This off-grid tiny cabin in the Australian wilderness is just what you need for a late summer getaway

August 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

If you’ve been stuck at your desk all summer, now is the perfect time for a little break, and this beautiful tiny cabin in Australia is just the place to get away from it all. Designed by Sydney-based firm Fresh Prince , the Barrington Tops cabin is an off-grid eco cabin that is nestled into the remote wilderness. Located in New South Wales, the 150-square-foot cabin , which is available on Airbnb , is surrounded by pristine woodland just steps away from a babbling brook. The serene location inspired the architects to create something classic and minimalist. Related: 160-square-foot off-grid Elsewhere Cabin invites us all to live a little simpler Clad in matte black Weathertex (an eco-friendly, locally sourced timber product made from forest thinnings and other industry by-products), the prefab structure manages to blend in quietly with its location. Built on a wheeled chassis, the lightweight cabin is quite mobile. Designed to be used as an off-grid retreat, the cabin produces all of its own energy and was built to have minimal impact on the environment. A solar array is affixed to the pitched roof, which generates sufficient power for the residence. The design also features sustainable plywood lining, a composting toilet and low-E glass windows with operable louvres that provide a natural system of air ventilation. The dark black exterior gives way to a bright, light-filled interior thanks to a large glass door. The door, along with several windows, let in an abundance of natural light , which, paired with the lightly-hued plywood walls, opens up the compact space. The layout is simple , with a bed at one end and a bathroom at the other, separated by a compact kitchen with a small refrigerator and a two-burner gas stove. There is a small dining set in front of the door, which can be moved outside to dine al fresco. To make the most out of the cabin’s limited interior space, the architects went with a function-first mentality. Fresh Prince founder Richie Northcott explained, “Working within a small footprint, everything must earn its place; there is no room for waste or inefficiency. The cabin was conceived as one continuous piece of joinery, interlocking and aligning to provide space for storage, cooking, sleeping and sitting, without disrupting the overall space.” + Barrington Tops Cabin + Fresh Prince Via TreeHugger Photography by Rachel Mackay via Fresh Prince

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This off-grid tiny cabin in the Australian wilderness is just what you need for a late summer getaway

Ochis Coffee releases a new line of sunglasses made from organic coffee grounds

August 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

It’s been almost a year since Ochis Coffee launched its first eyewear collection, reached its Kickstarter goal and began full-scale production. Now, it’s time for 2019 fashion updates with a brand new line of sunglasses made from organic coffee grounds. Inhabitat reported on this Ukrainian optical company last year. A brief overview: Max Gavrilenko, the mastermind behind Ochis Coffee, found a way to compress organic coffee grounds into a compound he calls “coffee cake,” which is then turned into sunglasses. Related: Make your own custom sunglasses from recycled plastic with FOS “My father owned an optical store and workshop, where I studied glasses from my very childhood,” Gavrilenko said. “From this, I saw a lot of glasses and wanted to create really eco-friendly, comfortable and universal glasses that each person can adjust to themselves.” The company’s 2018 Kickstarter campaign was so successful that Ochis Coffee is using the fundraising site again this year. For 2019, it is introducing two new frame shapes and two new lenses, both of which provide UV and HEV protection or polarization + UV filter. The lenses are made from recycled cotton . Then, the team adds a UV filter to protect the eyes and a hydrophobic coating to repel water and dirt. If you use Ochis Coffee glasses while looking at your computer, the anti-reflective coating and blue light-blocking features add further eye protection. Perhaps the most enticing part of these innovative sunglasses is that they actually smell like a freshly brewed cup of Joe. The new styles are attractive, too, with a modern Wayfarer shape as well as a trendy, rounded option. Instead of eventually winding up in a landfill , Ochis Coffee glasses will one day fertilize a garden. They take about 10 years to break down; compared to plastic glasses, this is impressively quick — about 100 times faster, according to the company. Prices for the new styles will start at $79. Ochis Coffee aims to raise $15,000 to fund the new eyewear line in this Kickstarter round, which will begin late August 2019. + Ochis Coffee Photography by Yaroslav Boychenko and Akim Karpach via Ochis Coffee

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Ochis Coffee releases a new line of sunglasses made from organic coffee grounds

A rustic wood cabin from the ’70s is remodeled into a charming getaway

August 20, 2019 by  
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The original cabin, dubbed chAlet, was built onto a patch of land in Donovaly, Slovenia in the 1970s. Since its construction, the wood cabin had fallen into near disrepair. The shutters were misshapen and splintered, the bottom had been damaged by the elements and the paint was faded and peeling. Rather than completely tearing down the structure, Y100 Ateliér decided to focus on the property’s sustainable features and improve upon them to create an updated, yet rustic, cabin that continues to embody the charm of the original structure. The chAlet cabin remodel was completed between 2018 and 2019, with the updated design by lead architect Jana Stofan Stykova and designer Pavol Stofan of Y100 Ateliér. Why the capital “A” inside chAlet? The project leaders wanted to emphasize the classic A-frame shape that is so iconic for these types of wooden houses and cottages. Related: Escape to the Bavarian Alps in a charming A-frame that produces surplus energy The age-old question of whether it is more environmentally friendly to remodel versus completely rebuild has always been a subject of debate in the design world, but it is generally considered better for the environment to remodel because of the reduced need for resources and energy. Some properties are obviously too run-down or unsafe in order to justify renovation , but luckily that was not the case for this unique cabin. The designers wanted the cabin to blend into the natural scenery without a need to compete with the forest, instead adding to its beauty. The original chalet was the optimal size for its recreational and accommodation needs, so the structure was not expanded in any way. Rather, the challenge was in providing an appropriately comfortable atmosphere for the small interior while improving the aesthetic qualities of the exterior. A first floor bedroom was removed to give the occupants better views from the living room. Benches and beds throughout were modified to include room for extra storage, and the bathroom now comes with a recessed bathtub with views of the treetops through a skylight . On the second-level terrace, you’ll find a private playground complete with a sandpit, slide and small climbing wall as well as a quiet area for relaxing and enjoying the forest views. The basement, bearing elements, interior staircase and roofing were all preserved during the reconstruction, maintaining a rustic charm to the updated chalet. + Y100 Ateliér Via ArchDaily Photography by Miro Pochyba and Pavol Stofan via Y100 Ateliér

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A rustic wood cabin from the ’70s is remodeled into a charming getaway

Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagens harbor

August 20, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen has once again cemented its title as the best bicycle city in the world with the completion of the Lille Langebro cycle and pedestrian bridge. Spanning 160 meters across Copenhagen’s Inner Harbor, the opening bridge is the work of London-headquartered architecture practice WilkinsonEyre , which won the bid in a design competition hosted by Danish client Realdania By & Byg. In addition to revitalizing the once-deserted harbor area, the Lille Langebro bridge also pays homage to the neighborhood’s historical context with its elegantly curving shape that evokes the great arc of ramparts and moat of Christianshavn. Designed solely for bicycle and pedestrian use, the Lille Langebro bridge is split into five spans with two 28-meter parts on either side of the 48-meter main section. Pedestrians are allotted a 3-meter-wide zone, while a 4-meter-wide zone is dedicated for cyclists . This zone is also divided into two lanes for two-way traffic. The bridge features a curved profile emphasized by the steel ribbon-like edges that rise like wings on either side. Related: This all-weather bicycle highway could fulfill the dreams of bike commuters everywhere To accommodate maritime traffic, the bridge is engineered to open and features a midspan higher than the quaysides. When closed, the flowing lines of the bridge are uninterrupted from end-to-end thanks to the hidden opening mechanisms created in collaboration with engineer BuroHappold. “We are delighted to have worked with Realdania to design a distinctive new bridge for the people of Copenhagen that will improve the urban spaces and promenades along the waterfront and strengthen the cycling culture in the city while also being safe and accessible to everyone,” said Simon Roberts, associate director at WilkinsonEyre. The bridge, which connects to the new BLOX building that houses the Danish Architecture Center and other public spaces, is part of a continued effort to revitalize a part of the Copenhagen waterfront that had been deserted for decades. + WilkinsonEyre Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj via WilkinsonEyre

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Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagens harbor

Geothermal-powered bus station will use anti-smog blocks to fight pollution

August 13, 2019 by  
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The Polish city of Lublin will soon be home to an environmentally friendly bus station that not only offers a new and attractive public space, but also combats urban air pollution. Designed by Polish architectural firm Tremend , the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station in Lublin will be built near the train station and aims to revitalize the area around the railway station. The contemporary design, combined with its environmental focus and green features, earned the project a spot on World Architecture Festival’s World Building of the Year shortlist.  Located close to Folk Park, the Integrated Intermodal Metropolitan Station was designed as a visual extension of the neighboring green space with a lush roof garden and large green wall that wraps the northern facade. Greenery is also referenced in the series of sculptural tree-like pillars that support a massive flat roof with large overhanging eaves. Walls of glass create an inviting and safe atmosphere, while the administration rooms will be provided with tinted windows for privacy.  To reduce energy demands, the building will be heated with geothermal energy and outfitted with energy-efficient LEDs . Meanwhile, motion detectors will be used to activate the lighting to ensure energy savings. A rainwater collection and treatment system will also be used to irrigate the plants that create a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Air quality is further improved with the use of “anti-smog blocks,” a modern photocatalytic material containing titanium dioxide that breaks down toxic fumes.  Related: Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands “Architecture of public places is evolving in my opinion in a very good direction,” says Magdalena Federowicz-Boule, President of the Tremend Board. “Combining different spaces, open shared zones favors establishing contacts. The communication center, which is to be built in Lublin, is to revive it for revitalization district and become a meeting place where people will be able to meet and spend together time in an attractive environment with green areas. The project is also a response to problems, related to environmental protection and city life, such as smog , water and energy consumption, noise. It is an image of how we perceive the role of ecology in architecture.” + Tremend

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Geothermal-powered bus station will use anti-smog blocks to fight pollution

Sculptural, tree-filled tower supports sustainable urbanism in Singapore

August 12, 2019 by  
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Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) recently completed the Robinson Tower, a contemporary and sculptural high-rise in Singapore that was created in collaboration with Associate Architect A61 . Designed with a mix of boutique retail and office spaces, the skyscraper champions the firm’s ideas of “sustainable urbanism” by engaging the public streetscape with floor-to-ceiling glazing and publicly accessible green space. To strengthen Singapore’s new slogan as a “City in a Garden,” the building features an abundance of greenery from an enclosed rooftop garden to the open-air garden atop the retail podium. The integration of greenery into Robinson Tower was in part because of Singapore’s Landscape Replacement Policy, a 2014 law that requires that any greenery lost to development must be replaced with publicly accessible greenery of equal area. Because the V-shaped site was already constrained by Market Street and Robinson Road, KPF decided to embed greenery inside of and on top of the building in addition to providing streetscape landscaping. The sculptural tower’s crystalline form takes cues from the angular terracotta roof of Lau Pa Sat, a historic building and food market nearby. The tower features 20 boutique office floors stacked atop a retail podium. Between the retail and office spaces is a manicured rooftop garden with mature trees. An enclosed rooftop garden crowns the building and, like the rest of the building, is wrapped in glass to provide marina views. Related: Singapore’s Marina One green-infused residential building will feature lush cloud forests “Robinson Tower follows in the footsteps of KPF’s work at Marina Bay Financial Centre, which first introduced the mixed-use model to Singapore,” said Robert Whitlock, design principal of KPF. “Even though that project was massive in scale, with a park integrated in its plan, this distinctive tower similarly embodies the integration of context, culture and sustainability with architecture.” Robinson Tower also houses KPF’s Singapore office, which was founded in 2018. + KPF Photography by Tim Griffith via KPF

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MASS Design crowns a 1920s houseboat with a timber luxury lookout

August 12, 2019 by  
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After meticulously renovating a 1920s houseboat into a home for two, a pair of clients reached out to multidisciplinary studio MASS Design to craft the houseboat’s crowning achievement — a bespoke interior for the old wheel house at the top of the boat. The clients asked for a bold interior that would match the wheel house’s spectacular 360-degree views over the harbor. Taking inspiration from the water, the designers created The Lighthouse, a sculptural and multifunctional space defined by an organic, wave-like bench and ceiling structure made from CNC-milled timber panels that were assembled into modules without any screws or glue. In its heyday, the early 20th-century houseboat originally served as a day cruise on the rivers and canals of Eastern Germany with an estimated max capacity of 700 people. Today, the houseboat is stationed on the waters of Amsterdam, where it’s become a new home for two people. Having saved the old, 10-square-meter wheel house as the last piece of their renovation project, the clients emphasized their desire for a striking design with “the boldness of an art piece.” Related: A solar-powered houseboat designed for the water-loving adventurer The wave-like design that MASS Design created makes the most of the room’s small footprint and efficiently carves out space for a writing shack , reading room and champagne bar — all while keeping focus on the surrounding 360-degree views of the harbor. “The interior mimics the waves it used to travel on, undulating throughout the room,” said MASS Design designers Krishna Duddumpudi and Henry Roberts. “Everything flows together; seating to tables, tables to walls, creating one continuous surface in which even the ceiling participates.” A total of 648 individual vertical wooden panels were CNC milled, processed and assembled to form the organic bench and ceiling structure modules without screws or glue at Contact Makerspace in Amsterdam. The modular design allowed the designers and clients to easily and quickly install the pieces into the room without a builder. A voice-activated and app-controlled LED “sun-light” was installed at the center of the room, which makes the space glow like a lighthouse at night. + MASS Design Photography by Maylan van der Grift via MASS Design

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MASS Design crowns a 1920s houseboat with a timber luxury lookout

Award-winning B-Austin Community Project champions communal and sustainable living

August 9, 2019 by  
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Solar collection, EV charging and gray water recycling are just a few of the environmentally features offered at B-Austin Community Project , an innovative mixed-use development designed by local design practice Clark | Richardson Architects . Created with the goal of becoming one of Austin’s greenest buildings, the co-housing project considers more than just energy-efficiency—the health and wellness of its occupants have also been prioritized in the design. The mixed-use complex was awarded with a 2018 Austin Green Award and is in the process of receiving a 4-star Austin Energy Green Building Rating. Located in South Austin, the B-Austin Community Project spans 22,000 square feet across three stories. The timber-framed building comprises 14 modern apartment units as well as amenity spaces—such as community gardens, an on-site gym and a community center—and leasable white box office suites marketed towards heath and wellness businesses, such as those in the massage and physical therapy industry. As part of the City of Austin SMART building program, the development also reserves a fraction of the apartments for low-income occupants earning less than 80 percent of the median income. “B-AUSTIN was conceived as a place to foster community in a sustainable , environmentally friendly setting,” says a B-Austin statement on their website. “In this spirit, we offer residents easy access to a wide variety of professional wellness resources and programs to encourage in-reach among community members.” Related: Austin passes law banning restaurants from throwing out food waste In addition its emphasis on healthy and communal lifestyles, the mixed-use development reduces its environmental footprint with sustainable systems such as a solar array that offsets a quarter of the facility’s electricity needs, LED interior lighting, electric car charging stations, an Integrated Landfill Diversion Plan to make it easier to recycle and compost, a rainwater harvesting system and an adaptive greywater harvesting program to conserve potable water. According to the architects, B-Austin is set to become “the first mixed-use multifamily community in Austin, and possibly the first in the state, to use greywater recycling.” + Clark Richardson Architects Images via Clark Richardson Architects

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Award-winning B-Austin Community Project champions communal and sustainable living

The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

August 7, 2019 by  
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The new generation of electric cars is on its way with the Lightyear One, a vehicle capable of using solar energy to charge while on the road. Currently in the prototype phase, the solar panel-covered vehicle is due to hit the streets in 2021. The Lightyear One was developed by a group of designers deeply entrenched in the field of solar vehicles. The prior University of Eindhoven students won the World Solar Challenge race three times with their “Stella” solar cars before focusing on a retail, road-worthy version. Related: Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power The sleek Italian design is sure to draw attention, especially with the 5 square meters of solar panels mounted to the roof and hood, an addition that draws enough power for 12kmh per hour, or about 7.5 miles per hour of additional charge. It doesn’t sound like much, and in travel terms, it’s not, but it’s a step toward a completely solar car. In reality, the solar panel boost isn’t going to be the main source of power, so it can be charged like a regular electric car, except a lot faster. The Lightyear One can handle 60kW of fast charging, providing it 507 km or 315 miles of charge per hour. Perhaps the area where the Lightyear One is really making headlines is the total range of around 450 miles without recharging. That well exceeds Tesla’s current record of around 370 miles with the Model S. Like the Tesla, the Lightyear One hopes to appeal to the sports car enthusiast with a lightweight and sleek design. Then, there’s the fact that it jumps from 0 to 60 in around 10 seconds. The high-performance and efficient qualities mean that any charging station can provide a faster charge in less time compared to the competition. Unlike Tesla and other electric car manufacturers, the price for the Lightyear One is out of reach for many consumers. The initial models are available for pre-sale now at a cost of around $135,000. If you’re not ready to commit, you can expect a $170,000 price tag when it hits the mainstream retail market. + Lightyear One Via The Verge Images via Lightyear One

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The Lightyear One electric car uses solar panels for a boost of energy

Wherever you go, the Layover Travel Blanket has you covered

August 6, 2019 by  
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While the odds of obtaining a blanket on today’s stripped-down commercial flights are slim, the chances that it’ll do the job of keeping you warm without debating which half to cover are slimmer— just like their density. Luckily the inventors of the Layover Travel Blanket have solved this problem while incorporating sustainability along the way. The Layover, produced by Gravel, is a packable travel blanket that can be used in planes, trains, automobiles, at the stadium or on a camping trip. It has features you’d expect from a travel blanket, like a lightweight design, weighing in at just 11.4 oz. It also easily compresses, similar to jackets that pack into their own pockets. While packed, the Layover measures about 5 by 7 inches but when it comes time to work, it reaches a body-covering 41 by 67 inches. You can conveniently clip the Layover to your backpack or stuff it into your bag. Related:This summer sneaker is completely biodegradable There are also features you might not expect, such as the 100% recycled PET plastic insulation that offers compressibility and a warmth rating of 60 degrees to keep you cozy on those temperature-fluctuating flights. The Layover is easy to use, simply release the paracord opening and pull out the blanket. During use, the bag that it came out of stays attached so it doesn’t get lost. As a thoughtful design touch, there also a small compartment to stuff the dangling bag into. Once done, the blanket easily stuffs back into the bag. The Layover is made from nylon that easily moves across your body. That also means it can easily slide off your body, so the Layover comes with snaps at the top corners that allow you to connect it around your neck. Black snaps along the sides allow you to connect multiple blankets together. A built-in hoodie/kangaroo type micro-fleece lined pouch in the front provides a space for hand warming and an envelope-shaped pocket gives you a safe spot for earbuds and cellphones. Packing the entire blanket into the pocket gives you a soft-sided 8 by 12 inch pillow to use. The bottom portion has a generous compartment to slide your feet into for that tucked-into-bed feel. Water-resistant coating protects against spills but when travel takes its toll, the blanket is machine washable.  With sustainability in mind, the team offers a lifetime warranty on the Layover Travel Blanket, backing up the goal of creating a quality and long-lasting product. To further support eco-friendly practices, the company uses a single cardboard box and paper for packaging . The Layover is fully funded on Kickstarter and shipments are expected to begin in the fall.  + Gravel Images via Gravel

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Wherever you go, the Layover Travel Blanket has you covered

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