Gorgeous, energy-efficient retreat rests among Utah’s mountains

November 9, 2018 by  
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Danish interior designer Mette Axboe spent months searching for the perfect U.S. location for a family retreat, but the hunt came to an abrupt end once she set sights on an expansive lot of 10 pristine acres overlooking Utah’s picturesque Park City. The mountain range in the background inspired the stunning design, which was conceived as a “looking box” to enjoy the scenery from any point in the home. Axboe worked with architect Chris Price and his firm Park City Design + Build to develop the idyllic retreat for long getaways. Although the family was open to ideas about the overall design, they knew that the focus had to be on the surrounding landscape. “We wanted something that would fit our lifestyle and family, and cater to frequent (and long-staying) guests from overseas,” Axboe said. “We asked Chris to ‘architect it up’ — keeping our layout in mind, and ensuring a good fit with both the site and surrounding area. It was very important for us to design a house that fit the landscape and not the other way around.” Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof Accordingly, the rolling fields and mountain range in the distance became the focal point of the home’s design. The  low-lying horizontal volume  is tucked into the landscape to help blend the structure into its surroundings. To create a “looking box,” the team included sizable windows and multiple outdoor decks to provide stunning views from virtually any angle. To further blend the home into its environment, the architects and designer went with a muted color palette using a combination of natural cedar and board-formed concrete. These materials continue through the interior, where enormous sliding glass doors and windows provide a seamless connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces. An expansive deck with large comfy sofas, a dining table and fire pit is the perfect spot for soaking up the amazing scenery. In addition to bringing nature to the forefront of the design, the residents were also focused on creating an energy-efficient home . As such, the architects employed various Passive Haus standards . Triple-pane windows were installed to allow the home to have access to ample natural light and stunning views without massive heat loss. Radiant heat flooring also provides even temperature control during the freezing Utah winters. As for the interior living areas , Axboe used her native Danish roots to create a modern, Scandinavian-inspired design. The home’s all-white walls and light oak flooring open up the space, providing a welcoming atmosphere throughout. According to Axboe, “This is a family home, not a cold art museum.” + Park City Design + Build Via Dwell Photography by Renan Ozturk via Park City Design + Build

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Gorgeous, energy-efficient retreat rests among Utah’s mountains

BIGs dramatic hillside apartments officially open in Stockholm

November 9, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has announced the official opening of the long-awaited 79&Park, a residential development with a striking, stepped design. Located in Stockholm’s Gärdet district, the sculptural complex consists of 169 foliage-covered apartments constructed from prefabricated 3.6-meter by 3.6-meter modules that are arranged around an open courtyard. The cascading design was developed to optimize access to natural light as well as views toward the city and Gärdet’s parklands. Inaugurated on the same day as OMA’s Norra Tornen — another spectacular structure and the tallest new building in the city — 79&Park occupies a prominent location bordering the city park. To tie the building into the urban fabric and adjacent nature, Bjarke Ingels Group crafted the building in the image of a gently sloping hillside and clad the exterior in vertical strips of cedar. An abundance of greenery has been incorporated as well, from the modular rooftop terraces to the lush central courtyard. “79&Park is conceived as an inhabitable landscape of cascading residences that combine the splendors of a suburban home with the qualities of urban living: the homes have private outdoor gardens and penthouse views of the city and Gärdet,” said Bjarke Ingels, founding partner at BIG. “The communal intimacy of the central urban oasis offers peace and tranquility while also giving the residents a feeling of belonging in the larger community of 79&Park. Seen from a distance, 79&Park appears like a man-made hillside in the center of Stockholm .” Related: BIG completes low-income “Homes for All” project in Copenhagen In addition to the 169 apartment units — nearly all of them have a unique layout — the development also houses commercial spaces open to the public on the ground floor. Resident amenities include a doggy daycare and preschool. Like the exterior, the Scandinavian design-inspired interiors were dressed in a natural material palette including white oak floors and natural stone. Large windows blur the boundary between the indoors and out. + BIG Photography by Laurian Ghinitoiu via BIG

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BIGs dramatic hillside apartments officially open in Stockholm

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

Sculptural Haus B uses passive solar principles to surpass Germanys energy standards

October 4, 2018 by  
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Completed over the span of four years, Haus B is a passive solar home that is a contemporary departure from the housing norm of the 1960s suburban neighborhood in which it resides. Located in Dreieich, Germany, the 320-square-meter house was designed by Düsseldorf-based design studio One Fine Day (Office for Architectural Design) in collaboration with Ulrike Thies, who acted as the construction supervisor. Most impressively, the single-family residence was designed and built to surpass the requirements of the latest German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) with its strict adherence to passive solar principles along with highly energy-efficient materials and renewable energy systems. Since the property is surrounded by a mix of traditional, small-scale housing types and a “somewhat reckless” style of architecture that has emerged since the 1990s, the architects wanted to be careful to create a sensitive, site-specific design. “Haus B finds itself in an apparently homogeneous, yet, at least architecturally, also quite ambiguous neighborhood,” the design firm noted. “Here it has to balance the needs of contemporary living and aesthetics with the cultural and formal implications of a grown context that is typical for many suburban settlements throughout the region.” To that end, the architects let the site inform the design of the home’s elongated volume, from its low-slung form that complements the low heights of the neighboring houses to its muted exterior color palette of off-whites and dark grays. But the firm was unafraid to introduce more modern and sculptural elements to the home, which can be seen in the slightly deformed roofline and the interior, which features an open-plan layout with curved walls and double height spaces. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Following passive solar principles, Haus B has been oriented toward the south and southwest to maximize solar exposure during wintertime, while roof overhangs and adjustable canvas blinds block unwanted solar gain during summer. All the exterior wall and roof surfaces feature up to 20-centimeter-thick insulation layers and windows are double-glazed. Heating and hot water are powered by a solar-powered heat pump. + One Fine Day Images via Roland Borgmann

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Sculptural Haus B uses passive solar principles to surpass Germanys energy standards

Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

August 9, 2018 by  
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Few homes undergo the trials and tribulations of Boston Villa – and fewer still receive a gorgeous renovation that also wins an architectural prize. But in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne, Australia, that’s exactly what happened. For years, Boston Villa stood abandoned, serving as a shelter for indigent wanderers. Even after Nest Architects ‘ clients Dean and Lisa saw promise in the property, someone set it on fire halfway into the preliminary stages of the rebuilding process. The couple remained undaunted, however, and Nest Architects forged ahead with the overhaul, creating a beautiful, light-filled home with numerous energy-saving and sustainable features. For the project’s first phase, the architects tore down walls to let natural light and air flow freely through the space. This demolition also opened up views of courtyards and created light sources throughout the structure. Skylights illuminate the laundry room and bathroom, louvered windows let filtered light brighten the children’s bedrooms, and an enormous glazed glass wall brings the glow of sunlight into the study, guest room, dining room, kitchen and living spaces. Rustic timber columns and beams accentuate this wall and help it harmonize with the rest of the home’s aesthetic. Two large windows flanked by striking Victorian brickwork highlight the front of the structure. Related: Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain Because the clients wanted a sustainable home as well, Nest Architects included a number of features that reduce the house’s overall footprint. The concrete slab foundation effectively controls heat loss, and internal thermal blinds coupled with low-E glass fend off heat from the sun. The architects used recycled fittings and fixtures in every room; additionally, all the plywood and timber came from recycled sources. Low-voltage lighting and appliances with five-star energy ratings further reduce the amount of electricity consumed. Boston Villa won the Victorian Institute of Architects Award in the Alterations and Additions Category in 2011. + Nest Architects Images via Jesse Marlow

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Solar-powered cube home in Australia hovers over the landscape

June 21, 2018 by  
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Optical illusions go hand-in-hand with architecture, but this tiny cube structure by  Matt Thitchener Architect  truly hovers over the landscape — with some help from embedded supports. Cantilevered on a hill, the North Avoca Studio is completely powered by the large array of  solar panels  on its roof. Located just southeast of New South Wales, North Avoca is an idyllic coastal neighborhood. Architect Matt Thitchener designed the 645-square-foot cube to be both an office and entertainment space for a family who primarily works from home. The studio is merely steps away from the family’s main residence. Related: Tiny Space-Age LoftCube Prefab Can Pop up Just About Anywhere The structural design of the studio was primarily influenced by the challenging landscape. Very steep terrain as well as limited building space required the team to embed 20-foot pillars into the bedrock to create a cantilevered design . Also due to the complexity of the location, building materials for the project had to be craned in piece by piece. The result, however, is a gorgeous multi-use space that looks out over the Pacific Ocean. Clad in dark corrugated Spandek panels, the exterior is modern and sleek. The otherwise monolithic structure is only interrupted by an entire glazed wall that provides the interior with natural light and breathtaking ocean views. The studio’s roof is covered in solar panels , which provide 100 percent of its energy. It’s also equipped with a rain harvesting system that is used to irrigate the garden planted under the structure. The interior of the home counts on an open floor plan to provide ultimate flexibility for different uses. The design is contemporary and airy, also providing an appropriate feel for any occasion. The space can be used as a work studio during the day, but can be easily be converted into an entertainment area for friends and family at night. + Matt Thitchener Architect Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Matt Thitchener Architect and Keith McInnes Photography

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Solar-powered cube home in Australia hovers over the landscape

The Science Place becomes Australias first new LEED Gold-rated educational building

April 24, 2018 by  
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James Cook University’s The Science Place recently earned the distinction of becoming Australia’s first educational building to achieve a prestigious LEED Gold rating. Designed by HASSELL , the sustainable building with state-of-the-art facilities brings together the university’s chemistry, biochemistry and biology research cohorts under one roof. The Science Place also recovered and recycled 96% of all the previous building materials—a new record for a Townsville development of its size. The nearly 130,000-square-foot The Science Place building serves as the iconic “home of science” and central hub on the university campus. The four-story structure stacks two floors of dedicated scientific research areas atop research-led learning spaces on the lower two floors, all linked by light-filled atrium spaces and a central open stair. “We’ve seen a surge in the desire to house STEM activities under the one roof as a way to increase cross-disciplinary education and knowledge sharing, and The Science Place is a prime example of achieving this goal,” said HASSELL Principal Mark Roehrs. “This not only makes sense from a building and asset point of view, but also for student experience as it increases interaction.” Related: The Global Change Institute Operates in a Net Zero, Carbon Neutral Research Center in Brisbane In addition to the recovery and recycling of previous building materials, the LEED Gold -certified university building keeps power consumption to a minimum thanks to natural daylight, daylight-sensitive lighting, water-saving taps, and a light-colored reflective roof that reduces solar heat gain. A 25kW solar rooftop area also generates 125kWh of renewable energy a day. For improved health and comfort, the building is also equipped with superior indoor air quality management and testing, multiple low-emitting materials, and performance-optimized smart metering. + HASSELL Images © Andrew Rankin

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The Science Place becomes Australias first new LEED Gold-rated educational building

Glowing glass lantern turns this energy-efficient office into a beacon

March 13, 2018 by  
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Abscis Architecten completed Notary Office, a new office building that exudes simplicity and tranquility with a environmentally conscious footprint. Located along Ghent’s Kortrijksesteenweg in Sint-Denijs-Westrem, the well-insulated brick building harnesses renewable energy and makes careful use of resources, including rainwater that’s partly absorbed by green roofs and partly recovered for toilets and irrigation. While these sustainable features are modestly tucked away from view, there is one feature that catches the eye: a large glazed wall at the top of the building that glows like a glass “lantern” and beacon at night. Minimalism, transparency, and a minimal environmental impact were key drivers in the design of Notary Office. In contrast to the dark facade, the interiors are dominated by white and awash in natural light that streams in through full-height glazing. The ground floor is centered on a glass-enclosed atrium that’s exposed to the outdoors and landscaped with ground cover and stepping-stones. The connection to the outdoors is further emphasized in the rear of the building where sliding glass doors open up to a landscaped garden with old trees that were carefully preserved during the construction process. Related: Green-roofed office is the first large-scale CLT structure in southeast Europe Natural light is also let in at the top of the stairs through a large glass window dubbed the glass “lantern” that the architects say “forms a minimalist light beacon along the busy road.” To mitigate unwanted solar gain, the architects installed electronically controlled aluminum solar shades . An air-water heat pump heats and cools the building. Warm LEDs and sustainable insulation is used throughout the office. + Abscis Architecten Via ArchDaily Images © Jeroen Verrecht

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Glowing glass lantern turns this energy-efficient office into a beacon

Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living

November 20, 2017 by  
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Sustainable design principles are embedded throughout the Northcote Solar Home, a beautiful Melbourne home that shows how energy efficiency can go hand-in-hand with contemporary design. Local architecture studio Green Sheep Collective designed the light-filled home for a family who wanted flexible spaces and an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living. The sustainable, passive solar home is strategically positioned for thermal mass, while elements like double-glazing and rainwater harvesting reduce its energy footprint. Topped by an eye-catching raked corrugated zincalume roof, the Northcote Solar Home’s pitched roofline and clerestory windows help to modulate solar gain, while allowing for stack ventilation. North-facing living areas take advantage of passive heating and cooling, and high levels of insulation helps lock in desired temperatures. Large low-e, double-glazed windows frame the outdoors and bring in ample natural light. Views to the central courtyard and garden can be enjoyed throughout the home. Related: Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built from recycled red brick The airy interior features white plaster walls and wormy chestnut flooring that flow from the inside to the outside decking and also tie into the silvertop ash exterior cladding. Large sliding doors delineate the three bedrooms from the living and dining areas, and are set up so for easy adaptation into different uses. “In addition, the courtyard affords great connectivity between spaces within the home, so while inhabitants might be undertaking separate activities, they may still be ‘together’,” wrote the architects. + Green Sheep Collective Images via Emma Cross

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Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living

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