Off-grid cabins in Brazil offer remote eco getaway

June 3, 2020 by  
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While some people may find social distancing a bit inconvenient, others may have found a new way to live — and vacation. For those who are looking to continue to enjoy solitude, but in an amazingly natural landscape, Brazilian firm  Arquitetura Rural  has just unveiled two off-grid  eco cabins  located deep in a very remote Brazilian forest. Both of the eco cabins were designed for a sustainable farm located in the remote Brazilian region of Rio do Coco. The region is known for its lush forest landscape, meandering river and stunning wildlife. To better accommodate nature lovers to the area, the EcoAraguaia Farm of The Future tasked the team from Arquitetura Rural with designing two  solar-powered  eco cabins that would fit in harmony with the surroundings. Related: Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin The first cabin, the OCA, is 904 square meters. Inspired by indigenous Brazilian architecture, the cabin is a two-story rounded volume with open sides. Made out of  sustainably-sourced local wood  from a native Brazilian tree called Cumaru, the cabin is set off the ground on stilts to protect the landscape and encourage natural ventilation and temperature control. The interior of the space, which features a large open layout, is clad in teak wood. The cabin’s roof is covered in natural palm tree fibers, which also offer optimal protection from inclement weather and provide shade for the interior spaces. The second  cabin design , the TABA, is the smaller of the two. At just 322 square feet, the cabin can accommodate up to two people. However, the farm plans to build several modules of the TABA, all connected by an elevated wooden deck. The cabin design features two large windows, which frame the incredible views. Built by local craftsmen, both of the cabins will operate completely  off-grid . Water used in the cabin is pumped from the local river, called Rio do Coco. Energy is generated by solar panels, which generate sufficient power while the sun is shining. At night, the cabins are illuminated by candles and lamps, which apart from saving energy, also keep the curious wildlife such as jaguars, howler monkeys and birds at bay. The cabins are also installed with green sanitation systems designed to operate on a zero-waste output. There is a special composting mechanism that turns  organic waste  into compost, which is then used as fertilizer for growing food. This system is used to care for the farm’s organic banana trees and papaya and sweet potato plants. + Arquitetura Rural Images via Arquitetura Rural

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Timber lake kiosk will gradually disappear into landscape

June 3, 2020 by  
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Berlin-based  noa* (network of architecture)  has replaced an aging swimming hut with the new Lake House Völs, a contemporary kiosk that will gradually blend into its scenic surroundings. Oriented for views of the idyllic Völser Weiher Lake in South Tyrol, the new construction provides public changing rooms, bathrooms, a snack bar and swimming jetties for nature lovers who flock to the area year-round. The wood-framed building is clad in untreated larch that will develop a natural patina over time, while fast-growing jasmine planted around the changing rooms will envelop part of the building in greenery to camouflage it from view.  Set against a spectacular mountain backdrop with lush pine forests, the Lake House Völs anchors a popular destination for outdoor activities, from swimming in summer and ice skating in winter. Since the old facility lacked accessible features for the disabled, the architects demolished the existing structure and created two new compact buildings that fit roughly within the original footprint and are connected with a transverse axis defined by an open recess with a  timber  folding element.  The main building is topped with a distinctive  gabled  roof with deep overhangs that frames views of the lake and provides shade to a large outdoor terrace. The terrace extends to a newly designed bathing area with jetties built of locally sourced wood. Inside, the main building houses a new snack bar, kitchen and counter for serving refreshments. The smaller structure next door features a nature-inspired green color palette and contains the changing rooms. The recess that connects the two buildings doubles as a secondary snack bar for smaller refreshments.  Related: A historic hotel is sustainably revamped into a charming “alpine village” getaway In addition to using timber construction with  locally sourced materials , the architects also tied the building to its site by incorporating a traditional South Tyrolean lace pattern into the resin filler. The 3D patterns in the resin “add a special visual flair and a touch of spontaneity,” said the architects. + noa* Images by Alex Filz

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Tiny bivouac shelters mountaineers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

May 14, 2020 by  
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There are few things more satisfying than exploring the far-flung corners of the earth. However, both day hikers and long-term explorers know how important it can be to find decent shelter from bad weather or unfortunate circumstances. Thankfully, some architects love the outdoors just as much as they love design. Bosnia and Herzegovina-based firm,  Filter Architecture has just unveiled a stunning and practical  shelter . The Bivouac Zoran Šimi? Cabin is a tiny 150-square-foot refuge located in the middle of one of the country’s most remote mountain ranges. The Bivouac Zoran Šimi? Cabin is located on Viso?ica, a majestic mountain range found in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. The pristine region is a favorite of many hikers and mountaineers who try to make it to its highest point, some 1,967 meters above sea level, to take in the amazing views. However, until now, the trek had no  resilient structure  for refuge in case of inclement weather, illness, etc. Related: A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps As hikers themselves, the team from Filter was inspired to create a bivouac that would accommodate hikers in need, or anyone wanting to take a rest after a long trek. The resulting design, which was a collaboration between mountaineering association Željezni?ar and the Federal Ministry of Tourism, is a tiny structure that accommodates between 9 to 12 people. Located at the edge of a deep canyon, the  tiny shelter  is found between two trekking paths that lead from Viso?ica mountain to the adjacent Bjelašnica range. The location is so remote that construction of the structure on site was incredibly difficult. In fact, the materials had to be transported to the site via military helicopter. Once all of the materials were in place, the architects worked with several volunteers to assemble the structure. The angular exterior features a small base that spans outward as it rises on either side, a strategic feature that allows the volume to leave a  minimal footprint  on the terrain while adding interior space. The structure’s dark grey siding was chosen for its durability and resilience against harsh weather, and also helps reduce solar gain in an area where there is limited shade. The interior layout is simple and functional, with a massive horizontal window that looks out over the spectacular view and lets in natural light . Inside, the space is comprised of three platforms that serve as flexible spaces. The platforms offer seating space for up to nine people or sleeping areas for up to 12. + Filter Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Emir Handzic, Dženad Džino and Zlatan Kurto via Filter Architecture

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Tiny bivouac shelters mountaineers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tiny bivouac shelters mountaineers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

May 14, 2020 by  
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There are few things more satisfying than exploring the far-flung corners of the earth. However, both day hikers and long-term explorers know how important it can be to find decent shelter from bad weather or unfortunate circumstances. Thankfully, some architects love the outdoors just as much as they love design. Bosnia and Herzegovina-based firm,  Filter Architecture has just unveiled a stunning and practical  shelter . The Bivouac Zoran Šimi? Cabin is a tiny 150-square-foot refuge located in the middle of one of the country’s most remote mountain ranges. The Bivouac Zoran Šimi? Cabin is located on Viso?ica, a majestic mountain range found in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. The pristine region is a favorite of many hikers and mountaineers who try to make it to its highest point, some 1,967 meters above sea level, to take in the amazing views. However, until now, the trek had no  resilient structure  for refuge in case of inclement weather, illness, etc. Related: A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps As hikers themselves, the team from Filter was inspired to create a bivouac that would accommodate hikers in need, or anyone wanting to take a rest after a long trek. The resulting design, which was a collaboration between mountaineering association Željezni?ar and the Federal Ministry of Tourism, is a tiny structure that accommodates between 9 to 12 people. Located at the edge of a deep canyon, the  tiny shelter  is found between two trekking paths that lead from Viso?ica mountain to the adjacent Bjelašnica range. The location is so remote that construction of the structure on site was incredibly difficult. In fact, the materials had to be transported to the site via military helicopter. Once all of the materials were in place, the architects worked with several volunteers to assemble the structure. The angular exterior features a small base that spans outward as it rises on either side, a strategic feature that allows the volume to leave a  minimal footprint  on the terrain while adding interior space. The structure’s dark grey siding was chosen for its durability and resilience against harsh weather, and also helps reduce solar gain in an area where there is limited shade. The interior layout is simple and functional, with a massive horizontal window that looks out over the spectacular view and lets in natural light . Inside, the space is comprised of three platforms that serve as flexible spaces. The platforms offer seating space for up to nine people or sleeping areas for up to 12. + Filter Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Emir Handzic, Dženad Džino and Zlatan Kurto via Filter Architecture

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Tiny bivouac shelters mountaineers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Skate the streets in style on these handmade wood skateboards

May 8, 2020 by  
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With limited traffic on the roads, cruising down abandoned streets on a slick new skateboard can be a dream come true for many skateboarders. Thanks to  Rustek ‘s new collection of wooden skateboards, handcrafted out of  sustainably sourced wood,  we can all dream of popping sweet 180-degree ollies while soaring down the street. Portland-based Rustek has long been the skateboard builder of choice for many ‘boarders, mainly because the Rustek team is made up of skaters themselves. They build their products by hand, always working with help from local craftsmen. Made in their mobile shop trailer, the quality of their  skateboards  and gliders are top-notch. Related: This cool electric skateboard is made from recycled plastic As part of their commitment to quality, the Rustek team offers only the best when it comes to using  natural materials  in their designs. The skateboard decks are built under the company’s strict eco-friendly ethos, using only FSC-certified, sustainably-sourced wood and responsibly-sourced textiles such as leather and wool that are sourced from cruelty and chemical-free sources. Using natural building materials not only adds to the  sustainability of the skateboards, but also gives them a unique identity. In fact, each deck design is one-of-its-kind, featuring varying shapes and tones. According to the designers, this is part of what makes their product stand out from the millions of skateboards that are on the market. “We believe that the organic variation in each material is in part what makes them beautiful and ensures that every product we make is naturally unique. You will feel the difference in our wood phone cases and boards because of our commitment to sourcing high quality material,” Rustek explains on its website. In addition to the high-quality materials used to craft their skateboard range, the company is also very active in  protecting the environment . For example, the company plants a tree for every order and donates 10% of all profits to the National Park Service. + Rustek Skateboards Via Yanko Design Images via Rustek Skateboards

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Solar-powered bubble shield focuses on physical distancing in public

May 8, 2020 by  
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As of May 5, more than 3.5 million people in 215 countries around the world have been infected with the novel coronavirus , according to the World Health Organization . While the world continues to socially distance, designers and creatives are beginning to imagine different ways to protect people from the virus; case in point, this futuristic bubble shield by DesignLibero. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Milan-based DesignLibero has imagined a product that brings a whole new meaning to personal space. The team has released a concept for the “bubble shield” to provide wearers with a private, protective barrier for public spaces. According to the designers, the clear, inflatable plastic dome will let users walk around in public without coming into contact with germ-filled droplets or pollution . Related: 6 ways to save energy while sheltering in place So how would this bubble shield work? The designers imagined a way to go in public without worrying about microparticles of the coronavirus or even air pollution. In addition to its anti-pollution and anti-virus properties, the shield would run on solar energy thanks to a built-in set of flower-shaped, flexible solar panels on top of the plastic dome. The solar energy would fuel a fan coil and air pump to maintain an air supply and cool the inside of the bubble. The conceptual barrier would be made using thermic-welded ETFE , a type of fluorine-based polymer material. The battery pack in the backpack is used to inflate the microstructure and acts as a power supply for the air pump compressor and fan coils. Interchangeable filters are designed to purify the air inside the bubble. There are two separate halves attached together with an easy-open zipper so that wearers can simply step in and out of the bubble to use it. + DesignLibero Images via DesignLibero

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Hitch is a reusable water bottle and coffee cup in one

May 6, 2020 by  
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Coffee is a popular start to the day for millions of people. There’s nothing quite like the scent of coffee wafting through the air and that first sip to get you started on the right foot. But an estimated 3 billion paper cups end up in the landfills each year — cups that mostly can’t be recycled due to the mixed materials, including plastic . The solution, of course, is reusable coffee cups; however, many people have struggled to incorporate that addition into the host of other items that travel with them daily. So Remaker Labs, a San Diego-based company, has carefully designed a to-go cup that you won’t even notice you’re carrying. As co-founder Sky Gilbar explained, “The essence of the problem is that people already carry so much — water bottle, phone, chargers, laptops, and other essentials — that their hands and bags are full, so carrying a reusable cup all day on top of all that is just too inconvenient.” Related: This aluminum water bottle is a reusable alternative to single-use plastic Hitch, the first product launched on Kickstarter by Sky Gilbar and David Silverander, is a full-sized, fully insulated and leak-proof 12-ounce cup that fits inside a water bottle — similar to the one you likely already carry, making it easy to bring along your reusable cup without making the choice between that and a water bottle. While your cup “Hitch(es)” a ride inside your 18-ounce insulated stainless steel water bottle, it easily slides out for use. The lid for the water bottle doubles as a leak-proof lid for your cup. Plus, you can lock the cup on top of the water bottle for easy one-hand carries. The dual-cup design also fits into most standard cup holders. Hitch is carbon-neutral , and a portion of each Kickstarter pledge is used to plant a tree via One Tree Planted and remove 1kg of ocean-bound plastic via Plastic Bank. Join the zero-waste movement along with the other backers on the Hitch Kickstarter campaign, which is set to end May 28, 2020. + Remaker Labs Images via Remaker Labs

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Office building uses 112 ‘smart’ chimneys to regulate light, air and energy

April 10, 2020 by  
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Mario Cucinella Architects has created a sustainable public building that uses several active and passive elements to lower its environmental footprint. Specifically, the new timber-clad headquarters for the Regional Agency for Prevention, Environment and Energy (ARPAE) uses a soaring rooftop made up of 112 smart chimneys to regulate its air, light and energy so that the building relies on minimal technical systems. At more than 53,000 square feet, the immense public works building features a central courtyard. Its cladding is made up of thin timber panels that top a ground floor with floor-to-ceiling glass panels, creating a natural harmony with its woodland surroundings in the small city of Ferrara, in northern Italy. Related: 3D-printed home inspired by a wasp’s nest is made of local clay The architect chose the building’s materials based on their ability to help the structure reach a “maximum level of environmental sustainability.” Mario Cucinella explained, “The building in Ferrara explores the relationship between form and performance, that makes it the first hybrid public building in Italy.” The stand-out characteristic in the design is, without a doubt, its eye-catching rooftop, which is comprised of 112 chimneys. An essential element in regulating the building’s energy use, each chimney features a skylight that lets natural light and air filter down into the spaces below. Some of the chimneys feature solar panels that generate ample energy for the building. The passive building system also acts differently in the summer and winter months. During the hotter months, the chimneys constantly move air through the interior, creating a healthy working space for employees and visitors. In the winter months, they operate more like a greenhouse, where they accumulate solar heat to keep the spaces warm. All in all, the unique system helps the building enjoy a comfortable temperate year-round all while reducing energy demand. + Mario Cucinella Architects Images via Mario Cucinella Architects

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Snazzy garden shed doubles as rainwater runoff solution

April 9, 2020 by  
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When most people think of a garden shed, they more than likely conjure up simple images of utilitarian boxes stored with barely-used tools and oodles of clutter. However, when Maryland-based practice  Gardner Architects  was tasked with installing a small garden shed for homeowners in the community of Bethesda, they came up with a gorgeous  100-square-foot shed  that not only blends in harmoniously with the main home, but actively helps manage stormwater runoff to be re-used as irrigation for the native plants found on the property. Although the task of building a garden shed may seem pretty straightforward at first, in reality, the team from Gardner Architects came up against quite a few challenges before they could get to work on the design. First and foremost, the landscape surrounding the main home is comprised of dense woodland, which the homeowners wanted to protect at all costs, meaning that no trees could be removed to make space for the shed. The solution then was to build the shed just mere steps away from the home, preserving all of the trees  found on the property’s .34 acres. Related: Studio Sprout’s backyard greenhouse combines stylish form with fabulous function As part of a recent  renovation of the main house , the shed design would become part of a larger master plan for managing rainwater on the property. Working with  Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture , the resulting shed design was created to be respectful to the ecology of the home’s surroundings. To protect the natural vegetation, for example, the design team hired an arborist to help the construction process avoid damaging any underground tree roots. The structure is set into a small corner just steps away from the main home. Extremely compact at just 100 square feet, the shed is clad in tight-knot board-and-batten siding. Sliding doors made from  cedar boards  were set on metal tracks to open completely, making it easier to access. To embed the design with a proper  rainwater rerouting system , the roof was slightly slanted to allow water to slowly run down the hillside, where it would be re-routed into a drain made out of large stones. The system allows the water to slowly be absorbed into the planting beds located between the shed and the main house. In addition to its rainwater system, the project also centered around protecting the natural setting to attract healthy critters to the area. “Site maintenance is also a component of a natural habitat,” Honeyman said. “We have left tree snags onsite to attract insects and the birds attracted to them. Not clearing the underbrush and leaf litter provides environments for a multitude of insects to overwinter.” Now that the structure is completed, the homeowners will be working with the landscaping team to add a  pollinator garden  to the property. + Gardner Architects + Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture Via Houzz Photography by John Cole

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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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