Off-grid home is inspired by the iconic Australian Akubra hat

January 22, 2020 by  
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The Australian Akubra hat is one of the many symbols of the country, and one architectural team has used the hat’s recognizable form as inspiration for a spectacular off-grid home in the small NSW town of Nundle. Designed by architect Alexander Symes, the Upside Down Akubra House, which is located on a bull farm, features a massive flat roof that is about 2.5 times the size of the building’s footprint. But the unique volume isn’t all about whimsy. In fact, the structure is actually a powerhouse of passive and active design features that allow it to operate completely off the grid . Throughout the design process, the architect worked closely with the homeowners, who are bull farmers. Set in a large grove of eucalyptus trees, the owners requested that their new house not only provide unobstructed, 360-degree views of the stunning landscape but also offer them the off-grid lifestyle required by the remote location. Related: Off-grid farmhouse on Australia’s remote French Island runs on solar energy Accordingly, the resulting home features wide windows and sliding glass doors that lead out to a wrap-around deck, allowing the interior to have a strong connection to the outdoors. Additionally, this outdoor space is shaded by the oversized roof. This shading strategy provides a lovely open-air place to hang out with friends and family and keeps the house nice and cool during the searing-hot summers. The interior of the three-bedroom home boasts sleek concrete flooring and walls that contrast nicely with natural wood accents. The main living area has a spacious layout that opens up to the decks, which feature ample room for dining and lounging. A cozy fire pit welcomes the homeowners and their guests to gather together at the end of the day. The beautiful design lets the residents take full advantage of its breathtaking setting and enjoy the perks that come with living off the grid. An adjacent 800-square-foot carport is covered with solar panels , which allow the house to generate and store all of its own energy. Additionally, the rooftop also has a catchment system to reroute rain into water tanks for reuse. + Alexander Symes Architect Via ArchDaily Images via Alexander Symes Architect

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Off-grid home is inspired by the iconic Australian Akubra hat

"Embroidered filtering skin helps library regulate light

January 20, 2020 by  
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French design practice Serero Architectes Urbanistes has recently completed the new Bayeux Media Library, a light-filled cultural institution that connects the northwestern French commune’s historical roots to its future development zones. Inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry, the building includes an “embroidered filtering skin” along its north facade comprising a series of multicolored tubes hanging behind the glazed facade to help filter views and light while mitigating unwanted solar gain. Energy usage is reduced thanks to an abundance of glazing outfitted with solar shades as well as an insulating green roof. Located next to the beltway near Bayeux’s dense historic center, the Bayeux Media Library has been strategically located to provide views of the cathedral. To emphasize a connection between the historic center and nearby contemporary development, the architects opted for a “transparent, landscape-building” with a horizontal profile and minimalist design. The glazed library also focuses on the indoor/ outdoor experience with outdoor reading terraces on the south side. At the heart of the contemporary Bayeux Media Library is its reference to the Bayeux Tapestry, a nearly 230-foot-long embroidered cloth dating back to the 11th century that depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. “It inspired the design of the media library’s north façade,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Stitch by stitch and thread by thread, embroidery was applied to the fabric to form the tapestry’s semiotic elements. The Boulevard Ware façade of the library is entirely glazed and protected by a ‘filtering skin’ composed of tubes tinted in the natural colors of the woolen yarns in the famous Bayeux Tapestry: beige, brown, bronze green, blue-black and deep blue with yellow highlights.” Related: Near net-zero energy Helsinki Central Library boasts an award-winning, prefab design In addition to the “embroidered” filtering skin on the north facade, the architects added an overhanging roof to shield the interior from unwanted solar gain on the south facade. The glazed east, west, and south facades are also equipped with roller blinds. Skylights let in additional natural light.  + Serero Architectes Urbanistes Photography by Didier Boy de la Tour via Serero Architectes Urbanistes

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"Embroidered filtering skin helps library regulate light

The Haeckels Victorian-style bathing machine has a sauna inside

January 17, 2020 by  
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Is there anything better than self-care by the sea? UK-based skincare brand Haeckels is on a mission to reintroduce the local community of Margate Beach to the healing powers of the ocean. The region has a history of ocean-based health remedies and was home to one of the UK’s first sea-bathing hospitals. The company has built a wood-burning sauna on dreamy Margate Beach, located on the southeast coast of Britain. The idea is to give people more reasons to get outside (even during the colder winter months) while helping users relax and rejuvenate before enjoying the salty seawater just steps away. To help house the sauna, the company built a “bathing machine” structure using traditional materials. Bathing machines were popular from the 18th to 20th centuries as a beachside place for women to change their clothes before heading into the water. The walls were constructed using wood planks, with oak for the wheels and a steel frame; a retracting awning made of waxed cloth pulls up into a door for privacy and security.  Haeckels founder Dom Bridges got the idea from a trip to the popular Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland, where visitors go to bathe in the warm geothermal water surrounded by freezing temperatures. He found the perfect spot to start the project after discovering Margate, an area that had a rich history of sea bathing during the Victorian era, and began constructing the updated version of a traditional bathing machine with the help of a crowdfunding campaign in 2014. Names of the donors who contributed to the campaign, which raised £30,000 (about $39,000 USD), are laser-engraved onto the side of the structure. Bridges teamed up with local craftspeople from Re-Works Studio and Moosejaw Woodworks to complete the project, with a total of 20 people contributing their unique skills. Currently, the use of the beach sauna is free of charge to the public , but the company encourages supporters to contribute funds to the project’s Patreon membership platform to help pay for supplies, cleaning, maintenance and rent. Haeckels has also made the bathing machine available for private bookings for group hire or personal treatments. + Haeckels Via Dezeen Images via Haeckels

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The Haeckels Victorian-style bathing machine has a sauna inside

Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology

January 17, 2020 by  
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Airstream is a long-standing American legend beloved by many roaming road warriors, but now the iconic campers have been given a sleek modern makeover. The new 2020 Airstream Classics feature an impressive apartment-like interior design scheme that uses a “comfort white” color scheme to create a more contemporary living space that puts the campers once again at the forefront of tiny home design. Although Airstreams come in various sizes and styles, the campers have normally been manufactured with dark wood accents and rough textures that contrast with the campers’ ultra shimmery exteriors. The newly-unveiled 2020 Classics, however, have taken a decidedly contemporary turn that breathes new life into the classic campers. Related: This 1970s Airstream is an off-grid oasis for a family of six Perhaps taking cues from the burgeoning tiny home sector , the reformatted trailers now boast a bright and airy apartment-like layout. The living space is comprised of matte grey curved ceilings with all white walls that contrast nicely with a few black tables. Adding a sense of whimsy to the design, woven vinyl floors with a textured, grasscloth look run the length of the space. Although the campers boast a contemporary design, some things have remained the same such as the abundance of natural light that floods the interior space thanks to Airstream’s signature wide windows. The living space features a comfy living area that faces a small desk that pulls double duty as an entertainment area or office space. Further down the aisle, a contemporary kitchen will please any home cook. Outfitted with white shaker-style cabinetry and German-imported brass hardware, the space also features dark Corian countertops that compliment the grey, white and black color scheme that runs throughout the interior. A dining nook across from the kitchen provides ample space to enjoy a nice spread of home-cooked fare. At the end of the trailer , the bedroom has two single beds with stylish white linens with grey accents. Blackout shades keep the morning sun out while sleeping in, but otherwise, the space is just as bright and fresh as the rest of the interior. Ranging from 30 to 33 feet, the Classic Travel Trailer starts at just $156,400. In addition to its newly-renovated interiors, the Airstream Classics come with all-new Smart Control Technology that lets you control and monitor the trailer’s features from an app . For example, you can turn the exterior and interior lights on and off, extend and retract the awning, adjust the air conditioner or heat pump, and monitor tank and battery levels, all with just the touch of a button. + Airstream Via Curbed Images via Airstream

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Airstream unveils new 2020 camper with smart technology

New Marine Education Center in Malm raises climate change awareness

January 17, 2020 by  
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In Malmö, Sweden, the recently completed Marine Education Center is giving visitors a closer look at the effects of climate change and sustainable technology. Copenhagen-based practice NORD Architects designed the building, which not only provides an indoor-outdoor learning landscape but also visually blurs the boundaries between the built environment and its surroundings. As a beacon of sustainability, the center is integrated with energy-efficient technologies including solar panels, geothermal heat exchangers and rainwater collection systems. Located next to the Öresund strait, the Marine Education Center officially opened in the fall of 2018, four years after NORD Architects won the bid for the project in a design competition. Surrounded by earth berms built up to resemble sand dunes, the single-story building appears nestled into the landscape, while its long footprint emphasizes the vastness of its surroundings. The wave-like protrusions that top the roof add both visual interest and practical purpose; the angled elements are used to mount solar panels , let in indirect daylight and promote natural ventilation. Related: Obra Architects stimulates climate change discussion with a “climate-correcting machine” Beneath the roof are two enclosed areas separated by a large, sheltered walkway. Walls of glass surround the classrooms and gathering spaces to let in light and frame views of the sea, while the use of timber adds a sense of warmth to the interior. The Marine Education Center was designed to be highly flexible and can adapt over time to accommodate new technologies.  “We have developed a learning landscape where education is everywhere,” said Johannes Molander Pedersen, partner at NORD Architects. “It is in the landscape, in the building and in the transition between nature and culture. The center is open for everyone who is interested in the role we as humans play in nature’s life cycle. It allows hands-on learning experience that invites users to explore using their senses in the field, and thereafter analyze and understand their observations of the marine life .” + NORD Architects Photography by Adam Mørk via NORD Architects

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New Marine Education Center in Malm raises climate change awareness

Immersive, dystopian exhibit shows what life could be like post-climate change

January 16, 2020 by  
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As a wake up call to the possible effects of global warming, London-based multidisciplinary design studio Superflux has created “Mitigation of Shock, Singapore,” an immersive exhibition that explores the possible consequences of sea level rise for city dwellers in coastal areas. Created as part of 2219: Futures Imagined — a new exhibition at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum to commemorate the city’s bicentennial — the installation takes the shape of a dystopian Singaporean apartment. Set in the first half of the 23rd century, 100 years from now, Mitigation of Shock, Singapore explores the narrative of a family fighting to survive in a post- climate change future. Central to the exhibition is the theme of food insecurity, which is hinted to by the placement of a ration card alongside books titled Pets As Proteins and How to Cook in a Time of Scarcity . The immersive installation also includes handmade hunting tools made from old circuit boards and other repurposed electronics , food computers, mealworm incubators, indoor gardens with grow lights and a kayak and snorkeling equipment for navigating the flooded city. Aluminum covers the windows to keep the structure resilient against extreme weather. Related: Obra Architects stimulates climate change discussion with a “climate-correcting machine” “The ambition of ‘Mitigation of Shock, Singapore’ is to show us what we cannot see today — a future where extreme weather conditions, economic uncertainty and broken global supply chains have changed the world as we know it,” the designers said in their project statement. “But there is hope. The resourcefulness of people, and their radical adaptations to survive and prosper in a changed world, shows us the possibilities of creating new worlds and new ways of living.” Mitigation of Shock, Singapore opened on November 23, 2019 at the ArtScience Museum Singapore and will remain on display here until April 5, 2020. It marks one of Superflux’s most ambitious projects to date. + Superflux Images via Superflux

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Immersive, dystopian exhibit shows what life could be like post-climate change

Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps

January 16, 2020 by  
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If you need a little getaway, there is a beautiful, tiny cabin retreat in the Italian Alps calling your name. The Immerso cabin, which is available to rent on Airbnb , is a prefabricated timber cabin with transparent roofs and walls that allow guests to completely “immerse” themselves in nature while trying to find serenity in an increasingly stressful world. Designed by Italian architects Fabio Vignolo and Francesca Turnaturi, the Immerso cabin sleeps up to two people. Located in the fairytale-like setting of the Chisone Valley in the western Piedmont, the timber cabin is surrounded by breathtaking views. In fact, according to the architects, this pristine location is what inspired the Immerso design — to meet the “increasing human need to live strictly connected to the nature.” Related: These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours Manufactured offsite using CNC-cut birch plywood panels that slot together easily, the prefab cabin measures a total of just 65 square feet. Its transparent, A-frame roof and walls add a spacious feel to the interior; however, curtains can be drawn to provide a bit of privacy. Two large doors open completely to reveal the minimal interior, which is comprised of a double bed and coffee table. In case you are wondering, there is a shared bathroom on the property as well for when nature calls. Currently located approximately 1,900 meters above sea level in the Italian Alps, the tiny cabin was designed to be easily transportable and assembled in nearly any location. The prefabricated design allows the structure to be assembled in just two hours. Additionally, the cabin is elevated off the ground on a platform in order to leave minimal impact on the natural environment. The Immerso cabin is available for rent on Airbnb starting at about $130 a night. + Airbnb Images via Immerso Glamping

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Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps

Couple turns old van into home-on-wheels for just $1K

January 15, 2020 by  
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IKEA offers an almost infinite amount of space solutions for any type of abode — for one couple looking to convert an old van into a home on wheels, IKEA products were their saving grace. Ambitious couple Grace Aquino and her husband Marlon were on an extremely tight budget when they decided to turn their old van into a full-time home so that they could travel the world. As impressive as it is shocking, the couple managed to create their beloved  Flippie van for just $1,000 using IKEA products and doing the work themselves. Van conversions are nothing new, but creating a custom living space on wheels isn’t always as cheap as people expect it to be. Whether buying or building, the cost of living, dining and bedroom furniture can add up quickly. But for one ambitious couple looking to create a bespoke living space within a very compact 60 square feet, everyone’s favorite Swedish furniture brand, IKEA, helped them customize their new home, which they managed to do by themselves for just $1,000. Related: Old van converted into solar-powered bohemian beach hut on wheels When they first decided to embark on a nomadic lifestyle, Aquino and her husband planned to contract professionals to convert an old 2017 Ram ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van into their roaming hut on wheels. However, when they realized that the cheapest estimate given would run them $15,000, the couple decided to take a more practical, DIY route. Accordingly, their first stop was IKEA. “To our surprise, the cheapest quote we were given was $15,000 for a very basic build without a platform for our bed. So our only practical choice was to do it ourselves. While doing our research, we were overwhelmed at the amount of work it takes to convert a van. We didn’t have the tools, the space and the skillset needed. My husband had really only built Ikea furniture in the past, so we thought why not visit Ikea to get some inspiration? Once we found a few things that we knew would work for our van, we decided to fully commit to building just with Ikea,” Aquino explained to Lonely Planet. Except for the flooring, power station, insulation and ottoman, all of Flippie’s furnishings came from IKEA. First, however, the couple had to make sure that the space was comfortable for living in full-time. Therefore, they started by insulating the 60-square-foot interior with styrofoam insulation covered with a foil liner, which they bought from Home Depot. Later, the van’s flooring was topped with exercise floor mat puzzles purchased at Walmart. Once the main envelope of the van was customized, the couple headed straight to IKEA to purchase space-saving, affordable furnishings . First, they purchased a large sofa bed that pulls out at night, but folds up during the day to create more space. The couple also added storage where possible, including a spacious overhead cabinet that was installed over the bed. At the back of the van, two large doors open up into the compact but functional kitchen, which was built using Raskog Cart and Pantry unit that cost just $29.99 and a Sunnersta mini-kitchen set that costs $121. In this area, the couple also installed a pressure shower system for the faucet and added various baskets for storage. A unique back wall is covered in pegboard to hang utensils, paper towels, etc. Across from the tiny kitchen is the couple’s work space, which includes a Besta Burs desk and a Top Trones storage unit. A large ottoman pulls double duty as extra seating and extra storage. In addition to the IKEA products, the couple splurged a bit on an Eco Power Station ($700). While the company is still developing a solar panel , the couple uses shore power to charge the battery so that they can charge their phones and laptops. + The Sweet Savory Life Via Apartment Therapy Images via The Sweet Savory Life

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Couple turns old van into home-on-wheels for just $1K

Fisker debuts an electric luxury SUV for $37,500 at CES

January 10, 2020 by  
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At the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, acclaimed American-Danish automotive designer Henrik Fisker, CEO of the eponymous startup Fisker Inc. , has unveiled the hotly anticipated Fisker Ocean. This all-electric luxury SUV comes with a range close to 300 miles and a competitive starting price of $37,500. Described by Fisker as “the world’s most sustainable vehicle,” the Ocean will be powered by an approximately 80 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and come equipped with a full-length solar roof capable of providing “1,000 free, clean miles per year”; recycled carpeting made from abandoned fishing net waste; vegan interiors and “eco-suede” materials. The unveiling of the Fisker Ocean comes shortly after the automotive company announced its partnership with Electrify America, the largest open DC fast charging network for electric vehicles in the United States that promises more than 200 miles of range in just 30 minutes of charging. The brand of batteries for the Fisker Ocean has not yet been disclosed. Related: Meet ‘Blade’, the world’s first 3D-printed hypercar “We have secured a global supply chain and manufacturing capacity that will result in projected production of more than 1 million vehicles between 2022 and 2027,” said Fisker, whose track record for designing luxury cars includes the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9 and Mustang Rocket. “We look forward to sharing even more details at the Geneva Motor Show 2020 — including our fully-engineered platform and more technical specifications.” The starting MSRP of the new Fisker Ocean will be $37,499 — the price drops to $29,999 if the federal tax credit is applied — with an offer of a flexible lease starting at $379 per month with all maintenance and service included. Reservations can be placed online for $250. Vehicles and option packages will be made available to customers for viewing at select Fisker experience centers this year. Production of the Fisker Ocean is slated to begin next year with full series production to begin in 2022. + Fisker Images via Fisker

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Fisker debuts an electric luxury SUV for $37,500 at CES

3XN unveils new, sustainable building for UNSW Sydney

January 10, 2020 by  
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Following a rigorous international competition, Danish architectural firm 3XN has won the bid to design the University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) new Multipurpose Building — a project that the architects say will have a “focus on resilience and environmental sustainability.” Proposed for the northeast gate (Gate 9) of the UNSW main Kensington campus in Sydney, the Multipurpose Building will serve as a vibrant campus gateway close to a soon-to-open light rail station. The building will emphasize healthy indoor environments with carefully chosen materials, passive cooling, and ample daylighting. The UNSW Multipurpose Building marks the first Australian educational facility project for 3XN, which is continually expanding its portfolio abroad. Conceived as the heart of the UNSW campus, the building design combines a tower element with horizontal massing to create an L-shaped volume that’s made all the more distinctive by a staggered facade. “Our concept for this building is really special in that it offers a new  learning environment  for interdisciplinary collaboration and inspiration,” Stig Vesterager Gothelf, Architect MAA and Partner in Charge at 3XN in Copenhagen, said in a project statement. “Students will be able to observe and learn from each other in new ways, thanks to the open design concept used throughout.” Related: BIG’s LEED Gold-seeking school in Arlington features a cascade of green terraces Given the building’s proximity to a planned light rail station, the project will include a large plaza and green space to accommodate increased  pedestrian traffic . Inside, the building will include six distinct teaching and learning environments, common student facilities, event and exhibition space, workplaces, supporting and ancillary facilities and additional amenities. Using passive solar strategies, the design will also aim to minimize the building’s energy use, water use and maintenance costs. + 3XN Images via 3XN

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3XN unveils new, sustainable building for UNSW Sydney

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