DIY yurt could be the answer for true social distancing

April 2, 2020 by  
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In these trying days when social distancing seems to be so hard for so many, perhaps a change of living space is the key to finding some alone time. Designed by the team from  Woodenwidget , the Plurt is a lightweight yurt  that can be assembled quickly with just a few simple tools. What’s more, the round yurt offers a sustainable and highly insulated home that can be built in just about any landscape. While we’ve seen some pretty impressive DIY yurt designs over the years, the Plurt is designed to take the guesswork out of the process. The entire set up includes six curved wall panels, 15 flat roof panels and a door frame. Enabling an easier transport process, the panels, which are made out of exterior grade wood, weigh less than 45 pounds each. In fact, the entire yurt weighs only about 550 pounds. Additionally, the interchangeable panels are custom cut to ensure that the project is as low-waste and low-impact  as possible. Related: 7 cozy tipis and yurts that make you feel right at home Once put into place, the  wooden panels are bonded together through several adjustable clasps and sealed with waterproof wood glue. According to the team from Woodenwidget, the round yurt structure can be assembled by just one or two people using basic power tools in about 200 hours. About 16 feet in diameter and just under 9 feet high, the interior of the yurt is a fairly compact size, but the living space seems quite spacious thanks to an abundance of  natural light . Curved walls made out of plywood add a cabin-like feel to the living space. In addition to the large windows, a central skylight covered by a plexi dome can be raised or lowered for natural air ventilation. Besides the resiliency naturally achieved by its  circular design , the Plurt also offers several sustainable features. Unlike most yurt designs, the structure is constructed using the insulating layer as a structural element, which in return, reduces the project’s overall number of building materials. Additionally, the design’s highly-insulated system and natural lighting mean that it can be used in almost any climate. A Neoprene seal stops water leakage and a simple gutter system helps redirect rainwater from the roof. + Woodenwidget Images via Woodenwidget

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DIY yurt could be the answer for true social distancing

Weathered-steel home near Palm Springs is the epitome of desert chic

March 30, 2020 by  
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Los Angeles-based EYRC Architects has tucked an undeniably chic home into a remote corner of the Californian desert. The Ridge Mountain House is a concrete and weathered steel dwelling specifically designed to sit in harmony with its breathtaking setting. In addition to running on solar power, the project also uses several passive features to reduce the home’s energy use. Located on a hillside with the protected Agua Caliente Indian lands to the west and the Coachella valley to the east, the Ridge Mountain House provides the homeowners with a seamless connection to the stunning wilderness that surrounds the lot. Related: Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’ Although the building site was perfect for what the family had in mind, the rough terrain presented its fair share of challenges for the architects. The craggy topography meant that the two-story home had to be embedded deep into the hill using two large cast-in-place concrete volumes that make up the ground floor. The second floor was clad in a rusted steel rainscreen that blends in nicely with the rugged colors of the desert landscape. “The site is unique and majestic,” said Steven Ehrlich, founder of EYRC. “The house is close to civilization yet feels remote and private. Building on such a craggy site was complicated, but our contractors performed a feat of engineering. The pool and casita were built first, because they are on the downside edge of the ravine.” The project features two separate structures: the main home and a small casita, both connected by a wooden deck. This outdoor space, complete with an infinity pool and a hot tub, allows the family to enjoy much of their lives outdoors, dining al fresco, stargazing, entertaining or simply taking in the expansive views. The deck leads directly into the home’s great room via sliding glass doors. The rest of the interior spaces, with 12-foot ceilings, are flooded with natural light thanks to the sliding doors as well as an abundance of windows. Flooring made of gray concrete and burnished plaster and wax walls give the main living spaces a natural feel. In fact, there was no paint used in the house whatsoever. The Ridge Mountain House runs on clean energy . Rooftop photovoltaic panels generate enough power for the home, while natural cross ventilation and passive cooling techniques further reduce energy use. During the construction period, the architects and homeowners insisted on minimal landscaping, using only native desert plants. + EYRC Architects Via Wallpaper* Images via EYRC Architects

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Weathered-steel home near Palm Springs is the epitome of desert chic

Architects envision a green, solar-powered skyscraper

March 19, 2020 by  
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Warsaw-based architecture firm  FAAB Architektura  has unveiled designs for the Vertical Oasis Building, a conceptual skyscraper that would use renewable energy to reduce its carbon footprint. Envisioned for densely populated cities around the world, the futuristic proposal features a conical shape with a facade built of materials designed to harness solar energy. Large round openings that punctuate the facade reveal an abundance of greenery growing inside the building. The Vertical Oasis Building was conceived as mixed-use development comprising retail, office spaces, hotels and residences that also doubles as a local heat distribution center for the surrounding neighborhood. Powered by ground heat pumps and  solar energy , the conceptual design promotes a new type of urban development that not only meets the needs of local citizens, but also uses technology and biotechnology to reduce its environmental impact and improve livability.  Although there are no plans for construction, the architects have identified the materials that they would use for the building. BIPV active panels and glazing made with “clearview power technology” would allow all parts of the facade to harness solar energy. The greenery that grows on all levels of the building would be installed inside multifunctional VOS WCC modular panels. This “green layer” would be used to help preserve endangered local plant species, purify the air, reduce noise pollution and promote natural cooling. The green layer would also be connected to an AI and machine learning program so that building users can monitor and interact with the system from their smartphone.  Related: FAAB reimagines Warsaw’s largest public square as a solar-powered cycle park “Harvesting electricity from the sun, lowering the building’s energy demand, the geometry of the facade creating shade where needed, these are the features creating the basic ECO-DNA of the Vertical Oasis Building,” said the architects. “However, the main goal is to change the environment in the vicinity of the building while making inhabitants of the building involved in the process; give them tools to be able to control, manage and enhance the changing  climate .” + FAAB Architektura Images via FAAB Architektura

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Solar-powered community hub in Australia emphasizes green design

March 18, 2020 by  
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Residents of the Australian suburb of Bayswater now have a new community center to enjoy. Designed by Melbourne-based firm K20 Architecture , the Bayswater Early Years Hub is a building that was strategically designed to minimize its impact on the environment via green design, which includes solar power, rainwater harvesting systems and more. At 20,000 square feet, the massive building offers residents a range of services including early learning spaces as well as several health centers. To blend in with the existing residential area, the structure was built with fairly humble features, such as red brick cladding and a gabled roof, which is covered in solar panels . Related: Green-roofed community center champions sustainable design in London It was imperative to the designers to include a functional layout with enough space for multiple services without sacrificing convenience to visitors. Accordingly, the resulting design is a dynamic volume comprised of two U-shaped masses “turning toward the sun,” which gives the project its nickname, Sunflower. As one of its primary functions, the center is a space for learning. Therefore, the project includes several learning classrooms that are spacious and well-lit by large windows. Additionally, an expansive courtyard was strategically landscaped to include a variety of greenery as well as adventurous play areas including a sand pit, swings, crawling spaces, slides and bridges. Along the border of these sites, parents and grandparents have several areas to sit down and enjoy the fresh air while the kids run around freely. From the onset of the project, the architects worked with the local government to ensure that the new structure would be incredibly energy-efficient . With the objective of a 100+ year building lifecycle, improved ecology and reduced environmental impact, the designers added several sustainable features to the building. The roof boasts an array of solar panels, which generate a substantial amount of clean energy for the building. The roof is also equipped with a rainwater harvesting system. Baywater uses several passive features to further reduce energy use, such as ample natural light. + K20 Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via K20 Architecture

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Green design at Te Mirumiru center honors Maori history

March 10, 2020 by  
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Architecture encompasses a lot of things. It’s art. It’s function. It’s culture. The Te Mirumiru Early Childhood Education Centre is an example of all three, with the added achievement of a  low environmental impact .  The setting is Kawakawa, New Zealand , and the client is a Maori tribe looking for a school that represents the history of the land and its people. In coordination with Collingridge and Smith Architects (CASA), the project adopted many symbols from the beliefs of the Maori people. The basis for the structure centers on the Maori belief that all life is born from the womb of Papat??nuku (earth mother), under the sea. The Maori word for land (whenua) also means placenta. With this in mind, the land for the build site is shaped like a womb with the building representing a baby within. Even the single entrance into the building is a testament to the history of the iwi (tribe). The slit-like opening pays homage to the first woman ever said to have survived a cesarean birth — a mother from the Maori people over 600 years ago. Related: Green school in Bali students how to live sustainably With such a strong connection to the land, it was important to the Maori to respect nature with low-impact systems.  Passive environmental design features include a thick roof that retains heat and a solar hot water underfloor system. The construction embraces natural ventilation for cooling and is positioned to take advantage of the sun for heat and light. During the day, no additional electrical lighting is used in the space. Aesthetically, a grass roof and adjacent bank blend into the surrounding swampy ecology. For a complete water cycle, all blackwater is treated on-site and the clean nutrient-rich water is used to irrigate the green roof above. The thought and effort put into the design have been rewarded with a six Greenstar Education Rating (the highest rating possible) from the New Zealand  Green Building Council. Te Mirumiru is one of only three buildings in New Zealand to receive this rating and is the only Greenstar rated early childhood center in Australasia. According to a statement from the architects , “Te Mirumiru early childhood centre has received 11 international and national awards, culminating in 2014 with the World Green Building Council’s Leadership in Sustainable Design Award, the only building in the whole of the Asia Pacific region to receive such a title.” + Collingridge and Smith Architects (UK) Ltd   Images via Collingridge and Smith Architects (UK) Ltd  

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3D-printed home inspired by a wasp’s nest is made of local clay

March 10, 2020 by  
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There’s very little doubt that 3D-printing could be huge in the future of design, and architects from around the world are taking advantage of the practice to create new visions for urban living. Italian firm Mario Cucinella Architects has designed an innovative, 3D-printed home inspired by potter wasps’ nests. Currently being built in Bologna, Italy, the TECLA house is an experimental 3D-printed prototype that was crafted out of locally sourced clay and may provide an option for sustainable urban housing. According to the architects, the TECLA housing system addresses the need to create sustainable housing for the rapidly growing world population. With approximately 80 million people being added to the world’s population every year, cities are struggling to find adequate housing solutions that are both affordable and sustainable. Related: 3D-printed Aquaponic Homes grow their own veggies and fish Looking for ideas that could curb a massive housing crisis, architect Mario Cucinella has collaborated with WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) to create TECLA, a 3D-printed home that was printed using locally sourced clay — a product that is both biodegradable and recyclable. The natural material is also affordable and enables a zero-waste construction process. Inspired by the shape of a potter wasp’s nest, the TECLA is conceived as a basic cell with a shape and size that can vary depending on its surroundings. The dome-like structure can accommodate any number of living arrangements, but the prototype features an open living space with an adjacent dome housing a separate bedroom. Large skylights in the rooftop would let natural light illuminate the living spaces down below. In addition to acting as a potential housing unit that can be built with nearly zero emissions, the TECLA could serve as a prototype for a new type of sustainable community development, where autonomous eco-cities would run completely off the grid. Producing their own energy through clean energy sources, like solar and wind power , the clay homes would also be laid out around organic community gardens to create a fully self-sustaining housing development. + Mario Cucinella Architects Via TreeHugger Images via Mario Cucinella Architects

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Colorful, solar-powered island home is inspired by local fishermen’s buoys

February 14, 2020 by  
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As one of the most scenic states in the country, Maine is an inspiration for many architects and designers. One architect has managed to use his family’s love of the idyllic state to build a beautiful, solar-powered home on a remote island off its coastline. Architect Noel Fedosh of LUNO Design Studio designed the Seal Cove Residence for his parents, whose love of color and whimsy was embedded into the quirky design. The 1,500-square-foot home is surrounded by the wilderness found on the remote island of Isle Au Haut. The island had been used for the family for years as a special place to enjoy camping vacations. While in the past they stayed in the local lighthouse bed & breakfast, the family decided it was finally time to build their own home to enjoy the picturesque location on a more permanent basis. Related: Israel’s striking LAHO House is wrapped with colorful reclaimed wood The parents are known for their colorful personalities and hobbies, which include solar eclipse chasing and collecting local art pieces . Tasking their son Noel with the design, they wanted to be sure the home represented their love of quirky art and vibrant colors. The resulting Seal Cove Residence manages to encompass not only the family’s unique personality but also some practical features that make the home sustainable . The L-shaped volume is topped with dual pitched roofs. The architect decided to use a natural, muted palette on the exterior so that he could add a few whimsical touches, such as the colorful patchwork siding that wraps around the home. The colorful tiles were actually inspired by Maine’s lobster industry. Local fishermen often hang their specially marked buoys on the side of their houses when they are not being used, creating a playful and personalized look to their homes. Using this as his guide, Noel created a vibrant siding that blended his parents’ love of color with vernacular architecture. Inside, bright colors abound in various forms. The interior layout follows an open plan with plenty of room for socializing. At the heart of the home is the large kitchen, which also features the same colorful wall tiles as the exterior. Bamboo flooring contrasts with the white walls. Fun accessories, such as netted lamps and an upside-down boat hanging from the ceiling, pay homage to the local fishing industry. The home was also designed to use both active and passive features to reduce its energy use. The rooftop was installed with a large solar array that generates ample energy for the home, including the solar water heater. Additionally, the home’s orientation was strategic to make the most of solar gain during the winter and minimize its impact in the summer. + LUNO Design Studio Via ArchDaily Photography by Trent Bell Photography via LUNO Design Studio

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Barcelona’s new solar-powered sports center features a green facade

February 11, 2020 by  
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Barcelona, a city well-known for its avant-garde architecture, both modern and historic, is going green. Local firm  Architecture Anna Noguera  has just completed work on the Turó de la Peira’s Sports Center, a solar-powered complex covered in a  lush green facade . The building’s innovative hydroponic system includes a rainwater collection system that irrigates the vegetation year-round. Once known as a beautiful green area in the city, Barcelona’s Turó de la Peira Quarter was taken over by urban sprawl during the 1960s. Since then, the neighborhood has been suffocated with construction. Recently, the government decided to give the neighborhood a massive green overhaul , including the addition of a new solar-powered sports center wrapped in vegetation. Related: Denmark’s first timber parking garage will be enveloped in greenery At the hands of Architecture Anna Noguera, the Turó de la Peira Sports Center, which features a heated swimming pool on the ground floor and a sports court on the second floor, was constructed out of two existing buildings. Strategically combining the two buildings, the architects were able to add an abundance of natural lighting throughout the building thanks to a new translucent facade and 24 skylights. The light, along with the addition of  prefab timber  used on the walls and ceiling, gives the structure a healthy, modern atmosphere. Without a doubt, however, the center’s most eye-catching feature is its green envelope. The building has been equipped with a  hydroponic planting system, which wraps lush vegetation around the building. To keep the vegetation irrigated, a rooftop rainwater collection system filters water into a large tank in the basement. In addition to its  green facade , the building incorporates several energy-efficient systems. A massive solar array takes up the entire rooftop, generating 95.534 kWh per year. Additionally, the building has an innovative aerothermal system that allows the recovery of heat for the center’s hot water needs. + Architecture Anna Noguera Via V2com Photography by Enric Duch

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Kendeda, a net-positive Living Building, opens at Georgia Tech

February 10, 2020 by  
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After a visit to the Bullitt Center in Seattle, Diana Blank was inspired to fund a similar project in Georgia. Taking action, she founded the Kendeda Fund and funded it with $30 million to donate toward the cause. Georgia Tech is the recipient of Blank’s vision with a project by Lord Aeck Sargent and The Miller Hull Partnership that resulted in a Living Building . The net-positive Kendeda Building opened for classes in January 2020 and provides a place for learning and a template for innovative, sustainable design. The construction and design were influenced by the Living Building Challenge, “a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal for the built environment.” Receiving this certification means meeting a host of requirements on everything from material selection to accessibility, and the Kendeda building checks all of the boxes. Related: Net-zero Del Mar Civic Center celebrates community and the great outdoors One example is The Red List, which is a compilation of chemicals common in mainstream construction. In order to avoid these chemicals, every building material was scrutinized to ensure it didn’t contain Red List items. John DuConge, the senior project manager, admitted, “Getting through the Red List compliance, that was truly a challenge, and that probably took a lot more time than anyone expected. But we’ve moved the needle in the market, I think, and that’s one of the things that will make it easier for the next Living Building Challenge project.” This added effort creates an atmosphere without off-gassing or other toxins, resulting in clean indoor air for the hundreds of students and staff using the building daily. Every system in the building stands as an example of the focus on function, internal health, aesthetic beauty and energy savings. This is quickly apparent in the fact that the project is net-positive for energy and water, meaning that it gives back more than it takes. The Kendeda Building incorporated the use of solar panels as a basic step in providing energy to the 47,000-square-foot building. They do the job, plus some, with extra energy to return to the grid. Additionally, these solar panels function as water collection devices. The primary heating and cooling systems then push that water through the floors to maintain a comfortable surface temperature. For additional temperature control, 62 ceiling fans throughout the building help balance the humid Georgia environment. Now complete, the structure consists of two 64-person classrooms , four class labs, a conference room, makerspace, auditorium, rooftop apiary and pollinator garden, an office space for co-located programs and a coffee cart. The Kendeda Building will be audited for certification for the first Living Building Challenge facility of its size and function in the Southeast, following one complete year of functional occupancy. + Georgia Tech Photography by Johnathan Hillyer, Justin Chan Photography, Miller Hull Partnership and Vertical River via Georgia Tech

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Brazilian home uses solar energy for 100% self-sufficiency

February 6, 2020 by  
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Brazilian firm  24 7 Arquitetura  has set a stunning modern home into a challenging mountainous landscape in Brazil’s Nova Lima region. In addition to the home’s contemporary aesthetic, which is comprised of several exposed concrete blocks, the residence is completely self-sustaining thanks to its massive rooftop  solar array  that generates all the power the home needs. Located north of Rio de Janeiro, Nova Lima is a mountainous region known for its mining sector. The area is marked by rugged low and high-rising topography covered in lush vegetation. Although the undulating landscape presented several challenges for the 24 7 Arquitetura team, the architects managed to use the natural layout to the benefit of the contemporary home . Related: Solar-powered residence in Thailand takes on a sculptural form with cantilevering cubes According to the architects, the solution to the building lot’s slope was to set the home’s main social areas at the highest elevation possible, jutting out of the sloped hill, but above the tree canopy. This allowed the main living area to open up to a large outdoor space with a swimming pool and outdoor lounge area. Building the home into the landscape also led the design to be slightly tilted to the east, which enables the home’s interior to be shaded from the harsh sun rays during the summertime. Additionally, the designers planted two trees in the middle of the home’s outdoor deck to provide additional shade and let  natural light  subtly filter into the living spaces. The first floor of the home was built out to house the garage, laundry facilities and extra storage while the second floor is at the heart of the home. The large open-plan living area opens up to a large deck via massive sliding glass doors, leading to the infinity  swimming pool . The top floor houses the master bedroom with an ensuite bath and open-air balcony space to take in the stunning views. At over 4,000 square feet, the home is a massive structure that requires a lot of energy. Thankfully, this energy is produced by a large rooftop solar array that produces about 1400kW per month. This not only generates enough energy for the home, but also for heating the pool water. + 24 7 Arquitetura Via Archdaily Photography by Pedro Kok

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