Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

October 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

The homes of the future will be smart, responsive, and even save us money. University of Maryland students let us take a peek into what the future may hold with reACT, a smart sustainable home that rethinks architecture as living organisms. Created as a “kit of parts,” this modular solar-powered dwelling is likened to a home-building kit that can be easily shipped out and readily adapted to different needs and environments. Most impressively, reACT —short for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology—is self-sufficient and generates clean energy, recycles waste, self-regulates its building systems, and even produces clean water and grows nutrient-rich foods. UMD students designed and built reACT for a married couple living in Denver, Colorado, who are also members of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The solar-powered home draws inspiration from the clients’ Native American roots to demonstrate how reACT’s innovative building system with off-grid capabilities can be customized to unique occupant needs. Thus, the reACT prototype incorporates Native American influences such as materials, patterns, and even ancestral farming practices, which can be found in the hydroponic garden, exterior vegetable garden, and movable living walls. The modular design allows the homeowners to expand or contract the house as needed. “Team Maryland created Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology to showcase how a sustainable future is more than just designing a better built home; it is a lifestyle system that incorporates a home with its surrounding environment, interacts with its occupants, and strives to give back more than it takes,” wrote the students. “This lifestyle system is supported by regeneratively mindful innovations that can be seen and explored throughout reACT communications. A modular ‘kit-of-parts’ home is the base of reACT as a lifestyle system. The ability to customize a home to adapt to the occupant’s unique needs is complimented by the technologies and innovations that increase energy efficiency , power generation, comfort, self-reliance, and overall enhance sustainable living.” Related: University of Maryland’s WaterShed Solar Decathlon House Takes First Place In Architecture! The modular reACT home is designed around a central courtyard with an operable glass roof and wall panels to bring light into the interior and serve as a solar heat collector. A solar electric photovoltaic array harnesses renewable energy and stores it in an on-site battery. Residents will have the option to sell energy back to the grid. The reACT home also produces clean water through rainwater and gray water collection and treatment systems. Indoor gardening creates the home’s green core where nutrient-rich foods are grown using organic waste gathered from the composting toilet. Self-regulating building systems, achieved through automation, program the home to become more energy efficient over time as the virtual house technology learns from its environment and the occupants’ lifestyles. The reACT home is the University of Maryland’s submission to this year’s Solar Decathlon competition. Once the competition is over, reACT will be shipped back to Maryland and installed next to Maryland’s Solar Decathlon 2007 second-place house in a sustainability park for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

October 6, 2017 by  
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Meet “The Escher”—a stunning tiny home that’ll steal your breath away. Designed and built by New Frontier Tiny Homes , this gorgeous mobile home uses clever space-saving design, high-end materials, and craftsmanship to prove that living large is possible in small spaces. The Escher combines rustic appeal with contemporary design into a surprisingly luxurious and dreamy abode. The Escher model was designed and built as a full-time family home for a couple with a child. Although the clients originally wanted the firm’s flagship model, The Alpha, they later decided on a more spacious custom-build, The Escher, which was named after their child. Shou Sugi Ban cedar siding, Red Western Cedar siding, and Federal Blue Custom Metal Siding clad the 28-foot-long Escher, while mechanical seam metal tops the roof. The home achieves its spacious feel thanks largely to tall ceilings, ample insulated glazing (in particular the 8-foot-by-8-foot glass garage door), and recessed LEDs. Solid poplar shiplap is used for the interior siding and ceiling. Ebony-stained solid walnut hardwood lines the floors. Two bedrooms are placed on either end of the home—the master bedroom with a king-size bed located in the 7.5-foot-long gooseneck, while the child’s bedroom is placed in a spacious loft accessible via a custom solid oak ladder (made with only wooden joinery). In total, the home offers seven distinct spaces: two bedrooms, kitchen, office, bathroom, walk-in closet with storage, and a dining area. The dining/living area is located in a spacious area behind the giant glass garage door that opens up the home to the outdoors. Moveable and transformable furniture make up a custom dining table, two benches, four stools, and two coffee tables that can be stored beneath the kitchen floor and provide extra hidden storage. The gorgeous kitchen features a 33-inch porcelain farmhouse apron sink with a fridge, 36-inch gas cooktop with hood, dishwasher drawer, custom cabinetry and shelving, porcelain countertops, as well as a custom copper backsplash and accents. Custom shoji paper sliding doors separate the kitchen from the master bedroom that houses a king-sized bed on a hydraulic lift that allows for full floor storage underneath. Below the loft bedroom on the opposite side of the home is the office, walk-in closet, and bathroom. The office consists of a bifold walnut standing desk and windows that open up to an outdoor bar area. The bathroom includes a composting toilet , floating sink, washer/dryer, custom tiling, herringbone pattern flooring made of ebony stained walnut, and a beautiful shower that easily fits two people. Related: Tiny home clad in burnt wood packs a ton of luxury into just 240 square feet The stunning home’s space-saving design is impressive but we think it’s the craftsmanship and detailing that elevates The Escher high above the typical tiny home. In addition to high-end appliances, the home features custom stone and timber furnishings and detailing, as well as a one-of-a-kind mural wall by 1767 Designs. Pricing for The Escher starts at $139,000. The tiny home was recently unveiled on HGTV and DIY’s “Tiny House, Big Living” television series. + New Frontier Tiny Homes

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Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

Floating Olson Kundig home makes way for Washington wildlife

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Seattle-based firm, Olson Kundig Architects  unveiled a brilliant T-shaped home called Rimrock whose elongated design ‘floats’ over a local wildlife trail. Located deep in the forest of Spokane, Washington, the 5,200-square-foot structure is supported by a platform that hovers over the path so local wildlife can easily make their way from the high woodland plateau on one side of the home to the Spokane River below. The home’s elongated form – which is clad in untreated steel – is partially supported by stilts embedded into a platform. This platform spans over a natural  animal trail , allowing for an unobstructed passage from the high forest plateau on the back side of the home to the river some 300 feet below. Entirely clad in floor-to-ceiling glass panels, the first floor living area is perfect for watching the animals make their way to the water. Related: Olson Kundig Architects’ Transforming Micro Cabin Folds Up to Protect Against the Elements Creating a strong connection between the house and its natural surroundings was central to the design. Not only was the layout carefully crafted with the local wildlife in mind, but also the area’s natural landscape. Located cliffside, the structure is only partially embedded into the landscape. Adding more volume to the top level allowed the architects to alleviate some of its ecological footprint . The glass-enclosed lower level, which includes the living room, kitchen, and dining area, lets in optimal natural light and provides 180 degree views of the spectacular surroundings, including the adjacent forest, the valley below, and even the city of Spokane in the distance. Equally as stunning is enjoying the views from the home’s open-air deck with reflecting pool. The bedrooms and personal spaces are found on the second floor, and were intentionally shielded from the outside elements in order to provide the occupants a cozy, interior space to spend time during inclement weather. + Olson Kundig Architects Via Yatzer Photography by Benjamin Benschneider and Kevin Scott

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Floating Olson Kundig home makes way for Washington wildlife

Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

How do you persuade people to adopt sustainable lifestyles? A team of Swiss architecture students believes in the power of demonstration—and they’ve designed and built the eco-friendly NeighborHub to prove their point. Conceived as a collaborative community space, the NeighborHub is a transformable, shared space that demonstrates innovative solutions, from renewable energy and water management to biodiversity and sustainable mobility. The NeighborHub is a community space that provides innovation solutions to the challenges of climate change and resource depletion. The building explores seven themes—renewable energy, water management, waste management, mobility, food, material choices, and biodiversity—within a transformable shell built of laminated veneer lumber. “The house is divided into two main spaces,” said the Swiss Team. “The center of the NeighborHub, the core, is a thermally controlled space. It is surrounded by the extended skin which is controlled by passive strategies.” The modular, prefabricated building envelope can adapt to different needs, from a private bedroom to a bicycle repair shop, and even expand its footprint to the outdoors thanks to movable walls and transforming furniture. The NeighborHub’s movable facade is clad in active solar panels and solar thermal panels on the east, south, and west sides. An edible garden grows atop the rainwater-harvesting roof. Two vertical greenhouses are installed to show off space-saving year-round farming techniques such as aquaponics . A zero-water “dry” toilet recycles waste and produces compost that can be used as fertilizer. The rainwater collected from the roof is treated with an on-site phytopurication system and reused for non-potable uses, such as laundry and irrigation. Related: Hurricane-resistant SURE HOUSE wins the 2015 Solar Decathlon The NeighborHub was designed and constructed by the Swiss Team, comprising students from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HEIA-FR), the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD) and the University of Fribourg (UNIFR). The Swiss Team’s solar prototype was developed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon , an academic competition that challenges student teams to design and build full-size solar-powered homes; this year’s contest is held near Denver, Colorado. Following the competition, the NeighborHub will be brought back to the blueFactory in Fribourg, Switzerland for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images © Mike Chino

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Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably

Budapests tallest tower to follow the highest standards of sustainability

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Foster + Partners designed a tower for Budapest that will not only be the city’s tallest—it’ll also be a beacon for sustainability. Designed as the new headquarters for the oil and gas company MOL Group , the mixed-use building named MOL Campus is wrapped in glazing to maximize natural daylight, views, and connection with the outdoors and urban fabric. MOL Campus will be powered by low and zero-carbon energy sources, such as photovoltaics, and saves on energy costs with cutting-edge technology that controls light levels and temperatures. Located in southern Budapest , MOL Campus is set to be the tallest building in the city and will comprise a 28-story tower with an integrated podium. In addition to offices, the campus will include a restaurant, gym, conference center, public sky garden, and other facilities. Glass clads the unified, curved volume to provide daylight and views. Greenery, including mature trees, travels through the heart of the building from the central atrium on the ground floor to the public garden at the top of the tower. The architects see the green spaces as a “social catalyst” that encourages collaboration, relaxation, and inspiration in the workplace. Related: New Budapest museum will feature a sweeping green roof resembling a skateboard ramp “As we see the nature of the workplace changing to a more collaborative vision, we have combined two buildings – a tower and a podium – into a singular form, bound by nature,” said Nigel Dancey, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “As the tower and the podium start to become one element, there is a sense of connectivity throughout the office spaces, with garden spaces linking each of the floors together.” The building’s location in a dense urban environment allows employees to walk or cycle to work. In addition to use of photovoltaics and energy-saving technologies, MOL Campus will also feature rainwater harvesting and storage facilities. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Budapests tallest tower to follow the highest standards of sustainability

Energy-conscious library that doubles as a living room breaks ground in Shanghai

October 4, 2017 by  
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Shanghai is adding yet another futuristic building to its modern skyline. The Chinese megacity just broke ground on the Shanghai East Library, a new public library that will serve 4 million visitors a year and be much more than a repository for millions of books. Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects , the massive 115,000-square-meter library will be a state-of-the-art, energy-conscious facility that feels like a shared “living room” with diverse programming. In 2016, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won an international competition to design the Shanghai East Library, and recently released new renderings to commemorate last week’s groundbreaking. The library will be located in Pudong next to Century Park, the city’s largest park, and will be surrounded by landscaped courtyards and gardens. The library comprises a monolithic trapezoidal volume that appears to float above the tree canopy as well as two lower pavilions that house a 1,000-seat performance venue, exhibition and events space, and a dedicated children’s library. “The Shanghai Library client had a vision for the library – the future of the library should be a space for inspiration, learning, exchange and creation. Throughout the design process we have followed the same goals and beliefs in what we felt the library should be, that we wanted to create a building that focused on people and create spaces that are interconnected and inclusive. The aim is to create a building that feels like a second home for the citizens of Shanghai,” said Chris Hardie, Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “Creating a building of this size is an enormous challenge. The complexity of program spaces required in a new modern library such as this goes far beyond being simply a container for physical books. As we always believe a new modern library should be, we envisage this will become a ‘living room’ for Shanghai’s citizens bringing them new learning and cultural experiences binding them closer to their own city and the world.” Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen breaks ground on LEED Gold-seeking incubator in Shanghai The library is continuously clad in clear, insulated, and fritted glass organized in horizontal bands of varying transparency to evoke the image of striated rock. These alternating bands of transparent, semi-transparent, and insulated glass let in natural light while controlling solar gain. A grand central atrium forms the heart of the library and is flanked by three staggered reading rooms that open the building up to outdoor views. The modern library will offer both paper and digital reading and, as expected of Shanghai, will be highly integrated with technology. The building will serve as a resource center, knowledge exchange center, technology experience center, think tank, and international communication platform. The library is expected to open to the public by the end of 2020. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Energy-conscious library that doubles as a living room breaks ground in Shanghai

Splinter Creek is a sustainable community of 26 lakeside homes in Mississippi

October 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The owners of Splinter Creek , a property situated among 650 acres of pine forest, lakes and meadows in Mississippi , originally purchased the land for timber. But once they began harvesting, they realized how stunning the local ecosystem was, and decided to share the land to create a carefully considered community development around three spring-fed lakes. Helping them realize this vision, architecture firms Lake Flato , Lang Architecture and the Loch Collective conceived a masterplan of rustic homes built in concert with the environment. While Texas-based architecture firm Lake Flato produced a master site plan of roads, trails, and common structures, Lang Architecture focused on creating a concept design for a rustic modern lake house that blends seamlessly into the natural landscape . The Loch Collective produced the outdoor plan for the concept house, as well as a unique seed mix of wildflowers and native grasses for the adjacent meadows and wetlands. Related: Gorgeous Jardines del Sur House combines concrete, glass and native wood from the south of Chile The architects drew inspiration from the classic agrarian buildings of the area and came up with a design that integrates into the natural landscape and maximizes views of the pristine lakes and ridges of pine and hardwood forests. “We think holistically about the land. So it’s not just as simple as figuring out how to design one house,” said Lake Flato founder Ted Flato. “It’s, ‘What should the land be? And where should a house go?’ Our approach is architecture that’s very connected to its place.” Related: Rustic Wooden Alpine House is Powered by Both Solar and Geothermal Energy in Italy The property features 26 ready-to-build sites defined by creeks and terrain. New owners can bring in their own design and builders or choose a turnkey option of the Splinter Creek concept house, with the possibility of customizing the original design to fit individual tastes and lifestyles . + Splinter Creek + Lang Architecture + Lake Flato + Loch Collective

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Splinter Creek is a sustainable community of 26 lakeside homes in Mississippi

Couple spent seven years handcrafting their dream geodesic home

October 3, 2017 by  
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Sheila Williamson and her husband spent over seven years building their dream home, meticulously crafting a gorgeous three-domed geodesic home using reclaimed wood . Located just outside of San Francisco, the home is currently on the market . Located just 30 minutes outside of San Francisco, the home’s atypical design was challenging from the start. According to Williamson, the first hurdle was to battle with the city to get the required building permits. “Just getting the permit was a bit of a challenge because [the building department] had no idea what we were talking about.” Related: Five Great Reasons to Build a Geodesic Home Williamson and her husband designed and – with the help of an engineer – built the 3-sphere, 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home themselves. Inspired by the work of famed architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller, the dome design began to take shape. Using reclaimed pieces of wood from a nearby warehouse that had been demolished, the structure’s many triangular panels were cut by hand by the couple to create the dome shape . Beautiful hand-crafted stained glass accents are found throughout. The construction process was a community affair in many ways, with neighborhood children helping out in various ways. Reportedly, they even hid messages inside some of the panels to be read if the home is ever dismantled. Three geodesic domes make up the home, which is 1,700 square feet and strategically embedded into a serene, green-filled landscape. The largest dome houses the front entrance, which opens up into the living space with an open kitchen, office, and loft. The interior space is well lit thanks to a large window, which is made up of fourteen triangular panels, as well as a pentagonal skylight in the dome’s ceiling. A wooden open-air deck wraps around the structure, proving stellar views of the surrounding Diablo Valley. The smaller geodesic spaces contain the bedrooms on the upper floor. The master bedroom also has a beautiful skylight along with a private deck that overlooks the natural surroundings . In fact, the home’s close connection to its lush settings has always been the couple’s favorite part of the design, “It’s just the serenity, and it’s quiet at night. If you turn your back to the valley, you can see the stars,” Williamson said. “How often can you see the stars anymore? You can watch them progress across the sky over the year.” Unfortunately, Williamson’s husband passed away last year, prompting her to put the home on the market for $889,000. Via Dwell Photography by Todd Taylor of Taylor Photography Group

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Couple spent seven years handcrafting their dream geodesic home

Luxury lakeside hotel promises a return to nature in Italy

October 3, 2017 by  
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Architecture studio noa* mixes alpine and Mediterranean influences in their renovation of a family-run hotel in Italy. Located on a high plateau next to a small natural lake, Hotel Seehof is a luxury hotel that celebrates nature in its use of materials, design, and programming. The nature retreat features an undulating roof that mirrors Natz-Schabs’ mountain scenery while its earth-colored plaster and use of timber references the nearby forests. Hotel Seehof completed its major renovation and expansion earlier this year and now includes 16 new suites as well as a new pool and wellness area. Guests are invited to take a dip in the lake, “Flötscher Weiher,” that serves as the main focal point of the project. Sinuous lines and pathways seamlessly link the hotel grounds, including the oblique green roofs of the spa, to the surrounding forests and fruit orchards. Related: Frank Gehry-designed luxury hotel brings avant-garde design to historic Spain winery “The wooden façade and its rough surface are related to the environment, with a focus on incorporating regional materials. The communication with the lake – important characteristic and name of the hotel – is deliberately staged here,” wrote the architects. The interior design pays homage to Hotel Seehof’s site history. Copper pipes are used extensively throughout the interior as a design element and to reference to the widely used water pipes that were installed for the apple orchards in the 1950s. As with the exterior, a natural materials palette is used for the interior design. + noa* Images by Alex Filz

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Luxury lakeside hotel promises a return to nature in Italy

Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite

October 2, 2017 by  
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This stunning timber home by the lake sensitively embraces its Midwestern landscape with its design and use of local, reclaimed materials. Designed by Desai Chia Architects in collaboration with Environment Architects (AOR) , the Michigan Lake House boasts stunning lake views and a striking folded roof. The site-sensitive home features a native plant palette and stormwater management in addition to locally sourced and salvaged materials. Located on a woodland bluff, the 4,800-square-foot Michigan Lake House comprises three offset structures: one for the communal areas, including the living room, kitchen, and covered terrace; and the two others that separately house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms. A dining area breezeway connects the three structures. The undulating roof takes inspiration from the natural rolling terrain as well as the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages. The roof also cantilevers over the south end of the home to provide shade for the lakeside-viewing terrace. Related: Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature Shou Sugi Ban timber—charred to protect the wood from rot and pests—clads the exterior to blend the home into the landscape. The use of dark timber continues inside the home but is offset by light-colored ash, which was inhabitat.com/tag/reclaimed-materials reclaimed onsite and milled into custom furnishings, flooring, ceiling panels, and trim work. “The interiors of the house embody the indigenous landscape that once thrived with old growth ash,” wrote the architects. Locally sourced stone was used for the outdoor seating areas, pathways, and steps. + Desai Chia Architects + Environment Architects Images via Desai Chia Architects

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