Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

August 9, 2018 by  
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Few homes undergo the trials and tribulations of Boston Villa – and fewer still receive a gorgeous renovation that also wins an architectural prize. But in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne, Australia, that’s exactly what happened. For years, Boston Villa stood abandoned, serving as a shelter for indigent wanderers. Even after Nest Architects ‘ clients Dean and Lisa saw promise in the property, someone set it on fire halfway into the preliminary stages of the rebuilding process. The couple remained undaunted, however, and Nest Architects forged ahead with the overhaul, creating a beautiful, light-filled home with numerous energy-saving and sustainable features. For the project’s first phase, the architects tore down walls to let natural light and air flow freely through the space. This demolition also opened up views of courtyards and created light sources throughout the structure. Skylights illuminate the laundry room and bathroom, louvered windows let filtered light brighten the children’s bedrooms, and an enormous glazed glass wall brings the glow of sunlight into the study, guest room, dining room, kitchen and living spaces. Rustic timber columns and beams accentuate this wall and help it harmonize with the rest of the home’s aesthetic. Two large windows flanked by striking Victorian brickwork highlight the front of the structure. Related: Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain Because the clients wanted a sustainable home as well, Nest Architects included a number of features that reduce the house’s overall footprint. The concrete slab foundation effectively controls heat loss, and internal thermal blinds coupled with low-E glass fend off heat from the sun. The architects used recycled fittings and fixtures in every room; additionally, all the plywood and timber came from recycled sources. Low-voltage lighting and appliances with five-star energy ratings further reduce the amount of electricity consumed. Boston Villa won the Victorian Institute of Architects Award in the Alterations and Additions Category in 2011. + Nest Architects Images via Jesse Marlow

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Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

Origami-inspired Aqualagon water park is a site-sensitive extension of the landscape

July 9, 2018 by  
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With their bright, multicolored slides and tubes, most water parks stick out like unsightly sore thumbs in the landscape—but that’s not the case for the site-sensitive Water Park Aqualagon in Villages Nature Paris Marne-la-Vallée, France. Designed by Paris-based Jacques Ferrier architecture , the enclosed water park features a folded and glazed design that takes inspiration from the Japanese art of origami and is largely informed by site conditions. Conceived as an extension of the forested landscape, Aqualagon features full-height glazing, lush greenery, and renewable systems including geothermal energy and water recycling. Spread out across 86,000 square feet next to a large body of water, the Water Park Aqualagon meets the High Quality Environment standard , a certification for green buildings in France. Site studies that mapped the direction of the winds and the path of the sun informed the position and layout of the water park’s multifaceted, glazed building. To make the most of cooling cross-breezes in summer and to protect against cold northeasterly winter winds, the aquatic park opens up towards the west and backs up to the forest. The orientation also optimizes sunlight in winter while minimizing solar gain in summer. The light-filled interior features water slides and multiple pools integrated into a naturalistic landscape of stone-covered terrain, living trees and waterfalls. Continuous outdoor terraces project from the building towards the lake; these walkways overlook stunning views of Villages Nature Paris Marne-la-Vallée. A transparent dome tops the water park and offers a remarkable space for visitors to swim while basking in views of the sky. Related: PHOTOS: Cacheuta Thermal Water Park is a summer escape wedged in Argentina’s Andes Mountains “Like an origami sculpture, our proposal for the aquatic park resembles an unfolding landscape, culminating at around 35 meters. It is a built landscape, rising into the sky,” explains Jacques Ferrier architecture. “The structure is clearly visible from the surrounding area – it becomes a point of reference and a symbol of Villages Nature.” + Jacques Ferrier architecture Images by Luc Boegly

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Origami-inspired Aqualagon water park is a site-sensitive extension of the landscape

This contemporary light-filled home feels like an extension of Balis tropics

June 29, 2018 by  
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German architect Alexis Dornier of his eponymous Bali-based architecture practice recently completed a stunning modern home in an Indonesian tropical paradise. The private home — named House A — comprises four stories laid out over 8,072 square feet. Like the firm’s previous works, House A embraces indoor-outdoor living with full-height glazing and an open layout where views of lush greenery can be enjoyed at every turn. Built primarily of stone and dark timber, House A appears to be a natural extension of its evergreen surroundings in Mas, a village renowned for its hand-carved wood sculpture south of Ubud, Bali . This emphasis on the outdoors is carried through the color palette, from the neutral off-white textiles to the moss-green upholstery. Large potted plants are also bring the outdoors into the home. Metallic accents, clean lines and high-end fixtures from the likes of Grohe and Toto give the house its contemporary edge, while clear glass rooftops allow light to filter deep into the home. “The linear four-story arrangement counteracts the steep slope of the site by becoming a bridge house,” the firm said in a project statement. “The central theme of the ensemble is combining two architectural expressions: the idea of a romantic ruin, strongly connected to the ground and a light, fading, transparent structure holding a series of roofs; two images working with and against each other. The master deck is crowning the structure, continuing through a double-height exterior living space. The silhouette is a sequence of five roofs of different lengths. Linear skylights and linear gaps between the roofs complete a play of bar code like light play, changing as the sun is making its way from east to west.” Related: An ever-evolving, growing home in Indonesia adapts to its owners’ needs The guest bedrooms are located on the lower levels of the house, while the main living spaces like the kitchen and double-height dining room are placed on the third floor. The en suite master bedroom can be found on the top floor. + Alexis Dornier Images via Alexis Dornier

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This contemporary light-filled home feels like an extension of Balis tropics

Sculptural open-air pavilion blends into a rocky Norwegian landscape

June 29, 2018 by  
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When Oslo-based design studio MORFEUS arkitekter first laid eyes on Bukkekjerka, a rock formation framed by the rugged mountains on the east and the open sea to the west, its natural beauty stunned them. So, when they were tasked with designing an open-air pavilion on the site along the Norwegian Scenic Route Andøya, they understandably wanted to take a sensitive approach so as not to detract from the landscape. The resulting design is a contemporary structure built from folded concrete to mimic the surrounding jagged mountain peaks. Spanning an area of 2,800 square feet, the Bukkekjerka rest station comprises a series of structures spread out across the landscape. The parking and service facilities are placed in the north, while a freestanding bench in the mountains is oriented for views of the midnight sun. Picnic areas and a footbridge trace a path toward the lighthouses to the east. Consecrated land and unique geological formations can be found in the south, which MORFEUS arkitekter has designed for use as an annual open-air church for weddings and other gatherings. “Our hope is that these elements are unveiled and experienced gradually, encouraging further exploration and experience of the inherent qualities of the place,” explains Caroline Støvring and Cecilie Wille of MORFEUS arkitekter. “The built elements are adapted to the existing terrain, not the other way around. We have wanted to proceed carefully, but also with a boldness that echoes the surrounding landscape. We have desired the project to appear more like landscape and sculptural elements, less like a building.” Related: Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert The majority of the structures are open-air; however, even the service building with toilets manages to embrace the landscape with one-way mirrored glass cladding. The glass allows visitors inside the building to enjoy views over the sea and the mountain peaks in the north, while the mirrored side helps blend the building into the landscape. The building is also constructed from polished, acid-resistant steel with a mirror-like shine. + MORFEUS arkitekter Images ©MORFEUS Støvring Wille

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Sculptural open-air pavilion blends into a rocky Norwegian landscape

A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

June 11, 2018 by  
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St. Petersburg-based architecture firm Rhizome group designed and built Tochka na Karte Hotel, a prefabricated structure crafted to embrace the outdoors. Located in the northern Russian town of Priozersk in Leningrad Oblast, the hotel complex is a sleek and modern getaway nestled among mature pine trees. The use of modular technology has helped reduce construction waste and minimize site impact , including the preservation of existing trees. Located just a two-hour drive north of St. Petersburg , the Tochka na Karte Hotel (Russian for ‘a point on the map’) is set on the shore of Lake Ladoga on the border of the Republic of Karelia. Due to its proximity to St. Petersburg, historical points of interest and abundance of pristine nature, the area has long served as a major tourist destination for Russians and foreigners alike. The hotel taps into the region’s natural beauty by using floor-to-ceiling glazing to frame outdoor views from every room, thus blurring the line between indoors and out. The prefabricated building comprises three two-story blocks with 32 standard rooms, detached suites (built of two modules) and a reception building (assembled from three modules and some prefabricated elements). The modules, which measure 3.5 meters by 7 meters, were constructed in a factory and then assembled on site. Stairways and terraces connect the modular blocks. The facade was built of timber and dark metal to tie the building into the wooded landscape. To further blend the hotel into its pine forest backdrop, the structures were “dispersed” among existing mature pines near where the Vuoski River meets Lake Ladoga. Related: This minimalist prefab hotel offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps “We believe we succeeded in achieving the essence of a place inherent to modern Nordic architecture,” the architects wrote. “Terrain forms, trees layout and our strive to provide a view of the shore from every room constitute the buildings’ location on the site.” + Rhizome Images by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov

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A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

Multi-family timber home perches atop a Norwegian slope

April 25, 2018 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter recently completed their latest residence: a multi-family dwelling set atop a steep slope in Oslo , Norway. As with the Norwegian architecture firm’s many other projects, the home is primarily clad in vertical planks of natural timber which helps tie the building into its wooded surroundings. Named the Two-in-One House, the residence houses two families as well as an independent apartment. When the client came to Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter with the project, the brief asked for a house that could comfortably accommodate two families while appearing as a single, unified home. In response, the architects crafted a slender and rectangular cedar -clad volume that emerges from a concrete base. To give the monolithic building a sense of lightness and to take advantage of surrounding views, the building is wrapped in glazing on the lower and top-most levels. Related: Norwegian-inspired timber cabins unveiled for a landscape hotel in France “The main task was for the project to appear as a unify house despite its duality, and still ensure the privacy of both units,” wrote the architects. “The ground floor integrates the main public functions of the homes and elegant windows frame the landscape scenery and invite nature into the building. On the contrary, the first floor protects the intimacy of the families and provides a more introvert area, with windows subtly appearing behind the cedar cladding.” The contemporary home also connects to a series of outdoor terraces on the east. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images by Ivar Kvaal

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Stellar views and a small footprint defines this Tasmanian timber cabin

April 12, 2018 by  
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A small abode perched high on the eastern slopes of Tasmania’s Mount Wellington offers spectacular landscape views. Room11 Architects designed the boxy dwelling with a deliberately compact footprint as an “intensely private” retreat that keeps the focus on outdoor views framed by large windows. In addition to enviable views, natural cross ventilation and a wood-burning stove help keep the home, called Little Big House, attuned to nature. Located high above Hobart, Little Big House is an escape from the city set in a forested landscape. The simple residence is clad in vertical unfinished timber in a nod to the local vernacular construction styles of Southern Tasmania. “A small home with big volumes, the house is a bespoke building in a cool climate,” wrote the architects. “Eschewing many of the traditions of Australian architecture , this house is distinctly Tasmanian.” Related: Historic train shed transformed into Tasmanian School for Architecture Polycarbonate cladding on the east and west facades bring additional light to the minimalist interior without compromising privacy. White walls and tall ceilings create a bright and airy atmosphere indoors; the entry, kitchen, and bathroom spaces are finished in black to provide visual contrast. The focus is kept on the double-height living room set next to a long strip of glazing, while the bedroom is tucked above on the mezzanine level. + Room11 Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Ben Hosking

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Stellar views and a small footprint defines this Tasmanian timber cabin

Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center comprises light-filled timber volumes

March 27, 2018 by  
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Livability in Copenhagen’s Ørestad City received a big boost with the completion of a green-roofed multipurpose sports facility next to Bjarke Ingels Group’s terraced Mountain Dwellings . Designed by NORD Architects , the sports center may be more modest than its eye-catching neighbor with its lower profile and natural materials palette, but achieves admirable goals of social sustainability and inclusivity thanks to its welcoming and fully accessible design that’s open 24/7 to the public. Designed in collaboration with the community, the unstaffed multipurpose sports center in Ørestad City offers adaptable and multifunctional spaces that cater to a variety of user groups. The building’s five main zones radiate out from a central “stay and play area” and include the foyer, two multifunctional areas with storage and toilets, a bouldering zone, and a large multisport area. Each area is enclosed in a timber volume of varying heights and sloped green roofs , making it easy to identify the different zones from the outside. Related: BIG Designs Cascading Green Roofed Mountain Dwellings Glazing wraps around the base of the structure to let in light, create transparency, and provide views to outdoor landscaping. The interior is painted white. “This place is a kind of shelter for local sports and social events and in this way an invitation to both creativity, activity and recreation. It is built as a light structure that welcomes openness and unpredictability in this otherwise fully planned urban area and we are sure it will generate social interaction and livability in Ørestad City”, said partner Johannes Molander Pedersen + NORD Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Adam Mørk

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Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center comprises light-filled timber volumes

Former car factory to house Brussels "Centre Pompidou" cultural hub

March 26, 2018 by  
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A former Citroën car factory will be transformed into a major cultural hub for Brussels —the KANAL – Centre Pompidou comprising a Museum of Contemporary Art, architecture center, and other public art spaces. EM2N , noAarchitecten , and Sergison Bates won a design competition to lead the design of the €125 million adaptive reuse project. The historic 1930s building was selected for its size—an expansive 215,000 square feet—and prime location in the heart of the Brussels-Capital Region at the center of the Plan Canal. “The proposal for Kanal reflects on the position of the twenty-first century museum in society,” wrote the architects. “The building is located in the heart of the Plan Canal, the area where new developments focus on a contemporary mix of housing, working, leisure and production spaces– the activity that is historically linked to the canal area.” The Centre Pompidou scheme begins with the restoration of the former Citroën garage followed by the insertion of three volumes for the art museum , architecture center, and 400-seat auditorium. Related: A futuristic mirrored agora is landing in Brussels like a giant flying saucer Wraparound glazing and skylights create transparency and allow ample amount of natural light indoors. To reduce the building’s energy footprint, each of the three inserted volumes will be equipped with individual climate control while other energy-saving measures will be used throughout the rest of KANAL. Construction is slated to begin fall 2019 and the museum is expected to open in 2022. + Centre Pompidou Via Dezeen Images by NOA / EM2N / SBA

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Former car factory to house Brussels "Centre Pompidou" cultural hub

World’s largest botanical garden to bloom in the desert of Oman

November 15, 2017 by  
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Perhaps the dry desert landscape of Oman may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of lush forests, but the Arabian nation is getting a massive infusion of greenery with the world’s largest botanical garden . Showcasing the country’s rich bio-diversity, the Oman Botanic Garden – designed by Arup, Grimshaw and Haley Sharpe Design – will be a whopping 1,037 acres of land filled with native flora, with two beautiful biomes housing the country’s most unique plant species. Located in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains in the Sultanate of Oman, the botanical garden’s site is one of the few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is still visible after the landscape was elevated by tectonic activity. Working with this unique landscape, the architects designed a complex that would blend into the Mars-esque environment. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: 7 best botanical gardens from around the world Visitors to the gardens will enjoy open walkways that run through the undulating landscape, winding through the wadis, mountains and desert plains as they enjoy the impressive botanic diversity. Inside the two biomes, which house the most unique or sensitive flora, the interior environments were carefully designed to mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the plants’ native climate. Along with the visitors center, the complex will have additional spaces for education and research facilities dedicated to protecting the region’s ample bio-diversity. The garden’s buildings and the landscape architecture were all designed to meet the standards of LEED Platinum . Making the design sustainable was quite a challenge given the region’s water scarcity. Thanks to advanced systems, the entire complex will operate with a grey water irrigation system that works in collaboration with sustainably-sourced water. + Arup + Grimshaw + Haley Sharpe Design Via World Architecture News

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World’s largest botanical garden to bloom in the desert of Oman

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