Tiny meditation shelters are the perfect place for hikers to connect with the forest

February 20, 2017 by  
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These tiny  meditation shelters offer protection and a place to rest for hikers exploring the Lithuanian forests. The shelters are a place where people can find solitude to reconnect with nature and find harmony with the environment. A slithering stone pathway that weaves throughout the forest garden was inspired by a Lithuanian fairy tale about serpents. The project, named Gapahuk, is part of a larger Meditation Garden designed by Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio which won the American Architecture Prize 2016. Used for individual meditation and as a place where hikers can rest and get warm, this cluster of shelters was built during the Human Birdhouse Workshop in Lithuania last August. The team cleared a forest clearing and shaped pathways that naturally weave in and around the garden. Two fireplaces installed in front of the shelters are surrounded with sitting areas. Holy stones added to the site look like totems of masculine and feminine origin, while a symbolic stone pathway represents a Lithuanian fairy tale about serpents. Related: FORÊT II is a Meditation Pavilion Made from 810 Reclaimed Shipping Pallets The workshop took place on the property of famous Lithuanian children books author, poet and film/theatre director Vytautas V. Landsbergis. The idea was to design and build architecture in the style of Constructive Shamanism, which brings together architects, builders and spiritual practitioners to strengthen and reveal the connection between humans and nature. References to Lithuanian mythology dominate the project, with visitors participating in spiritual ceremonies and singing mantras around a bonfire. + Bjørnådal Arkitektsudio Via v2com Lead photo by Lidija Kaleinikovaite

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Tiny meditation shelters are the perfect place for hikers to connect with the forest

Architects use earthen berms to tuck a central reservoir inside tiered office space

February 20, 2017 by  
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Mumbai-based Sanjay Puri Architects have designed an office space concept with a beautiful reservoir as the heart of the design. Inspired by the traditional stepped wells that provide water for India’s severely parched communities, the design incorporates a natural recess found in the landscape to optimize the Reservoir’s natural water collection  abilities. As part of a 95-acre planned community development, the Reservoir is designed to connect a residential and commercial area in India’s arid Rajasthan state. Like most of India, water is a precious resource, and more so in this region where temperatures reach an excess of 100 ° F for eight months of the year. Related: Ghostly ruins of a 400-year-old church rise from the waters of a Mexican reservoir Using the natural topography of the landscape, the architects planned the design around an existing cavity in the ground. This was strategic to let the reservoir naturally fill with water almost year round, eliminating the need for additional water source. Any runoff  water is collected and supports the water supply for the entire complex. The structure itself is supported into green-covered earthen berms, which create the perimeter of the design. Solar panels are installed on these berms, which have cutouts that lead to underground parking. Six floors of office space follow the site’s natural rising topography surrounding the pool, creating a natural open-air terrace for each office. The recessed water design actively lowers the temperature of the immediate microclimate, creating a pleasant work environment while minimalizing energy use. On the interior, large floor-to-ceiling windows allow for optimal natural light, which also reduces the need for artificial lighting. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via Architect Magazine Images via Sanjay Puri Architects

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Architects use earthen berms to tuck a central reservoir inside tiered office space

North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’ is the world’s largest abandoned building

February 16, 2017 by  
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This pyramid-shaped building in North Korea was once a contender for the tallest hotel in the world – but construction was interrupted in 1989 and it became the world’s largest abandoned building instead. The notorious 105-story Ryugyong Hotel – frequently referred to as the “Hotel of Doom” – could come to life after all, as Egyptian company Orascom fired the project back up again in 2008. The structure, designed by Baikdoosan Architects & Engineers, first broke ground in 1987 in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was supposed to open in 1989, two years later after the frame was finished. Work stopped in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union (an ally and backer), and the hotel remained unfinished , looming over the North Korean capital. Related: Abandoned Floating McDonalds to Be Given New Life As a Marina in Canada In 2008, an Egyptian company took over the hotel and began adding exterior glass in the hope of finishing the project. Reports say that the interior has no plumbing or electricity, and it could require another $2 billion to finish. As of late construction on the hotel has stopped again, leaving the fate of the hotel unresolved. Photos via Wikimedia Commons

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North Korea’s ‘Hotel of Doom’ is the world’s largest abandoned building

Ship-like Hidden Pavilion uses the surrounding forest like a protective envelope

February 15, 2017 by  
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This ship-like pavilion in Spain reconciles the openness of glass architecture and the need for privacy. Penelas Architects designed the Hidden Pavilion as a quiet retreat that protects its occupants not through the use of curtains or blinds, but by treating the surrounding forest as a kind of natural envelope. The pavilion is nestled in a forest glade just northwest of Madrid, Spain . Its isolated location allowed the architects to completely open up the building toward the surroundings and draw maximum natural light into its interior. Designed to become one with nature, the building incorporates an existing 200-year-old oak tree, along with younger trees, to grow through gaps in its terraced areas. Related: Kengo Kuma unveils “blossoming” glass and timber villas for Bali With a floor space of 753 square feet spread over two floors, the pavilion includes a veranda and a rooftop terrace that overlook the surrounding forest. Natural materials , steel and glass are combined to create a kind of industrial appearance of an ocean liner that, instead of oceans, navigates the lush landscapes of central Spain. + Penelas Architects Via New Atlas Photos by Miguel de Guzmán + Rocio Romero

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Ship-like Hidden Pavilion uses the surrounding forest like a protective envelope

Mian Farm Cottage is a lush getaway from city life with an on-site farm

February 14, 2017 by  
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Tucked in a grapefruit grove in Vietnam sits the Mian Farm Cottage, a remodeled home that features ample green space, tons of social areas and its very own on-site farm. The cottage was constructed in just two months and was designed by Idee Architects with thoughtful techniques to make the home efficient and welcoming. The cottage owners wanted to create a space away from the city where they could connect with nature and entertain their family and friends. To emphasize a connection to nature, the designers used lots of open glass walls to bring in natural light, while protecting the interior from heat gain with massive awnings that extend over a gathering-friendly patio. Related: A lush curtain of greenery provides privacy for this sprawling home in Vietnam The cottage features two main units, with the first hosting the living, dining and kitchen areas. This space was built on the existing foundation. The second section makes up the private spaces, including the bedrooms. The home seems to float in its environment and is sheltered by existing trees and bushes. The massive windows give inhabitants the perfect view of the nearby Ba Vi mountain. In order to conserve resources and improve the ease of construction, the building was created out of steel, which enabled builders to construct the entire cottage in just two months. The steel frame also lowered costs over a concrete building. Much of the finishing was completed using a local material called laterite. + Idee Architects via Archdaily

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Mian Farm Cottage is a lush getaway from city life with an on-site farm

Prefabricated garden retreat snaps together in less than a week

February 10, 2017 by  
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If your dream garden look like something from a fantasy world, you’ll love this Dragonfly Pavilion built for a backyard in Hoboken, New Jersey. Built from sustainably harvested and FSC-certified Sapele mahogany and recycled aluminum, this beautifully intricate garden shed takes inspiration from the complex pattern of butterfly and dragonfly wings. New York-based CDR Studio Architects designed this prefabricated backyard retreat, which took less than one week to install. Prefabricated by SITU Fabrication , Dragonfly Pavilion is made with a recycled aluminum frame clad in Sapele lumber and large sections of glazing. A single timber bench is built into the interior while a laminated-tempered glass sits on the roof. The glazing is broken up by a gradient of complex geometric shapes, or cells, that give the structure its delicate, dragonfly wing-like appearance. “These cells are more than just aesthetically appealing,” write the architects. “Their shape and size respond directly to the forces acting on it.” Related: Glowing bamboo pavilion promotes ecological design in Hong Kong The wing-like pattern was derived from a computer-generated algorithm. Mosquito netting is also installed on the interior of the mahogany cells, giving the structure a second, inner skin. The Dragonfly Pavilion’s simple rectangular form allows for a variety of programs, from use as a yoga studio to a small dining area. The pavilion was prefabricated offsite and then reassembled onsite in less than one week. + CDR Studio Architects Photography by John Muggenborg

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Prefabricated garden retreat snaps together in less than a week

Casa Sanchez combines urban living with the lush Bolivian rainforest

February 9, 2017 by  
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Looking like a modest, one-story building when seen from the road, the Sanchez House actually boasts three spacious floors that offer stunning views of the Bolivian Amazon. Young Bolivian architect Juan Carlos Menacho designed the residence, named after its owners, to fit perfectly into a sloping site in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in eastern Bolivia. The 10,674-square-foot house is located in an exclusive gated community in Santa Cruz, and was designed to provide shade and protect from the region’s tropical sun. It utilizes the sloping site to create an illusion of small scale. Its wings are designed around the existing trees, with each room enjoying views of the surrounding greenery. Related: Bolivia’s Ecolodge del Lago takes inspiration from traditional Lak’a Uta architecture Several sustainable features incorporated into the design of the residence, including rainwater harvesting and the use of natural building materials , ensure an eco-friendly performance. The location itself combines urban living and proximity to nature. + Juan Carlos Menacho

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Casa Sanchez combines urban living with the lush Bolivian rainforest

This train station which doubles as city hall in Sweden will function as an "urban living room"

February 2, 2017 by  
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The new station and city hall in the southern Swedish city of Växjö is an urban living room that gathers several functions under one striking, prismatic roof. White Arkitekter ‘s winning proposal for an anonymous competition, the building combines an expressive form with accessibility, and provides a series of public spaces for citizens, visitors and employees. The 150,000-square-foot wooden structure is topped with an elegant, sloping roof that ensures lower energy consumption . The three main entrances connect these spaces to the city and lead to a central space that functions as a public living room with a tourist office, exhibition area, waiting room, cafés and shops, meeting rooms  for various occasions and a modern workplace for municipal employees. While glass dominates the exterior of the building, the interior prominently features wood. Related: White Arkitekter wins bid to design Sweden’s tallest timber building “Our goal has been to create a building at the forefront of development in sustainable construction as well as to achieve the highest Swedish environment certification,” said Klara Frosterud, Lead Architect at White Arkitekter. “People are placed at the heart of this building which will be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable over time,” she added. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News Images by Tegmark

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This train station which doubles as city hall in Sweden will function as an "urban living room"

This cozy cottage sits on stilts made out of recycled gas pipes

January 31, 2017 by  
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This year-round cottage on stilts in Canada , designed for a couple and their son, floats above a lakeside site prone to flooding  and freeze-thaw weathering. Architecture firm DIN Projects designed the cottage as a vertical wood platform structure that overlooks Lake Winnipeg on stilts made out of recycled gas pipes. The owners obtained the cottage lot through the provincial cottage lot lottery system. The site has Lake Winnipeg frontage, but the regulations limit how close to the water the owner can build. The site was problematic due to flooding and the porous nature of the shallow layer of overburden. This is why the architects opted for stilts made from recycled gas pipes , with foundations drilled into the subterranean bedrock. Related: Casa Quebrada is a tiny treehouse-like haven immersed in the Chilean forest The house has three floors connected with a stair that winds around each floor plate. The wooden frame, studs and plywood sheathing are left exposed in the interior. Internal ducting helps provide fresh air and distributes it vertically. The main heating source is a cast iron stove in the center of the cottage. + DIN Projects Via Archdaily

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This cozy cottage sits on stilts made out of recycled gas pipes

Estrade Residence adapts to rocky hillside with locally-harvested materials

January 30, 2017 by  
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The gorgeous Estrade Residence adapts to the rocky, steep topography of a lake shore in Quebec , and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. Canadian design studio MU Architecture design the house using natural and locally sourced materials and created a multitude of spaces and terraces that embrace the site. The main idea was to highlight the peculiarities of the site and integrate nature into the design of the house. This resulted in a staggered structure that includes several terraces that establish a strong dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Thick walls made from rocks extracted during excavation create a spine of the project that extends outwards, protect the apartments on the ground floor, and help establish a direct connection between the interior and exterior spaces. Related: Modern meets rustic in the Hemmingford House built from natural materials The different volumes are gradually revealed as visitors climb an aerial and magisterial staircase which connects all levels of the house. Open spaces dominate the ground floor bathed in natural light, with a double-sided fireplace located in the center of the common room adding warmth to the place. This area extends the kitchen to the outside via a veranda which stretches perpendicularly to the natural ridge. Natural cedar cladding of the upper volumes complements the stone walls and gives the residence both a rustic and modern feel. + MU Architecture Via v2com Photos by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard (YUL Photo)

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Estrade Residence adapts to rocky hillside with locally-harvested materials

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