San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

April 18, 2017 by  
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Sailors cruising into San Diego Bay will now be met by the sophisticated new National City Aquatic Center . Designed by Safdie Rabines Architects , the elongated building sits embedded in the rocky coastline. The building will serve as a recreational and educational center for the community, as well as a luminous beacon for those entering the Sweetwater River Channel. Located on the southernmost edge of the Sweetwater River Channel, adjacent to Pepper Park and Pier 32 Marina, the 5,500 square foot structure replaces a makeshift facility that was previously housed in trailers. An extended wood-paneled roof looms over large glass panels , offering spectacular views of the surrounding wetlands and San Diego Bay from the interior. Related: Design Flaw Restricts View at Zaha Hadid’s Olympic Aquatic Center Visitors enter the building through a large lobby and activity space , which sits just under the extended angled roof. The rest of the complex stretches towards the back, and includes flexible multi-purpose classrooms, office space and a storage area that houses boat equipment, rest rooms, and locker facilities. There is also allotted space for public art exhibitions . + National City Aquatic Center + Safdie Rabines Architects Via Archinect

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San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

6 naturally-insulated cave homes that stay cool in summer and warm in winter

April 18, 2017 by  
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Cave homes have come a long way since prehistoric times. Far from primitive, many modern cave dwellings are surprisingly luxurious, comfortable, and beautiful places to call home. In addition to their head-turning location, cave homes tend to be naturally energy efficient thanks to their insulating earth walls that keep the inside air at comfortable temperatures year-round without heating or cooling. We’ve rounded up six such abodes that could make you want a cave home of your own. Rockhouse Retreat The Rockhouse Retreat is the luxury dream home located in a 700-year-old cave. Hand-carved from 250-million-year-old Triassic sandstone, this cave dwelling was fully restored and renovated by Worcestershire native Angelo Mastropietro who has transformed the space into “Britain’s first luxury cave house” with all the creature comforts of home—it even has WiFi—and made the home available for rent on AirBnB . Cuevas del Pino UMMO Estudio carefully slotted the modern Cuevas del Pino homes into calcarenite stone caves near Córdoba, Spain. The layout of the home was created in harmony with the existing rock wall formations. Natural materials like stone and timber complement the cave surroundings. Yaodong Renovation The Loess Plateau in China is home to many cave dwellers who live in very primitive conditions. Architect Shi Yang of hyperSity Architects renovated one of the caves into an extraordinary dream home that’s modern, aesthetically-pleasing, and full of natural light and ventilation. New Mexico Sandstone Homes Part art and part abode, artist Ra Paulette’s hand-carved sandstone homes are truly sculptural masterpieces. The inspiring artist meticulously turns sandstone into intricately detailed cave homes in New Mexico . He has since completed at least 12 caves over 12 years that include full power, wood flooring, and running water. Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte A young French man named Alexis Lamoureux transformed a run-down cave home he purchased for just one euro into a gorgeous new abode with beautiful detailing. The original shelter lacked plumbing, sewage pipes, and electricity, so Lamoureux invested 35,000 euros and a lot of elbow grease to realize his chic new home. Luque Earth Homes BAUEN Architects tucked two homes into a sloped site in Luque, Paraguay. The green-roofed homes blend into the rolling hills and feature double-height windows that let plenty of light into the partially underground homes.

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6 naturally-insulated cave homes that stay cool in summer and warm in winter

Student invents computer program to help Bedouin villages build better homes

April 11, 2017 by  
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Architecture student Nof Nathansohn is on a mission to provide decent living solutions for the marginalized Bedouin communities scattered throughout Israel’s Negev desert region. For her thesis project, Nathansohn created a computer program called Home Made that lets communities design affordable, environmentally-friendly housing without the need for an architect. The Bedouin villages are unrecognized by the Israeli government, so the shanty-like structures are under constant threat of demolition. Nathansohn’s Home Made software would allow the communities to build homes that are not only affordable and green , but easily assembled and disassembled. Related: Smart architecture app lets you turn almost anything into a digital stencil A major feature of the home-design application is that it is extremely user friendly. The software is designed to guide the user at every stage of the design process, from the initial design to the final construction. Users can choose from four different designs platforms with a variety of layouts. Each platform is designed according to different parameters such as sun direction, size and height, available materials, local topography, cost, etc. Although created for the Bedouin communities, the program enables the design and construction of low cost, green energy temporary housing easy for any location, under almost any circumstance. The flexibility offered by the application not only lets families construct a personalized living space, but can be used to create thriving villages as well. In fact, Nathansohn tested the application on the unrecognized village of Al-Sara, near the town Arad. She designed multiple structures for the village based on their current size as well as growth expectancy. She even designed a community center for the local children. + Nof Nathansohn

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Student invents computer program to help Bedouin villages build better homes

Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

April 5, 2017 by  
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It would be safe to say that architect Jim Olson from Olson Kundig Architects is an incredibly patient man. In a world where architects strive to build skyscapers at record-breaking speed , the award-winning architect took his time with the construction of his own lake house, as in 55 years. Olson began to build the cabin, located in Longbranch, Washington, in 1959. What began as a mere 14-square-foot bunk house has been patiently and lovingly transformed over the years into a breathtaking lake-side cabin . Starting the cabin construction when he was just 18-years-old, Olson has worked on the structure for decades, always adding new features to the design. However, the word “renovation” doesn’t adequately describe the cabin’s decades-long transformation; rather it was a creative layering process that always incorporated the cabin’s past features into its more modern present. Related: Enproyecto Arquitectura’s Spanish Coastal Stone Cabin Holds More Than a Few Surprises Details hidden among the modest cabin mark each remodeling stage, architecturally revealing the cabin’s design history. Distinct textures and color schemes make up the impressive living space which lies under the exposed glulam beams. Steel columns mark the living space divisions and impressive floor-to-ceiling windows allow for incredible full-frame views of the Puget Sound. In addition to the architect’s sophisticated design features, there are various signs of Olson’s love of nature within the home. Fir flooring extends throughout the living room onto the exterior deck, seamlessly connecting the interior with the exterior. The outdoor deck was also built around three large trees that grew up during the long construction period. Olson wanted to make sure that they were able to continue to grow uninterrupted no matter what new construction may come to the house. + Olson Kundig Architects Via Gessato Images via Olson Kundig Architects  

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Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

April 5, 2017 by  
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It would be safe to say that architect Jim Olson from Olson Kundig Architects is an incredibly patient man. In a world where architects strive to build skyscapers at record-breaking speed , the award-winning architect took his time with the construction of his own lake house, as in 55 years. Olson began to build the cabin, located in Longbranch, Washington, in 1959. What began as a mere 14-square-foot bunk house has been patiently and lovingly transformed over the years into a breathtaking lake-side cabin . Starting the cabin construction when he was just 18-years-old, Olson has worked on the structure for decades, always adding new features to the design. However, the word “renovation” doesn’t adequately describe the cabin’s decades-long transformation; rather it was a creative layering process that always incorporated the cabin’s past features into its more modern present. Related: Enproyecto Arquitectura’s Spanish Coastal Stone Cabin Holds More Than a Few Surprises Details hidden among the modest cabin mark each remodeling stage, architecturally revealing the cabin’s design history. Distinct textures and color schemes make up the impressive living space which lies under the exposed glulam beams. Steel columns mark the living space divisions and impressive floor-to-ceiling windows allow for incredible full-frame views of the Puget Sound. In addition to the architect’s sophisticated design features, there are various signs of Olson’s love of nature within the home. Fir flooring extends throughout the living room onto the exterior deck, seamlessly connecting the interior with the exterior. The outdoor deck was also built around three large trees that grew up during the long construction period. Olson wanted to make sure that they were able to continue to grow uninterrupted no matter what new construction may come to the house. + Olson Kundig Architects Via Gessato Images via Olson Kundig Architects  

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Architect Jim Olson spent 55 years renovating this breathtaking Puget Sound cabin

Off-grid shipping container cabin has a warm wooden interior

March 31, 2017 by  
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Shipping container residences can be elaborate and complex, but sometimes bringing it back to basics is the key to good living. At the request of their client, San Francisco-based architects  YAMAMAR  created a simple, off-grid container cabin getaway out of two  repurposed shipping containers tucked into a pristine natural forest in North California’s Mount Lassen area. The container cabin is located on 1,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The idyllic location is next to an old creek bed with amazing sunset views of the surroundings. At the request of the property owner, who had been previously using an old Fleetwood trailer to sleep on site, the new structure had to fit into this natural area by operating completely off-grid . Working within the restrictions set by the local nature conservancy for permanent structures, the team began by customizing two shipping containers off site. This reduced the project’s overall footprint and production costs. Related: A glazed container cabin that reflects the Colorado sky Once fused together, the new cabin was built out with simple materials such as  reclaimed Douglas fir panels on the flooring and walls. To generate power, a solar array was installed on the roof, but the home uses propane for most of its lighting and heating needs. The adjacent creek is the home’s natural source for fresh water. In contrast to some luxury dwellings found in the world of shipping container design, this off-grid cabin was meant to offer the basics and keep the focus on the amazing setting. The compact interior is equipped with a small kitchen and one bedroom with a large window that offers incredible views. Two sliding doors on either side of the home roll open on castors and can be locked up tight when not in use. + YAMAMAR Design Via  Dwell Photography by Bruce Damonte

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Off-grid shipping container cabin has a warm wooden interior

Ingenious cardboard and bamboo emergency shelters by Shigeru Ban pop up in Sydney

March 29, 2017 by  
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Pritzker Prize -winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is widely known and respected for his 20 year career in designing groundbreaking buildings from cardboard, paper and other unexpected materials , as well as his humanitarian efforts in designing emergency shelters for natural disasters , such as the Nepal Earthquake and the tsunami which hit Southeast Asia . To celebrate the architect’s long dedication to humanitarian design, two of his signature disaster relief shelters have been erected in the Courtyard Garden of Sydney’s Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF). Although disaster housing design has advanced by leaps and bounds due to the burgeoning refugee crises, Ban has made a long career of building structures out of locally-sourced and recycled materials – including cardboard tubes, bamboo and recycled milk crates. The structures currently on display at the SCAF are two of his signature designs made of cardboard. The first was designed for the 1995 Kobe earthquake and is constructed from vertical rows of cardboard tubes. The second design, which was made after the 2016 Ecuador earthquake , also has a cardboard frame, but is clad in bamboo. Related: Shigeru Ban will reuse earthquake rubble to build Nepal relief shelters In addition to the two shelters on display in the courtyard, visitors can also see scales of the architect’s additional work on the interior. The exhibit includes some of Ban’s most well-known designs including the amazing Cardboard Cathedral built in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2013. Although Ban has a diverse architectural profile, affordable disaster shelters will always be what drives his inspiration: “Architects mostly work for privileged people, people who have money and power,” he explains. “Power and money are invisible, so people hire us to visualize their power and money by making monumental architecture. I love to make monuments, too, but I thought perhaps we can use our experience and knowledge more for the general public, even for those who have lost their houses in natural disasters.’” + Shigeru Ban Architects Photography by Brett Boardman, courtesy of the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation

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Ingenious cardboard and bamboo emergency shelters by Shigeru Ban pop up in Sydney

California defies Trump with tough emissions rules

March 29, 2017 by  
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California is shaping up to be the thorn in President Donald Trump’s side that Texas was during former President Barack Obama’s time in the White House — mounting legal challenges to Trump’s attacks on environmental regulations and strengthening the state’s own environmental rules. The latest volley came Friday when the California Air Resources Board finalized its rules for vehicle emissions through the year 2025. The standards for the years 2022-2025 would slash tailpipe emissions a third, from about 36 miles per gallon today to 54 mpg in 2025. The fight with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt over fuel efficiency standards isn’t just about California. Currently, Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia have all adopted California’s greenhouse gas regulations. Related: California introduces its own 100% renewable energy bill The board also reaffirmed a rule requiring automakers to accelerate the adoption of zero emission and low emission vehicles in California — fully electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid. The rule calls for more than a million zero emissions vehicles on the road by 2025, a significant increase from the about 250,000 clean cars traversing the state today. A Bloomberg editorial backing California over Trump on car emissions, while acknowledging a better way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to impose a carbon tax or at least a higher gas tax, says that tougher fuel-economy standards are the way to go: “Unless he’s willing to fight for a smarter policy, Trump should do the country a favor and leave the existing rules alone.” Via Autoblog Image 1 , 2 via Wikimedia

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California defies Trump with tough emissions rules

Tiny indoor vertical garden grows micro-veggies on its own in 10 days

March 23, 2017 by  
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You don’t need green thumbs to grow microgreens with this EcoQube Frame. The tiny indoor vertical garden grows micro-veggies in 10 days with only fertilized water, doing all the work for you. Compact and low-maintenance, the design is suited for apartments, homes and offices of all sizes, and allows you to grow nutritious food sources quickly, without worrying about watering and feeding your plants . Aqua Design Innovations (ADI) launched EcoQube Frame on Kickstarter , and it has been a smashing success. The group tripled their goal and raised over $30,000 in the first 40 minutes of crowdfunding. Learn more about this amazing design after the break. The EcoQube Frame contains two sections with one plant pad for each section; each plant pad has hundreds of small pockets that hold seeds in place so that plants can sprout evenly. The reservoir below contains fertilized water that provides all the necessary nutrients for successful germination. “It’s really the simplest, easiest and most compact way to grow indoor plants vertically without soil,” said the designers. “It’s also great for those who don’t feel like they have a green thumb. Since the reservoir waters the plants automatically, you don’t have to worry about over watering or root rot – which is a common problem when growing plants or micro-veggies.” Related: Smart Taiga Tower is like having an 80 square foot garden right inside your home EcoQube’s seed pads are all made from natural, 100 percent compostable fibers, and provide just enough water to allow the plants to grow. The designers claim that EcoQube can grow up to $25 worth of micro-veggies in a little over a week, and pays for itself after only one month of growing. + EcoQube Frame Kickstarter + Aqua Design Innovations (ADI)

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Tiny indoor vertical garden grows micro-veggies on its own in 10 days

Cloud House makes it rain on demand with creative water harvesting system

March 23, 2017 by  
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You won’t have to do a rain dance to make it rain at the Cloud House—sitting in one of its rocking chairs should do the trick. Artist Matthew Mazzotta created the Cloud House, a gabled pavilion with a cloud-like sculpture that releases collected rainwater whenever someone sits inside the building. Crafted from reclaimed materials , the art installation was commissioned in Springfield, Missouri to bring attention to our dependence on natural systems, like the water cycle, that grow the food we eat. “Located at Springfield , MO’s largest farmers’ market, CLOUD HOUSE is a poetic counterpoint to the busy market, inviting visitors to a meditative space in which they can slow down, enjoy the fresh edible plants, and listen to rain on a tin roof,” writes Mazzotta. Topped with a cloud-shaped resin sculpture attached by a pipe, the gabled structure is built of barn wood and tin reclaimed from an abandoned Amish farm. Edible plants grow on the windowsills and the building’s two ends are left completely open to reveal a sparse interior decorated with two rocking chairs and a small table. https://vimeo.com/189592923 Related: Open House Renovates an Abandoned Building into a Transforming Open Air Theater Rainwater is collected with a gutter system that funnels the water into an underground storage tank. When someone sits on the rocking chair, a pump is triggered to bring the harvested rainwater up to the artificial cloud where it’s released as droplets onto the roof. The rainwater simulation waters the windowsill plants and creates a “warm pleasant sound of rain on a tin roof.” During periods of drought, however, the cloud will not rain to illustrate man’s dependence on the natural world. + Matthew Mazzotta Via Dezeen Images by Tim Hawley

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Cloud House makes it rain on demand with creative water harvesting system

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