers had to also consider feed production, and when analyzing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with eating beef, they had to calculate the amount of methane released by cow burps. I urge you to head over to Popsci to read the full details , because this short synthesis doesn’t do their reporting justice, but here’s the bottom line that we found so interesting: What next? Now that we know one-fifth of the American population is producing nearly half of food-based emissions — which in their turn are helping to melt glaciers and unleash devastating wildfires, not to mention the numerous adverse health hazards attributed to climate change — what do we do with that information? Heller tells Popsci, “Clearly we’ve not been very good at encouraging people to shift their diets for their own health. Relative to what our recommended healthy diet is, Americans do pretty poorly,” he says, “But I’ve started to try to think about it as the secondhand smoke of diet choice.” Fascinating. If you understood that your dietary choices directly hurt your neighbor, would you make a switch? + Environmental Research Letters Via Popsci Images via DepositPhotos 1 , 2

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Beautiful Bah’ House of Worship unveiled for Papua New Guinea capital

March 22, 2018 by  
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The temples of the Bahá’í Faith are renowned for their beauty—and the new national Bahá’í House of Worship in Papua New Guinea will be no exception. The Bahá’í International Community unveiled yesterday the design for the national Baha’i House of Worship of Papua New Guinea, a latticed domed temple open to all regardless of religion. Locally based architects Henry Lape and Saeed Granfar created the design with the country’s over 700 distinct cultural groups in mind in hopes of creating “a universal theme.” Yesterday’s Bahá’í House of Worship design unveiling was celebrated during Naw-Ruz, the Bahá’í New Year, at the temple’s proposed site in Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby. Set overlooking the Waigani valley, the proposed temple is located on an elevated plot with the advantage of views and cool breezes even in the heat of the day. The latticed dome temple is open for cross ventilation and alludes to the country’s traditional craft of weaving. Related: UK architect helps locals rebuild Nepal temple destroyed by earthquake “One subtle image which time and again stood out to us was that of the art of weaving,” continued Mr. Lape and Mr. Granfar in their talk. “In traditional village life, which remains alive and vibrant in Papua New Guinea today, and in urban households alike, woven surfaces and objects are found in abundance. It is an image which resonates closely with ‘home’ for many of us, a functional and inherently beautiful art form which we interact with daily.” Weaving imagery also ties into Baha’i’s embrace of peoples from all backgrounds. “The craft of weaving is analogous to the process of building unity in diversity. Individual strands come together to form something infinitely stronger than the object constituent parts, and the whole draws on the contributions of each individual strand.” As specified by Bahá’í scripture, the national Bahá’í House of Worship in Papua New Guinea features nine sides, each with a gable-roofed entrance. The temple will be able to seat 350 people. + Bahá’í International Community Via ArchDaily Images via Bahá’í International Community

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Beautiful Bah’ House of Worship unveiled for Papua New Guinea capital

This pop-up prefab cocoon can immerse you in the heart of nature

November 1, 2017 by  
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Immersing yourself in nature without leaving the comfort of the hotel room may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what French architect and civil engineer Christophe Benichou sets out to achieve in LUMISHELL . Created in the shape of a cocoon, this prefabricated curved dwelling blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor space with LUMICENEs, a patented reversible window concept. The LUMISHELL is designed for placement in a variety of exotic environments—even in Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat that experiences below freezing temperatures. Clad in a protective aluminum skin, the 40-square-meter LUMISHELL comprises all the needs for a comfortable, long-term stay including a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. The bedroom and living room are located at opposite ends of the curved dwelling and wrapped by LUMICENE , a curved glass sliding door that opens up to transform the room into an outdoor space. Curtains attached to the LUMICENE rails allow for privacy and protection from solar gain, while the shape of the structure is optimized for natural cross ventilation. Related: Cover installs its first prefab dwelling “for the masses” in L.A. “Both rooms provide unique panoramic views and can be occasionally transformed into outdoor spaces to enhance the feeling of being transplanted in the middle of vast scapes,” wrote the architect. “Various mirrors also create reflections that diffuse the landscape in the heart of the dwelling.” The self-supporting and prefabricated LUMISHELL can be assembled on site in as little as four days—not including hookups—and does not require foundations. The LUMISHELL is currently available for pre-orders and is expected to ship out for first installations in 2018. + LUMISHELL

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Elegant Australian home shows the beauty and toughness of rammed earth

June 14, 2017 by  
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Rammed earth may be an ancient building material, but the modern homes that use compact earth are anything but old-fashioned. One such example is Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers’ recently completed Layer House, a robust and elegant home in Victoria, Australia that keeps naturally cool with rammed earth walls. Made from local materials by local artisans, the rammed earth is paired with timber to create a beautiful palette that will last the test of time. Built to last generations, the large 470-square-meter Layer House was designed with an eye for detail and quality. The home derives its name from the intersecting zones and private vistas created from an asymmetrical layout that wraps around a series of courtyards . Rammed earth and timber are the two main building materials in the Layer House. The architects write: “The sand component of the rammed earth is locally sourced and built by local artisans. Rammed earth is a sustainable, honest, and efficient building material that requires no maintenance and ages gracefully. The timber will be allowed to grey off and age with time.” A few vibrant pops of color, such as the green tiled island bench and blue sofa, provide contrast to the pale color palette. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The low-maintenance rammed earth walls provide a thermal mass for passive cooling in summer and heating in winter. Energy efficiency is further improved with double glazed and thermally broken aluminum doors and windows. Louvers control the flow of cross ventilation, while hydronic heating is embedded into the concrete floors. + Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers Via ArchDaily Images © Shannon McGrath

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Aging Spanish wine cellar renovated as a gorgeous contemporary stone home

February 19, 2016 by  
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Stunning Beach Avenue is an eco-friendly home in Australia

August 31, 2015 by  
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