Cover installs its first prefab dwelling for the masses in L.A.

October 12, 2017 by  
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Thoughtful prefabricated design for the masses just moved one big step closer to reality. Tech company Cover just completed and installed its first computer-designed dwelling—and it’s begun taking pre-orders worldwide and delivering in Los Angeles. Cover, which describes their work as “doing for homes what Tesla is doing for the car,” uses proprietary computer algorithms to design beautiful custom spaces crafted to meet the user’s needs and optimized to meet rigorous Passive House standards. Cover is setting out to revolutionize the building industry with its streamlined process that combines precision-made prefabricated panels with proprietary technology. Cover’s computer algorithms create high-quality floor plans customized to the client’s needs as well as property and zoning constraints in as little as three days. The custom-designed units can be built to sizes ranging from 100 to 1,200 square feet and can be used as standalone homes with full kitchens and bathrooms. Energy efficiency is a big component of Cover’s units. Each modular unique dwelling will be built in Cover’s Los Angeles factory to rigorous Passive House standards and boast 80% more energy efficiency than the average home. Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors let in ample natural light, while the low-slope roof is optimized for photovoltaics . Radiant heating and cooling provide consistent and comfortable temperatures inside the airtight building envelope. Its steel structure is 100% recyclable. Related: Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes “Unlike other prefab companies and builders, Cover is a technology company first, armed with a team of full-time software engineers, designers, manufacturing engineers, and architects who have developed technology that streamlines the entire process of designing, buying, permitting, manufacturing and assembling Cover units,” said Alexis Rivas, Co-Founder and CEO of Cover. “We focus on the quality of the spaces and the little details – like the way light reflects off surfaces, how a door handle feels or the framing of the view – to transform the living experience for our customers and ensure a more efficient, smarter, and thoughtful way of living.” The first Cover unit is a 320-square-foot space that will be used as a music studio and office. Cover plans to produce 150 units per year in its Los Angeles factory. + Cover

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Cover installs its first prefab dwelling for the masses in L.A.

Oxford, UK to create first zero-emissions zone in the world

October 12, 2017 by  
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Oxford , England, with its history of learning dating back to the 11th century, is now shifting into the future with an electric-vehicle only zone in the city center. In banning all internal combustion engine vehicles, the city is establishing what it says is the first zero-emissions zone in the world. Starting in 2020, six streets in Oxford’s city center will be free of smaller gas-guzzling vehicles, including buses and taxis. By 2035, the ban will have expanded to all fossil-fuel powered vehicles and will encompass the entire city center. While such a dramatic change in the city center’s urban design may encourage less driving, thus less greenhouse gas emissions, the zone was inspired by a need to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide, most of which comes from car exhaust, by three-fourths. Chronic exposure to nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation. Data from the World Health Organization also indicates that Oxford is one of eleven British cities to exceed the safe limits of toxic particles known as PM10s and PM2.5s. A “step change” is urgently needed to prevent air pollution from “damaging the health” of Oxford residents, said city councilor John Tanner. Related: GM’s plans for “all-electric-future” spell doom for fossil fuel industry The switch-over plan is expected to cost Oxford city government, bus companies, and local businesses approximately £7 million to replace the fossil-fuel consuming vehicles, including all municipal vehicles, with electric vehicles. An additional £7 million will be spent to build compliance infrastructure , such as CCTV cameras with plate number recognition technology. Those who still choose to bring their old fashioned vehicles into the city center after the ban will face a significant fine. To sustain such a project, Oxford would require sustained commitment from local, regional, and perhaps federal government. Via The Guardian Images via  Martijn van Sabben ,  Giuseppe Milo

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Oxford, UK to create first zero-emissions zone in the world

This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

May 12, 2017 by  
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This beautiful prefab house by Antony Gibbon Designs is made up of six modules that can be configured in an endless number of ways. Each unit has one or more open sides that can be attached together, providing the opportunity to build an incredible variety of layouts. The closed sides of each module are clad in charred wood siding for an elegant, low-maintenance facade. Called the Moduu House, it is comprised of six different variations of a single staggered form. Each module measures 2.5 x 2.5 meters with one or more sides ‘open’ to allow each unit to be connected onto another increasing the interior space. The structures can be connected in a wide variety of spatial sequences to create the house you want. Related: These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k Traditional Japanese charred wood cladding known as Shou Sugi Ban cover the exterior of the house, giving it a natural appearance. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow ample natural light into each structure, with the option of adding sliding doors for direct access to the terraces, also available as modules. + Antony Gibbon Designs

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This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

This incredible urban oasis cafe is filled with living trees and vintage cars

May 12, 2017 by  
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Vintage cars may be popular collector’s items, but rarely do you see them used as restaurant decor. That, didn’t stop New York and Guatemala-based architecture firm Taller Ken from parking a couple of repurposed vehicles inside the incredible Madero Cafe. The ambitious team also filled the 4,844-square-foot space with an array of vibrant colors and soaring 15-foot-high trees to create a playful culinary greenhouse. Related: Upcycled urban cafe in India modeled after communal “chawls” Located on one of the busiest streets in Guatemala City, the Madero Cafe holds court from the exterior as an odd monolithic red block with four cars protruding out of its exterior walls. We’ll never know if the design is a sarcastic nod to the speedy drivers that whiz by or the city’s chaotic urban design , but we do know that the interior design is just as irreverent. The quirky interior is a light-filled oasis of color with a forest of soaring palm trees that create a playful greenhouse ambiance. The massive amount of greenery is irrigated thanks to an integrated rainwater collection system installed on the roof. The plants are also kept healthy thanks to the natural light that floods the interior through multiple sawtooth skylights. The rest of the interior is a hodgepodge of colors and textures, supported by a dizzying multi-colored floor. Although at first glance, the vibrant concrete mosaics on the floor may seem random, they actually follow a pattern that leads to the kitchen and bathrooms, and a few other unique areas in the restaurant. Taller KEN refers to the project’s eclectic appearance as locally-inspired: “this project mines local patterns, materials and textures and collects them to make a fresh tropical atmosphere”. + Taller Ken Photography by Leonardo Izaguirre via Taller Ken

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This incredible urban oasis cafe is filled with living trees and vintage cars

The Mask House looks like an ethereal mirage hovering among treetops in Ithaca

January 19, 2017 by  
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The Mask House, designed by WOJR , provides privacy while emphasizing views of the natural surroundings, and acts as a sort of habitable passage into another world, commemorating the loss of the owner’s brother who drowned in the nearby lake. An envelope made of dark wood battens blurs the line between this secluded 587-square foot house and its forested surrounding, while stilts make it appear that the house is floating above the forest floor. Dubbed “A Space of Myriad Sanctuaries”, the 587-square-foot house functions as a place of seclusion, peace and tranquility. From the front, it looks like a mirage that hovers above the ground and can disappear at any moment. Related: Black House Blues is a gorgeous woodland haven for music lovers The wood battens hide a single-family residence built on stilts. A large open space with a hanging chimney occupies the center of the building and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape through huge floor-to-ceiling windows . + WOJR Via Ignant

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The Mask House looks like an ethereal mirage hovering among treetops in Ithaca

South Korea unveils plan for near-supersonic hyper-tube train

January 19, 2017 by  
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Transportation that moves close to the speed of sound could be a reality in South Korea before too long. The country’s government-run Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) is working on their own super-speedy Hyperloop -esque train that could travel as fast as 1,000 kilometers per hour, or around 621 miles per hour, and they say it will be ready in the “not-too-distant future.” South Korea’s near-supersonic train could rocket travelers between Seoul and Busan, a trip that currently takes about 50 minutes by plane or over five hours on public transportation, in a snappy half hour. A KRRI spokesperson said, “We hope to create an ultra-fast train, which will travel inside a state-of-the-art low-pressure tube at lighting speeds, in the not-too-distant future. To that end, we will cooperate with associated institutes as well as Hanyang University to check the viability of various related technologies called the hyper-tube format over the next three years.” Related: The U.S. Air Force just smashed the world record for maglev speed The Korea Times notes that “hyper-tube” technology is akin to the Hyperloop technology first proposed by Elon Musk and currently under development by a couple competing companies. They say the pods rocketing through tubes can fly so fast because there isn’t any friction, that tricky little force slowing regular trains and other traditional forms of transportation. Maglev trains are free of the annoyance of friction, but they still have to battle air resistance. KRRI said it would work with other institutions to solve drawbacks the Hyperloop currently faces, such as threats from terrorism or natural disasters. “Many countries such as the United States, Canada, and China are competing to take the lead in this futuristic technology and we will also try to preempt our global rivals,” said the spokesperson. Via The Korea Times Images via Korea Railroad Research Institute and Wikimedia Commons

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South Korea unveils plan for near-supersonic hyper-tube train

Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library

December 7, 2016 by  
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Tragedy struck Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June 2008, when a devastating flood swept the city and destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses, and several prominent public structures, including the public library. In the wake of the unprecedented natural disaster, the community and local studio OPN Architects joined together to rebuild the library. The new Cedar Rapids Public Library was reborn as a vibrant, multipurpose center that’s earned numerous architecture awards and LEED Platinum certification. Completed in 2003, the new Cedar Rapids Public Library is located a couple blocks from the original site and overlooks Greene Square Park. OPN’s meetings with the community guided the 95,000-square-foot library design, which, according to the architects, was “driven by the desire to embrace openness, transparency and foster public engagement with and within the space.” The building features large expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass to engage the streetscape and to overlook views of the park and cityscape. Large windows and a two-story central atrium allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building and reduce dependence on artificial lighting. The library spaces are organized around the central atrium in a hub-and-spoke system in which the cafe and coffee shop are located in the Service Core Zone, while the children’s, young adult, and adult fiction areas branch out from the hub. Clear sight lines and open vertical circulation help users navigate their way to their destinations. The second floor includes adult non-fiction collections, a conference space, offices, and a 200-seat auditorium facing the park that spans both the second and third floors. A breakout lobby for the auditorium sits on the third floor, which provides access to the 24,000-square-foot green roof . Related: Boxy new library by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects designed to regenerate Halifax The Cedar Rapids Public Library achieved LEED Platinum certification thanks to its lowered energy footprint, which exceeds the Iowa Energy Code by 55% and uses energy at a rate of 37 ktbu per square foot—a significant savings compared to the pre-flood library’s rate of 100 kbtu per square foot. The exterior glazing that covers over a third of the building envelope is insulating with low-E coating. The building also includes a pump & re-inject geothermal HVAC system, daylight sensors, LEDs, and thermally broken aluminum framing. The accessible green roof harvests rainwater for irrigation, and combined with pervious paving, helps retain 90% of normal annual rainfall and 100% of all rainfall up to one inch in a 24-hour period on site. + OPN Architects Via ArchDaily Images via OPN Architects , by Main Street Studio – Wayne Johnson

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Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library

Modern low-maintenance cabin is a seamless extension of the Puget Sound landscape

December 6, 2016 by  
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This modest yet stunning cabin overlooking beautiful views of Washington’s Puget Sound is a triumph of modern, environmentally sensitive design. Seattle-based MW works designed the Case Inlet Retreat for clients who had hiked, camped, and paddled on the 20-acre site for years and wanted a home that would forge a strong relationship with the land. The low-maintenance cabin beautifully delivers on the clients’ requirements and has since won several American Institute of Architects awards, including a 2016 National Honor Award. Tucked away on a forested slope along the eastern edge of the Case Inlet, the compact retreat is a quiet and low-maintenance sanctuary that blends into the landscape with large glazed surfaces and a natural materials palette. A weathered cedar -clad volume anchors the building in the north and houses the master bedroom en suite with the bath located in a wood-lined, light-filled room overlooking views of the outdoors—a space the homeowners describe as their “favorite spot to enjoy a glass of wine at [the] day’s end.” A stairway next to the bathroom leads to the basement, where a guest bedroom, bathroom, mechanical room, and storage room are located. Related: Element 1 is a modern prefab island retreat that frames views of Puget Sound In contrast to the mostly opaque sleeping volume, the living spaces are wrapped in glazing for a transparent effect. A concrete cantilever juts out over the edge to the west, projecting the open-plan living room, kitchen, and dining area towards panoramic views of the tree canopy and water. The kitchen sits on an Ipe wood deck that seamlessly extends the building footprint beyond sliding glass doors and into an outdoor meadow bathed in afternoon light in the south. A broad timber-clad flat roof, accessible via a staircase, tops the cabin and offers homeowners the chance to immerse themselves in the evergreen canopy. + MW works Images via Jeremy Bittermann

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Modern low-maintenance cabin is a seamless extension of the Puget Sound landscape

Grow Box home clad in weathering steel harmonizes with a plot full of Japanese maple trees

July 22, 2016 by  
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The 1,975-square-foot house is located in Lexiton, Massachusetts, on a lot populated by over 40 different varieties of Japanese maple trees carefully cultivated by the owners. Considering its surroundings, the house is a combination of a compact volume and spaces that form decks, gardens and courtyards . The integration of interior and exterior spaces is further accentuated by providing each room with a garden and unobstructed views of the surroundings through floor-to-ceiling windows . Related: What looks like giant white crystals is actually a lake house in Western Massachusetts The central courtyard houses a single Himalayan birch tree and collects rainwater and melting snow. Operable windows and sliding doors provide a more direct connection with the outdoors. Weathering steel panels used as exterior cladding material further integrate the home within its lightly disturbed natural surroundings. + MERGE architects Via Design Milk Photos by John Horner

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Grow Box home clad in weathering steel harmonizes with a plot full of Japanese maple trees

Renovated Siemens Headquarters in Munich now consumes 90% less energy and 75% less water

July 19, 2016 by  
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The building comprises a single volume with four rectangular courtyards and a publicly accessible ground floor that provides a new pedestrian connection between downtown Munich and the museum district. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a smart spatial organization allow employees to have visual connection to their colleagues throughout the building, while various open areas act as meeting spaces where people can collaborate across departments. Related: Hufton + Crow capture Denmark’s beautiful grass-covered Moesgaard Museum in new photos Thanks to a holistic approach to sustainable design, the new building consumes 90% less electricity and uses 75% less water than its predecessor. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can be adjusted by employees, and thanks to the company’s smart building technology, data from 30,000 data points allow for a comprehensive insight into the daily energy performance of the building. + Henning Larsen Architects Via World Architecture News Photos by Hufton + Crow

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Renovated Siemens Headquarters in Munich now consumes 90% less energy and 75% less water

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