A potato field is transformed into an award-winning communal home in the Netherlands

May 8, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based architectural firm bureau SLA and Utrecht-based ZakenMaker have transformed a one-hectare potato field in the rural area of Oosterwold Almere, the Netherlands into nine connected homes for a group of pioneers seeking a sustainable communal lifestyle. Initially, Frode Bolhuis had approached the architects to construct his dream home, but the very limited budget prompted him to ask eight of his like-minded friends to join to make the project possible. The nine homes—each 1,722 square feet in size—are all located under one roof in the Oosterwold Co-living Complex, a long rectangular building with a shared porch, landscape and vegetable garden. The client’s tight budget largely drove the design decisions behind Oosterwold Co-living Complex. Not only did the project morph into a co-living complex as a result of limited funds, but the architects also decided that only the exterior would be designed and left the design of the interiors up to families. Elevated off the ground for a reduced footprint and to allow residents to choose the location of the sewage system and water pipes, the rectilinear building extends nearly 330 feet in length and appears to float above the landscape. “The façade is designed to give maximum freedom of choice within an efficient building system,” explain the architects. “Each family received a plan for seven windows and doors, which can be placed in the façade. The space between the frames is vitrified with solid parts of glass without a frame. This creates an uncluttered but diverse façade. Oosterwold Co-living Complex demonstrates that it’s possible to achieve a convincing design within a tight budget and which, most importantly, manages to meet the expectations of nine different clients.” Related: How shared space makes four micro apartments in Japan seem much larger For a cost-effective solution to insulation, the architects built the floor, roof and adjoining walls out of hollow wooden cassettes that were then filled with insulating cellulose. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to a long, communal porch that overlooks the shared landscape and vegetable garden. The windows also bring ample amounts of natural light indoors while the roof overhang helps block unwanted solar gain. The Oosterwold Co-living Complex won the Frame Awards 2019 in the category Co-living Complex of the Year. + bureau SLA + ZakenMaker Images by Filip Dujardin

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A potato field is transformed into an award-winning communal home in the Netherlands

Robots weave a 100% carbon-fiber love shrine for Chinas countryside

March 26, 2019 by  
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In the countryside of Zhejiang, China, Shanghai-based design studio Wutopia Lab has completed the Shrine of Whatslove, a robotically woven carbon-fiber structure devoted to love and marriage. Created in collaboration with digital construction team RoboticPlus.AI, the Shrine of Whatslove takes the shape of a red, triangular pavilion evocative of a giant bird’s nest. Billed as “China’s first all carbon-fiber structure,” the installation is built from 7,200 meters of continuous carbon-fiber bundles and was completed in 90 hours. Commissioned by the Fengyuzhu firm, Wutopia Lab was asked to design a thought-provoking structure on the grounds of its client’s Fangyukong Guesthouse project. Rather than a restaurant or bookstore, the architects tapped into the themes of love and marriage to “bring out a building that can inspire people to think [about] daily issues” and stimulate related discussion. Moreover, in a bold contrast to the region’s rural vernacular, Wutopia Lab decided on a robotically constructed pavilion built of carbon fiber in a bid to “rejuvenate the countryside.” Located at the main entrance of the Fangyukong Guesthouse next to a stream, the Shrine of Whatslove stands at a little over 13 feet in height and is nearly 12.5 feet in width. Robots wove the structure from a continuous strand of carbon fiber. Elevated on footings, the pavilion appears to float above the landscape and is strong enough to support the weight of four people. At night, the structure is illuminated from below, creating an ethereal glow in the landscape. Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London “Love should be a beautiful and pure thing, but in reality it is always wrapped in layers of matter,” Wutopia Lab explained in a project statement. “I first formed the building directly with integrated triangle. The triangle as a motif also represents the original architectural prototype, shape of the shed built by ancestors. We decided to abandon materiality. Giving up concrete, steel, glass or wood to build the knot, inspired by the ‘Zhusiyingshe,’ a Chinese traditional culture wrapping red line around the idol for good luck, we used a red line to weave a shrine. The shrine is more a visual image of a red line than a physical space; it does not need to shelter from the wind.” + Wutopia Lab Images via CreatAR Images

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This cabin offers outstanding views of Oaxaca from a massive, cantilevering terrace

March 26, 2019 by  
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Nature-based refuges come in many shapes and forms, but this gorgeous cabin in Oaxaca manages to capture the serenity of its location thanks to a massive, cantilevering terrace in addition to two spacious rooftop terraces. Designed by Mexican firm  LAMZ Arquitectura , the Teitipac Cabin features two interconnecting volumes that were made with reclaimed natural materials , including natural stone found on-site as well as reclaimed steel and wood. Located in the mountainous region of San Sebastián Teitipac in Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico, the beautiful cabin is actually made up of two separate volumes. This was a strategy employed by the architects to build the cabins into the smallest footprint possible without altering the existing natural terrain of oaks and copal trees. Related: Get away from it all in this off-grid concrete cabin just steps away from the Appalachian Trail Spanning a total of just under 2,000 feet, the cube-like volumes were set on a small hilltop to provide stunning views of the surrounding mountain range. According to the architects, the project design centered around providing an abundance of open-air spaces in order to take in these breathtaking views from anywhere on-site. In addition to providing a strong visual connection to the environment, the architects also wanted to create harmony between the man-made and the natural by using as many natural and reclaimed materials as possible. The cabins are tucked partially into the landscape, creating structures with various levels, including a basement embedded into the rocky landscape and two large rooftop terraces. The two structures are connected to a simple staircase that leads from one terrace to another. Several additional walkways wind around the cabin, leading past glass-panel enclosures and various entrances. Both of the volumes are clad in natural stone, which blends the structures into the rocky terrain. The cabin also features expansive glass panels that further drive the connection between the indoors and the outdoors. Additionally, throughout the interior living space, reclaimed wood was used in the flooring and ceilings. The two structures are divided according to their uses: one houses the communal living areas, while the other is home to the bedrooms. Clad in natural stone and wood, the interiors are warm and inviting. While outdoor space is abundant for both volumes, the master bedroom’s  cantilevering terrace is at the heart of the design. + LAMZ Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Lorena Darquea via LAMZ Arquitectura

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This cabin offers outstanding views of Oaxaca from a massive, cantilevering terrace

Rugged Wilderness House optimizes bush views and passive solar principles

March 7, 2019 by  
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Drawing inspiration from the midcentury Case Study houses, Osmington-based Archterra Architects designed the Wilderness House, a contemporary elevated home with treetop canopy views. Located on a secluded bush block in coastal banksia woodland near Australia’s iconic Margaret River, the home was created to take advantage of its rich and remote environment using large windows and a natural materials palette. The client’s desires for long-term durability and low-maintenance also informed the design and construction of the home, which was crafted with energy efficiency in mind. Covering an area of 1,743 square feet, with much of the footprint elevated on the second level, the Wilderness House features a simple rectangular plan that stretches east to west. The second floor interior layout follows the trajectory of the sun: the master suite is located on the east side to allow the homeowners to rise with the sun, while the open-plan living areas are placed on the opposite end to overlook sunset views. Access to the upper floor is reached via a raw galvanized expanded mesh walkway ramp. On the ground level are a single guest bedroom suite and a series of slender galvanized columns that support the insulated upper floor concrete slab. “Raw galvanized steel Juliet balconies in front of sliding glass doors to the bedroom, bathroom and living room enable the entire house to be opened up to the outdoors and the constant summer hum of cicadas and chatter of birds amongst the trees,” the architects explained in a project statement. In addition to floor-to-ceiling sliding glass , the exterior is clad in zero-maintenance and bushfire-resistant Colorbond sheeting, hot dip galvanized steel, raw compressed cement panels and raw spotted gum decking. Related: Solar-powered Bush House exemplifies chic eco-friendly living in the Australian outback For energy efficiency, the architects installed roof overhangs that shield the walls of low-E glass from the hot summer sun, yet still allow the winter sun to penetrate the charcoal-pigmented floor slab. The open floor plan also ensures that natural light and cooling winds can penetrate all parts of the home. + Archterra Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Douglas Mark Black

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Rugged Wilderness House optimizes bush views and passive solar principles

Add this all-in-one natural skincare to your bathroom counter

March 7, 2019 by  
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Imagine having silky smooth, intensely hydrated skin, even in the dead of winter . This dream can be a reality with Lalicious, a brand we discovered earlier this year at the Indie Beauty Expo . We instantly fell in love with the company’s whipped sugar scrubs, body butters and our personal favorite, a magical product known as the “velour body melt.” With a passion for luxurious, cruelty-free skincare at an accessible price point, Lalicious has made a permanent home in our daily skincare routines. Many scrubs and moisturizers on the market come with a host of problems: parabens and other unsavory ingredients, animal testing or animal-derived ingredients, excessive oils or prices that are just out of the question for a majority of people. After coming across these problems, Jessica Kernochan set out to create her own natural beauty products. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo Since then, Lalicious has continued to create dreamy skincare products made from some of our favorite natural ingredients: macadamia nut oil, cucumber, sweet almond oil, honey, shea butter, lavender and so much more. The company is also committed to skipping the typical parabens, sulfates and animal testing found in conventional cosmetics and skincare products. These products are the real deal. We tested the company’s top product — a brown sugar scrub — at IBELA, and we were blown away at how soft it left our skin. After the event, we decided to test the velour body melt at home — it is just as soothing as it sounds. This oil-based moisturizer “melts” right into your skin (we applied it after hopping out of the shower) and leaves it softer than velour for about two days after just one application. The smell lasts, too. We first tested the sugar coconut , which we liked for its beachy scent. Since our tests, our team has collectively bought several sets of the velour body melts (we really are obsessed with this product!) — we highly recommend the lavender, which smells quite similar to fresh laundry. Not to mention this mystical moisturizer can be used for a multitude of purposes, from removing eye makeup to soothing frizzy locks to healing tough cuticles. It’s an all-in-one miracle worker that is likely to work better than all the bottles taking up precious space on your bathroom counter. While the packaging is unfortunately plastic, one jar lasts a long time and can replace several other skincare products. We strongly believe a company should be green to its core, and Lalicious delivers. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles in a former wind tunnel building, which is now a shining example of adaptive reuse done right. Just like the products, the Lalicious HQ is built from natural materials. It also depends primarily on natural light. If you’re looking to add a fortifying natural moisturizer to your skincare routine, take the time to check out the velour body melts as well as the entire Lalicious bath and body products. + Lalicious Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Lalicious. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Add this all-in-one natural skincare to your bathroom counter

Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle

March 7, 2019 by  
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Officially launched in California on Feb. 28, 2019 and targeted to expand to new markets throughout the year, the Cove brand’s 100 percent biodegradable water bottles have become available as a sustainable plastic alternative. Cove offers an eco-friendly solution for water on the go at every phase of production and regardless of the disposal technique used. Single-use plastic water bottles have made the headlines in every fight for sustainability over the years for good reason — they are toxic for the environment. With the amount of plastic in the oceans as well as little hope of any plastic ever truly disappearing, it’s no wonder companies are looking for better ways to package our must-have water. While some companies have invested in plastic alternatives already, they each include metal, plastic or glass that needs to be separated out at the recycling stage. In contrast, the Cove water bottle sidesteps the recycling process altogether. Related: Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles Although it looks, feels and functions like regular plastic, the Cove water bottle is made from naturally occurring biopolymers called PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) that are biodegradable and compostable. These bottles break down into carbon dioxide, water and organic waste after being tossed into the compost or hauled to the landfill. They will even break down in the soil or the ocean with zero toxic byproducts. Construction of this innovative water bottle begins with a paper core. Attached to that is the PHA formed cylinder, cap and top dome. While the bottle might not last forever like its plastic counterparts, it is shelf-stable for six months. During that period, the bottle can also be reused . Currently, the Cove bottles are filled with natural spring water sourced from Palomar Mountain, California, for the initial launch. However, founder Alex Totterman believes that businesses have an environmental responsibility, so rather than shipping water across long distances, the company vows to source locally in each region as sales and availability spread across different markets. The idea behind the Cove water bottle is simple — produce an earth-friendly alternative to single-use plastic while keeping it convenient to the consumer. As we all know, people find it much easier to participate if the process is easy, and there is nothing easier than grabbing a bottle made from PHA instead of petroleum-based plastic. + Cove Via Packaging 360 Photography by Ryan Lowry and Sergiy Barchuk via Cove

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Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle

BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami

August 16, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled designs for a massive mixed-use development that is elevated into the air on thin stilts. Located in the central Miami neighborhood of Allapattah, an industrial, working-class district mainly comprised of produce suppliers, the major complex will serve as a new landmark destination in the city. Dubbed Miami Produce, the project will activate the site with urban farming, restaurants, storefronts, co-working offices, co-living apartments and educational programming. Covering an area of 125,000 square meters, the Miami Produce development takes cues from its industrial surroundings, which can be seen in the buildings’ large industrial-sized floor plates that the architects say “provide maximum programmatic flexibility.” The first phase of the project will see the restoration of the existing produce warehouses, linear buildings that run the length of the site and will be renovated to house educational and commercial programs. A series of passages will be cut through the buildings to improve circulation and provide better access to the nearby metro station. The spaces between the buildings will be landscaped to create three different public spaces: campus, street and garden. To increase site density, the architects plan to add four linear warehouse -like buildings elevated on slim pillars and arranged on the perimeter of the site, creating a large open courtyard in the center. The structures will include two volumes for residential, one for offices and another for hotel. Each building will be topped with unique green roofs that offer recreational opportunities. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami Four more buildings will be stacked in a staggered formation atop the elevated structures. “[These] buildings float above the roofs’ capes and span over the openings below, creating gateways that open up to the surrounding neighborhood while providing light and air to the rooftops,” Bjarke Ingels Group said. “The buildings function as a three dimensional urban framework designed to activate the neighborhood with varying programs and environments.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via BIG

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BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami

This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

August 16, 2018 by  
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Set in one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, the Off-Grid Guest House, designed by architect Dan Weber of Anacapa and designer Steven Willson of Willson Design , is a stunning showcase of sustainable and low-impact design. The contemporary home is nestled into a steep hillside in a wildlife preserve and perfectly perched to offer breathtaking, nearly 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscape of rolling hills and rocky outcroppings. Due to its remote location, the guest house—and the owner’s nearby main residence—are completely self-sufficient by necessity and powered with a rooftop solar panel system. Topped with a lush green roof planted with native grasses, the Off-Grid Guest House is built from durable and resilient materials including steel, concrete and glass. Full-height glazing surrounds the home, as does a wraparound outdoor balcony that’s cantilevered over the landscape and is partly sheltered by overhanging eaves. The abundance of glazing—including the glass balustrades—blurs the boundaries between inside and out and welcomes sweeping panoramic landscape views into the living spaces. “At the heart of the Owner’s objectives for this project, is preservation and protection of the natural environment,” reads the project statement on Anacapa’s website. “As such, this modern guest house is nestled into the hillside and situated on a spectacular site with ocean views. This healthy home is the pinnacle of environmentally-conscious, low-impact design and construction.” Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas The home operates off the grid with a photovoltaic energy system, on-site water supply and sewage treatment system that directs wastewater to a septic tank and dry well. The interior is fitted out with LEDs and low-energy appliances. Jessica Helgerson Interior Design furnished the interior with rich walnut accents and custom fixtures and furnishings. The house also includes a detached garage discreetly built into the hillside. + Anacapa + Willson Design Images via Erin Feinblatt

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This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

A terracotta home keeps naturally cool in one of Thailands hottest regions

July 30, 2018 by  
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The Thai province of Kanchanaburi is one of the country’s hottest regions, with a tropical savanna climate and annual temperature averages of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So when Bangkok-based design practice Anghin Architecture set out to create a new addition to a riverside house it designed years ago, the team prioritized passive cooling throughout. Taking advantage of the site’s topography, the terracotta home is positioned for optimal air circulation and cross ventilation to maximize comfort while minimizing energy consumption. Named the Kanchanaburi House Phase II, the structure spans a little more than 2,300 square feet and is covered in red terracotta cladding to match the appearance of the original home. The annex, set near a river, provides elevated views of the water and also offers leisure facilities for the homeowner and her guests. Raised off the ground, the building includes the parking pad and storage space on the lower level. The upper floor consists of a guest room, bathroom and spacious Pilates room flanked with balconies on the north end; an open-plan living space, play area and bar area in the middle; and an expansive outdoor entertaining terrace on the south end that looks out over the river. Related: Brilliant zero-energy air conditioner in India is beautiful and functional “Tackling energy consumption was our main focus,” Anghin Architecture said. “The house was designed to maximize comfort through a passive cooling system. We make use of the site’s topography by elevating the house to allow for better air circulation. In addition to cross ventilation at the main level, the air shaft was designed to help further ventilate the ceiling by allowing the cooler air from underneath the house to move up and disperse the heat collected under the roof. The northern opening ensures thorough illumination without the direct sunlight penetration, while the extended wall fins and retractable awning keep the house properly shaded.” + Anghin Architecture Via ArchDaily Images by Gregoire Glachant

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A terracotta home keeps naturally cool in one of Thailands hottest regions

This human-sized birdhouse for two is perched among the treetops

November 14, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wished you could make like a bird and roost in the trees, you’ll love this charming birdhouse-shaped hideaway nestled in a British Columbia forest. Calgary-based design firm Studio North recently completed Birdhut, a cozy nest for people and birds alike. Built of reclaimed pine felled by a recent fire, the tiny 100-square-foot structure uses locally scavenged materials to mimic a bird’s nest-building process. Accessible via a bridge to the hillside, the cozy one-room Birdhut sleeps two (and a dog). Salvaged lodgepodge pines were used for the cross-braced structure, while planks reclaimed from a cabin deck are used for the platform and cladding. Western Red Cedar rounded shingles clad the facade and 8-millimeter clear polycarbonate panels top the roof, letting ample natural daylight into the cabin. Two circular windows let in natural ventilation. Related: Enchanting birdhouses inspired by famous architecture Twelve smaller circular holes punctuate the facade, each designed for different native birds . “The pileated woodpecker for instance, is a larger bird that seeks out a nesting space 15 to 25 feet above ground, with a 4” entry hole and an 8”x8”x24” cavity,” wrote the designers. “The warbler, on the other hand, is a smaller bird that typically nests 9 feet above ground with a 1 1/8” hole and a 4”x4”x6” cavity. Considering both the largest and smallest varieties of local birds, the hut sits 9 feet off the ground, with its peak at 20 feet above the ground and birdhouses scattered in between.” + Studio North Images by Mark Erickson

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