Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living

October 10, 2018 by  
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Berlin-based architecture office rundzwei Architekten recently completed a light-filled home that showcases the many material benefits of cork . Named the Cork Screw House, the sustainably minded abode boasts a facade and roof clad in natural cork, a material that not only gives the building a highly textured appearance, but also contributes significantly to the home’s energy efficiency thanks to high insulation values. The cork home is set on a base of rammed concrete and comprises a series of split-levels for flexibility. The decision to clad the home in cork emerged from the client’s desire for a house with good acoustic performance. Initially drawn by the acoustic insulation properties of cork, the architects were ultimately convinced by the sustainable benefits of the material, which is made from granulated cork waste that has been pressed into naturally weather- and mold-resistant panels without any artificial additives. In addition to insulating cork panels, the architects carefully chose a natural materials palette and steered clear of chemical adhesives. Wood fiber and cellulose were used as additional insulation, while timber and gypsum fiberboards were selected for their ability to absorb humidity and create a comfortable indoor environment. Created for a family of three, the Cork Screw House is organized around a central, atrium -like staircase illuminated by a skylight. To side-step planning regulations that mandated a maximum floor size of 100 square meters, the architects lowered the base floors and designed the timber-framed upper floors as a series of split-levels, bringing the gross floor area to over 320 square meters. On the ground floor, full-height glazing floods the interior with natural light. The home also includes an exterior sunken pool that’s surrounded by rammed concrete walls for privacy. Related: Elegant cork-clad artists’ studio slots into a bijou London garden Due to the selection of natural materials and ample daylighting, the building “doesn’t need an active ventilation system despite the very low energy standard,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Through a stratified heat storage system supplemented by roof integrated solar panels, the heating supply is almost self-sufficient adding to the efficiency of the building’s overall performance.” + rundzwei Architekten Photography by Gui Rebelo

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Solar-powered cork house pursues healthy, sustainable living

This gorgeous converted bus hotel in Scotland pulls out all the stops

October 10, 2018 by  
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The world is full of cookie-cutter lodgings, but for those looking for a bit of character on their next vacation, The Bus Stop is now taking reservations. Located on a working farm in northeast Scotland, this old,  converted bus has been renovated to provide a peaceful retreat where guests can enjoy the beautiful, panoramic views of the rolling green hills for which the country is famous. There are two restored old buses tucked into the East Lothian countryside. Both have been renovated with everything needed for a glamping-style getaway . The interiors sleep up to four, with a king-size bed in the back as well as two bunk beds. The large bedroom has a glass skylight on the ceiling to allow guests to enjoy a bit of stargazing as they drift off to sleep. Related: Vintage red double decker bus is converted into a cool, retro hotel The living room is light and airy with a wood-burning stove to keep guests warm and toasty on chilly evenings. Natural light brightens the interior thanks to an abundance of windows. Guests can enjoy a fully-functional kitchen with a small refrigerator, a stovetop, a microwave and all of the essential utensils. The bathroom has a rainfall shower and is stocked with complimentary luxury toiletries. Of course, the best part of the bus hotel is its peaceful surroundings. Guests can enjoy the expansive views from open-air decks with ample seating for dining, socializing or simply taking in the landscape. The outdoor space is the heart of the hotel and comes complete with a charcoal barbecue and fire pit. As an extra bonus, there is also a wood-fired hot tub for relaxing with a nice glass of wine. When they are not soaking in the warm suds, guests can enjoy a stroll around the working farm, which is home to alpacas, horses, sheep and chickens. + The Bus Stop Via Tiny House Talk Images via The Bus Stop

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This gorgeous converted bus hotel in Scotland pulls out all the stops

LEED-targeted condos bring Scandinavian design to a Quebec forest

September 19, 2018 by  
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Montreal-based real estate developer KnightsBridge has recently unveiled Arborescence, an eco-friendly condominium project on Quebec’s Bromont Mountain that will likely be the latest addition to its line of LEED-certified properties. Quebec design practice ABCP Architecture designed the residential development, which will comprise approximately 260 units, all for four-season use. The gabled structures are inspired heavily by Scandinavian design both inside and out and will embrace the outdoors with a natural materials palette and full-height glazing. Located just an hour from Montreal and a mere 40 minutes from the U.S. border, Arborescence will be sited in an area of natural beauty that’s also close to local services and attractions. The development was conceived as a “retreat in the heart of the forest.” Residents will have easy access to year-round outdoor activities, from ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes, snowshoeing, mountain biking, hiking and swimming at the nearby water park. Even at home, the residents will take in nature through expansive glass windows that offer unobstructed views of the Eastern Townships. In addition to ample glazing, each unit will be built using natural materials and outfitted with a gas fireplace. Tall ceilings from nine to 15 feet in height give the homes an airy feel, while superior soundproofing and insulation ensure peace and comfort. Residents will also have access to a heated outdoor pool, pond with a dock, tennis and beach volleyball courts and an outdoor fireplace. Related: Twisting tree-like sculptures redefine a public space in Montreal “If Quebec and Scandinavia were neighbors, Arborescence would be located right at the border,” said Simon Boyer, co-founder of KnightsBridge. “The development offers the best of both worlds, with sleek, modern architecture that integrates the warm feel of wood. The development is renewed with every season and is sure to please any epicurean!” The first phase of the $100 million project is slated to launch September 19 with 48 units to be delivered toward the end of 2019. + ABCP Architecture Images via KnightsBridge

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LEED-targeted condos bring Scandinavian design to a Quebec forest

Sustainable desert home has a small water footprint in Nevada

September 19, 2018 by  
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Las Vegas-based Hoogland Architecture designed the Arroyo House, a forever home for a couple with a penchant for the outdoors and sustainable design. Located in the tiny town of Blue Diamond just outside Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert, the Arroyo House enjoys panoramic views of the landscape with nary a neighbor in sight. The 3,875-square-foot dwelling takes advantage of the views with full-height glazing that’s protected from the sun by large overhangs, while the water conservation and recycling system helps keep water usage to a minimum. Designed for a Las Vegas couple nearing retirement age, the Arroyo House was conceived as a forever home with a design conducive to aging in place. Examples include an ADA compliant roll-in shower and a single-story layout for the main living spaces. Currently, the house is used as a launch pad for hiking and exploring the desert landscape as well as nearby Red Rock Canyon. To ensure the longevity of the building, the architects relied on low-maintenance concrete and weathering steel for the external walls. Large roof overhangs protect full-height, low-E glazing and sliding doors that flood the modern interiors with natural light while framing views of the outdoors. Inside, the rooms are minimally dressed with polished concrete floors, white walls and light timber furnishings. The living room, dining area and kitchen are located in an open-plan, L-shaped layout next to the deck on one side of the home. The master suite is located on the opposite side of the entry and connects to a guesthouse via a shaded outdoor walkway. Related: Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability In addition to ample daylighting and passive cooling measures, energy efficiency was reinforced with radiant in-slab heating and low-flow fixtures. The drought-tolerant landscape is irrigated with recycled gray water, while black water is treated on site with a septic system. The house has also been engineered to accommodate the photovoltaic solar array that the homeowners plan to install in the future. + Hoogland Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Stephen Morgan

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Sustainable desert home has a small water footprint in Nevada

Solar-powered Austin home can save owners nearly $100K in energy costs

August 23, 2018 by  
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This sculptural home in Austin is a scene-stealer, for more reasons than just its good looks. For starters, the dwelling—named the Vista Residence—is powered with a 15.4-kiloWatt rooftop photovoltaic system that not only covers an estimated 90% of the home’s annual energy needs, but is expected to help save homeowners more than $94,000 in energy costs over the next 30 years. Miró Rivera Architects designed the abode with many energy-efficient features for long-term cost savings that include both low-tech and high-tech elements from deep overhangs to a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) mechanical system. Nestled into a steep slope in West Austin, the Vista Residence lives up to its name with full-height glazing that frames sweeping views of the hill country landscape and downtown Austin. The large windows, found throughout the home, let in ample natural light. A material palette dominated by exposed concrete, metal and concrete panel cladding emphasize low maintenance and a contemporary aesthetic. Inside, the 8,660-square-foot house is split into three floors and organized around a dramatic staircase made from over 200 individual pieces of steel and white oak treads. Flooded with light from above, the dramatic central stair branches off to the various rooms of the home defined by white walls and white oak floors. The first floor, which is partially buried into the hillside, houses two bedrooms, a shared bath, a game room, a storage / mechanical room as well as access to a small courtyard. The floor above is far more spacious and consists of the main living areas as well as the master suite. A small third floor contains an office with a sitting area, kitchenette, bath and outdoor balcony. Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas The architects installed a 15.4-kiloWatt rooftop photovoltaic system that covers an estimated 90% of the Vista Residence’s annual energy, an amount the architects say is equivalent to offsetting 18.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year (equal to the annual energy use of 1.8 average homes). The payback period for solar will take an estimated eight years. High-performance materials and energy-saving fixtures were installed throughout. + Miró Rivera Architects Images by Paul Finkel | Piston Design>

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Solar-powered Austin home can save owners nearly $100K in energy costs

Prefab holiday cabins boast spectacular coastal views in Tasmania

August 10, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Tasmania , you’ll want to put Freycinet’s newest additions on your bucket list. Nestled inside one of the country’s oldest national parks, this unique hotel recently saw the completion of its nine Coastal Pavilions, a series of prefabricated one-bedroom cabins designed by Liminal Studio that blur the lines between inside and out. Inspired by the spectacular surroundings, the pavilions are fitted out with a natural material palette, full-height glazing and rounded, sinuous surfaces that evoke an organic feel. Located on a wind-blown pink granite outcropping on the Freycinet Peninsula in Freycinet National Park, the new Coastal Pavilions at Freycinet Lodge were prefabricated offsite for minimal site impact. Each pavilion was carefully placed to provide privacy and an immersive experience while maximizing views. As a result, not all of the pavilions have water views as some are nestled into the coastal bushland; the pavilions comprise two types, Coastal Pavilions and Coastal Pavilions – Bay View. All of the contemporary pavilions are wrapped in charred ironbark that helps recede the buildings into the landscape, as well as full-height double-glazing. Netted, hammock-like balustrades surround the timber deck complete with an outdoor soaking tub. Inside, local Tasmanian timbers are used throughout to create the highly textured walls, ceilings and floors, which flow together with sinuous lines devoid of hard corners. In addition to a large bedroom, the pavilion is equipped with a living area and walk-in shower. Related: Stellar views and a small footprint define this Tasmanian timber cabin “We have drawn inspiration from this unique setting to influence the architecture and interiors of the pavilions,” said Peta Heffernan, Design Director at Liminal Studio. “The design has taken its cue from the fluidity and layers of the coastal rock formations, the coloring of the rich orange lichen and forms of the nearby bays. The exteriors are treated in a recessive way so as not to compete with this beautiful landscape.” + Liminal Studio Images by Dianna Snape

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Prefab holiday cabins boast spectacular coastal views in Tasmania

A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow

July 24, 2018 by  
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Linz-based architecture practice mia2/ Architektur has completed a charming minimalist home defined by a massive gabled roof in Pyhrn-Priel Holiday Region, an alpine region in Upper Austria. Located on a sloped site, the timber home — dubbed Haus L — was designed to embrace the outdoors with full-height operable glazing that frames beautiful rural views. The dwelling also has an eco-friendly focus with its limited footprint and use of natural materials, including cellulose insulation. Split into two levels covering 1,679 square feet, Haus L was commissioned by a young family that desired “a calm, clear architecture made of wood, concrete and glass.” Its simple yet modern design harmonizes with the rural landscape and vernacular. The top-heavy home features a concrete base and is mostly clad in light-colored timber inside and out, save for the gabled portion that is clad in stained timber . The architects partly embedded the ground floor into the earth; the master bedroom, living room and entrance can be found on this lowest level. A short set of steps to the left of the entrance leads up to a slightly elevated terrace-like space housing the kitchen and dining room. Here, sliding glass doors and the double-height ceiling create a spacious, indoor-outdoor experience. The dining room also connects to an outdoor terrace . Three additional bedrooms can be found upstairs. Skylights and a large round window let daylight into the upper floor. Related: Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape “The solid timber house with its precisely chosen elements is simple and complex at once,” explained mia2/ Architektur in a project statement. “Simplicity comes from the clear structure and proportion of base, ground floor and roof. Complexity comes from spatial variety. At the high part of the slope, the ground floor is located half a meter below terrain level, which creates a living space embedded by grassland. Downward, the kitchen and living room is given enough space to unfold up to the ridge.” + mia2/ Architektur Via ArchDaily Images by Kurt Hörbst

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A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow

Elegant net-zero home wraps around a large pond in Connecticut

May 22, 2018 by  
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Cutler Anderson Architects  completed a modern woodland home that fully embraces the outdoors. Built to wrap around a large lake, the Connecticut Residence takes design inspiration from its surroundings with a subdued palette comprised of natural materials. As an “emotionally sustainable” home, the dwelling not only provides a relaxing atmosphere for its homeowners, but also generates all the energy it consumes through renewable sources. Created for a family of five, the Connecticut Residence stretches across a 4.3-acre forested site with a large pond in the center. The architects split the home into three volumes, two of which sit on either side of the pond with a long covered bridge in between. The volume on the west side of the pond houses the entry and the main communal areas including the living room, dining room, kitchen and family room. The volumes to the east and south comprise bedrooms, with the former also housing a garage. Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs Ample amounts of full-height glazing wrap around the house to blur the boundaries between indoors and out. Unfinished cypress clads the exterior, while the interior is mainly finished in Douglas fir broken up by white-painted walls and light-colored furnishings. The net-zero energy home is powered by rooftop solar as well as 14 geothermal wells. + Cutler Anderson Architects Via Dezeen Images © David Sundberg/ Esto

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Elegant net-zero home wraps around a large pond in Connecticut

Dutch villa smartly taps into solar energy and optimal site conditions

March 1, 2018 by  
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EVA Architecten took the long view when designing Villa IJsselzig, a modern home optimized for energy efficiency and durability. Set next to the river Hollandse Ijssel, the villa respects the neighboring buildings by adapting a similar form but also quietly stands out with its distinctly contemporary design. Renewable energy including solar and a heat pumps power the home while the carefully positioned openings reduce unwanted solar gain. Topped with a dark copper roof and reddish-brown bricks, Villa IJsselzig was built to appear as a singular sculptural mass. The river-facing facade to the north is left mostly transparent with full-height glazing that wraps around the communal areas while the home’s opposite side on the south is mostly closed off from view and protected by a garden for privacy. The placement of these openings and orientation also mitigate solar gain , particularly unwanted heat build-up from the south, and are supplemented by extra-insulated walls. Related: Solar-powered M House is a light-filled modern Dutch villa In contrast to its dark facade, the interior, designed in collaboration with NEST architects , features a lighter palette. The interior is organized around a wooden core surrounded by white walls. The wooden core contains the staircases, storerooms, and other facilities thus opening up the other rooms to flexible open-plan use. The living spaces are located on the ground floor whereas all the bedrooms are placed on the upper floor and overlook the river. + EVA Architecten Via Dwell Photos by Sebastian van Damme

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Dutch villa smartly taps into solar energy and optimal site conditions

Gorgeous site-sensitive home ushers in the outdoors

February 23, 2018 by  
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In Northern California, a spectacular modern home embraces nature in more ways than one. Palo Alto-based Field Architecture designed the spacious residence, named Forty-One Oaks after the property’s oak trees that became the inspirational spark behind the design. The home was envisioned as an extension of the oak-studded landscape, an effect achieved through full-height glazing , a natural materials palette, and preservation of an on-site wildlife corridor through which deer, bobcats, and mountain lions traverse. Located in Portola Valley south of San Francisco, Forty-One Oaks comprises a series of rectilinear volumes built with great expanses of glass to blur the indoor-outdoor boundary, concrete walls that echo the verticality of tree trunks, and deep steel roof overhangs for solar shading . “41 Oaks produces an architecture that is in conversation with nature,” wrote the architects. “The house is centered around the idea of creating porosity, connecting with the forty-one oaks that dot the site. Instead of creating a massive block of living space, [we] created a series of pavilions that jut into the landscape.” Related: Solar-powered family retreat beautifully blends into California’s rolling hills The contemporary interior is awash in natural light and the mostly neutral palette keeps attention on the outdoors. Forty-One Oaks’ best example of indoor-outdoor connection can be seen in the dining room, housed in a cantilevered window box with floor-to-ceiling views of the canopy for a treehouse -like feel. Outdoor terraces are reached through sliding glass doors from the main living space, while the master bedroom opens up to a Japanese rock garden. + Field Architecture Via Dezeen Exterior photography by Steve Goldband, interior photography by John Merkl

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