Green-roofed Argentinian home boasts a thermally efficient envelope

April 12, 2018 by  
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Buenos Aires-based IR arquitectura crafted a home that feels as if it grew out of the landscape. Set in a clearing in Tortuguitas, Argentina, the timber-clad AA House embraces nature with its green roof, inner courtyard with a polycarbonate roof, and large openings framing the outdoors. Thermal efficiency was a guiding design principle that informed everything from site orientation to material decisions. Built of locally sourced wood , AA House appears as a cluster of pitched timber boxes framed on each side by forest. The main living areas and bedrooms are laid out linearly on an east-west axis and face north to “guarantee the best solar incidence range,” wrote the architects. The common areas and greenhouse-like courtyard occupy the heart of the home and separate the master bedroom on the east side from the children’s bedrooms on the west end. Related: Award-winning renovation slashes mid-century home’s carbon footprint by 80% Earth walls finished with clay fill the spaces between wall studs and lend the advantage of high thermal mass by absorbing heat during the day and dissipating it at night. Vertical strips of timber clad the facade with matching vertical timber louvers installed over most of the glazed openings save for the large glazed wall on the north side of the living room that’s shielded by a deep overhang and left open for uninterrupted views. + IR arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images © Federico Cairoli

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Green-roofed Argentinian home boasts a thermally efficient envelope

Reconnect with nature in this gorgeous retreat built for slow living

January 24, 2017 by  
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A safe haven from the frantic pace of modern life has popped up in the Australian town of Balnarring. Melbourne-based Branch Studio Architects designed this lovely modern studio and retreat with a deliberately low-tech aesthetic that emphasizes connection with the outdoors. The simple yet chic home is extremely flexible and can adapt to a seemingly limitless number of uses. The client prioritized flexibility early on in the design process, requiring “a space that could be nothing one minute and everything the next, required to regularly and effortlessly switch between an empty nondescript shell of limitless possibilities to a fully functioning private residence.” Thus the Balnarring Retreat features a large open-plan space where furniture, such as the Murphy bed and desk, are built into the walls and can be folded down when needed. Storage is also hidden away in the walls to minimize clutter. The custom furnishings are made to be folded and unfolded by hand to promote mindfulness. Related: Rustic Off-Grid Pump House is a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway in Australia The Balnarring Retreat also houses a kitchen, a study, and a bathroom. The north wall is fully glazed to let in natural light and frame views of the pond. The space immediately in front of the glazed north wall is a sunken ‘day bed’ that can be filled in with plywood boxes when extra floorspace is needed. + Branch Studio Architects Images by Peter Clarke

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Reconnect with nature in this gorgeous retreat built for slow living

New periodic table shows the cosmic origins of your body’s elements

January 24, 2017 by  
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Believe it or not, your body is largely made of the products from exploding stars, cosmic ray fission, and other Star Trek-esque phenomena. The stellar origins of every atom in your body trace back to the Big Bang , and are now outlined for your enjoyment in a new periodic table that classifies all the elements that make up life on Earth, according to their origin. Ohio State University astronomer Jennifer A. Johnson concocted the colorful table to give folks a better idea of where the ingredients for every living human originally came from. According to Science Alert , the human body is made up mostly of hydrogen, the most common atom in the universe, produced during the Big Bank about 13.8 billion years ago. The remainder of your body’s atoms are the product of ancient stars that merged, exploded and died over the billions of years since the universe was first forged. Others are the result of cosmic rays of high-energy radiation that come from outside our solar system . Related: Scientists observe the light spectrum of antimatter for the first time ever According to Johnson, her periodic table accounts only for the main elements of the human body, while others were cut in an effort to make the chart as relevant as possible. “Tc, Pm, and the elements beyond U do not have long-lived or stable isotopes. I have ignored the elements beyond U in this plot, but not including Tc and Pm looked weird, so I have included them in grey,” she says on her blog . The new table builds on work Johnson did in 2008, with her colleague Inese Ivans from the University of Utah . They launched into the work of putting this table together out of frustration over constantly having to explain which elements go with which process on a periodic table. What they’ve created is a periodic table that identifies the six sources of elements in our body and breaks them down by the stellar process that resulted in their formation. The colors correspond to the various elements and the way they fill up the boxes shows how much of that element is linked to a certain cosmic process or event. Via Science Alert Images via Wikimedia Commons and Jennifer A. Johnson

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Solar Team Great Britain designs the UK’s first family-sized solar-powered car

January 24, 2017 by  
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Solar Team Great Britain has created the UK’s first family-sized solar-powered car . The newly formed team has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them build what it hopes will win the title as the world’s fastest solar-powered car at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, later this year. The challenge covers 3,022 km from Darwin to Adelaide and is labeled as the world’s toughest and longest competition for solar cars. Solar Team Great Britain is hoping to raise at least $25,000 via the Kickstarter campaign, which will help cover part of the costs to build the unique solar-powered vehicle. While the Kickstarter campaign will only raise about five percent of the funds the team needs, the campaign is also being run to raise public awareness of both the race and the need for more clean transportation . The team is also backed by over a dozen sponsors, which will help raise the additional money required to bring the four-passenger vehicle to life. Related: Sono Motors crowdfunds groundbreaking solar-powered car “We’ve been keen since the project’s inception to get more people on board with its goals. While only forming a small part of the total we need, we felt this could help highlight the work being done and get the public backing and awareness for solar cars … and joins initiatives like working with schools.” At the race in October, the team will compete in the Cruiser Class category, where the winner must balance not just speed but practicality and energy efficiency . In the 2013 race, a four-seater family car traveled the route with an external energy consumption of only 64 kWh. To compare, a typical family car traveling the same route would have an energy consumption of approximately 5,000 kWh. + Solar Team Great Britain

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Solar Team Great Britain designs the UK’s first family-sized solar-powered car

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