Chilling light installation visualizes sea level rise caused by climate change

March 22, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Ghostly white bands of light are illuminating the coastline in the Outer Hebrides to show the potential rise in sea levels that could become reality as a result of unchecked climate change . The collaborative and site-specific art piece, named Lines (57° 59 ?N, 7° 16 ?W), is the work of Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho . The environmental art installation is embedded with sensors that measure the rising tidal changes and activate three synchronized light lines during times of high tide. Hoping to draw attention to and spark a dialogue about climate change, artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho wanted to render visible the predicted impacts of rising sea levels in an area they believe will be among the hardest hit. Consequently, the artists chose the Uist, a low-lying island archipelago belonging to the Outer Hebrides island chain located off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The artwork has been installed at the Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre in Lochmaddy, the main port of entry to North Uist, which the artists said “cannot develop on its existing site due to predicted storm surge sea levels.” Lines (57° 59 ?N, 7° 16 ?W) consists of bright white LED lights, float switches/sensors and timers. Two light lines wrap around the sides of a pair of gabled buildings while the third light line appears to hover above an empty field. The three lines light up in sync with the rising tide. Related: Climate change art illustrates sea level rise in Venice during COP 23 “The installation explores the catastrophic impact of our relationship with nature and its long term effects,” the artists said in their project statement. “The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants and land usage in the future. The work helps us to imagine the future sea level rise in undefined period of time, depending on our actions toward the climate warming.” Installed May 8, 2018, Lines will run until May 1, 2019. + Pekka Niittyvirta + Timo Aho Images via Pekka Niittyvirta

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Chilling light installation visualizes sea level rise caused by climate change

Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

March 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

When Montreal-based firm YH2 Architecture was tasked with the almost impossible feat of building on an incredibly sloped, rocky landscape, it came up with a solution that goes back to the age of time: building blocks. Using the natural landscape to its advantage, the firm constructed the gorgeous House Dans l’Escarpement out of two concrete “boxes,” one vertical and one horizontal. The ingenious design not only let the project expand vertically but also reduced the footprint of the home on its pristine surroundings. Located in Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré region of Quebec, the home is tucked into a vast landscape made up of a lush forest and pristine lakes. The particular building location, however, is marked by a very steep cliff that has never been built on because of its rugged topography. Related: “Delightfully surprising” green-roofed island home cascades down a rocky slope When tasked with building on this seemingly impossible site, the architects employed an elementary concept to create an extraordinary home design. The House Dans l’Escarpement’s 3,230 square footage spans over two large blocks. The main entrance to the home is through an elevated metallic gangway that leads into the vertical block, while a horizontal block extends out on the ground floor. Spread out over three levels, the lowest floor of the vertical block houses a sauna and spa area, while the second floor is home to a small office and library. The master suite holds court on the upper level and boasts stunning views of the forest and river below. Connected to the vertical tower on the ground by an all-glass walkway , the horizontal block features an open-plan living and dining area that opens up to the outdoors with an open-air terrace. Driving the inspiration behind the unique design, the connection between the man-made and the natural is felt throughout the interior. Warm mahogany and  Corten steel panels were used to frame the home’s exterior, enhanced in some parts with slabs of exposed concrete, which the architects used to pay homage to the large boulders that make up the home’s setting. Mahogany is also the prevailing material used throughout the interior, giving the home a contemporary cabin feel. Selected for its durable quality as well as rich, warm tones, the wood is used in almost every surface, from the flooring, ceilings and beams to the window frames and kitchen cabinets. The result is a living space that blends in seamlessly with the forestscape that envelopes the home. + YH2 Architecture Via Archdaily Photography by Maxime Brouillet via YH2 Architecture

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Boxy volumes anchor a beautiful home into a rocky cliffside

This gorgeous LEED Platinum winery is made of reclaimed wood

March 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

San Francisco-based firm Piechota Architecture has designed what is being called the most sustainable winery in Sonoma Valley. Tucked into the rolling hills of Alexander Valley, the solar-powered Silver Oak winery design, which was made with repurposed materials, has already earned a LEED-Platinum certification  and is on track to become the one of the world’s most sustainable wineries. The family-owned Silver Oak Cellars winery was established in 1972 and has since become world-renowned for its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery’s first location is located in the Napa Valley town of Oakville. The company’s second winery, designed by Daniel Piechota , is located on an expansive 113-acre estate and 75 acres of prime Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in Alexander Valley. Related: LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials With its low-lying gabled farmhouse silhouette, the winery appears low-key from afar; however, behind the clean lines, charred timber cladding and minimalist forms lies a powerhouse of sustainability. According to the architects, the design of the winery applies the concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle” through various sustainable features. For energy generation, the winery has an extended roof installed with more than  2,500 solar panels , which generate 100 percent of the building’s energy needs. The design uses plenty of recycled materials, but the reclaimed wood was specifically chosen to pay homage to the area’s wine-making industry. The winery’s exterior is clad in wood panels taken from 1930s wine tanks from Cherokee Winery, one of the valley’s pioneers of wine-making. Additionally, the design incorporated charred panels recovered from Middletown trees that were naturally felled during a fire in the valley in 2015. Now, the blacked trunks and panels have been given new life as a modern, sleek facade for the  winery . Inside, visitors are met with a large entry staircase, also built out of reclaimed wood from oak wine barrels with red wine stains that were intentionally left visible. The rest of the welcoming interior is a light-filled space filled with steel and wood features. Visitors will be able to take part in wine tasting in the winery’s tasting room, which is nearly net-zero water. With a calming reflective pool, native vegetation and open-air seating, this area is the heart of the design. Created to mimic the local barn vernacular, the gabled roof and large cutouts provide beautiful framed views of the rolling hillside that surrounds the estate. Of course, as with every winery, water plays an essential role in Silver Oak’s production. To reduce waste, the winery was installed with a state-of-the-art water reclamation system, including a membrane bioreactor that treats and filters water from the cellar to provide potable water. Rainwater is harvested and collected to be used in the vineyard’s irrigation. + Daniel Piechota Via Dezeen Photography by Joe Fletcher via Daniel Piechota

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This gorgeous LEED Platinum winery is made of reclaimed wood

Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou

March 20, 2019 by  
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In China’s southwest province of Guizhou, Shanghai-based architectural practice ZJJZ has completed the Woodhouse Hotel, a government-backed agricultural tourism project that consists of 10 single-story timber cabins embedded into the hillside in the remote village of Tuanjie. As one of the first projects carried out under the government’s policy to help alleviate rural poverty through environmentally sensitive tourism, the Woodhouse Hotel was designed and constructed with as little site impact as possible. Because the village of Tuanjie had little traditional architecture to draw inspiration from, the architects took cues from the surrounding landscape instead. Free from pollution and blessed with striking views, the village’s surroundings prompted the architects to divide the hotel up into a series of simple timber volumes so as to minimize the development’s visual presence. Each cabin, clad in charred timber , was carefully placed on the rocky terrain to minimize site damage and to capture the best views. “The design of the wood houses aims to harmonize with the landscape and the rustic atmosphere while forming a contrast to the existing village buildings,” the architects explained in their project statement. “Therefore, we avoided complex or exaggerated designs and selected three basic geometric forms. Each house serves as a separate room. The volumes of the rooms are minimized to reduce the sense of presence in the environment while ensuring indoor comfort. For interior space, various windows are cut out in each house according to their form and orientation, introducing rich layers of surrounding landscapes into the pure volumes.” Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills Given the complex terrain and desire to minimize damage to the original rock formations, site surveys were carried out to map the optimal locations for the buildings while all construction materials were manually transported up the mountain. The architects applied a combined structural system for each cabin, built with a wooden frame atop an elevated steel platform. The timber facade was charred on-site to reduce costs. + ZJJZ Photography by  Laurian Ghinitoiu  via ZJJZ

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Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in these bamboo huts built on a remote Vietnamese beach

March 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

When it comes to completely disconnecting from the stresses of everyday life, sometimes it’s worth the while to really go off-the-beaten-path. Thanks to Vietnamese architecture firm, VTN Architects , now you can find a little slice of serenity in a very remote area of Vietnam. Located about 2 hours from the nearest port and only accessible by boat, the Castaway Island Resort is comprised of five bamboo guest huts , covered in thatched roofs and engulfed on one side by a verdant mountain range and on the other by a private white sand beach. The Ho Chi Minh City-based firm designed the resort to offer the ultimate in lodging for those who want to reconnect with nature. Located on a tiny island that’s part of the Cat Ba Archipelago, the idyllic area is a well-known tourist destination. Tucked into a soaring mountain range on one side and a private beach on the other, guests at the eco-retreat can enjoy breathtaking views from anywhere inside the bamboo huts and outside the property. Related: Top 6 Must-See Summer Eco Resorts Around the World! Using the natural landscape for inspiration, the architects used environment-friendly bamboo to craft the huts that make up the guests rooms, as well as the restaurant and multi-use pavilion. The huts were built using thin bamboo rods that were treated in a traditional Vietnamese technique that involves soaking the bamboo in mud first and then smoking it afterwards. Once properly treated, the bamboo frames were assembled by bamboo dowel nails and re-enforced by rope. Covered with thatched roofs, the huts not only offer an authentic Vietnamese cultural experience, but also reduce the building’s impact on the existing landscape. Using bamboo as the primary building material meant adding durability to the design, as well as the option to be easily removed without leaving a footprint on the beautiful landscape. Guests will enjoy staying in the spacious guest rooms, but can also enjoy spending time in the restaurant and onsite pavilion. Built in the same style as the bamboo huts , the restaurant is built in a hyperbolic-parabolic shell volume. This shape allows the communal area to be covered, but open on all sides so that guests can take in unobstructed views while they enjoy local fare served by the restaurant. + VTN Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Hiroyuki Oki, via VTN Architects

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Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in these bamboo huts built on a remote Vietnamese beach

Kodasema unveils gorgeous prefab floating tiny house

March 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Already well-known for their gorgeous and sustainable tiny structures, Estonian design firm Kodasema has just unveiled a floating prefabricated tiny home . The 227-square-foot KODA Light Float is an updated version of their KODA design, set on floating pontoons that enable the minimalist home to be installed on virtually any waterfront space. Much like its land-based counterpart, the solar-powered KODA , the floating tiny home is a beautiful example of modern minimalism. Built in collaboration with floating marina installations company Top Marine , the Koda Floating Light was built with a timber frame and platform. Under the platform are a series of floating pontoons that enable the home to be docked at virtually any waterfront property. Related: Sail away from it all in this gorgeous floating tiny home According to the Kodasema team, the floating tiny structure would be just as home at a private yacht club harbor as it would be a secluded lake or canal. Although the structure has all of the amenities for a serene home or weekend retreat, it could also be easily used as a harbor cafe, information center or even an artist’s studio. The floating home ‘s cube-like volume is surrounded by the large platform with a bridge that attaches to the dock. The extended platform acts as a wrap around deck for the home, and can be crafted into added green space or vibrant entertaining area. The exterior of the home can also be customized with a variety of cladding options such as timber or zinc. The interior is also a contemporary space, with all-white plywood walls and high ceilings. The 277-square-foot interior houses an open-space living area, kitchen, full bedroom and small bathroom. The home is also equipped with extra large window panels, that flood the interior with natural light and provide stunning views of the surroundings. + Kodasema Via Designboom Photography by Riku Kylä, Getter Kuusmaa, Tonu Tunnel, and Daniel Mets via Kodesma

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Kodasema unveils gorgeous prefab floating tiny house

Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

March 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Architect Beatrice Bonzanigo from Milan-based firm IB Studio has unveiled a stunning, off-grid micro home that is transportable and adaptable to virtually any climate. The tiny structure, called Casa Ojalá, is just shy of 300 square feet but is equipped with a manual mechanical system that allows the space to be configured into as many as 20 different layouts. According to Bonzanigo, the flexible and transportable design of Casa Ojalá was inspired by the need to offer an alternative to the “world of static architecture.” Its versatility opens up a world of opportunity not only in terms of low-impact architecture , but also in offering an off-grid experience that lets occupants completely immerse themselves into the natural world. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world “Casa Ojalá is a sustainable, minimal, compact and flexible product for a new comfort, away from TV or air conditioning,” explained IB Studio, which is led by Bonzanigo and Isabella Invernizzi. “The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists. Outdoor is a substantial, fundamental and precious part of it.” The structure is a round volume with a simple layout comprised of two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and a bathroom. A wrap-around, open-air terrace is used to provide a seamless connection between the micro home and its surroundings, no matter where they may be. To create its flexible design , the main structure is equipped with a manual mechanical system made up of ropes, pulleys and cranks that control the sliding wooden walls and fabric partitions. This system allows the structure to be continuously transformed into a fully-customized space, with private rooms or even one large outdoor platform. Built on a track, the house is completely mobile and can be easily assembled on-site. In terms of its sustainability, the structure is made out of eco-friendly materials along with socially-sustainable fabrics and wood features. The design’s footprint is minimal, and the project was also designed to be completely self-sustaining. The design calls for a rainwater collection system and can be installed with photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy. The Casa Ojalá design is slated to be presented during this year’s Milan Design Week. + IB Studio Via Dezeen Images via IB Studio

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Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

LEED Platinum home generates net-positive energy in Oregon

March 15, 2019 by  
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Built for clients who wanted a home with minimal site impact, the Live Edge residence is an environmentally friendly beacon that boasts not only LEED Platinum certification, but also generates  net-positive energy, as it produces more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. Nestled into a bluff among rock outcroppings and juniper trees in Oregon’s Deschutes County, the luxury dwelling is the work of Salem-based firm Nathan Good Architects . Drawing inspiration from the rugged landscape, the architects fitted the contemporary house with a natural materials palette and an earth-toned color selection that tie the architecture to its surroundings. Spanning an area of 4,200 square feet, Live Edge features an L-shaped layout informed by its environment. The northern wing houses the sleeping areas, including the spacious master suite, and two offices that are connected with the south-facing open-plan living areas by a long entrance hall. Floor-to-ceiling glazing floods the interior with light and views of the outdoors, while exterior terraces extend the living spaces to the outdoors. As an energy-positive home, the building is all-electric and is equipped with a 22-kW solar array that powers everything from the all-LED lighting to the 15 kW Tesla “Power Wall” battery back-up system. In 2018, the house was recorded to have generated 21,765 kWh of electricity, yet only used 17,287 kWh. Self-sufficiency is also secured with a 1,800-gallon potable water cistern, attached greenhouse for growing vegetables, an amateur radio tower, and a wood-burning fireplace. The project’s embodied energy was lowered with the repurposing of reclaimed shipping crates as interior flooring. Related: Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco To give the clients the ability to comfortably age in place in the home, Live Edge follows Universal Design principles. Every bathroom includes zero-threshold showers, grab bars, 36-inch door openings, and wash-let toilets. The home is also equipped with an elevator as well as ergonomic door and cabinet hardware. + Nathan Good Architects Images by Rick Keating

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LEED Platinum home generates net-positive energy in Oregon

OMA unveils designs for zigzagging residential towers in Brooklyn

March 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

OMA’s New York office has unveiled striking designs for the Greenpoint Landing mixed-use towers—two dramatically stepped buildings that appear to be two jagged halves of a whole. Designed to frame views of Greenpoint and vistas of Manhattan beyond, the project is “a ziggurat and its inverse…carefully calibrated to one another,” says OMA Partner Jason Long. Greenpoint Landing, which is expected to break ground in August of this year, is located in the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Greenpoint in between Long Island City in the north and Williamsburg in the south. Envisioned as the catalyst for revitalizing Greenpoint’s post-industrial waterfront edge, Greenpoint Landing will expand the public waterfront esplanade and add 2.5 acres of continuous open space along the shoreline as well as 8,600 square feet of ground-floor retail. The complex will include a seven-story building plinth with two towers above that will also bring a total of 745 units of housing, 30 percent of which will be affordable. “Like two dancers, the towers simultaneously lean into and away from one another,” the architecture firm says of the project’s eye-catching design. “The taller tower widens toward the east as it rises, maximizing views and creating a dramatic face to the neighborhood and beyond. Its partner steps back from the waterfront to create a series of large terraces, widening toward the ground and the new waterfront park to the North. A ziggurat and its inverse, the pair are intimately linked by the void between them.” Related: Amsterdam is transforming a prison into a green energy-generating neighborhood To further connect the building with its surroundings, the architects will add two levels of waterfront-facing green space and terraces framed with common spaces and amenities. The facade will be lined with large windows and precast concrete panels with carved angled faces that react dynamically to the sun’s path throughout the day. A bridge housing pool and fitness programs will link the two towers together and provide panoramic views of the waterfront and Manhattan skyline. + OMA Images via OMA

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OMA unveils designs for zigzagging residential towers in Brooklyn

Remote holiday home champions raw materials and minimal environmental impact

March 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Built to embrace the outdoors and radiate a sense of warmth, the Aculco project is an idyllic holiday home set in a pristine and remote landscape in Aculco, Mexico. Mexico City-based architectural firm PPAA designed the dwelling for two outdoors-loving brothers who had discovered the site on a rock climbing trip. Given the property’s isolated location and natural beauty, the project challenged the architects to use locally sourced materials and to minimize the visual and physical impact of the home on the surroundings. After the two brothers discovered the site years ago, they first purchased the plot and reforested the lands before reaching out to PPAA to design a holiday home where they could recharge and rest from the stresses of modern living. Not only did the property enjoy close proximity to impressive cliffs for rock climbing, but it was also blessed with untouched panoramic views. As a result, the clients and architects turned to nature as the primary source of inspiration and settled on a simple, low-maintenance design that would complement and pay deference to the landscape. “The architectural project was mainly guided by the qualities of the environment, so we sought to establish a reciprocal dialogue between the construction and its natural surrounding,” the architects explained of the house, which sports a rectangular floor plan and a simple one-pitch roof. Occupying an area of 969 square feet, the light-filled interior is centered on an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchenette. A bedroom on one end and a bathroom on the other flank the living spaces; a lofted bedroom is located above the bathroom unit. Related: This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof The property’s remote location also posed a major challenge in the construction phase, when the architects grappled with finding locally available labor and materials. As a result, the simple and low-maintenance design of the building was also born largely out of necessity. Locally quarried stone makes up the block walls of the house, while the clay for the floors, the timber and the glass were also procured locally . “We left every material in its raw state without covering it,” the architects noted. “The construction’s clear spaces become almost solely a container of views.” + PPAA Photography by Rafael Gamo via PPAA

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