Black timber Villa S makes more energy than it consumes

December 4, 2017 by  
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Energy bills are a thing of the past at Villa S, a plus-energy home in the western Netherlands built to replace a former home from the 1960s. RAU architecten designed the new solar-powered home that embraces the surrounding dune and forest landscape through large windows. The architects’ focus on sustainability also extends to materials, which include FSC-certified timber and “emission-free materials.” Clad in black timber , Villa S is a boxy building punctuated by windows of various sizes. A beautiful pine forest to the northwest side of the property informed the placement of the windows and sequence of indoor spaces. “The transition to this forest is gradual, a gradual transition from private to public,” wrote the architects. “An important quality in the design is the successive sequences of different spaces, each with a surprising view of the beautiful surroundings. The forest is always present but is always experienced in a different way. In the house it feels like the forest is part of the garden. The differences in height in the garden are solved in new slopes so that the garden smoothly flows into the environment.” The ground floor is partly sunken and contains a sauna , office, guest room, and a garden room that opens up to the living room above via a staircase. The first floor also includes a dining room, kitchen, and playroom. Bedrooms are located on the second floor. The large windows take in ample natural light that bounces off of reflective light-colored walls and frame views of the pool, garden, and forest. Related: Green-Roofed Villa L Floats Upon a Daylit Glass Volume in the Netherlands In addition to solar panels , the home is equipped with a wood pellet stove for energy generation. A concrete slab beneath the ground level floor provides thermal comfort and is complemented by a low-temperature climate system. + RAU architecten Images by Marcel van der Burg

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Black timber Villa S makes more energy than it consumes

Microsoft is razing its Redmond campus to build a sustainable mini city

December 1, 2017 by  
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If you thought Microsoft’s awesome treehouse offices were the ultimate step in the tech giant’s efforts to make its employees a top priority, think again. The tech giant just announced that it will be razing its 500-acre Redmond campus in order to construct a sustainable Microsoft mini city, complete with 18 new buildings, a two-acre open plaza , retail space, jogging and walking trails, two soccer fields, a cricket field, and its own light rail station. According to the company, the expansive campus, which will be divided into “team neighborhoods”, will be focused on providing a “more open and less formal” working environment. Inside, the spaces will be filled with social hubs and light-filled offices, but the new layout will be primarily focused on providing plenty of outdoor and recreational space for the employees. Once complete, the campus will have 18 new buildings, offering workspace for the 47,000 employees that currently work on site, as well as extra room for an additional 8,000 people. The Redmond campus is already a Zero Waste Certified campus, but will be renovated with increased waste-reduction initiatives . Related: Microsoft unveils amazing treehouse office where employees can brainstorm in fresh air As part of the green transportation focus, all of the cars will be parked in an underground parking lot, so that above ground, the employees can travel by foot, bike or, eventually, by a light rail system scheduled for completion in 2023. As part of the green transportation focus, a new foot and bike bridge will be built over the WA-520 in order to connect both sides of its campus. This will connect with a planned Redmond Technology Transit Station where the Link Light Rail is expected to arrive in 2023. Microsoft president Brad Smith said the project will run approximately $150m, and expects the rebuild to create 2,500 construction and development jobs.”We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact,” explained Smith in the announcement. + Microsoft blog Via ZD Net Images via Microsoft

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Microsoft is razing its Redmond campus to build a sustainable mini city

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

Nations first large-scale mass timber residence hall breaks ground in Arkansas

November 30, 2017 by  
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Cross-laminated timber may finally be having its heyday in the United States. The nation’s first large-scale mass timber residence hall recently broke ground at the University of Arkansas. The Stadium Drive Residence Halls project and living learning setting is the work of a design collaborative led by Leers Weinzapfel Associates , the Boston-based architecture practice behind the nation’s largest cross-laminated timber academic building at the University of Massachusetts. Targeting LEED certification , the Stadium Drive Residence Halls is a new campus gateway project designed by Leers Weinzapfel, Modus Studio , Mackey Mitchell Architects , and OLIN . The 202,027-square-foot cluster of interconnected buildings will offer a range of student housing primarily for sophomores and serve as a vibrant mixed-use destination on the campus’ southern end with retail, dining, classrooms, maker-spaces, performance spaces, gathering areas, offices, and faculty housing. “Crafted with a palette of timber , glass, and metal, it is a bold demonstration of sustainability that signifies a path to potential economic development for Arkansas’s burgeoning timber industry,” says the project’s press release. “Configured to create a dynamic environment that fosters student collaboration and interactive learning focused on architecture, design, and the arts, the project is shaped by the concept of “a cabin in the woods” nestled in a densely planted buffer zone that provides a new university gateway.” Related: Nation’s largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability Beautiful timber surfaces will be celebrated and left exposed in the interior from the structural wood ceilings to the timber columns. Zinc-toned siding with accent panels of textured copper-toned and white siding complement the exterior timber facade. OLIN’s landscape design will enhance the collegiate experience and show off Northwest Arkansas’ native ecology. + Leers Weinzapfel Associates

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Nations first large-scale mass timber residence hall breaks ground in Arkansas

The world’s first "Biological House" opens in Denmark

November 29, 2017 by  
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Danish firm Een til Een just unveiled the world’s first “Biological House.” The designers developed a process that converts agricultural waste (including grass, straw and seaweed) into raw building materials – and the resulting home leaves virtually zero impact upon the environment. Supported by the Danish Ministry of the Environment Fund for Ecological Construction, the architects built the eco-friendly home in secret for the new BIOTOPE ecopark in Middelfart, Denmark. The project – which was designed by advanced digital production technology – was first and foremost guided by sustainability at every stage. The architects sourced various agricultural “leftovers” for the project’s building materials. Mounds of recovered grass, straw and seaweed – all of which would, under normal circumstances, be burned for energy – were processed into raw materials to be used in the home’s construction. Not only were the products upcycled, but the environmental impact of burning them was avoided. Related: Man builds ultra-efficient green home as a love letter to the environment The home’s sophisticated cladding was also chosen for its strong eco-friendly profile. Kebony modifies sustainably-sourced softwoods by heating the wood with a bio-based liquid, basically polymerising the wood’s cell wall. This innovative process, which was developed in Norway, coverts softwood pieces into durable hardwood panels, perfect for building. In the case of the Biological House, the silver-grey cladding will develop a patina over time, giving the home a beautiful rustic character. The home’s construction process was also environmentally-forward. The architects tested and developed many innovative technologies during the construction process that would reduce the project’s impact. Instead of building on a typical concrete foundation, for example, the home was built on screw piles. This allows the home to be easily removed at any point, without causing damage to the terrain. + Een til Een Via World Architecture News Images via Kebony Technology

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The world’s first "Biological House" opens in Denmark

Ultra-narrow Wood Lane house looks like a ship wedged between Londons brick buildings

November 28, 2017 by  
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This narrow house , home of architect Mike Russum , looks like a ship wedged in-between traditional brick townhouses in north London . The architect maximized the potential of the 22-foot wide plot by inverting the conventional layout used in tiny spaces and combining prefab building methods with site-built construction. The house, named Wood Lane, has been long-listed for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year award. Russum and his partner decided to build their home after they inherited some money in 2006. It took nearly a decade to get over various hold-ups to complete the building. Located on an extremely narrow plot–only 22 feet wide– the project required a creative organizational approach. Related: Super skinny 1.8-meter-wide house slots into a narrow Tokyo lot The architects extended the upper floors out towards the pavement. The structure was constructed off-site and placed them on top of the lower section, which was built from bricks infilled with concrete and supported by steel beams. The double-height living space on the upper floors contains an open plan space with combined kitchen, dining and living space with an elevated crystalline conservatory on the south side and an external terrace above the entrance. The elements for the living space are made by cold formed timber and resin boat building technology which ensures quality and space efficient construction. The upper ground floor houses the study that opens to a full-width terrace overlooking the garden. Two en-suite bedrooms occupy the lower ground floor. All the furniture is custom-designed by Birds Portchmouth Russum , working together with the architect’s wife, interior designers, and artist Sally Cox. The nautical look of the building makes it stand out from the surrounding architecture and stop passersby in their tracks. The residence also featured on the Channel 4 series Grand Designs: House of the Year. + Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects + RIBA House of the Year 2017 Via The Telegraph

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Ultra-narrow Wood Lane house looks like a ship wedged between Londons brick buildings

Beautiful villas embedded in a remote Chinese mountain pass live in harmony with nature

November 27, 2017 by  
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Blending the man-made into nature without doing harm is difficult, but Origin Architects have managed to embed a series of modern villas into the foot of China’s Eurasia-Changbai Mountain range while simultaneously restoring a large part of an adjacent felled forest. By conducting detailed studies into the area’s natural flora and fauna, the architects were able to build the villas as part of an ecological restoration that will serve to preserve the natural state of the area for years to come. Ajacent to the building area, an old amusement park has been abandoned for years. As they began the clean up process, the team did extensive studies on the entire site, investigating the entire river valley ecosystem in the process. According to the architects, they mapped and measured each primeval tree and exposed stone in the area to create a guide to preserving the natural state of the forest. As they started on the ecological restoration project, the work helped to create the villas in a way that would reduce the structures’ carbon footprint. Related: Y-shaped timber cabin on stilts overlooks Norway’s picturesque mountains The architects explain, “We removed construction waste, restored landforms and rainwater channels according to the vein, dredged choked rivers and cultivated vegetation to encourage ecological redevelopment of this area, so that the separated waste land could be embraced by nature again, and the vast primeval river valley forest could break down the barriers caused by urban development and extend citywards.” In terms of creating little impact with the construction, the structures were lifted off the ground to reduce the project’s footprint. This feature was essential to the project because the area is thought to be a breeding ground for Chinese mergansers, an endangered bird. Thanks to lifting the building off the ground, these prehistoric creatures and other wild animals will be free to move and migrate freely in the area. Visitors to the area will be able reconnect to nature thanks to the amazing environment, but also to the villa’s purposeful design. The outside of the cabins are quite rustic, but the interior design is a minimal and sophisticated as can be. Light wood panels cover the flooring, walls and ceilings and very little furnishings are found on the interior, putting the emphasis completely on the natural surroundings. + Origin Architect Via Archdaily Photography by Xia Zh

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Beautiful villas embedded in a remote Chinese mountain pass live in harmony with nature

These clever curtains transform your window into a dazzling nighttime cityscape

November 24, 2017 by  
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Do you dream of a new view from your city apartment? Now you can create your own with these snazzy curtains featuring cityscapes from New York and London. Designed by HoleRoll , the thick curtains – which block out heat and cold – are carefully punctured with thousands of tiny holes to let light shine through, resulting in sparkling urban skylines that will transform any room. The unique window coverings use a typical curtain system of roller blinds. Made out of thick German fabric, they block out 99 percent of light and UV rays from the interior. To create the dazzling cityscape images , the dark fabric is carefully punctured following a detailed design for each city. The tiny holes let in just a little bit of light, emulating those found in any nighttime skyline. Related: Light Activated Smart Curtains Could Cut Energy Bills by Half While the dreamy images are perfect for blocking out light and giving your home a bit of extra character, the curtain’s thick, light-blocking material may also help cut costs by keeping the cold out during winter and protecting the interior space from excessive heat during hot summer months. + HoleRoll Via Archdaily

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These clever curtains transform your window into a dazzling nighttime cityscape

The gorgeous Roadhaus RV soaks up sunlight with a glass-enclosed roof

November 23, 2017 by  
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From the Wyoming-based company Wheelhaus comes the amazing Roadhaus – a tiny house/RV hybrid that measures 10.5 feet wide and 38 feet long, but feels a lot larger. Wheelhaus wrapped the roof of the wedge-shaped home in glass, so the interior is open, airy and gets plenty of sunlight – something many small houses lack. The Roadhaus wedge, which comes with a price tag of $76,000, is certified as an RV, meaning it can be towed and parked in any RV park or campground. Its compact size of only 400 square feet provides the option of traveling the world in this beautiful tiny home on wheels. Related: Solar-powered Tesla Tiny House hits the road in Australia The little wedge is filled with some seriously smooth design features, namely the use of glass to open up the interior space. The living area, as well as the rest of the home, is flooded with natural light thanks to a spectacular raised roof that is part glass and part wood panels. In fact, the strip of wood panels that run the length of the home seems to float over the interior space. The tiny home has a comfy living room on one side and a bedroom with sufficient space for a queen-sized bed on the other. The kitchen is a beautiful space-efficient design with a sink and small stovetop, and plenty of crafty storage options. A gleaming bathroom is covered in silver tiles, adding a touch of bright modernity to the home. The entrance to the home is completely wrapped in glass, including the large door that leads out to a wooden deck jutting out from the interior. + Wheelhaus Via Treehugger Images via Wheelhaus

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The gorgeous Roadhaus RV soaks up sunlight with a glass-enclosed roof

"The stuff nightmares are made of:" thousands of bluebottles on Australian beach

November 23, 2017 by  
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A couple happened upon an astounding sight recently while strolling on the beach in Australia . At Barlings Beach in New South Wales, Brett Wallensky and partner Claudia came across thousands of bluebottles, or Portuguese man o’wars, washed up on land. Such a freaky sight could be more common as climate change impacts our world. The couple came across the horde of Portuguese man o’wars in late October. Brett Wallensky, who said he’d been stung multiple times by bluebottles as a boy, said, “There must have been thousands of them beached and they were all alive and wriggling. It was the stuff nightmares are made of…If you fell in there and got that any stings all over you I can’t imagine you would survive…The color of them was just amazing, it is so bright – almost alien.” He said he’d never seen so many bluebottles together in his life. Related: Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California According to The Sydney Morning Herald , each year in Australia over 10,000 people report bluebottle stingings. The venomous creatures deliver painful stings, and according to marine biologist Christie Wilcox of the University of Hawai’i at M?noa, the stinging cells can still be active for weeks after they’re beached, so even dead bluebottles can cause pain. Wilcox recommended a vinegar rinse and the application of heat to treat a sting. Wilcox told Gizmodo mass beachings can occur when conditions are right, and that there doesn’t seem to be anything special about this specific stranding. But there’s some question of whether climate change will allow Portuguese man o’wars to thrive. According to marine biologist Lisa-ann Gershin, warmer waters amp up jellyfish metabolism, and the creatures live longer and breed more. Bluebottles could benefit from climate change like jellyfish, according to Gizmodo , and beachings could occur more often. Via Gizmodo , The Sydney Morning Herald , and StoryTrender Images via Caters Clips on YouTube and Depositphotos

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