Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

May 17, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to own your own castle – or perhaps an Italian monastery? Here’s your chance. As part of Italy’s Strategist Tourist Plan, the country is giving away 103 historic sites – including old houses, farmhouses, inns, monasteries and even ancient castles. However, only those who intend to renovate and transform the structures into tourist hotspots (such as restaurants and spas) will be granted a plot of historic property. The State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage are responsible for spearheading the project, which aims to relieve some of the strain on the country’s most popular and overcrowded areas. In effect, lesser-explored destinations will receive an influx of tourists and local economies will benefit. State property agency employee Roberto Reggi told The Local : “The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector. The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.” In total, 103 historic sites are available across the country. Many are located near the famous Appian Way – the Roman road that connects Venice with Brindisi on the southern coast. After the initial properties are claimed and foreigners begin exploring more destinations aside from Venice , 200 more sites will be included in the project over the next two years. This isn’t the first time Italy has relied on the public to restore its historic sites. The “ Lighthouse Project, ” for instance, has resulted in the Italian government auctioning off approximately 30 historic lighthouses to investors over the past two years. The requirement has been the same: transform the ordinary structures into hotels and tourist facilities . Additionally, the country raised €502 million for its “ Kill Public Debt Plan ” by putting 50 of its most prized sites up for action in 2013. Full details of the project can be found (in Italian) on the State Property Agency’s website . + State Property Agency Via The Local Images via Hand Luggage Only , SUWalls , Pinterest

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Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

Research shows the UK tosses out 1.4 million edible bananas – a day

May 17, 2017 by  
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Grocery stores to food banks to big corporations like Walmart and Hasbro have all taken measures to combat food waste . But there’s still a long way to go in the fight: new research from United Kingdom (UK) supermarket chain Sainsbury’s reveals daily Britons still throw away 1.4 million bananas that could have been consumed. The study found one third of the nation’s inhabitants would throw out a banana even if it just had a minor bruise. UK charity organization WRAP assembled the Sainsbury’s study, and the results weren’t good. One in 10 Brits would discard a piece of the fruit solely for having a bit of green on the skin. Millions of bananas are thrown away every day, even though they could still have been eaten. 61 percent of Britons don’t use discarded bananas in baking , according to Sainsbury’s head of sustainability Paul Crewe, and the grocery store is hoping to do something about that. Related: Stop throwing away banana peels – eat them instead Crewe said they’re creating an in-store area aimed at inspiring Brits to bake with bananas. They’ll launch these new pop-up banana rescue stations in over 500 stores across the nation. At the rescue station people can grab a Sainsbury’s recipe for banana bread, and find the tools they need to bake their own loaf like mixing bowls, baking tins, and blenders. Crewe said, “While we’re pleased with the success of the in-store trial, we’re determined to help shoppers reduce the number of bananas going to waste at home too.” In November the store announced a one million pound, or around $1.29 million, fund for the second phase of their Waste Less, Save More project. The first phase saw a pilot program in the town of Swadlincote, testing waste-saving ideas and technology the company said could save families around 350 pounds, or $452, on food bills each year and could slash the town’s waste by 50 percent. They’ve also taken actions like getting rid of multi-buy promotions in favor of a lower price structure. Via edie.net Images via Pixabay and Pexels

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Research shows the UK tosses out 1.4 million edible bananas – a day

Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels

May 10, 2017 by  
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Working under the motto of “Minimal, Mobile, Modern,” Julie and Andrew Puckett shunned their landlord’s attempt at raising their apartment rent and opted to convert a 1990 Blue Bird school bus into a sweet little home on wheels they’ve named House Bus . Currently parked in a green pine forest in Stone Mountain, Georgia, the couple’s beloved bus has all of the comforts of home. Once the couple decided to make the leap into tiny home living , they drove six hours to check out an old bus that was to become their future home. Working within a tight budget and even tighter time frame of just four months, the adventurous duo began to gut the interior. Thankfully, the bus had previously been used as a camper and already had updated plumbing and electric, as well as a basic living layout. Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel To convert the interior into a comfy living space, the couple gave the bus a sophisticated nomadic feel, complete with nautical touches. Of course, along with building out the living and sleeping spaces, the renovation included tons of creative storage solutions and multi-functional elements throughout the home to avoid clutter. Although the couple only had a short four months to restore the bus into their dream home, there were a number of additional challenges along the way, namely downsizing. Julie told Apartment Therapy that the biggest obstacle was “paring down our belongings to just the essentials and our most beloved items. We lived in a 1,000 square foot apartment before, so we had a lot of room to accumulate extraneous stuff. The hard work has been worth it, though. I no longer feel stifled by piles of clutter, and that’s made a tremendous impact on my creative process.” + House Bus Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Selena Kirchhoff and Julie and Andrew Puckett

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Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels

These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k

May 10, 2017 by  
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Meet ÖÖD , a gorgeous prefab abode that doesn’t compromise privacy for stellar views. Clad in mirrored glass, this sleek tiny home blends into its surroundings and offers all the living essentials built into a compact 18-square-meter footprint. Designed primarily for use as pop-up hotel rooms, the moveable and modular ÖÖD has far-reaching applications and is even under development for off-grid solutions. Designed and manufactured in Estonia, the ÖÖD houses were specifically developed for hotel usage and holiday housing. Its small footprint allows for easy installation anywhere in Estonia without the need for a building permit. Each unit accommodates two to three people and can be slotted seamlessly into urban and rural landscapes. Built primarily from steel, insulated glass , and thermally treated wood, the ÖÖD home features a studio layout with a large custom-made bed, kitchenette, living area, and bathroom. Home automation is built in as is adjustable floor heating and LED lighting. Homeowners would only need to hook the unit up to an Internet cable, water, sewage, and an electricity supply though off-grid solutions are currently being developed. An LG heat pump with moisture separator provides heating and cooling. Related: Prefab and low-budget CabinCube Hotels can pop up almost anywhere Installation of the ÖÖD only takes eight hours to complete. According to Nordica Flight Magazine, each unit costs 33,000 euros (VAT excluded) and includes custom-built Estonian furniture. ÖÖD homes have only been installed in Estonia thus far—the first unit debuted last fall—but the company plans to expand to international markets. + ÖÖD Images by Maris Tomba and Anton Toomere

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These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k

This 18th-century London townhouse hides a swimming pool under a glass floor

May 4, 2017 by  
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This 18th-century London townhouse hides a swimming pool under a glass floor

Decrepit freight depot reborn as industrial-chic food lovers paradise in Malm

April 25, 2017 by  
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Swedish architects Wingårdh dramatically transformed a roofless freight depot into an industrial-chic market hall in Malmö, Sweden. The adaptive reuse and expansion project combines old bricks with Corten steel for a modern look that still pays homage to the 19th century building’s industrial roots. Located on Gibraltargatan, the 1,500-square-meter Malmö Market Hall caters to 20 stalls and cafes that celebrate the city’s melting-pot culture with its diversity of food. Clients Nina Totté Karyd and Martin Karyd commissioned Wingårdh in their quest to create a “food lover’s paradise” inside an abandoned goods warehouse . The clients and architects sought to preserve the building’s historic character while imbuing modern details. “As a visitor you should be transported back in time, yet experience a modern day market, slaughterhouse and dairy,” wrote the clients. Related: MVRDV’s Gorgeous Tunnel-Shaped Market Hall Opens its Doors in Rotterdam In addition to renovating the existing structure, Wingårdh added an extension clad in weathered steel . The new addition mirrors the warehouse’s gabled form and the use of Corten steel mimics the rust-colored hues of the brick facade. A large strip of glass separates the extension from the old brick structure. Adjoining courtyards were built to host farmers markets and alfresco dining. + Wingårdh Via Dezeen Images via Wingårdh

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Decrepit freight depot reborn as industrial-chic food lovers paradise in Malm

Historic Missouri church rises from the ashes with an eco-friendly twist

April 3, 2017 by  
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When the 2011 catastrophic fire ravaged the historic Westport Presbyterian Church in Kansas City , much of the church’s structure and finishes were completely destroyed. Fortunately, however, the original limestone facade survived in good condition. Rather than knock down the building and start anew, Kansas City-based design firm BNIM reconstructed the iconic church, from the painstaking restoration of sacred components to the creation of a new addition that features modern and eco-friendly elements. Built in 1905, the 27,000-square-foot multi-story Westport Presbyterian Church is one of the most iconic buildings in Kansas City’s historic Westport community. BNIM and the community came together to rebuild the church and tackle the challenges of preserving original elements while crafting a space that was also dynamic and progressive. Parts of the church considered not sacred were deconstructed and large amounts of salvaged material —from the reclamation of 40,000 feet of pinewood framing material to the reuse of original limestone—were used in reconstruction. The restored and renovated church features a new addition with a 150-seat sanctuary, 40-seat chapel , gathering space, fellowship room, 3,000-square-foot multipurpose room, a 1,000-square-foot street-facing “community room”, administrative offices and office space that will be leased to a Westport area nonprofit. The renovation includes energy saving elements such as LEDs and contemporary stormwater management practices. All stained glass was restored and reinstalled in contemporary mounting. The project won an AIA Kansas Merit Award and an AIA Kansas City Citation Award. Related: Stunning see-through church is made from stacked weathered steel “This is one that put a smile on all our faces,” said an AIA Kansas City jury member. “There was a fire, and it destroyed just about everything on this church except for the stone walls. For the community to come together and rebuild this, and do it in such a thoughtful, elegant, and modern way, was something the jury really applauded.” Another jury member added: “It wasn’t just a restoration, it was a repositioning of the whole church itself. It made for a better building, and we think more connected to the community.” + BNIM Images via BNIM

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This stunning hotel in the Dolomites brings nature inside

April 3, 2017 by  
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Design studio noa* transformed an early 20th century hotel into a beautiful mountain-inspired building that brings nature indoors. Surrounded by the snow-capped Dolomites, the Tofana Hotel ‘Explorer’s Home’ enjoys a quiet location near the woods and a ski lift. The building’s asymmetrical shape draws inspiration from the Dolomite landscape, featuring zigzagging balconies with densely planted coniferous trees that give the building depth and a mountain-like appearance. Located in Italy’s Badia Valley, the newly refurbished Tofana Hotel captures the concept of an “Explorer’s Home.” Founded in 1933, the establishment has been passed down for three generations and is currently owned by Günther and Verena Frena, who share an enthusiasm for outdoor recreation. Inspired by the clients’ athletic lifestyles, the architects created a hotel in the image of a mountain with zigzagging terraces that look like climbing routes, while numerous trees and plants on the terraces help blend the building into the landscape. Stunning views of the Dolomites can be enjoyed from numerous angles. Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain “From building to landscape: the design celebrates the evolutionary transformation of an originally compact building – into a layered structural landscape that sustainably reflects its surroundings… the house brings nature into the house,” said architect Lukas Rungger. Large windows and spacious terraces allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building. The interior color scheme, materials palette, and spatial layout also draw inspiration from nature. The use of larch, linen, and natural stone paired with blue, green, and brown tones are suggestive of alpine meadows, biotopes, moss forests, and rock caves of the Badia Valley. The reception is likened to a “Base Station” with its gondola and visitors ascend to their “hut cabins,” or hotel suites. + noa* Images via noa*

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This stunning hotel in the Dolomites brings nature inside

Former concrete factory begins anew as an alternative high school with no curriculum

March 30, 2017 by  
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A former concrete factory west of Copenhagen has taken its first steps towards transformation into an experimental Danish folk high school. Designed by MVRDV and Cobe , the Roskilde Festival Folk High School that’s broken ground will include a 3,000-square-meter learning center for art, music, leadership, and activism, as well as 2,600 square meters of student housing. The former industrial appearance of the factory will be largely preserved wherever possible. Inspired by the ideals of the Roskilde festival and by Danish author and teacher N.F.S.Grundtvig’s beliefs on education, the Roskilde Festival Folk High School will differ in many ways from the typical high school and will be the first newly-established folk high school of its kind in Denmark in 45 years. The alternative school has neither curriculum nor exams, and both students and teachers will live on campus during the school year. Education will usually be focused on creative and humanistic topics, as well as on common life at school. Designed to accommodate around 150 students, the Roskilde Festival Folk High School will be organized into three main learning zones: the Mind, which caters to writing, debate, and leadership training; the Body, for dance and music education; and the Hand, with facilities and classrooms for the visual arts, architecture, and design. These zones will be housed within boxes inserted into the renovated factory. One of the boxes will include a 150-person auditorium. Students will be encouraged to decorate the industrial interiors with their art. Related: MVRDV and COBE to Transform Danish Concrete Factory Into Rock and Roll Museum The folk high school is part of the 11,000-square-meter ROCKmagneten masterplan that will transform the on-site cement factories into a district for “rock music, creativity and youth culture.” The Roskilde Festival Folk High School is slated for completion in fall 2018. + MVRDV + COBE Images via MVRDV

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Former concrete factory begins anew as an alternative high school with no curriculum

Renovated Beijing factory gets new life with an elegantly-integrated Zen garden

March 27, 2017 by  
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After several renovations since the original construction of this Beijing factory, an extensive overhaul has breathed new life into the building – literally.  He Wei Studio / 3andwich Design renovated the building with a beautiful Zen garden gracefully integrated into the structure in order to convey the essence of the traditional Chinese private garden. Modern office workers can immerse themselves in a calming, natural environment, no matter how stressful the day gets. The original factory, built in 1970, went through several renovations before He Wei undertook the challenge of turning it into a modern office space that keeps the spirit of ancient building practices. The team restructured the circulation and created longer routes to allow people to calm down when entering the main space. Related: Former Panasonic factory building in China converted into a modern events space A zigzagging path leads visitors from the entrance on the west side through a long, narrow semi-outdoor corridor. This way people have to walk through the entire garden, called Zen Chamber. A folded stair, located between the long ramp and paralleled stairs, offer views of the inner courtyard and big tearoom through grating racks. The second floor, which serves as the main public space, is narrow and long and houses a music room, small tearooms, meditation room and a large tearoom. + He Wei Studio / 3andwich Design Via Sunshine PR Photos by Zou Bin

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