Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

July 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Renowned Mexican architect Alberto Kalach has designed a series of idyllic timber cabins along the Pacific Ocean in Oaxaca , Mexico. Available to rent on Airbnb, these cabins were developed as part of the Punta Pájaros, an ecological development located approximately 25 minutes from Puerto Escondido, a port town with stunning surf, pristine beaches and a buzzing nightlife. The cabins, which are strategically placed away from the hustle and bustle and are oriented to face the ocean, offer a blissful opportunity to reconnect with nature in all directions. The Alberto Kalach-designed cabins include Casa Mar and Casa Arena as well as eight other cabins with private pools and gardens. These holiday getaways are built almost entirely of timber and are raised approximately a meter above the ground to minimize site impact. Each dwelling is fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and al fresco shower. Sliding doors built of palm wood completely open the interior up to the landscape, let in cooling cross breezes and provide panoramic views of the stunning landscape. “Each cabin was designed based on a simple wooden structure, reticulated in modules of 3 x 3m, concentrating the wet core at the center of the house, to leave a bedroom and common area at opposite ends with views of the landscape and a wide perimeter covered terrace,” explained Kalach’s firm. “Using the same modulation, other rooms were allocated to kitchen and dining services. The houses are camouflaged in the local landscape, being identifiable only by their twisted water covers, which look like bird profiles.” Related: Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico The cabins face a long, nearly private beach with rock climbing and fishing opportunities on one end and the Manialtepec Lagoon on the other. The cabins are also very close to Casa Wabi , a multicultural and multidisciplinary community artists’ retreat designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando . The cabins start at around $200 USD a night. + Alberto Kalach Images via Alberto Kalach

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Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

This beautiful planted bridge doubles as a public gathering place in China

July 16, 2018 by  
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When Beijing-based practice DnA Design and Architecture was tapped to renovate an old stone masonry bridge in Zhejiang, China, founding architect Xu Tiantian saw it as an opportunity to create a transformative and culturally significant gathering space for the public. Spanning the Songyin River, the updated Shimen Bridge now features a beautiful timber addition with built-in seating, planters, and even a centrally located square with trees. Here, villagers are encouraged to come and enjoy their surroundings and the historic bridge in an entirely new light. Built of stone masonry in the 1950s, the arch bridge over the Songyin River connects the two villages of Shimen and Shimenyu. Although it was originally constructed to accommodate vehicular traffic, the local government has rerouted traffic and designated the bridge crossing as a pedestrian-friendly space shared with bicyclists and scooters. To make the bridge more attractive to villagers, DnA Design and Architecture Studio added a series of gabled timber elements. Part of the structure is covered with a roof while other sections are left open to the elements. “With the renovation and upgrading of the bridge, Xu Tiantian designed a social location that unites the two previously connected villages from a cultural perspective,” wrote DnA Design and Architecture Studio. “What has consequently been created is a roofed-over bridge space that calls to mind the historic Wind and Rain Bridge. The cultural-historically relevant dam system, which has regulated the waters of the Songyin River for 1500 years as part of a larger system, is situated in the river.” Related: Unusual Dutch bridge embraces flooding in a thought-provoking way The Shimen Bridge is designed for enjoyment year-round and at all hours. At night, embedded lights turn on and transform the bridge into a beautiful glowing icon seen from across the water. The bridge project was completed last year. + DnA Design and Architecture Images by Ziling, Wang; Dan, Han

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This beautiful planted bridge doubles as a public gathering place in China

Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

July 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

In Sydney’s affluent suburb of Kirribilli, a contemporary solar-powered home stands out from its Victorian manor neighbors. Local design practice Bijl Architecture reworked an existing semi-detached home into the Doorzien House, a two-story home that takes full advantage of its sweeping Sydney harbor views. In addition to floor-to-ceiling glazing installed in the rear of the house, glass elements are used throughout the home — in the form of skylights, flooring, highlight panels and balustrades — to fill the interior with light. The clients tapped Bijl Architecture to design a home that pursued a modern typology. To satisfy the project brief and comply with local heritage expectations, the architects restored and preserved the home’s traditional street-facing facade while inserting a contemporary zinc -clad addition to the rear side of the house that draws inspiration from the neighborhood’s naval and industrial history. The back of the property is opened up to the outdoors and overlooks views of Careening Cove, Neutral Harbor and Kurraba Point. “To embrace our clients’ desired openness and connectivity between the floor levels and surrounding context, we dismantled the existing plan,” the architects explained. “The broad Sydney Harbor view and neighboring vistas are exploited by the hybridized living spaces, while each room retains its individual focus and remains intimate and warm through the material palette and layered lighting. We oriented living spaces to the rear; multiple interior viewlines serve as a counterpoint to the expansive harbor views. This approach continues to the rear garden, with bleacher-style steps moderating the level change, extending the study and sitting room interiors to form a third living space.” Related: This self-sustaining Australian home harvests its own food, energy, and water A 3.5kW system of Nu-Lok solar roof tiles was the first approved installation for a NSW conservation area. The solar system and Redback Technologies’ Gen II inverter and battery are part of the clients’ plan to eventually move their home off-grid . + Bijl Architecture Images by Katherine Lu

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Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

July 12, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of going to outer space, prepare to swoon over this spacecraft-inspired tiny home  perched on the edge of the Columbia River in Central Washington. The holiday home — named the Lunar Lander — was designed and built by Kurt Hughes, a naval architect of Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs , who applied boat-building techniques to make the unique structure habitable, comfortable and environmentally friendly. Elevated off the ground on steel pillars, the off-grid, geometric abode measures only 250 square feet and weighs 3,000 pounds. Inspired by the image of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, Hughes sought to create a tiny house with futuristic features, both in appearance and in function. Drawing on his years-long experience with boat- and home-building, Hughes used the latest marine composite technology to construct the dwelling, which is waterproof, airtight  and resistant to vermin, mold and insects. An air-to-air heat exchanger provides comfort and ventilation. The Lunar Lander has neither roofing nor siding, and it is primarily built of plywood, epoxy and fiberglass . Related: Subterranean fridge pod: keep food cold without electricity “The Lunar Lander is not only an interesting configuration, but an homage to a time when people did new things,” explained Hughes of his desire to push the envelope. “Innovators were prized, not feared. And what’s more, the actual Apollo astronauts trained some 25 miles from where this project is sited. The Lunar Lander can rest comfortably on drastic, uneven terrain, with virtually no environmental footprint .” Related: Sail your worries away on this solar-powered floating tiny home Topped with a transparent geodesic dome that fills the tiny home with natural light, the interior features external modules for the bathroom, galley, dining space and storage. A stairway leads down to the sleeping space. Solar panels are affixed to the top of the structure, and the unit is optimized for minimal maintenance. Hughes has also expressed the possibility of making larger models of the Lunar Lander in the future. + Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs Images via Kurt Hughes

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This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

July 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

A two-story heritage building in Melbourne has been remade into Birkenstock Australia’s new headquarters, an eco-conscious development with a modern aesthetic to reflect the classic elegance of the company’s shoe line. Designed by local architecture firm Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) , the adaptive reuse project targets carbon neutral status thanks to its solar photovoltaic system, passive solar design, and a sustainably minded material palette that includes recycled timbers and natural materials. The offices are also designed with human comfort and health in mind and feature low-VOC materials, an abundance of indoor plants and natural daylighting. Located in Clifton Hill, the award-winning Birkenstock Australia headquarters includes a retail shopfront, e-tail, wholesale operations, offices, showrooms and a workshop, as well as a courtyard and warehouse with a mezzanine. The Australian landscape is celebrated throughout the adaptive reuse project’s design, starting with the retail shopfront, which is outfitted with double glazing, a living grass floor and a deciduous tree. The central courtyard also echoes the landscape with recycled timber sleepers and a water tank. “Creating a green environment within an existing, heritage building is much more challenging than a new build,” explains Melbourne Design Studios founding director Marc Bernstein-Hussmann, who adds that they opted to integrate the different departments of Birkenstock into a single company culture. “Coincidentally over a hundred years ago the building was conceived for a boot manufacturer. We’ve reinvented an almost derelict building to live and breathe its owners’ values.” Related: Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home To promote collaboration between the departments, the architects inserted an open office layout dressed with air-purifying plants. The interior is flooded with natural light, while timber slat screens provide shading. The sustainably sourced timber palette includes woods such as sugar gum with linseed oil, EO plywood, and recycled paper with bamboo fiber that’s used in the office’s bench tops. + Melbourne Design Studios Images by Peter Clarke

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Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

This vibrant, waterproof pavilion floats along the canal at the 2018 Bruges Triennial

July 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

A spectacular art and architecture festival is currently underway in Bruges, Belgium — and the attractions include a beautiful floating pavilion by Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano . Evocative of its vibrant and curvaceous work for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2015 , the SelgasCano pavilion in Bruges is likewise a colorful affair, made with pink-orange fluorescent vinyl that allows light and views to pass through. Commissioned by the city for the 2018 Bruges Triennial , the pavilion serves as a platform for bathing and swimming in the Coupure canal. The architects at SelgasCano created the floating pavilion using computer-modeling software, which determined the shapes and sizes of the arches that make up the long, sinuous frame. In contrast to the use of computer-aided design, the firm built the colorful canopy by hand. The materials were welded and pieced together on site to achieve the desired shape. The waterproof structure was installed atop a yellow wooden platform. “[The] pink-orange fluorescent vinyl [is a] material that has never been used before in a building,” said SelgasCano in a project statement. “Steel structure and plastic skin are just one thing, indissociable one from the other. Light passes through the skin creating a shambling atmosphere that changes the usual perception of the old city.” Related: A massive five-ton plastic waste whale breaches in a Bruges canal The architects also designed the pavilion with movable seating in mind, which could be placed in the covered part of the pavilion as well as on the terrace portion of the floating platform. A kidney-shaped cutout in the middle of the pavilion allows water into the heart of the space. The SelgasCano pavilion is one of more than a dozen site-specific installations created for the 2018 Bruges Triennial, which is free to the public and runs until September 16, 2018. + SelgasCano Images by Iwan Baan

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This vibrant, waterproof pavilion floats along the canal at the 2018 Bruges Triennial

Bjarke Ingels is crowdfunding a massive reflective sphere for Burning Man 2018

July 10, 2018 by  
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A massive, mirrored sphere is gearing up to be one of the most eye-catching pieces at this year’s Burning Man festival. Designed by architects Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange of the world-renowned architecture firm BIG , The Orb is a giant reflective sphere that would serve as an art piece and way-finding device. To make the inflatable art installation a reality, the architects have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo seeking $50,000 over the next two months. Elevated into the air with a 105-foot-long inclined steel mast, The Orb would be inflated to a scale of 1/500,000 of the Earth’s surface with a diameter of nearly 84 feet. The Orb could be visible from all over Black Rock City, the temporary crescent-shaped settlement erected for the event in Nevada . The team of artists and architects behind the “temporal planet” have thus far self-funded the majority of the project’s costs, including 30 tons of steel and welding labor for the mast and foundation as well as the 1,500 hours of sewing required to piece together the sphere’s reflective fabric. This fabric measures approximately 21,500 square feet. The $50,000 crowdfunding goal is the last bit of funding required to bring The Orb to Burning Man 2018. “Because of The Orb’s curvature, it will mirror everything around it and offer a whole new perspective,” explained  Bjarke Ingels in its crowdfunding video. “The ORB finds itself at the axis of Art & Utility, capturing the entire Black Rock City in an airborne temporal monument that mirrors the Burning Man experience to the Burners as single beings in the midst of an intentional community. Visible from most of The Playa, it will help Burners navigate the desert and find way.” Related: Spiraling timber temple revealed for Burning Man 2018 At night, spotlights will illuminate the reflective sphere and create a giant “shadow of light” on the ground that can serve as a gathering spot or dance floor for the festival-goers. The Orb’s illumination at night can also help attendees navigate and find their way across the vast desert . Designed to leave no trace on the Playa, The Orb can be easily inflated and deflated. + The Orb Via Dezeen

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Bjarke Ingels is crowdfunding a massive reflective sphere for Burning Man 2018

Gleaming, recyclable facade clads a solar-powered Dutch house

July 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Move over, brick and mortar — a new house in Amsterdam is eschewing the traditional facade for a striking alternative that gleams golden in the sun. Local architecture practice MOPET architecten designed the contemporary home, named the Brass House Amsterdam, for a family who sought sustainable features. In addition to its fully recyclable facade, the house is equipped with solar panels, LED lighting and triple-insulated glazing. Sandwiched between two brick buildings in the city’s IJburg district, the Brass House Amsterdam catches the eye with its shiny, multifaceted facade that clads the front and rear of the property. Triple-glazed aluminum sliding doors punctuate the angled exterior on both sides and open up to a series of balconies. The fully recyclable facade changes color from brown to gold in the sunlight. The 2,260-square-foot house is split into three levels and includes a green roof . The modern interior is dressed in a basic palette comprising oak , concrete, black steel and white stucco, which establishes a spacious feel. An open-plan kitchen, dining room and living area are located on the first floor and open up to a garden in the rear. A flight of stairs on the south side of the home leads up to two bedrooms, a shared bathroom, a service room and storage space. The second floor houses an en suite bedroom with a walk-in closet and a spacious lounge. Related: Sustainable ‘circular economy’ principles inform Amsterdam’s flexible Circl pavilion “Integrated solutions are designed for maximum openness in the house: The entrance hall, toilet, staircase, doors and kitchen are combined in a long wall cabinet that runs from the front to the rear,” the architects explained. “It narrows and widens, creating places with a variation in atmosphere and perspective. A split-level offers overview from the kitchen. At the same time, it creates an intimate seat pit with a fireplace in the backyard.” + MOPET architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Stijn Poelstra

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Gleaming, recyclable facade clads a solar-powered Dutch house

These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

July 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

In an effort to encourage ecotourism for the millions that visit the United Arab Emirates each year, the country has officially launched the Biodomes project, which will feature beautiful biodomes designed by Baharash Architecture . Located in the mountainous eastern region of the UAE, the biodomes will be self-sustaining, use 100 percent renewable energy and have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Ultimately, the UAE hopes that the biodomes will promote awareness of and interest in the variety of wildlife in the mountain region. Baharash Architecture’s biodomes will provide a controlled environment, similar to that of a greenhouse, that closely mimics the surrounding natural area. In this case, the biodomes will be located in the Al Hajar Mountains, a stunning region that is home to rare species of Arabian wildlife . The project seeks to raise awareness of mountain biodiversity, and its facilities will include a wildlife conservation center and an adventure-based wilderness retreat. Related: Solar-powered biodome sustains all four seasons at the same time, under one roof The self-sustaining structures are crafted from prefabricated components, which will help to reduce site disruption and allow for the biodomes’ quick assembly. Semi-subterranean typology will provide passive cooling benefits, and the biodomes will rely on 100 percent  renewable energy and use recycled wastewater for irrigation and waste management on site. Visitors to the biodomes can experience a restaurant that offers both organic local cuisine and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, according to Baharash Bagherian, the Director and Founder of Baharash Architecture, the biodomes’ “bioclimatic indoor environments will provide visitors with thermal comfort, restorative and therapeutic benefits.” Visitors can also participate in several nature-based ecotourism activities, including ziplining, horse riding, hiking, camel excursions, mountain biking, paragliding and much more. + Baharash Architecture Images courtesy of Baharash Architecture

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These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery

July 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

This new eatery in Pozna? , Poland sports an unconventional interior that’s all about imaginative upcycling. Polish architectural interior design studio mode:lina outfitted the restaurant — called The Rusztowanie Grill and Bistro — with a suite of construction materials repurposed into decor, serving plates, lighting fixtures and more. Serving up comfort food like massive burgers and hearty soups, the eatery’s contemporary and industrial-chic design matches its Instagrammable food offerings. Located in ?azarz (St. Lazarus District), one of the oldest districts in Pozna?, Rusztowanie Grill and Bistro can be found in the basement of a historic townhouse that dates back more than 100 years. The space spans 538 square feet and was designed with products sourced from a building warehouse. The existing exposed brick walls were retained and, matched with the Edison bulbs, track lighting and exposed concrete ceiling, they give the space an industrial feel that’s emphasized in the decor. Timber sourced from the warehouse forms the bar front and booth seating. The timbers were deliberately misaligned to bring attention to their raw appearance. Galvanized metal pipes were reworked into sculptural lamps, table legs and wall partitions. Concrete lattice paving blocks were stacked in front of some of the exposed brick walls that are painted black. The burgers are even served on a shovel head repurposed as a plate. Related: Spiky sweets shop makes extraordinary use of the common traffic cone “[We] ensured that the interior design of a basement in an over 100-year old townhouse is consistent with the name and communication strategy of the restaurant,” explained mode:lina in a project statement. “All is done in line with the type of food available here – simple dishes served in an unusual way.” + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewin?ski

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Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery

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