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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Modern black house juts out like a natural extension of Quebecs forest landscape

December 1, 2017 by  
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If you haven’t tired yet of the blackened timber trend, feast your eyes on this modern retreat that’s backed up on a forested hillside in Quebec, Canada. Montreal-based studio Atelier General designed The Rock, a boxy timber home that, like its name implies, is meant to evoke a natural extension of the mountainous terrain. Full-height glazing and extensive use of wood inside and out blur the line between indoor-outdoor living. Topped with a flat roof, the two-story home avoids a monolithic appearance thanks to its main living space that, supported by slender black columns, juts out towards the landscape, shielding a carport underneath. Black-painted timber clads the 2,300-square-foot home that’s contrasted by light-toned timber used in the interior and outdoor terrace that extends into the hillside. Related: Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact The entrance is located on the smaller ground floor, which contains two bedrooms and a bathroom. A large south-facing open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen take up the majority of the L-shaped upper level. Full-height glazing wraps around the communal area that also opens up to a small triangle-shaped deck. The master ensuite is placed between the two decks. Polish concrete floors are used throughout the home. + Atelier General Via Dezeen Images via Atelier General , photos by Adrien Williams

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Modern black house juts out like a natural extension of Quebecs forest landscape

Scientists discover cheap method to identify "lost" 99% of ocean microplastics

December 1, 2017 by  
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The world’s oceans are awash with hazardous microplastics that are largely invisible to the naked eye. These tiny plastic fragments, which are less than 5 millimeters in diameter and originate from the breakdown of synthetic clothing fibers, polyester from disposable bags and bottles, and so-called “microbeads” from facial scrubs and other exfoliants, mostly go undetected, according to scientists. In fact, previous surveys suggest only 1 percent of marine plastic waste is identifiable. To suss out the “missing” 99 percent, researchers from the University of Warwick in England decided to shine a light on the problem—quite literally—by using fluorescent dyes. Gabriel Erni-Cassola and Joseph A. Christie-Oleza from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, who spearheaded the research, claim that the new technique can detect microplastics as small as 20 micrometers—about the width of a single human hair. Because the dye they created binds only to plastic, the “tagged” microplastics show up easily among other natural materials when viewed under a fluorescence microscope. Related: Is synthetic clothing causing “microplastic” pollution in our oceans? Testing the method on samples of surface sea water and beach sand from the coast around Plymouth, the scientists said they were able to extract a far greater number of microplastics than they would have with traditional methods. “Using this method, a huge series of samples can be viewed and analysed very quickly, to obtain large amounts of data on the quantities of small microplastics in seawater or, effectively, in any environmental sample,” said Erni-Cassola in a statement.”Current methods used to assess the amount of microplastics mostly consist in manually picking the microplastics out of samples one by one—demonstrating the great improvement of our method.” Meanwhile, the team at Warwick discovered that the largest quantity of microplastics less than 1 mm in diameter was polypropylene, the ubiquitous polymer found in plastic bags and takeout containers. This finding proves that “our consumer habits are directly affecting the oceans,” the scientists said. Related: Which personal-care brands are still polluting the oceans with microbeads? The research is still in its early days, Christie-Oleza insisted, but it’s a beginning. “Have we found the lost 99 percent of missing plastic in surface oceans?” he said. “Obviously this method needs to be implemented in future scientific surveys to confirm our preliminary findings. It is important to understand how plastic waste behaves in the environment to correctly assess future policies.” + University of Warwick Top image by by Gaetano Cessati on Unsplash

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Scientists discover cheap method to identify "lost" 99% of ocean microplastics

This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

November 9, 2017 by  
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This stunning modernist guest home bears little similarity to its previous form: an old concrete barn for horses. Design-build firm The Construction Zone led the adaptive reuse project, the Barn Guest House, transforming the old horse stalls into room dividers. Full-height north-facing glass gives the guesthouse an indoor-outdoor character that embraces a desert garden In Phoenix. Topped with a flat overhanging roof, the 750-square-foot guest home contains a master suite, kitchen, and living area separated by concrete walls. Timber, seen in the Douglas fir -clad roof and furnishings and cabinetry, imbue the home with much needed warmth in a predominately cool-toned palette of concrete, glass, and black steel. Related: Atelier Data Transforms an Old Horse Stable into a Simple but Stunning Home in Portugal The interior decor is kept minimal to maintain the home’s sense of lightness in the landscape, while a few pops of red hues and natural timber tones break up the gray color scheme. The Barn Guest House looks out over an outdoor entertaining patio , bocce ball court, jacuzzi, and cacti-studded gardens. + The Construction Zone Via Dezeen Images by Bill Timmerman

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This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Ultra-thin Macbook-shaped roof tops new Apple Store in Chicago

October 24, 2017 by  
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A new Apple Store has just opened in downtown Chicago—and it’s an architectural beauty. Designed by Foster + Partners , Apple Michigan Avenue follows the tech giant’s new ( and controversial ) “Town Square” store concept in which stores are meant to serve as community hubs rather than simply commercial spaces. Naming aside, the new Apple flagship is a stunner with wraparound glazing and an ultra-thin carbon fiber roof in the recognizable shape of a Macbook cover. Located along the Chicago riverfront on North Michigan Avenue’s ‘Magnificent Mile,’ Apple Michigan Avenue was envisioned as a bridge between the city and the river. Granite staircases that flank the store step down to the waterfront from the historic Pioneer Court urban plaza. Massive curved glass walls wrap around the building on all sides, while four slender columns support an extremely thin floating roof. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy “We fundamentally believe in great urban life, creating new gathering places, and connecting people in an analog way within an increasingly digital world,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “The design of Apple Michigan Avenue embodies this in its structure and materiality with a glass wall that dissolves into the background, revealing the only visible element of the building – its floating carbon fiber roof.” Interior stairs double as seating for Apple Michigan Avenue’s “forum,” the events space for talks about photography and coding, and hub of Today at Apple. + Foster + Partners Images by Neil Young

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Ultra-thin Macbook-shaped roof tops new Apple Store in Chicago

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