Australia’s largest commercial timber building rises in Sydney

July 12, 2017 by  
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Timber constructions are rapidly carving their rightful place in urban environments all over the world, and now, beautiful Sydney is home to the Australia’s largest commercial all-timber building. The International House by Tzannes Architects is a beautiful seven-story building constructed entirely with engineered or cross laminated timber . Located between the Barangaroo South area and the historic heart of the city, the International House is a beautiful all-wood design. With the exception of the single ground retail level, which is made out of conventional concrete, the striking building was constructed with engineered or cross laminated timber , including the floors, columns, walls, roof, elevator shafts, etc. The building is the first timber commercial building of its size in Australia. Related: Nation’s largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability The architects chose to go with timber for its many sustainable features , but were also determined to create a design whose all-wood aesthetic would serve as an iconic landmark for the city. According to the architects, “We have turned the structural limitations imposed by the use of timber to advantage and celebrated them, forming a unique colonnade form evocative of a forest of trees which gives the building its distinctive character.” The project used a massive 3,500 cubic meters of sustainably grown and recycled timber . Using timber instead of concrete resulted in saving thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the environment. + Tzannes Architects Via Archdaily Photography by The Guthrie Project

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Australia’s largest commercial timber building rises in Sydney

Monolithic stone building springs up at the base of a Norwegian waterfall

July 10, 2017 by  
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Bergen-based architects Fortunen AS worked with Østengen & Bergo to install a compact service building at the base of the beautiful Skjervet waterfall in Granvin, Norway, using locally-sourced materials. The nature of the project required a prudent building strategy , so the team designed the structure to blend into the natural landscape and appear as though it had been there for years. The terrain around the waterfall site is steep and quite difficult to maneuver. However, the rugged landscape and lush vegetation around the site were carefully protected during the entire construction phase. A single trail made of natural stone was chosen as the central nerve of the project, and became the inspiration for the building’s design. Related: Snøhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nation’s second-largest waterfall The compact structure, which consists of two restrooms and a small technical room, is clad in locally-sourced natural stone. The remaining building materials including rebar fencing and concrete benches were also chosen to blend into the environment. On the inside, panels of warm plywood cover the walls, with various narrow glazed cutouts that look out over the river, allowing for amazing views of the Storelvi River, forest, and mountains. The monolithic building’s steep slanted roof , along with the natural stone facade, creates a jagged silhouette that, although contemporary in style, strategically blends into the solid rock surroundings, creating a subtle addition to the area, rather than a distraction. This achieved the design team’s original intention, which was to create a series of “gentle interventions that look like they have always been in this terrain – despite their modern form. The combination of contemporary form, ancient craft and local materials create a timeless dimension to the project.” The Skjervet design earned the World Architecture News Small Spaces Award in 2016. + Fortunen AS + Østengen & Bergo

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Monolithic stone building springs up at the base of a Norwegian waterfall

These incredible self-deploying buildings pop up in 8 minutes flat

July 5, 2017 by  
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In the future, buildings could build themselves. Ten Fold Engineering , based in the United Kingdom, is offering self-deploying structures that open up in under 10 minutes solely with the help of a hand-held battery-powered drill. Their 689-square-foot structures could be used as medical clinics or eco hotels or tree houses – to name a few. Ten Fold’s ready-to-use structures offer a glimpse into the future of construction : buildings that can be deployed or folded up in a matter of minutes by anyone. They can be easily relocated and customized to fit a customer’s needs: from offices to mobile supermarkets to beach huts, the options for Ten Fold’s shelters are numerous. Related: Hex House is an affordable, rapidly deployable solar home for disaster victims The structures can travel on a standard truck, and can be popped open with little power in eight minutes. The company says they’re fully equipped as soon as they’re opened and can be stacked on top of each other. No foundations are necessary, and Ten Fold says the structures can be deployed on sloped or uneven ground. According to the company, “The components are modular so almost any arrangement of panels, doors, windows, and service pods is possible.” The buildings include 689 square feet of mobile space with 706 cubic feet of storage. Ten Fold’s structures can even be equipped to go off-grid , with space either inside or via bolt-on modular pods for clean energy like solar power , batteries, and water storage or treatment. The company says their units are durable and have a long lifespan, and can be designed to meet “modern BREEAM and LEED energy, material, and production stability standards. The company is able to accomplish all this through a family of pin-jointed linkages that can move with little power consumed. They are licensing their technology , saying they aim to bring it to people for whom it will make a difference. The mobile structures begin at £100,000, or around $129,330. + Ten Fold Engineering Images via Ten Fold Engineering Facebook

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This amazing farm in a box can pop up on any city street

June 26, 2017 by  
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It’s sometimes difficult to find fresh, local produce in urban environments. To solve this problem, Finnish enterprise Exsilio Oy has developed the EkoFARMER – an urban farm in a box. With a little bit of water and electricity, the EkoFARMER can sprout a flourishing veggie farm on any city block. Over the past decade, urban farming and community gardening have grown in popularity, with small gardens sprouting on top of skyscrapers – but they can be complicated and require elaborate supplies. EkoFarmer is a 13-meter long farming module that can be installed where there is a water and electrical supply. Containing ecological soil developed by Kekkilä, EkoFARMER was designed to produce optimal yields and be used for both commercial and scientific purposes. Related: Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israel’s oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables Exsilio is currently on the lookout for co-creation partners that are interested in developing their own farming modules based on their own requirements. Restaurants and institutional kitchens can benefit from EkoFARMER, which can also function as an excellent complementary solution for farmers to expand their traditional greenhouses . Related: Boston’s Higher Ground Farm Will be the Second-Biggest Rooftop Farm in the World “EkoFARMER is an excellent option for business fields in need of salads, herbs, (edible) flowers or medicinal plants, for example. The social aspect of urban farming is also prominent. For this reason, our solution is suitable for associations wanting to earn some extra income, or societies wanting to offer meaningful activities for the unemployed, for example. This is an opportunity to create new micro-enterprises”, said Tapio. + Exsilio Oy

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This amazing farm in a box can pop up on any city street

Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home

June 21, 2017 by  
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Slovenian firm Styria Arhitektura worked pure architectural magic by transforming a 150-year-old hay barn into a gorgeous contemporary home. After carefully gutting the old barn, the architects salvaged as many materials as they could to create an amazing residence that preserves the building’s traditional vernacular. Although the existing structure was almost completely dilapidated on the inside, the architects decided to retain as much as the barn’s original materials as possible to “preserve the cultural heritage of the Slovene countryside”. They began the ambitious process by organizing the structural details, such as wooden beams and oak nails, to be repurposed in the finished design, now reborn as the Vrhe House. Related: Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home To rebuild the structure as a home, the architects decided to shift the location to a more appropriate “landscape coordinated base” that would give the home more stability. The new home, which retains the original barn shape , is situated on the same expansive meadow, but with an improved orientation. A large, bright living space now sits over a half basement, nestled into the landscape. Although the exterior pays homage to the rural vernacular of the area, the interior of the home is thoroughly modern. A minimalist interior design theme runs throughout the home, which is enhanced by the exposed ceiling beams and other wooden features. The architects clad the interior of the home’s wooden frame with glass panels and installed a large skylight in the ceiling to let in as much natural light as possible throughout the home. + Styria Arhitektura Via Ambienti TV Photography by Miran Kambi?

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Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home

June 9, 2017 by  
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Australian architecture firm Alexander Symes has given an old building a new lease on life by repurposing its materials into a beautiful new home. Although the old structure was completely demolished, the architect – inspired by a “closed-loop zero-waste” ethos – decided to rescue the materials and implement them in the a house. Located in Blackheath, Australia, the 1,100-square-foot Upcycle House is a three-bedroom, two-bath family home with a large living area. The design team worked on the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and if it is broke, fix it” to sustainably build out the home’s exterior and interior with upcycled materials . Related: Lendager Arkitekter Unveils Incredible House Made Entirely From Recycled Materials The home is reinforced with insulated brick, and a solar pergola installed over the entrance pulls double duty as a sun shade and energy generator. Repurposed railway sleepers were used to create a walkway to the home’s sculptural entrance, where unique tile work gives the impression of an open, broken gap in the wall. The home’s interior is heavily influenced by Scandinavian design with clean simple spaces with a touch of whimsy throughout. The layout was strategically optimized to take advantage of the building’s East-West orientation, which gives the home optimal daylight, and reduces energy consumption . The living space floors feature colorful recycled tile mosaics that contrast nicely with the all-white walls. Ample bookshelves and hidden storage areas help residents avoid clutter. + Alexander Symes Architect Photography by Barton Taylor

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Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home

IKEA teams up with NASA to design out-of-this-world space saving furniture

June 9, 2017 by  
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IKEA is teaming up with NASA for the coolest collaboration this side of the moon. The Swedish furniture giant wants to figure out how to make a Mars habitat feel like a real home, so they spent a few days at the MDRS Habitat in Utah. Their goal is to look for ways to tackle the problems of urban living (cramped spaces – check, toxic air – check) to find solutions to make life better here on Earth… or Mars. Real astronauts train at the MDRS Habitat in Mars-like desert conditions to prepare for space. This summer, a team of IKEA designers took up the residence in the space for a few days in a mini-training session. The scientists were isolated for 3 days in a confined space isolated in the alkali desert in order to do a little design brainstorming. The design team described it as camping – but better. IKEA wants to figure out how to make small living quarters with tainted air and water more livable. If they can make it work in a small Mars simulation, what is to stop them from making it work across the world? Related: IKEA unveils plan to lift 200,000 people out of poverty “I think that the essence of this collection will be about appreciating what we have on Earth: human beings, plants clean water and air. But also diversity and a sense of belonging – things that we take for granted on a daily basis. After this journey, it’ll probably feel pretty awesome to come home to my own bed,” said IKEA Creative Leader, Michael Nikolic. + IKEA

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Zaha Hadid Architects completes first phase of Italys solar-powered high-speed rail hub

June 9, 2017 by  
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Italy is moving full steam ahead on the expansion of high-speed rail. The country recently celebrated inauguration for the first phase of the Napoli Afragola station, a solar-powered high-speed rail hub and major gateway to the south of Italy. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the eye-catching station, which doubles as a pedestrian bridge, and integrated energy-efficient systems such as solar panels and ground source heating and cooling. Located 12 kilometers north of Naples , the Napoli Afragola station will serve four high-speed intercity lines, three inter-regional lines, and a local commuter line. Once complete, the station will connect the 15 million residents of the surrounding southern communities with the national rail network to the north and Europe beyond. An estimated 32,700 passengers are expected to use the station daily once all lines are operational. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the Napoli Afragola station to double as a public bridge connecting communities on either side of the railway. “The design enlarges the public walkway over the eight railway tracks to such a degree that this walkway becomes the station’s main passenger concourse – a bridge housing all the services and facilities for departing, arriving and connecting passengers, with direct access to all platforms below,” write the architects. The elevated station also offers much-needed new public space for the area in addition to shops and other amenities. Related: Wind power now runs all electric passenger trains in the Netherlands Designed as “an extrusion of a trapezoid along a 450-meter curved path,” the sculptural station is constructed with a reinforced concrete base with 200 differently shaped steel ribs clad in Corian and a glazed roof. Natural light pours into the station through the glazed roof to minimize demands on artificial lighting. Integrated solar panels on the roof, natural ventilation, and ground source cooling and heating systems also reduce energy consumption. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Jacopo Spilimbergo

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Zaha Hadid Architects completes first phase of Italys solar-powered high-speed rail hub

The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year

June 6, 2017 by  
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Want to travel to the beach or a mountaintop or a jungle – and spend the night in style every time? The Ecocapsule offers that flexibility in a tiny off-grid package. The company just announced it has secured financial backing to move forward with the microhome – and they’re planning to deliver the first Ecocapsules to clients later this year. Late night television host James Corden recently tested the versatile pods out in a peaceful garden, a horse ranch, and a restaurant rooftop – check out his take after the break. Corden hit up the Ecocapsule to explore the latest trends in travel and eco-friendly living. The egg-shaped, mobile microhome is around eight feet high, seven feet long, and 14.5 feet wide, and it’s powered by rooftop solar cells and a small wind turbine . It also collects rainwater to be reclaimed as drinking water. A folding bed, bathroom, kitchenette, and living area provide travelers with all the amenities of a luxury hotel . The Ecocapsule can be towed via trailer or sent to a location in a shipping container. Related: The world’s first off-grid EcoCapsule is now available for pre-order Corden envisioned the Ecocapsule in exotic locations like the Grand Canyon or a beach in Ibiza. He took his characteristic humorous approach to the design of the pod, asking founder Tomas Zacek, “How do I know this isn’t just some sort of spaceship?” Ecocapsule will only make 50 of the first edition pods, but they plan to start mass producing the microhomes for a lower price in 2018. It seems Corden enjoyed his time wandering in the Ecocapsule; he said in the video, “I could stay here for years.” He also told Zacek that snuggling encapsulates the ethos behind the Ecocapsule. + Ecocapsule

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The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year

World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

June 5, 2017 by  
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Could a new urban vacation trend take the trees out of treehouses ? The world’s first “cranehouse” has opened in Bristol and it’s every bit as spectacular as their conventional trunk-supported counterparts. Designed by vacation specialists Canopy & Stars , the tiny structure is hoisted by a cargo crane 26 feet over Bristol Harbor. What’s more, the low-impact wooden structure is completely carbon neutral, and it was built using sustainable materials . The “hanging basket” is a collaboration between Canopy & Stars and DIY company, B&Q, who decorated the space with a chic collection of sustainable furnishings. Touches of nature are found throughout the space, including walls inlaid with tree branches, a watering can shower, and a bed made out of a reclaimed tree trunk . Industrial hints such as copper finials, polished concrete, and natural vegetable-fiber mats complete the rustic, yet sophisticated interior design. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Along with a “living painting” by local artist Anthony Garrett, the design focused on creating a similar “multi-sensory experience” one might experience in a true treehouse. Scents of woodlands such as lavender, sage, and bark waft through the interior. Wild flowers are planted in recycled wooden crates on the exterior of the house and various pollinators were planted on the roof to attract bees and butterflies. Guests at Crane 29 will be able to enjoy the beautiful off-grid retreat by spending their time swinging in the indoor hammock and taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the harbor. Reservations, which run £185 a night, include a gourmet breakfast basket delivered to the house in the morning. Tom Dixon, managing director of Canopy & Stars, explains that the project was a labor of love for the company, “It’s taken three years of planning and design, and only three weeks of building, but we got there. What started as a dream has now become a reality,” said “We hope people enjoy their stays in this amazing building and wake up to the great outdoors feeling they are truly part of this pocket of nature in the city – a real natural high.” Crane 29 will only be opened to guests for just 100 days, but all of the profits from the rental space will be donated to the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth . + Canopy & Stars Via Telegraph Images via Canopy & Stars

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