Geothermal-powered Lake Austin Home is tuned in to nature

September 22, 2017 by  
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Local studio A Parallel Architecture designed the award-winning Lake Austin Residence, a beautiful luxury home that derives inspiration from nature. Despite its large 6,750-square-foot size and horizontal footprint, the contemporary house achieves a sense of lightness thanks to ample full-height glazing and limestone massing. The energy-efficient dwelling offers geothermal climate control, as well as onsite waste treatment and water collection. Spread out across two stories, the Lake Austin Residence comprises a series of stacked and staggered rectangular volumes clad in limestone brickwork and white stucco. Nearly flat roofs top the volumes, which are punctuated by large sections of glazing to let in natural light and views of the landscape. “Like a butterfly specimen pinned to its mounting, this sinuous lake-front home’s light floating roofs are anchored to its site by heavy rusticated limestone masses, while its horizontal footprint is spread out and sewn through the vertical punctuation of mature sycamore, cypress and pecan trees,” wrote the architects. Related: Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin To lend a sense of warmth to the glass and stone palette, the architects added a warm interior palette of oak, mahogany, and cedar as well as splashes of turquoise to reference the lake. The heart of the light-filled interior is a nearly double-height living room separated from the dining room and kitchen by a fireplace. The master suite is located on the right side of the house, while the three bedrooms are placed in the left wing. Sliding glass doors open the back of the property up to the outdoor stone patio, infinity pool, and Lake Austin . + A Parallel Architecture Via Dezeen Images via A Parallel Architecture

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Geothermal-powered Lake Austin Home is tuned in to nature

Schmidt Hammer Lassen breaks ground on LEED Gold-seeking incubator in Shanghai

September 21, 2017 by  
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A striking new high-tech building in Shanghai is going for gold— LEED Gold , that is. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects just broke ground on the new CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters, an incubator for high-tech firms designed for LEED Gold certification. Engineered for climate control, the boxy green-roofed center will mitigate Shanghai’s muggy summers and bone-chilling winters with its stacked and staggered massing. Located east of downtown Shanghai near Hongqiao Airport, the government-backed CaoHeJing Hi-Tech Park is one of Shanghai’s earliest high-tech business parks serviced by its eponymous metro station. The technological development zone covers an area of 14.5 square kilometers and is home to around 1,200 domestic and overseas high-tech companies. The CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters is Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s third project for CaoHeJing, following the firm’s transformation of an old office building into the CaoHeJing Innovation Incubator. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects unveils competition-winning design for the Shanghai Library The CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters is made up of three stacked and staggered glass volumes connected with two external landscaped terraces. The divisible incubator studio spaces are located on the upper levels while the ground-floor volume comprises the main lobby, exhibition and event space, and a coffee bar. “The volumes are playfully staggered to create a combination of exposed and shaded external spaces that can be utilised at different times of the year in Shanghai’s variable weather conditions”, said Schmidt Hammer Lassen Partner, Chris Hardie. “By doing this we create a direct connection to exterior green space for the buildings occupants to use throughout the year.” Full-height glazing with operable windows maximizes access to natural light and ventilation to keep energy costs low, while deep overhangs mitigate solar heat gain in the summer. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen breaks ground on LEED Gold-seeking incubator in Shanghai

Cozy charred timber box adds a new social heart to Dublin home

August 18, 2017 by  
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A tiny new addition has made a big impact on a terraced home in North Dublin. Stephen Kavanagh Architects designed Copeland Grove, a sun-soaked home refurbishment and extension that connects to an existing garden. Formerly a leaky kitchen extension, the new timber-and-glass structure provides transformative panoramic views and greatly increases thermal comfort. Lighting was key in the design of the 24-square-meter timber extension. Full-height glazing and a skylight increase solar heat gain and let in abundant natural light. At night, concealed LED strips and pendant lighting provide enough illumination without the need for visible lamps, thus reducing visual clutter. Related: Charred timber pavilion slides back and forth to expose rooms to the outdoors Charred timber wraps around the timber-framed building to complement and contrast with the main home’s white facade. The interior also features timber in the exposed wooden beams and choice of furnishings. Light-colored tiled floors and walls reflect light and contribute to the extension’s light and spacious appearance. The project cost £110,000 for construction and took 14 weeks to build. + Stephen Kavanagh Architects

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Cozy charred timber box adds a new social heart to Dublin home

This library shows how beautiful sustainable design builds community

April 5, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous new library just an hour’s drive from downtown Toronto is a true civic center with its welcoming light-filled spaces nestled into a hillside. Canadian design firm RDHA recently completed the green-roofed Waterdown Library in Hamilton, built to replace a smaller municipal building and designed with a strong focus on sustainability. The new 23,500-square-foot building houses the traditional library functions as well as several other civic spaces including two community multipurpose rooms, the Waterdown Public Archive, a satellite municipal services outlet, a community information office, and police services. The Waterdown Library’s cantilevered form draws inspiration from its surrounding landscape of the Niagara Escarpment, a massive rock ridge that overlooks Lake Ontario. RDHA writes: “The design process for this 23,500 square foot facility began with an acknowledgement of its dramatic site on the Niagara escarpment. Taking advantage of the topography to provide expression and access to the different programmatic elements in the building, the scheme engages and responds to the site by creating an architectural promenade that culminates in elevated south-facing views to Dundas street, the escarpment and Lake Ontario beyond.” By nestling the library into the hillside, the architects disguise the library’s bulk and create a building that looks one-story from the exterior but actually contains six levels. The slab-like building cantilevers over ten feet towards the southwest to mimic the escarpment’s rocky outcrop. Floor-to-ceiling glazing wraps around the building to lessen the library’s monolithic appearance. The building is also clad in four-inch-thick locally quarried limestone panels and sixteen-foot-high solar fins. Related: Golden Gate Valley Library is a Solar-Powered LEED Gold Renovation in San Francisco The library’s focus on energy efficiency begins with reliance on natural lighting thanks to the full-height glazing and sawtooth-style skylights. Solar heat gain is mitigated by the ceramic frit pattern on the double-glazed, argon-filled, low E-glass. Douglas fir used for solar shading and for interior cladding and furnishing was sourced from the demolished Hamilton Central Library. Recycled, low-VOC , and local materials are used throughout the building. A sloping green roof tops the library, while bioswales filter and funnel stormwater runoff into an underground rainwater collection system. The Waterdown Library has become a major gathering place for the Hamilton community and the greater region, and has seen a 150 percent increase in visitor numbers compared to the old library it replaced. + RDHA Via Architectural Record Images via Tom Arban

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This library shows how beautiful sustainable design builds community

Green-roofed visitor center blends into Quebecs lakeside landscape

January 23, 2017 by  
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This handsome timber building by the lake looks like a sumptuous holiday retreat, but rest assured it’s open to the public for all to enjoy. Canadian design studio Anne Carrier Architecture completed the visitor center in Quebec’s Mont Orford National Park and skillfully blends the building into the landscape using a black-stained facade and green roof . The building, known as the Bonnallie Services Center, is one of several design projects the architecture firm has completed for the national park. Located next the stunning Stukely Lake, the 430-square-meter Bonnallie Services Center embraces views of the lake and mountains beyond. The two-story building is partially embedded into the earth and is angled to maximize views and frame an outdoor amphitheater . Full-height glazing is installed on the second floor for panoramic viewing and opens up to a covered outdoor terrace with seating. Related: Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmark’s historic Kalø Castle Ruins The visitor center is clad in black-stained timber to make the building recede into the landscape. In contrast, the interior is dominated by pale cedar . In addition to a welcome center for visitors, the contemporary building comprises boat maintenance and storage facilities, kitchen, and gift shop. “Exterior and interior spaces are connected by a network of walkways, stairs, covered passages nooks that are inspired by the natural meandering of walking trails,” said the architects to Dezeen . + Anne Carrier Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Anne Carrier Architecture , by Stephane Groleau

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Green-roofed visitor center blends into Quebecs lakeside landscape

Green-roofed Torquay House provides sanctuary in a less-than-secluded neighborhood

November 18, 2016 by  
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A concrete facade conceals a secluded courtyard that leads up to the glazed entrance door. From this point on, a variety of large, open spaces unravel and blur the line between the interior and the central courtyard. A double-height gallery space is glazed on one side to reveal the plan that wraps around the courtyard and draw northern light and breezes through the house. Related: Solar-powered Bush House exemplifies chic eco-friendly living in the Australian outback A series of rooftop gardens , along with greenery draping off the deep concrete eaves give a verdant feel to the entire house. A rich palette of natural and metallic elements, including fine timber battening and brass detailing, creates patterns and provides warmth that counterpoints the rugged quality of the concrete . + Auhaus Architecture Via Uncrate Photos by Derek Swalwell

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Green-roofed Torquay House provides sanctuary in a less-than-secluded neighborhood

Taipeis gorgeous Daan Park MRT raises the bar for metro stations everywhere

May 20, 2016 by  
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Located in the verdant and sprawling Daan Forest Park, the Daan Park MRT Station was completed in November 2013 as part of the Red Line extension. Rather than install another boring and common “matchbox”-like subway entrance, the government commissioned Che Fu Chang Architects to design a station that blends the built environment into nature and serves as a transitional space between the underground subway and the aboveground park. Wrapped in full-height glazing and punctuated by greenery both inside and out, the light-filled station has turned into a vibrant civic hub with a sunken garden that’s also helped to increase foot traffic to Daan Forest Park. Related: Beautiful Mashrabiya-Like Metal Facade Transforms Metro Station into a Glowing Lantern in Amsterdam Curved forms dominate the design, from the tall, arched ceilings and curved glass curtain walls to the sunken semi-circular courtyard and garden that extends the footprint of the underground platform to the outdoors. A raised plaza and beautiful water features, including a pool, fountain, and waterfall that dampen traffic noise, ring the courtyard. “While travelers alight at the station, they will be driven by their biological instinct, seeking sunlight and breeze to lead their way to the park,” write the architects. “The transition between inside and outside brings the joy of nature and ultimately, turning the daily commute into a wonderful journey.” + Che Fu Chang Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Che Fu Chang Architects

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Taipeis gorgeous Daan Park MRT raises the bar for metro stations everywhere

LCA practices what they preach with a sustainable solar-powered architecture studio

March 9, 2016 by  
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Wavy green-roofed home disappears into France’s rolling Jura hills

December 2, 2015 by  
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