Amber-tinted glass clads Gienckes extraordinary concert hall in Latvia

April 22, 2017 by  
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At the heart of the building lies the Great Hall, a venue that holds up to 1,000 guests for performances by the resident Liepaja Symphony Orchestra or other acts. The space is primed for acoustic perfection and is visually pleasing as well. Sunlight is piped in via sun tubes to give the space a natural glow and the seats’ fabric mimic the variation in hues created by light shining through the amber glass. Related: The world’s first sustainable dance club opens in Rotterdam The hall is also home to the Liepaja Conservatorium, a ballet studio, and an experimental stage. Students and teachers of the arts can also meet and share their imaginative creations in the various instruction and rehearsal rooms available. For the public, a bar and music club attracts those interested in a night on the town and a dose of local culture. It’s no doubt the Great Amber Concert Hall will entertain and inspire for years to come. + Volker Giencke Via Frame Images via Indrikis Sturmanis and Aigars Prusis

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Amber-tinted glass clads Gienckes extraordinary concert hall in Latvia

Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

March 23, 2017 by  
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Toronto-based superkül architects designed a vacation home for a family of six transitioning back to Canada after living abroad. Set on the grassy plains of Mulmur, Ontario, the 4,300-square-foot dwelling is a striking all-white building that prioritizes low maintenance, natural light, and energy savings. The energy-efficient home was built in two phases, the first of which was certified LEED Gold . Created as a spacious weekend home, the Compass House comprises two volumes arranged in an L-shaped plan with multiple bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room at the heart. The dwelling was constructed with locally sourced fieldstone and other low-maintenance materials such as the white cement-board siding, aluminum windows, and steel roof. In contrast to the hardy, weatherproof exterior, the interior emanates warmth with white oak and knotty white cedar floors and walls. Related: Superkül Designs Canada’s First Active House Skylights and large windows fill the home with natural light and ventilation. The ample glazing also frames views of the varied landscape, from the forests to the west to the 100 acres of fields in the north and east. An outdoor courtyard extends the indoor spaces out. “Through its siting, tectonics and materiality, it balances intimacy and expansiveness, light and dark, land and sky — orienting and heightening one’s experience of the surrounding environment,” wrote the architects. Use of geothermal -powered heating and cooling, natural daylighting, passive ventilation, and high insulation values help keep energy demands low despite the building’s large size. Construction waste was also kept to a minimum. + Superkül Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Studio

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Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

March 23, 2017 by  
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Madison just became the first city in Wisconsin and the largest city in the Midwest to commit to 100 percent clean energy in just the latest example of how President Donald Trump can’t stop the renewables revolution. The state capital and college town is the 25th US city to commit to the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy following Tuesday’s city council vote. The vote allocated $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 for city operations to achieve goals of 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, including electricity, heating and transportation. “Madison’s historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy shows that we are determined to lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment,” Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said in a statement. “The benefits of a transition to 100 percent clean energy are many. These goals will drive a clean energy economy that creates local jobs, provides affordable and sustainable electricity, and results in cleaner air and water. I am proud to be a part of this council that has made the historic commitment that will lead our community to a more sustainable future.” Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy Abita Springs, Louisiana also voted on Tuesday to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. The Sierra Club said that Madison and Abita Springs both committing to 100 percent clean energy demonstrates that there is bipartisan support across the country for a renewable energy future because liberal Madison voted for Hillary Clinton while conservative voters in Abita Springs went for Donald Trump. “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy, and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs,” Greg Lemons, mayor of Abita Springs, said in a statement. “Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense. By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community. Clean energy is a way that we can save money for Abita Springs both today and in the future.” Other American cities that have made the 100 percent renewable energy pledge include Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; the California cities of San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose; Rochester, Minnesota; St. Petersburg, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; East Hampton, New York; Greensburg, Kansas; and Georgetown, Texas. Via Sierra Club Image 1 , 2 via Good Free Photos

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Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

February 27, 2017 by  
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Spark Architect’s Tent House is a seasonal shapeshifter. Situated close to Australia ’s famed Sunshine Coast, the house’s location in a rainforest clearing called for a unique design that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. Limited by the natural size of the clearing and surrounded by a forest wall, the tent home was carefully planned to make maximum use of all available space. A large, open area houses a kitchen , a dining area complete with an accommodating table, and a living “room”, all with a welcoming flow that makes the home ideal for entertaining and for family living. A continuous corridor links the common spaces to hang-out nooks and multiple bedrooms, including two situated at either end of the house that feature picturesque views of the surrounding greenery. Although the area generally welcomes warm temperatures year round, the house was crafted for easy transitioning according to weather. The homeowners can manually slide open walls to welcome the fresh air as they wish; the roof also retracts to reveal the translucent tent canopy and expansive sky above. The tent buffers the home from sun exposure while still allowing for plenty of light to filter through. The space between the tent and the box-like structure’s insulated roof  encourages natural air flow. In addition to offering shade, the pitched tent canopy extends the home’s boundaries for play and relaxation. With the walls/doors open, the entire house becomes an open-air sanctuary, a perfect exploration ground for children and adults. Nature surrounds the Tent House in the form of trees, a river, and a garden area, but it is also reflected within the sleek space: a warm wood floor inset brightens up the concrete floor, and underneath the bar area, wood panels peek out to contrast with the industrial metal counter. The ultimate result is a shelter that looks like our childhood camping dreams grew up and made room for family and friends to join in on the indoor/outdoor fun. Via Uncrate All images © Christopher Jones

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Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

Architects tack massive, locally-sourced bluestone box onto old Victorian Home

January 6, 2017 by  
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In what certainly could never be called a subtle upgrade, Australian firm Hook Turn Architecture has tacked on a massive tessellated bluestone box to the backend of an old Victoria home in Brunswick East, a suburb just outside of Melbourne. Although the renovation process for the Quarry House called for retaining the original 1880s Victorian brick facade in the front, the architects decided to get playful with the back yard addition, plopping a locally-sourced bluestone cube with a gaping window on top of the original structure. The second story box is virtually undetected from the front of the house, but once around back, the new addition is quite the eye-catching feature. However, the large blue box does have a local significance. The architects chose to go bold with the bluestone in order to pay respectful homage to the surrounding area’s history of brick and bluestone quarrying . Related: Renovated Victorian House in Toronto combines the best of rural and urban living Using that as a starting point, the architects envisioned a design of two stacked boxes, one brick box on the ground floor that blended in nicely with the original brick structure , and one massive bluestone box on the upper floor. The top box extends out over the ground floor in order to provide the interior with shade during the hot summer months. As for the exterior of the stone box, a tessellated pattern was used to give the new addition some depth and character. The large window was carved out using folded zinc panels on the border to give off the appearance of eroded columnar basalt, leaving the window looking like gaping hole from the outside, but letting in optimal daylight into the new master bedroom. As for the rest of the home, the interior is daylit from a central courtyard built into the design. + Hook Turn Architecture Via Design Milk

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Architects tack massive, locally-sourced bluestone box onto old Victorian Home

Xomali House in Mexico City makes clever use of a tiny 115 square foot lot

January 5, 2017 by  
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DMP Aquitectura built the Xomali House on a tiny plot of land of just 115 square feet in Mexico City . They carefully designed it to make the most out of the reduced space while keeping material costs down. Filled with hidden storage everywhere and built with standard affordable materials like wood, ceramic tiles and concrete, the home also keeps the neighbors close with a communal courtyard .

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Xomali House in Mexico City makes clever use of a tiny 115 square foot lot

This humble home in South Korea features an observation tower for amazing views

December 29, 2016 by  
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Imagine buying a plot of land with a stellar view for your future home, only to see the construction of multi-family developments on the neighboring sites, threatening to block out the dreamy scenery. That’s exactly what happened to ON Architecture ’s client near Gimhae, South Korea. In order to preserve scenic views of the nearby city, while fulfilling the client’s desire to have a small home, the architects devised Tower House, a unique modern structure with an unexpected vertical element in the form of a raised gallery. From there, the homeowner can soak up the precious view, unscathed by nearby developments. Tower House was designed by ON Architecture and built in 2015. The home sits just outside the city of Gimhae in South Korea ’s South Gyeongsang Province, in the southeastern corner of the country’s main island. Designing a small house that could compete with neighboring multi-family dwellings was a challenge, but the architects carefully crafted a plan that would give their client everything they wanted, and possibly more. Related: Parametrically designed Louverwall house maximizes winter sunlight To provide a place for cityscape-gazing, the architects devised an observation tower that would hold the home’s living room. Additionally, a connected foyer serves as a vertical gallery where the homeowner can display their ornamental rock collection and potted plants. The resulting foyer is the centerpoint of movement inside the house, linking all the individual rooms. ON Architecture’s client requested a small house, despite the spacious plot of land they had to work with. In response, the architects created a corresponding outdoor space for each room of the house, thereby stretching the usable area and facilitating a kind of communication between the indoors and the outside world. To achieve this goal, the home’s overall footprint was designed in an X configuration, maximizing the opportunity for “in-between spaces” outdoors that can be used independently. The positioning of the rooms within the house puts the living room and master bedroom on the south-facing wall, ensuring those spaces would be flooded with natural light during the day. Tower House also features a terrace, in front of the living room, inspired by Numaru, a Korean traditional loft floor structure. + ON Architecture Via Architizer Images via ON Architecture

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This humble home in South Korea features an observation tower for amazing views

An old Swiss farmhouse gets a striking wooden extension that juxtaposes past and present

December 28, 2016 by  
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Studio Marazzi Reinhardt recently updated an old farmhouse in the quiet Swiss village of Löhningen  with a striking wooden extension that seamlessly melds modern and classic architecture. ‘Haus Zur Blume’ ads extra living space to an existing home while juxtaposing the past against the present. The modern structure is wrapped in a wooden slat facade that filters natural light.

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An old Swiss farmhouse gets a striking wooden extension that juxtaposes past and present

An old Swiss farmhouse gets a striking wooden extension that juxtaposes past and present

December 28, 2016 by  
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Studio Marazzi Reinhardt recently updated an old farmhouse in the quiet Swiss village of Löhningen  with a striking wooden extension that seamlessly melds modern and classic architecture. ‘Haus Zur Blume’ ads extra living space to an existing home while juxtaposing the past against the present. The modern structure is wrapped in a wooden slat facade that filters natural light.

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An old Swiss farmhouse gets a striking wooden extension that juxtaposes past and present

Did Uber flub its chance to expand self-driving ride-hailing service to San Francisco?

December 28, 2016 by  
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A few weeks ago, Uber quietly expanded its self-driving ride-hailing service to its hometown of San Francisco. The launch marked a triumphant leap forward just three short months after the company initially began offering riders in Pittsburgh the option of hailing a self-driving car. Unfortunately, the California Department of Motor Vehicles swiftly shut down the San Francisco operation by revoking the registrations on Uber’s 16 self-driving vehicles, citing the company’s failure to obtain the proper permits. That decision prompted Uber to announce it would look for another city to roll out its self-driving pilot program, but many questions remain about whether they will ever be able to pull it off in their home state.

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