Midcentury, Scandinavian-inspired Canadian chalet gets a spectacular renovation

July 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

An aging chalet in Canada that was facing demolition has been completely turned around thanks to a stunning renovation led by Montreal-based design studio Alain Carle Architecte . Originally built in the 1960s, the Maribou Residence features midcentury Scandinavian architectural influences—no doubt inspired by the rise of Alvar Aalto’s reputation during that time period. Enamored with the home’s history, the clients wanted to conserve the home’s original character while modernizing its appearance. When Alain Carle Architecte was approached for the project, the rural house had fallen into a serious state of disrepair, with several insulation and structural problems. The clients, who saw the renovation as their retirement project, sought to completely restore the home as well as the original Scandinavian -inspired design that had been obscured by past renovations. In addition to renovating and reinforcing the building envelope, the architects replaced the former flat roof with a pitched roof to emphasize the “Scandinavian essence” and to comply with local by-laws that required a pitched roofline. Another major change was the reconfiguration of the main entrance, which was relocated from the first floor to the ground floor for a shorter distance from the parking pad. The interior features a minimalist redesign with mostly white walls paired with pale timber floors and colorful furnishings. Related: A 1960s Swiss chalet is transformed into a whimsical off-grid home “For the interior, the strong elements represented by the big stone wall and the singular railing were conserved in their entirety and restored to context in a more contemporary composition,” adds Alain Carle Architecte. “The new volumetry, freeing more space in the master bedroom, will allow the addition of new fenestration opening on the landscape. On the main floor, new openings will also be made to finally give a view of the rocky landscape from the kitchen. The residence, which previously had a ‘back room’ exclusively orientated to the distant view, will then offer a multitude of framings of different landscape scales.” + Alain Carle Architecte Images via Raphael Thibodeau

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Midcentury, Scandinavian-inspired Canadian chalet gets a spectacular renovation

This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

July 17, 2018 by  
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What if renewable energy infrastructure could be both functional and beautiful? Exploring that notion is Italian architectural practice Antonio Maccà, who designed ‘Sun Ray,’ a massive solar collector that could generate enough energy to power 220 Melbourne homes — with approximately 1,100 MWh of electricity produced annually. Shortlisted for this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne design competition, the conceptual design was conceived as a symbol for the future of sustainable energy that also doubles as public artwork. Envisioned for the City of Port Phillip in Melbourne , Sun Ray consists of a series of flat mirrors — each with a single-axis tracking system — laid out in a round shape with a diameter of 279 feet and elevated atop slender steel columns. To capture the sun’s energy, Antonio Maccà tapped into linear Fresnel reflector technology, in which mirrors are used to focus sunlight onto a solar receiver. A power block tucked underground transforms the solar energy into electricity before feeding it into the city power grid. “Sun Ray is a new symbol of renewable energy, lighting the way to the State of Victoria’s zero- greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target,” explained Antonio Maccà in his project statement. “It is also a cultural attractor for Melbourne, an investigation of light as a physical and symbolic source of illumination for life. It is a place for reflection, relaxation, learning and play — and it is a linear Fresnel reflector solar power plant that provides heat and electricity for hundreds of homes in St Kilda.” Related: This gigantic solar hourglass could power 1,000 Danish homes Residents and visitors can interact with the Sun Ray by using it as a shade canopy. The 50 primary mirror lines cast shade over the public park space, while the mirrors create a constantly changing play of light and shadow as they turn to track the sun. The winning design of the 2018 Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne will be announced on October 11. + Land Art Generator Initiative Renderings by Antonio Maccà

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This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

Futuristic library pops up in an ancient Chinese city

July 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Incredible, futuristic-looking libraries have been taking root across China , including in one of the country’s most famous ancient cities, Xi’an. Once the capital for thirteen dynasties, the Shaanxi Province city is now home to the curvaceous, all-white Zhongshu bookstore, which has a design that looks like something straight out of a science-fiction film. Crafted by Shanghai-based Wutopia Lab , the bookstore was constructed from 300 tons of steel and 30,000 meters of light strips. Located on the fourth floor of a commercial center, the Zhongshu bookstore welcomes visitors with a “glittering entrance” that connects the adjacent cinema to an all-white space with swooping curvilinear lines that draw the eye up towards the ceiling and over to a sinuous staircase. The pillar-free interior is supported with a hidden steel frame tucked behind the foundation. Books are set on over 3,000 meters of steel-plated curved bookshelves that appear to float thanks to their thin, cantilevered profiles just five millimeters thick. “I hope my architectural practices reiterate our everyday life through immense imaginations and dramatic artistic expressions,” explains the firm in a project statement. “I also hope that it transforms reality into a ‘magic reality’ and creates an illusion that uncovers bits of truths in our life. The design and construction of Zhongshu Bookstore which lasted 600 days is not only the transcendence of Zhongshu Bookstore itself, but also represents the great urban revival that Xi’an is currently experiencing.” Related: China’s new futuristic library is unlike any we’ve seen before The sinuous forms of the Zhongshu bookstore were achieved using computer 3D modeling, while the steel-plate bookshelves were cut with CNC machines and then assembled on site. The rounded computer-aided design ensures that there are no sharp corners in the store, which the architects liken to a cloud-like environment. The airy and bright atmosphere is reinforced with translucent materials including glass surfaces and translucent acrylic. + Wutopia Lab Images by CreatAR Images

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Futuristic library pops up in an ancient Chinese city

Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

July 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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

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Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

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

July 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

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

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

Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

July 16, 2018 by  
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In Sydney’s affluent suburb of Kirribilli, a contemporary solar-powered home stands out from its Victorian manor neighbors. Local design practice Bijl Architecture reworked an existing semi-detached home into the Doorzien House, a two-story home that takes full advantage of its sweeping Sydney harbor views. In addition to floor-to-ceiling glazing installed in the rear of the house, glass elements are used throughout the home — in the form of skylights, flooring, highlight panels and balustrades — to fill the interior with light. The clients tapped Bijl Architecture to design a home that pursued a modern typology. To satisfy the project brief and comply with local heritage expectations, the architects restored and preserved the home’s traditional street-facing facade while inserting a contemporary zinc -clad addition to the rear side of the house that draws inspiration from the neighborhood’s naval and industrial history. The back of the property is opened up to the outdoors and overlooks views of Careening Cove, Neutral Harbor and Kurraba Point. “To embrace our clients’ desired openness and connectivity between the floor levels and surrounding context, we dismantled the existing plan,” the architects explained. “The broad Sydney Harbor view and neighboring vistas are exploited by the hybridized living spaces, while each room retains its individual focus and remains intimate and warm through the material palette and layered lighting. We oriented living spaces to the rear; multiple interior viewlines serve as a counterpoint to the expansive harbor views. This approach continues to the rear garden, with bleacher-style steps moderating the level change, extending the study and sitting room interiors to form a third living space.” Related: This self-sustaining Australian home harvests its own food, energy, and water A 3.5kW system of Nu-Lok solar roof tiles was the first approved installation for a NSW conservation area. The solar system and Redback Technologies’ Gen II inverter and battery are part of the clients’ plan to eventually move their home off-grid . + Bijl Architecture Images by Katherine Lu

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Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

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

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

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

July 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

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

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

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