An adaptable timber house celebrates recycling in Ecuador

January 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Ecuadorian architecture firm Natura Futura Arquitectura has teamed up with Frontera Sur Arquitectura to develop an inspiring example of social architecture in the town of Huaquillas, Ecuador. Dubbed La Comuna, the project is a double-story timber structure that not only provides a local family a place to live but also a safer work environment for them to continue their recycling business. The building was constructed with six easily replicable modules that take inspiration from the local vernacular with its “chazas”, or latticed screens. Commissioned by a foundation and private company, the architects were asked to create a live-work building that would also be held up as an inspirational landmark for the city, which suffers from a reputation of poor sanitation. To that end, the design studios created a two-story building with a community-facing ground floor that houses the recycling workspaces, while the upper level houses the private living spaces. The structural system is based on a 3-meter-by-4-meter module, with each floor made up of three modules. “’La Comuna’ becomes a milestone for the city, due to the transformation process it had, with a history of unhealthiness and contamination,” the team explained in a project statement. “The project communicates a discourse through its facade with a message, generating reflection between the private and the public through architecture and recycling. The wood is used by the tradition of the existing buildings in the area, the application of shafts or lattices contribute in the construction of the building.” Related: LOT-EK upcycles 140 shipping containers into an apartment complex in South Africa In contrast to the open workspace in the ground floor, the living quarters on the upper level are screened off for privacy. The operable timber latticed screens were also designed to spell out the word “RECICLA” (recycle) when closed. Inside, the home is engineered for flexibility with walls set on wheels and movable furniture that give the family freedom to reconfigure their living quarters as they please. + Natura Futura Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Natura Futura Arquitectura

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An adaptable timber house celebrates recycling in Ecuador

Historic apartment is rehabbed into a bright and modern home in Barcelona

January 10, 2019 by  
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In Barcelona, Spain, a historic apartment in a block of flats dating back to the 1900s has been transformed into a minimalist and modern home. Local design studio Alventosa Morell Arquitectes directed the renovation for clients who wanted a completely renewed space with greater access to daylight. Completed in 2017, the project, called the TS01 Interior Refurbishment, not only offers improved access to natural light and ventilation, but also uncovers original architectural details. Located in the Born District, one of Barcelona’s oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods, the apartment had seen multiple renovations over a hundred years. As a result, little of the original construction could be seen and had been hidden beneath layered paint and modifications. In hopes of restoring a bit of the historic value of the property, Alventosa Morell Arquitects peeled back some of the alterations and discovered original elements—such as the beamed ceiling, stone wall and timber lintels—that they restored and left exposed. “The aim of our project story on two ideas,” Alventosa Morell Arquitectes explain. “On one hand, detect, recuperate and show the structural original elements of a high historic and constructive value; and on the other hand, generate a diaphanous space to improve the lighting conditions and natural ventilation existing.” To improve access to light, they removed all non-load-bearing partitions and the false ceiling. The walls were painted a bright white and the finish floor was removed and replaced with a continuous light-gray cement floor. Related: Alventosa Morell squeezes a narrow, day-lit home between two blocks of flats in Barcelona Crucial to the redesign of the apartment is the addition of a large timber unit that houses wardrobe space and doubles as an organizing element dividing the two bedrooms from the galley kitchen and dining area. The architects conclude: “Throughout a scheme of simplicity, our project for the rehabilitation of this old and nice apartment called for improving lighting and spaces; has been real. We feel proud because the aims of our project are achieved, besides the significance acquired by the old constructive elements.” + Alventosa Morell Arquitectes Via ArchDaily Images © Adrià Goula

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Historic apartment is rehabbed into a bright and modern home in Barcelona

Triple-skin facade brings daylight, fresh air and beauty to a tropical home

January 8, 2019 by  
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Hanoi-based design studio Nghia Architect has completed Maison A, a beautiful home that brings to life the cherished childhood memories of the client. Located in Nam ??nh, a coastal village southeast of Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi, the house was created for the client’s aging mother and is large enough to accommodate her children and grandchildren who visit during the holidays. Inspired by the traditional countryside vernacular, Maison A is built for comfortable modern living and features a triple-skin facade that brings daylight, fresh air and a beautiful floral appearance to the home. Spread over an area of 78 square meters, Maison A catches the eye with its sculptural red exterior constructed of floral ventilation bricks handmade in the Bat Trang Village. The perforated sections let in daylight and ventilation into the house, while the bricks are customized with hollow interiors that trap air to serve as a heat-insulating layer. The second layer of the triple-skin facade is a layer of plants that provides additional privacy and a pleasant microclimate . The third “skin” is operable glass, which the mother can close during large storms. Related: Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home To recall the many banana trees that grew around the client’s childhood home, the architects worked with local craftsmen who used a hand-pressed intaglio method to imprint banana leaves onto parts of the concrete facade. Inside, local stone craftsmen were employed to turn locally sourced laterite stone (called “hive stone”) into the family bedroom wall. “Maison A mixes the countryside traditions with modern comfort in-depth material research to create an ancestral place for the mother and her returning children,” the architects explain. “The brutalist composition of local materials reflects the richness of the surrounding cultures while the design elevates them to higher grounds. From here, the memory of the family is recorded in each brick and passed down through generations.” + Nghia Architect Images by Tuan Nghia Nguyen

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Triple-skin facade brings daylight, fresh air and beauty to a tropical home

Farmhouse-inspired family home combines salvaged and sustainable materials

January 7, 2019 by  
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Salvaged materials from a century-old farmhouse and barn have been given new life as Ben’s Barn, a spacious family home in Kennebunk, Maine that takes inspiration from New England’s rural architecture. Designed by Portland, Maine-based architecture practice Caleb Johnson Studio for a young family, Ben’s Barn was constructed with a mix of reclaimed materials sourced not only from the former farmhouse and barn that had stood on another portion of the site, but also from a midcentury modern teardown in Weston, Massachusetts. The well-worn and midcentury fixtures have been combined with new, sustainable materials to create a contemporary and light-filled environment. Created as a “lifetime family home,” Ben’s Barn covers an area of 4,425 square feet — including a loft — with four bedrooms and four baths. Because the clients are a family with young children, the home is designed with ample space for indoor play, yet it also provides an accessible first floor bedroom suite for visiting relatives or for the homeowners who intend to age in place . Ben’s Barn comprises two large gabled structures — a bedroom wing and a kitchen/master wing — connected with a double-story glazed link. The timber roof structure was salvaged from the former farmhouse on site, as were the interior wood cladding and interior doors. Granite blocks reclaimed from the farmhouse foundation were reused as steps and seating in the landscape. The cabinetry and fixtures were also taken from a midcentury modern teardown. Related: Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability “The structural system is a hybrid of a stick-framed shell over an amalgam of new and antique timbers, fortified with structural steel, all used without obscuring their identity or function,” the architects said. Consequently, all the exposed interior structural elements were left deliberately unfinished, as was the exterior weathering steel facade that will develop a rusty patina over time. + Caleb Johnson Studio Photography by Trent Bell via Caleb Johnson Studio

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Farmhouse-inspired family home combines salvaged and sustainable materials

Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary

January 7, 2019 by  
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Could 2019 be the year of the vegan ? This past week, people all over the world promised to make lifestyle changes with various new year’s resolutions. And, this January, more people than ever have pledged to go meat-free— for at least a month. A movement known as Veganuary started five years ago, and each year the number of participants committing to a plant-based diet during the first month of the year has more than doubled. This year, more than 250,000 people in 193 countries have signed up to make January a month without animal products. According to Rich Hardy, the head of campaigns at Veganuary, on Sunday alone over 14,000 people pledged to go vegan this month, which is a rate of one person every six seconds. “In 2018 there hasn’t been a week that has gone by without veganism hitting the headlines, whether it is a magazine editor being fired or Waitrose launching a new range of products,” Hardy said. “Vegan products are getting a lot better, and it is becoming a lot more convenient to have a tasty plant-based diet .” Related: Is a flexitarian diet right for you? Hardy believes that warnings from scientists about the environmental impact of meat have persuaded many people to consider veganism. This past May, the researchers who conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date on the subject declared that the single biggest thing an individual could do for the environment is to avoid meat and dairy products. Joseph Poore of Oxford University, the lead researcher on the project, says that reducing your impact on the planet is not just about greenhouse gases, and switching to a vegan diet is more impactful than buying an electric car or cutting down on travel. Some people believe that 2018 was the year that veganism moved into the mainstream, and Hardy says that Veganuary aims to be fun and inclusive. He says that even if those who made the pledge fall off the wagon, they should just pick themselves up and remember why they signed the pledge in the first place. Via The Guardian Images via jill11

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Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary

MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone

January 4, 2019 by  
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In response to Amsterdam’s increasing housing demands, prolific Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has designed Westerpark West, a sustainable proposal to transform the former ING office complex into a new residential zone flush with green space. Located in the Amsterdam Brettenzone, directly west of the city’s popular Westerpark, MVRDV’s master plan envisions a neighborhood of approximately 750 homes that will range in size, building typology and price. Westerpark West will also follow an “innovative energy master plan” that combines district heating with seasonal thermal energy storage. Spanning an area of 70,000 square meters, the Westerpark West master plan will include twelve buildings, five of which will be designed by MVRDV. To reconnect the isolated area to its surroundings, the architects will work with London-based landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman to extend the landscape of the Westerpark onto the site and align the plot structure with the street patterns found to the south. MVRDV has also enlisted architecture firms TANK, Blauw, KRFT, Studio Maks, and DoepelStrijkers to design the architecture of Westerpark West. A number of existing office buildings on site will also be transformed into comfortable, energy-efficient housing. An abundance of outdoor green space will tie together the buildings and include front gardens and loggias as well as balcony gardens and roof terraces. The master plan also includes catering facilities, a child daycare center, as well as three underground parking garages with charging points and car sharing. Related: Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam “Amsterdam urgently needs housing in all sorts of sizes and price ranges, for both purchase and rental,” says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. “Given the large number of homes that this project adds to Amsterdam-West, we have focused entirely on architectural diversity. The public space will be green and closely connect with the Westerpark. The combination of park and urbanity is unique to Amsterdam. Where else can you live in a park in the middle of the city?” + MVRDV Images © CIIID

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MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone

National Parks are being trashed during the government shutdown

January 4, 2019 by  
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As the government shutdown continues, many National Parks are suffering from a lack of staff as well as a complete disregard for the rules by visitors. According to multiple reports, some parks — like Yosemite National Park in California — are being overwhelmed by trash, vandalism, human waste and destructive off-roading. “It’s a free-for-all,” said Yosemite worker Dakota Snider, who added that the heartbreaking situation is the worst he has seen in his four years living there. The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week that people had seen some visitors at Yosemite dumping bags of trash from their cars, and the park closed two campgrounds and a redwood grove because of issues with human waste and a lack of staffing. Related: Air pollution levels in national parks rival those of major US cities “With restrooms closed, some visitors are opting to deposit their waste in natural areas adjacent to high traffic areas, which creates a health hazard for other visitors,” said National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz. At the beginning of the shutdown, the Trump administration kept most of the National Parks open with skeleton staffs on site to make sure visitors followed the rules, like no littering and no hunting. But because there was no one to collect admission fees, the number of visitors has surged, and the skeleton crews can’t handle the park traffic. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park has locked its restrooms and trash bins because of human waste issues, wildlife concerns and public health, according to a notice on the park website. In addition to the human waste problem, the weather has also been an issue in some locations. Arches and Canyonlands in Utah have closed because there is no money to plow the snow. The state of Utah was paying to staff all five of its National Parks , but as the new year started, it decided to staff only Zion. At Joshua Tree in Southern California , local residents and businesses are volunteering to help keep the restrooms functioning by cleaning them and hauling out trash, and private park tour companies are doing similar work in Yellowstone. In New York , the state is funding both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to make sure they continue to operate during the shutdown. Via Huffington Post and LA Times Images via Joshua Tree National Park ( 1 , 2 )

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National Parks are being trashed during the government shutdown

Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

January 3, 2019 by  
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Los Angeles-based general contractor and real estate development firm LA Build Corp has recently completed a single-family custom home that combines luxury modern design with energy-saving smart home technologies. Located in West Hollywood’s Kilkea Drive, the contemporary dwelling is equipped with a full home automation system that allows the homeowners to control multiple aspects of the house—from the sound systems to the window shades—with a touch of a button on their smartphones. Set on a lot with a spacious backyard, the house on Kilkea Drive takes advantage of its large lot and southern California’s temperate weather with a design that emphasizes indoor/ outdoor living . The open-plan interior is coupled with operable walls of glass that not only flood the rooms with daylight but also provide unfettered views of the backyard that pull the outdoors in. The outdoor terrace appears as a seamless extension of the indoor living area and is a continuation of the home’s material palette and neutral color scheme. Natural materials including San Quentin black beach pebbles, Cedar, ipe, and Kebony Wood—sourced from Delta Millworks—are used inside and out for cohesion.   Building on the popularity of home automation, LA Build Corp installed a full home automation system that allows all parts of the home from the lighting and irrigation to the entertainment systems to be controlled remotely. The air conditioning system operates at 97% efficiency. Rooftop solar panels power the home and heating for the outdoor two-lane lap pool with a spa and a wading pool. Related: Geothermal-powered Halifax home uses automation for energy savings As mentioned in the project’s press release: “This home really epitomizes the Los Angeles lifestyle and celebrates the increase in popularity of home automation and efficiency. By incorporating details such as a living room fireplace with a glass back wall, large open windows, exterior landscaping in the interior, etc., LA Build Corp was able to take California’s year-round lifestyle and build a home that is suited for every season and current to today’s home building trends.” + LA Build Corp Images by Sky Photography LA

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Solar-Powered smart home in LA can be remotely controlled with a phone

Gorgeous new Apple store is powered entirely by renewable energy in Paris

January 3, 2019 by  
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The latest Apple store designed by Foster + Partners has opened in a beautifully renovated 19th-century building on Paris’s Champs-Élysées. Powered with 100 percent renewable energy, Apple Champs-Élysées draws energy from the photovoltaic panels integrated into its kaleidoscopic roof light and collects rainwater for reuse in the bathrooms and irrigation systems. Described by Apple as the tech company’s “grandest Forum,” the retail location blends historic architecture with contemporary design in a light-filled setting filled with greenery. Located on the corner of Champs-Élysées and Rue Washington, Apple Champs-Élysées is housed within a Haussmann-era apartment building. In addition to the careful restoration of the 19th-century facade and entryway, Foster + Partners also extended original materials—such as the exterior Burgundy stone and French oak parquet flooring—throughout the building to achieve an appearance the firm describes as a “Parisian apartment.” The entryway, which branches off to display spaces on either side, leads to the recently revived courtyard flanked with large mature trees and bathed in daylight. Above, the kaleidoscopic solar roof light is fitted with mirrored pyramids that reflect dappled sunlight into the interior. The original timber and marble scalier d’honneur (grand staircase) connects the ground floor to the floors above, where rooms are equipped with balconies opening onto the Champs-Élysées.   Related: Dramatic fountain and plaza define Foster + Partners’ newest Apple Store in Milan “This is one of the most unique Apple Flagships in the world, located along the world’s most beautiful avenue,” Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners said. “In true Parisian style it is rich in texture and envelopes a range of experiences that stimulate your senses. This is emblematic of the idea of juxtaposition that runs throughout the interior spaces, bringing together the historic and contemporary, interior and exterior, and ground and sky. As a place that inspires creativity, I love the fact that this was previously home to the aviation genius Alberto Santos-Dumont.” + Foster + Partners Images by Nigel Young

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Gorgeous new Apple store is powered entirely by renewable energy in Paris

Tham & Videgrd Arkitekter designs Swedish vertical village built from CLT

January 3, 2019 by  
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Stockholm-based architecture practice Tham & Videgård Arkitekter has unveiled designs for a new housing typology in Gothenburg, Sweden, that will be built from cross-laminated timber. Named the “vertical village,” the project is a “solid timber” iteration of the firm’s previous development by the same name that had been designed for Stockholm in 2009. Like its predecessor, the Gothenburg “vertical village” champions a dense and family-centric development built around a series of connected garden spaces. Proposed as part of a larger site along Landvetter Lake, the Gothenburg “vertical village” was created as an alternative to the row house typology. Each dwelling will be set on a rounded plot surrounded by tall evergreen hedges to create a secluded and private garden for each homeowner. The vertical green massing will also help shape the network of winding pathways that connect the homes to the wider community. All the houses in the development will look identical with a tapered shape that rises to three stories in height. “The houses represent a new vertical typology that minimizes the footprint in order to leave as much land as possible for cultivation,” the architects said of the housing typology. For visual variety, the 140-square-meter row homes will be finished in different colors ranging from red, green, black and gray. The buildings will be constructed with cross-laminated timber and prefabrication construction methods to meet the highest environmental and energy standards. Related: Row house in Vietnam is wrapped in vertical gardens and a lace-like skin The homes will offer a range of one to four bedrooms. The ground floor houses the main social spaces that—thanks to the privacy afforded by the tall hedges—open up to a private garden through full-height glazing. The second floor contains the bedrooms overlooking views of the neighborhood and landscape. The topmost floor consists of a studio with a large skylight . + Tham & Videgård Arkitekter Via ArchDaily

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Tham & Videgrd Arkitekter designs Swedish vertical village built from CLT

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