This bold, sustainable home will age gracefully near an Indiana wetland

October 16, 2018 by  
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Compact, energy-efficient and built with locally sourced materials, this hillside home takes a low-impact approach to its wetland surroundings in the city of Valparaiso in northern Indiana. Local design firm Bamesberger Architecture completed the home for a client who wanted a relatively small dwelling overlooking a pristine 400,000-square-foot wetland site. Named The Box after its boxy appearance, the home boasts low-energy needs and does not rely on air conditioning, even in the summer Completed in 2013, The Box spans an area of 960 square feet and consists of a main house, a screened porch and a small storage building. All three structures are slightly offset from one another to offer varied views of the landscape and are connected with two square timber decks. In response to the client’s wishes for a “very affordable” house with wetland views, the architects selected a budget-friendly yet attractive natural materials palette — including blackened steel, stone, concrete and birch plywood — to complement the property’s native trees and grasslands. “To set the house into the site, the main living space was built into the hillside,” the architecture firm explained. “Excavated rocks were reused as a base for the steel encased fireplace as well as a stepping stone inside the front door. The front door was built from a walnut tree found dead on the site.” Related: Charming home uses local, natural materials to pay homage to a chestnut tree The main dwelling includes an open-plan kitchen, dining area and living area on the ground floor. Above, a small loft offers space for sleeping and a home office. A two-story shower takes advantage of the double-height volume, adding what the architects call “a spatial surprise in the otherwise small space.” To minimize energy needs, The Box is wrapped in high-performance insulation and built into the side of the north-facing hill. Radiant underfloor heating and natural ventilation also help keep the home at comfortable temperatures year-round with minimal utility bills. + Bamesberger Architecture Images via Fred Bamesberger

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This bold, sustainable home will age gracefully near an Indiana wetland

Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis

October 16, 2018 by  
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While the meat industry’s negative impacts on the environment have proved troublesome for some time, an assembly of scientists from various European research institutes have released a thorough analysis of the Earth’s food system that shows if farming practices and food trends continue unchecked, the planet’s capabilities of feeding the global population will be decimated within the coming decades, and global warming will not be able to stay under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Greenhouse gas emissions, land and water consumption, deforestation , biodiversity loss and aquatic dead zones are the central burdens of agriculture evaluated by experts. However, this year’s research study determined a new problem — food supply — to be the most concerning of all. With a booming population that is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, the environmental damages are enough that widespread food insecurity is knocking on our door. Related: Look out, meat industry – flexitarianism is on the rise “It is pretty shocking,” said Marco Springmann, lead researcher from the University of Oxford. “We are really risking the sustainability of the whole system.” The team examined precise data from every country to assemble the most comprehensive assessment of food production and global environment to date. Their diagnosis? Surviving within environmental limits requires a drastic reduction in meat consumption. “Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” explained Professor Johan Rockström from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.” While the problem requires multi-dimensional confrontation from technological , governmental and social standpoints, the experts are encouraging dietary changes on an individual level. The study recommends an astounding 90 percent reduction in meat consumption and a 60 percent cut in milk consumption for people in countries such as the U.S. and U.K., as well as the adoption of more sustainable farming practices, in order to keep temperature rise under control. “There is no magic bullet, but dietary and technological [farming] change are the two essential things, and hopefully they can be complemented by reduction in food loss and waste,” Springmann said. Calling it the “flexitarian” diet, the researchers recommended a surge in bean , pulse, nut and seed consumption to replace the standard meat intake. Taking the average world citizen, the diet stresses a 75 percent cut in beef, a 90 percent cut in pork and a 50 percent cut in egg consumption to halve livestock emissions and help the planet return to sustainable levels. “Ultimately, we live on a finite planet, with finite resources,” said University of Leeds professor Tim Benton on the study, in which he did not take part. “It is a fiction to imagine there is a technological solution allowing us to produce as much food as we might ever want, allowing us to overeat and throw food away.” + Nature Via The Guardian Images via Andrik Langfield and Deryn Macey

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Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert a climate crisis

Shipping containers inspire a light-filled musicians home

September 4, 2018 by  
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When a couple tapped Coates Design Architects to design a house that could accommodate their baby grand piano, they were also intrigued by the idea of using shipping containers to do the job. In response, the American architecture studio researched cargotecture  and settled on a cost-effective solution that combined traditional wood framing with a “container-like” design. Located on Washington’s Bainbridge Island, the Musician’s House features a layout optimized for acoustics as well as natural ventilation and daylighting. Completed in 2014, the Musician’s House spans an area of 2,775 square feet across two floors. “The couple was intrigued with the idea of building a container house from real containers ,” said Coates Design Architects in a project statement. “We researched the idea — searching for a ‘sweet spot’ that could utilize containers in a manner that required as little alteration as possible, taking advantage of their natural structural integrity. The alternative was to force them into a different role that requires significant alterations. Considerable research was spent on the topic … only to arrive at the more cost-effective solution of traditional wood framing.” Despite their findings, the architects designed the home with a “container-like” aesthetic using industrial corrugated metal cladding combined with natural materials , including a variety of timber and even a green roof above the entry vestibule. Inside, the Musician’s House comprises a spacious master en suite on the ground floor along with a kitchen and a double-height living and dining area. The upper level houses a guest bedroom suite, workshop, covered outdoor decks and a loft/music room with a connecting studio space. Related: Architect turns four shipping containers into an affordable and eco-friendly home In contrast to the industrial cladding, the interiors are bright, colorful and playful. Full-height windows, particularly around the double-height living space, stream in natural light, and select art and furnishings add bright pops of color to the modern home, from the yellow accent wall behind the stairs to the multicolored seating in the eat-in kitchen. + Coates Design Architects Images via Coates Design Architects

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Shipping containers inspire a light-filled musicians home

Vintage red double decker bus is converted into a cool, retro hotel

September 4, 2018 by  
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For those looking to enjoy a bit of retro flair on their U.K. vacation, this vintage red double decker bus that has been converted into a hotel is just the ticket. Inspired by Agatha Christie’s book  At Bertram’s Hotel , this tour bus evokes a fun 1950s design.  Bertram’s Hotel ‘s two-story interior includes a plush purple lounge area, a classic cocktail bar and even a retro record player. The quirky Bertram’s Hotel is located in the village of Hartland, Devon, just a four-hour drive from London. The bright red double-decker bus is located on a two-acre field surrounded by forest and various farm animals . Related: Berlin’s Hektikfood is a two-story restaurant in an a vintage British double-decker bus The interior of the bus is a vintage playground with furnishings straight out of the 1950s. The ground floor of the bus houses a swanky lounge area with a purple velvet mini settee that shares space with a cool cocktail bar. Guests can enjoy a selection of 1950s hits from the record player while enjoying their classic martinis. In the back of the first floor is the first bedroom, which holds two single beds and a bathroom. Going up to the second level through the stairway, guests will find another peaceful,  light-filled place to enjoy the local scenery. The second floor houses the master bedroom as well as a retro kitchen and small dinette that offers stunning views of the surroundings. When visitors are not in the mood to cook, there is a family-owned bar and restaurant located nearby. Hotel  visitors can enjoy sharing their environment with a host of farm animals on site, including alpacas, pygmy goats, donkeys, chickens and ducks. Nearby, guests can also stroll along the two fishing lakes and head to the British Isles of Hartland Point, which offers incredible coastal views. + Bertram’s Hotel Via Apartment Therapy Photography via Sykes Holiday Cottages

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Vintage red double decker bus is converted into a cool, retro hotel

Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food

January 9, 2018 by  
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C.F. Møller has unveiled new renderings for the New Islands Brygge School, an innovative lower-secondary school that takes a more hands-on and experimental approach to learning. Located in the heart of Copenhagen , the 9,819-square-meter school will teach children how to harvest and cook the food grown in the rooftop garden. In addition to a landscaped roof, the building will feature rooftop solar panels and an array of energy-saving technologies. C.F. Møller Architects won the bid to design New Islands Brygge School in a competition last year. The school combines physical, sensory, and experience-based learning, which informed the architects’ vision to create a building that blurs the line between indoors and out. The triangular-shaped school takes design and material inspiration from the city, port and commons. Since food is a major theme of the school, a double-height dining hall is placed at the heart of the school to serve as the focal point and main hub. Two kitchens flank the canteen area. Students also interact with food in other ways through greenhouses and urban gardens, and even in outdoor kitchens and a campfire for open-air cooking. Physical activity is also important in the curriculum and so the architects created multiple outdoor recreation areas on the roof that include a running track, parkour area, and enclosed ball pitch. Related: Nation’s first K-8 urban farm school teaches kids how to grow their own food “The school’s interior and outdoor spaces are designed to be in close contact with each other,” wrote the architects. “Each class has direct access to the roof landscape from their home area, while the school’s natural science area is linked to an outdoor area with a biology garden, greenhouse for physics and chemistry, and the gardens.” The building is built to follow the strictest Danish low-energy code 2020 and includes ventilation with heat recovery, natural ventilation , day-light-controlled lighting, and a highly insulated envelope. + C.F. Møller Images via C.F. Møller

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Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food

Old stables morph into a curvy eco-conscious home

December 19, 2017 by  
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Minimal environmental impact was a guiding design principle behind True North, a home built from the bones of 19th century horse stables and a decaying midcentury cottage. Designed by Melbourne-based TANDEM Design Studio , the quirky two-story home takes its sinuous shape from a challenging triangular site. A seamless curving steel skin wraps around the home in a continuous pleated loop. Named after its sunny corner site, True North was built for an architect and his family with a $750,000 project budget. The two-story, 182-square-meter building comprises two connected dwellings: old stables renovated into a one-bedroom townhouse, and a three-bedroom home built to replace a 1950s cottage. The bedrooms are located upstairs, while the communal areas, including the dining, sunken lounge, kitchen, and floor play space, are placed on the ground floor. A double-height atrium and a bridge occupy the center of the home. In contrast to its steel exterior, warm-toned timber lines the majority of the interior. The architects liken the curved shape of the home to a standalone coral structure. “The deeply folded facade was designed to create diagonal bracing, stabilising the curving, assymetric form,” wrote the architects. “The deeply folded triangles retain a layer of still air adding to the performance of the envelope.” The dips and curves of the facade were also informed by passive solar principles and help delineate garden space and event the front door. Related: Historic Horse Stables Converted into a Contemporary Home in the UK To minimize environmental impact, the foundation is built of insulated slab and insulated double brick construction for thermal mass . Highly insulated steel wraps around a timber frame to lock in temperatures. Bricks from the demolished cottage were salvaged and repurposed in new construction. + TANDEM Design Studio Images by John Gollings

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Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state

February 9, 2017 by  
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If barn living never appealed to you before, this renovated farmhouse in Washington may be what it takes to change your mind. Seattle-based MW Works transformed an early-20th-century barn into a stunning family home with interiors that beautifully blend modern design with rustic elements. The 3,875-square-foot repurposed barn, known as Canyon Barn, is outfitted with salvaged materials from the original structure and nearby buildings. Located in the East Cascades, the three-bedroom Canyon Barn is a timber structure with a sharply pitched roof . The architects strived to preserve as much of the barn’s original form, character, and history as possible, while creating a comfortable and well-insulated home. The most eye-catching addition is the new glazed window at the entrance that stretches the full height of the gable wall, exposing a cozy warm-toned interior that contrasts with the dark weathered siding. The ground floor features a large double-height living area as well as a storage space, utilities area, and two small bedrooms. A timber and metal staircase provides access to the second-floor dining room and kitchen, secondary living room, master bedroom, and play area. Large lights hang from the exposed trusses of the wooden roof. The panel wall of apple crates and a large custom light fixture that hangs over the dining table were made from salvaged materials found around the barn. Related: Architects transform 18th century barn with seamless contemporary extension “New interventions were carefully considered to have a modern aesthetic while at the same time working within this raw palette,” wrote the architects. “A blend of preservation and intervention, the project updates an aging barn without losing sight of its history.” The renovation won a 2013 Merit Award in the AIA Honor Awards for Washington. + MW Works Images by Tim Bies

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Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state

Sunflower House’s quirky cube cluster soaks up the Mediterranean sun

June 1, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Sunflower House’s quirky cube cluster soaks up the Mediterranean sun Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cadaval & Solà-Morales Architects , Costa Brava , double-height space , modern house , Sunflower House , Sunflower House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales Architects

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Sunflower House’s quirky cube cluster soaks up the Mediterranean sun

Anish Kapoor’s Decension swirls like a vortex in the floor of an old movie theater

June 1, 2015 by  
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World renowned artist Anish Kapoor has transformed a disused movie theater in Italy as part of his most recent artwork exhibition. Located in San Gimignano, the installation piece has transformed the floor of the aging building into a mysterious vortex of swirling black water. Entitled “Decension,” the work appears to perpetually drain into the unknown as a way to force viewers to imagine the space beyond what is seen. Read the rest of Anish Kapoor’s Decension swirls like a vortex in the floor of an old movie theater Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , Anish Kapoor , Decension , eco design , Galleria Continua , green design , San Gimignano , sustainable design

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Anish Kapoor’s Decension swirls like a vortex in the floor of an old movie theater

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