This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

March 28, 2018 by  
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With a sinuous, meandering form that blurs the line between interior and exterior, the new Media Library in Thionville, France , is a unique  public space . Dominique Coulon & Associates designed the building by combining irregular, typically independent systems, creating tension in the space and in how it is read. The building aims to promote a new kind of media library – one that allows members of the public to create and curate their own experiences. It offers a variety of activities and spaces that blend into each other, including music studios, a café and restaurant, and exhibition areas . Related: Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter The façade resembles an opaque ribbon that rises and falls to conceal or reveal the building’s interior. At the point closest to the street, the ribbon reaches ground level, then rises up again at points that sit further back on the plot. This construction not only plays with the idea of interior and exterior space, but also brings natural light all the way into the heart of the project, where it’s most needed. Taken as a whole, the project questions the physical and psychological limits of what constitutes public space and follows a design that eludes the Euclidean interpretation of built space. A garden ramp offers another connection to the outside, leading upwards to a summer bar that serves as a culmination of the architectural promenade . In addition, the presence of multiple routes offers constantly renewed viewpoints. The “bubbles” within the building contain specific parts of the library, such as a storytelling area, language laboratories, places for playing video games, and a plastic arts room. + Dominique Coulon & Associates Lead photo by  Eugeni Pons

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This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

Crimson Bluffs Home uses passive solar and cooling to weather the extreme Montana seasons

March 5, 2018 by  
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  The environmentally friendly Crimson Bluffs House in Montana offers stunning 360 views of the Missouri River and the surrounding mountain ranges. Conceived by Greenovision , the house stays naturally warm in the harsh winters and cool in the sweltering summers thanks to its passive solar and passive cooling design. The house combines heating approach of passive solar and radiant hydronic floor heating – a strategy Greenovision calls Sun Smart Radiant Heating. Other green strategies include passive cooling design, ample amounts of natural light , high insulation values, and advanced framing. This home was constructed using locally sourced and recycled materials which are durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance . Large façade openings offer amazing views of the surrounding landscape. Related: Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700 The Sun Smart Radiant Heating captures the sun’s energy on sunny days and has two added benefits. The radiant system distributes the sun’s heat uniformly throughout the home and also produces heat during long stretches of cloudy days or extreme cold. This dual heating method is not only incredibly energy efficient , it relieves any worries homeowners may have about living in a home that is heated with passive solar alone. + Greenovision

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Crimson Bluffs Home uses passive solar and cooling to weather the extreme Montana seasons

Angular Casa Casi Cubo in Chile plays with light, wind and shadow

February 20, 2018 by  
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Casa Casi Cubo in Chile uses geometry and patterns to provide shelter from the strong local winds — letting in tons of light. LAND Arquitectos designed the house as a pavilion -like structure that plays around with different shapes to create a balance between protection from the elements and exposing its occupants to expansive views of the sea. The designer deconstructed the shape of a parallelepiped and used pine wood to generate a series of bends that demarcate the edges of the roof and the facades of the building. Instead of trying to stand up to strong winds, the design breaks them up and channels them along the exterior. Related: Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood The main shared space, where the stove and barbecue area are located, face the north side of the site and is the most protected from strong air currents. This space is connected to a semi-covered area enveloped by a perforated wooden skin. This outdoor space allows occupants to watch the passing sun and enjoy the constant interplay of light and shadow. + LAND Arquitectos Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Sergio Pirrone

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Angular Casa Casi Cubo in Chile plays with light, wind and shadow

This floating hotel and spa in Sweden will fill you with wanderlust

January 23, 2018 by  
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The team behind the famous Treehotel in Sweden just unveiled plans for a new floating hotel and spa on the Lule River in that will fill you with wanderlust. The Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa might be the perfect place to enjoy the Northern Lights and work on your well-being while being surrounded by stunning landscapes. As a company that specializes in luxury adventure holidays, Off the Map Travel aims to provide people with exotic travel options and allow them to reach authentic destinations. The newest addition to their handpicked offering is this floating hotel and spa that freezes into the ice in the winter and floats on top of the Lule River in the summer. Related: Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact The Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa is a circular building that will house a spa treatment room, four saunas , an outside cold bath, a hot bath, outside and inside showers, and two dressing rooms for visitors. The six hotel rooms included also float or remain frozen into the ice, depending on the time of year. The project is being built using locally available materials and will be open for overnight stays as soon as early 2018. + Off the Map Travel Via AFAR

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This floating hotel and spa in Sweden will fill you with wanderlust

This tent-shaped chapel in Portugal is in tune with nature

January 18, 2018 by  
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This open and inviting tent-shaped chapel by Plano Humano Arquitectos was designed to take full advantage of the majestic views and natural surroundings of Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal. The chapel is a new addition to the National Scout’s Activities Camp (CNAE), and its doors are open to anyone looking for shelter or a space for contemplation and introspection. The chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, takes the form of a large tent . The gable roof is lower and narrower at the entrance and it stretches forward and upward towards the rear of the chapel. Related: Modern chapel makes a powerful but minimalist statement in the Austrian countryside The design of the building is aligned with the spirit of communion with nature. Both early morning and late afternoon sunlight illuminate the interior to sustain visitors’ engagement with the space. In fall and winter, the light emphasizes the tranquility of the place and the unadorned symbiosis between building and landscape. A water channel runs through the space on a path that winds past the altar – the central place of any Christian celebratory space – and then into the landscape, directing the user to the cross, which is located outside the chapel. Twelve wooden beams – a reference to the 12 Apostles of the Bible – aims to translate the Biblical numerical symbolism into simple forms, construction principles, and natural building materials . +Plano Humano Arquitectos Photos by João Morgado

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This tent-shaped chapel in Portugal is in tune with nature

China wants to destroy space junk with giant lasers

January 18, 2018 by  
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Not only do we need to worry about pollution on Earth, but also in space . A team of six scientists in China are working on a very science-fiction-sounding solution: zapping that space trash with lasers . Could a space-based laser really help clean up the tens of thousands of pieces of junk orbiting our planet? From magnetic tugs to long tethers , the ideas of how to deal with our space mess have been imaginative but haven’t given us a firm solution yet. Could lasers offer an answer? Researchers from the Air Force Engineering University and Institute of China Electronic Equipment System Engineering Company published their work in the journal Optik last year on space-based lasers to tackle space debris. Related: ESA unveils magnetic space tug to corral broken satellites drifting in space According to the paper’s abstract, the scientists utilized numerical simulation to explore the “impacts of orbital elements of space-based laser station” on Earth-orbiting trash. Per Wired , a space laser could be mounted on a satellite , and in orbit “emit short bursts of near-infrared light:” 20 bursts a second over the course of a few minutes, which could be sufficient to break down the trash into smaller, less dangerous pieces. The scientists said in the abstract their work offers a “theoretical basis for the deployment of space-based laser station and the further application of space debris removal by using space-based laser.” The idea of space lasers isn’t wholly new – a 2015 paper cited by Gizmodo said there’s recently been a renaissance for the notion. That article says a laser would work by imparting energy into hunks of garbage so they could plummet out of orbit and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere . But would the rest of the world accept one country deploying lasers in space? Physicist Victor Apollonov of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ General Physics Institute told Gizmodo such technology could be put to military uses and “due to that, it is questionable.” He said people have been discussing the concept since the early 2000s, and there should be world-scale talks as a first step towards space lasers. Via ScienceDirect , Wired , and Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons and ESA

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China wants to destroy space junk with giant lasers

London architects infuse dated Victorian townhouse with tons of modern personality

January 9, 2018 by  
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This refurbishment project in North London emphasizes the home’s history while infusing it with modern personality. Architecture firm LLI Design enhanced and restored features of the Victorian townhouse to honor its past, and completely redesigned the rear kitchen extension with a new contemporary aesthetic. The original layout of the house had nicely proportioned rooms, a delightful garden and a handsome exterior which the design team enhanced by stripping out some of the dated features and reinstating others to bring out more of the Victorian feel of the property. Related: Jewel-like glass box deftly extends a Victorian house in London’s Mile End The ground floor of the 2500 square-foot house has a generous hall leading to 2 connecting reception rooms. At the end of the hall sits an extended kitchen that juts out into the garden. The team decided to leave the cellar as it was and use it for additional storage and reinstate the stained glass in the fanlight window above the front door and side window. They re-tiled the entrance hall in crisp black and white period tiles with a border pattern, which lightened and visually expanded the space. A dramatic copper and glass pendant light by designer Nigel Tyas now hangs from the top floor ceiling down to the ground floor. The living and dining rooms were refreshed with bespoke pale grey lacquer joinery and asymmetrical shelving lit with individual accent spotlights. The designers installed folding sliding doors in dark grey aluminium in the kitchen extension in order to give it a stronger connection to the garden. Upstairs, re-designed dressing room and master suite feature elegant new finishing and fixtures with delicate lighting solutions. The nursery suite was redesigned, with playfully illustrated roman blinds and colorful watercolor dot wallpaper. + LLI Design

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London architects infuse dated Victorian townhouse with tons of modern personality

Architects create exquisite home addition out of reclaimed barn wood and local stone

January 2, 2018 by  
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Montana-based JLF Architects recently updated a gorgeous home in Jackson Hole with a spacious addition built out of reclaimed barn wood and local stone. The home design is straight out of a fairy tale, with rustic wood paneling and a glass-enclosed interior walkway leading from one end of the existing structure to its new extension. The home is located deep in the Teton Pines community, surrounded by thick forest. The homeowners were looking to add space to host visiting family during the summer and holidays, but they wanted to retain the existing home’s aesthetic. Working with local firm, Big-D Signature , JLF Architects created a design that would enhance the home’s size, but without sacrificing its beautiful rustic character. Related: Dilapidated 1800s dairy barn resurrected into a stunning home in Wyoming According to the architects, the design was focused on extending the original design rather than adding on an independent addition, “Our design-build approach allowed our team to look at the design of this home holistically to create continuity and quality within the architecture,” explains JLF Architects principal Logan Leachman. To find the appropriate materials, the architects searched various local log yards for reclaimed timber and stone that would match the original structure. Luckily, they found Montana moss rock and rough-sawn fir panels as well as 20th-century chestnut hardwood floors, all of which were used in the construction of the 700-square-foot addition. To connect the old space with the new addition, partners Big-D Signature crafted a beautiful glass entryway that connects the two structures. The glass walls allow for natural light to flood the interior and provides some seriously stunning views of the natural surroundings. The walkway is bookended by two stone walls that, along with the glass and timber passageway, brings the exterior into the interior. + JLF Architects + Big-D Signature

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Architects create exquisite home addition out of reclaimed barn wood and local stone

This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

December 29, 2017 by  
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Perched on a rocky cliff at 10,000 feet, this pair of solar-powered cabins offer unique views of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Collegiate Peaks, and the South Platte River. Renée del Gaudio Architecture designed Big Cabin | Little Cabin to capture the essence of traditional cabin vernacular with a modern twist. The site is bordered to the north by a thick forest that provides the cabins with a sense of privacy and protection. Gabled roofs and rustic materials echo the area’s vernacular architecture, while the exterior cedar siding helps the cabins blend into their wooded surroundings. A similar material palette dominates the open-plan interior of the project, with plywood interior walls and ceilings lending a rustic quality. Related: 7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather High-efficiency electric appliances and LED lighting keep energy consumption to a minimum, while closed and open cell foam insulation, double and triple pane windows with low-e glass , and rolling barn door shutters keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The project also features a 96% efficient boiler, radiant floor tubing set in a concrete slab, and a high efficiency wood-burning stove . The project is wired for a 3kw photovoltaic array , which is expected to fully meet the cabins’ energy needs. + Renée del Gaudio Architecture Via Dwell Photos by David Lauer

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This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest

December 22, 2017 by  
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Flying cars seem to be moving from the realm of science fiction to reality – and Richard’s Architecture + Design (RA+D) helmed by architect Richard Moreta Castillo has already designed a net-zero tower pioneering drone car infrastructure. The Smart Power Long tower, a condominium building planned for Shanghai , features landing pads for flying cars. The futuristic concept is super green, according to RA+D, and will feature a vertical forest in which 50,000 trees and shrubs could scrub the skies. Dubai started testing flying taxis earlier this year, and RA+D also pointed to Nevada officials seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration for flying passenger drones as evidence the futuristic vehicles could soon be soaring the skies. RA+D first came up with the drone car tower concept in 2015 with their Moscow Tower, and they said the Shanghai tower’s construction could occur faster than expected – between 2018 and 2020. Related: Futuristic power plant complex generates clean power through wind, solar and geothermal energy The condominium tower draws design inspiration from Chinese dragon art. Docking stations for drone cars wind up the exterior. The building could clean the air naturally, as plants take in carbon dioxide , and could also have 180 carbon dioxide extractors, according to RA+D. The air could then be expelled from the top in numbers corresponding with the hour, illuminated with an LED spotlight to create an appearance similar to fire, to create what RA+D described as the “first smoke and chromatic clock for the reference of the Shanghai community.” Clean technologies are also part of Smart Power Long’s design, such as a recycling water plant utilizing ultraviolet disinfection treatment. A vertical electrical power plant will draw on solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. The multi-use building could also contain a convention center, water river biology laboratories, and residences. Smart Power Long is designed for Shanghai’s Pudong District with a budget of $600 million. + Richard’s Architecture + Design Images courtesy of Richard Moreta Castillo

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