War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon

October 11, 2018 by  
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Having survived the Lebanese Civil War as a torture and detention center for militia forces, The House With Two Lives has a colorful past to say the least. So when Lebanese design practice Nabil Gholam Architects was asked to renovate the structure — originally built as a resort building in the 1930s — the firm took its time to sensitively pick apart the site’s history and breathe new and positive life into the property. Described as a “difficult exorcism,” the design process saw the reuse of the historic ruins and the insertion of a brand new home celebrating nature and sustainable design, from rainwater harvesting systems to passive cooling strategies. Located near the Lebanese mountain village of Bois de Boulogne and surrounded by beautiful pine forests, the House With Two Lives was designed to blend in with its idyllic surroundings. To “cleanse the house of its troubled history,” the architects introduced new plant growth to camouflage the building into the landscape, from vines that climb over the ruins to more than 1,000 pine trees planted in the garden, including umbrella pines, oak trees, cork trees, Lebanese cedars and more. The site has also gained a new rose garden. The theme of regrowth and revival has also been applied to the architecture of the house, which comprises a three-story main house of 2,000 square meters as well as an annex and guard house of 850 square meters. The new additions to the existing 1,500-square-meter stone ruins of the main house were articulated as a series of Corten steel -clad boxes that will develop a patina over time and are perforated with tree-shaped patterns. Sustainability guided the design of the renovated structure, which is built with high-performance insulation and follows passive solar strategies. The home also harvests solar energy for winter heating and uses rainwater collection systems. Related: Modern alpine home is built on the ruins of an old rustic structure “The case of this house is as dreadful as it is beautiful,” said the architects, who spent months stripping the existing structure of leftover torture devices, black ashes and graffiti. “The story behind it and the testimonials backing it makes it stand as a powerful message. The House With Two Lives restores faith in man’s will to fight and is with no doubt an example of an architectural work of high precision.” + Nabil Gholam Architects Photography by Geraldine Bruneel, Nabil Gholam, Joe Kesrouani and Richard Saad via Nabil Gholam Architects

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War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon

A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

October 9, 2018 by  
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Italian design office Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled designs for the Greenary, a renovated farmhouse that will be designed around a large, leafy, 50-year-old Ficus tree. Rising to a height of nearly 33 feet tall, the perennial tropical plant will anchor the main living area while the various living quarters will be arranged around the upper canopy. The adaptive reuse project is the first step in CRA’s competition-winning master plan and factory for Mutti, one of the leading tomato brands in the world. Located in a bucolic region in Italy’s “Food Valley” close to the city of Parma in northern Italy, the new Mutti master plan “strives to integrate nature and the built environment,” according to the architects. The Greenary will serve as a private residence located a few hundred meters from the new Mutti factory, a massive building that will process up to 5,500 tons of tomatoes a day. Both buildings will be designed around the concept of biophilia and connection with nature. “The Greenary is not a treehouse or a house on a tree, but a house designed around a tree,” explained Carlo Ratti Associati in its project statement. “Life unfolds in sync with that of a 50-year old Ficus, a perennial tropical plant housed in the middle of the farmhouse south hall. All around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six domestic spaces — three above the entrance, three below it — each of them dedicated to a specific activity: from practicing yoga to listening to music, to reading and eating together.” Related: Thousands of tomato-sauce jars to turn into “tomato architecture” at Mutti In addition to the Ficus tree, which thrives in indoor environments, the house will feature a mainly timber palette, from the structural beams and stairs to the various furnishings. Large windows will flood the interior with natural light while framing views of the rural surroundings. Completion for the master plan is slated for 2023. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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Worlds largest Victorian glasshouse receives a glorious restoration

September 20, 2018 by  
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After five years of restoration work, the iconic Temperate House recently reopened to the public, bringing with it an astounding 10,000 plants — many of which are rare and threatened. Designed by Decimus Burton and completed in 1899, the Temperate House is the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and the iconic landmark of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew . To restore the building back to its full glory, Donald Insall Associates was called upon to sensitively renovate the greenhouse and insert modern technology for improved plant cultivation and care. Appointed as the conservation architects in 2012, Donald Insall Associates was tasked with improving the Temperate House for the enjoyment of the public and creating the “best possible conditions for plants.” This included optimizing air flow standards and lighting levels. During the renovation process — the largest in Kew’s history — all botanical specimens were removed save for nine trees considered too significant to risk moving. The structure was then thoroughly cleaned and then fastidiously repainted, while advancements such as new glazing and mechanical ventilation systems were put in place. The Temperate House reopened to the public on May 5, 2018. The massive greenhouse consists of 1,500 species spanning different temperate regions around the world from the Mediterranean and Africa to Asia and island floras. Meanwhile, both the internal and external landscaping have been improved with interpretation facilities and a new dedicated education space on site. Related: Wolfgang Buttress’ Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew “The restoration of the Temperate House has been a complex and immensely rewarding project, recalibrating contemporary understanding of Victorian architecture and the development of past innovations,” said Aimée Felton, lead architect on the project. “New glazing, mechanical ventilation systems, path and bedding arrangements all took their founding principles from Decimus Burton’s own drawings, held within Kew’s archives.” + Donald Insall Associates Via ArchDaily Images by Gareth Gardner, Thomas Erskine

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Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals

September 6, 2018 by  
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While most Airstream renovations tend to go for a minimalist aesthetic to create the illusion of more space, surface pattern designer  Bonnie Christine used her love of florals to convert her 1962 Airstream trailer into a gorgeous home on wheels. To transform the formerly drab interior, Bonnie lined various accent walls in wallpaper with a forest green background and light pink flowers to add a fresh and vibrant flair to the incredibly compact 150-square-foot tiny home. Bonnie and her husband bought the 1962 Airstream Overlander in order to take their family of four on the road. However, the interior was in dire need of a makeover before they could set out on their travels. To completely revamp the living space , the talented surface pattern and fabric designer used her artistic skills to create a fresh new aesthetic. Related: Couple restores an old Airstream into a chic tiny home on wheels Renamed “Marjorie” after the original owner, the project is an example of an Airstream renovation done right. Bonnie began Marjorie’s makeover in the kitchen, where she stained and rebuilt the cabinets before painting them in a soothing green tone. Using this earthy moss color as a starting point, the space then needed a little extra vibrancy, which came in the form of the “Pimpernel” wallpaper by William Morris. Bonnie says that although the floral wallpaper was a bold decision, it was also an easy one. “As a surface pattern designer, I also wanted to give a nod to the father of surface design himself by using a William Morris wallpaper,” Bonnie explained in an interview with Design*Sponge . “I find it endlessly inspiring!” The rest of the tiny home is equally as inspiring, with a fresh decor that brightens up every corner of the compact living space. A small dinette set was kept in neutral colors to contrast the floral wallpaper, and the kitchen uses shelving and storage to avoid clutter. Even the home’s itsy-bitsy bathroom gives off a spa-like feel. To complete the ethereal atmosphere, the entire living space is flooded with natural light . The family has clocked several thousand miles since the renovation, traveling from North Carolina to the Grand Canyon in their shiny Airstream, with many stops in between. Bonnie explained that traveling in a tiny home has opened up a world of adventure for the family. “I am most thankful for what this tiny home represents — the ability for our family to be completely mobile,” Bonnie said. “We can go for a small weekend trip, or set out on a cross-country adventure with our home right along with us. There’s nothing more grand than seeing the wonders of nature and the great outdoors through our children’s eyes!” + Bonnie Christine Via Design*Sponge Photography by Bonnie Christine

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Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals

Architects transform a derelict lot into an urban oasis in New Delhi

August 31, 2018 by  
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Delhi-based firm Harsh Vardhan Jain Architect has converted a derelict lot in South East New Delhi into a beautiful vertical home clad in glass panels and topped with a lush green roof . The architects designed the Garden Roof Parasol to be an urban oasis for a pair of newlyweds. The team ensured the home was filled with natural light and vegetation to create a sense of serenity within a hectic city landscape. The architects were approached by a soon-to-be-married couple who were looking to move in after their wedding. The building site is located on an “urban fringe” lot, between a bustling urban area and a planned settlement in South East New Delhi. The compact lot presented a number of challenges for its small dimensions, which included a one room structure, a stairwell and a courtyard. Related: A lush rooftop oasis flourishes on this renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City To create a light-filled urban oasis for the newlyweds, the architects decided to use a combination of glass, steel and greenery. According to the design scheme , the strategy was to create an overarching roof over the existing structures to unify the space. By taking the design vertical, the architects could add a double height volume to the home. The new building was framed from prefabricated steel beams that were also used to create a solid platform for the roof. The existing masonry walls that were on the site were reinforced and filled with insulated glazing. An exterior ramp leads up to the entrance way — a small deck with a spiral staircase that provides access to the green roof. Related: 10 essential green roofing materials The interior living space, which is flooded with natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass facades, has minimal furnishings to reduce clutter. Many of the furnishings are flexible, such as the television console with built-in storage that doubles as access to the small study built into the former stairwell. The first floor houses an open-plan living area and a small kitchenette. Throughout the space, steel and fluted glass doors slide shut to separate the rooms or open to expand the space. From the bedroom on the upper floor, a small steel spiral staircase leads to the home’s vibrant  rooftop garden . + Harsh Vardhan Jain Architect Via Archdaily Images via Nakul Jain / Harsh Vardhan Jain Architect

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Architects transform a derelict lot into an urban oasis in New Delhi

Award-winning luxury townhouses boast energy-efficient, passive solar design

August 28, 2018 by  
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Melbourne Design Studios has dramatically transformed a row of townhouses in the historic, post-industrial neighborhood of Richmond, Melbourne . The six bespoke urban homes—named ‘No Two The Same’—are strikingly contemporary, with light-filled interiors, handsome facades and a bevy of sustainable features that have earned the project an average 7-Star NatHERS Rating across all townhouses. The sustainable development was recently awarded Building Design of the Year at the 2018 Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) Awards. Located opposite a former shoe factory, the project included a number of challenges in addition to its narrow laneway location. The heritage setting required careful design attention, particularly due to its unusual battle-axe shape and the inclusion of a derelict heritage home in desperate need of an extensive renovation. Wanting to complement the neighborhood’s mix of Victorian architecture and warehouse conversions, the architects scaled the development to fit the area’s proportions and gave each townhouse an individualized facade constructed with materials that reference the area’s industrial past. The perforated laser-cut screens, in particular, double as artwork referencing local culture. Each home comprises three to four bedrooms and two bathrooms within 200 to 230 square meters of space that opens up to 100 to 120 square meters of outdoor space. “Marking a significant departure from conventional townhouse typology, each dwelling offers multi-functional and spacious living in an otherwise tightly built-up urban area,” explain the architects. “Boasting a rare combination of light-filled internal spaces gathered around multiple outdoor spaces and rooftop terrace with city skyline views, each townhouse has over 20% more outdoor space than a typical solution, with the six different outdoor spaces designed for various activities and purposes.” Related: Solar-powered home cuts a bold and sculptural silhouette in Melbourne To meet sustainability targets, the architects relied on passive solar principles, which dictated north-facing orientation, the “thermal chimney” effect that dispels hot air in summer, and cross-ventilation year-round. Natural and recycled materials were used throughout. Natural light is drawn deep into the home through double-glazed, thermally broken windows. The home also includes highly efficient insulation, solar hot-water heaters, and rainwater tanks that provide 14,000 liters of storage across the entire development. + Melbourne Design Studios Images by Peter Clarke

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Historic Chinese granary is transformed into a chic mountain resort

August 27, 2018 by  
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A cluster of historic, rural Chinese buildings has been saved from the ravages of time by Shanghai-based architecture and interior design studio Ares Partners . The architects transformed six granary structures into the new MIYA | LOSTVILLA Huchen Barn Resort, an elegant and modern hotel tucked in the mountains of Ningbo’s Huchen township. Surrounded by stunning views, the sensitively restored architecture is complemented by modern furnishings and new buildings, covering a total site area of 5,430 square meters. Set between Tiantai Mountain and Siming Mountain, the old granary station was built in 1956. Five of the seven existing buildings were mainly built with stone masonry ; the lower part of the white-painted exterior featured rock stone, and the upper part was constructed with brick. The original buildings were fitted with very small windows located on the upper part of the facade. The remaining two buildings featured timber construction. The team’s goal was to preserve the architectural integrity as much as possible yet make the interiors more comfortable and inviting for human habitation. To that end, the architects stripped the white paint from the facade to reveal the beautiful stone masonry underneath and added large windows to let in more natural light and breathtaking views of the mountains. The structures were reinforced, and the utility pipes and conduits were hidden. Interior walls were inserted to create 21 guest suites. The architects also added a new building to house the reception and meeting facilities, and one of the former buildings from the 1970s was replaced with a new-build as well. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen wins bid to design new Ningbo Library in China “We believe the project is well accomplished to transform between two extreme opposite function spaces,” said the architects, who completed the project in 2017. “The architecture form of the new building is modern and abstract. The contemporary architecture language is yet to be respectful to the existing buildings around as well as to nature. Architecture, people and nature are in harmony.” + Ares Partners Images by Su Shengliang

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Studio Puisto transforms an old bank into a modern hostel in Finland

August 23, 2018 by  
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Helsinki-based design firm Studio Puisto Architects has turned an old bank building into the new and chic Forenom Hostel Jyväskylä in the heart of Jyväskylä’s downtown pedestrian precinct. Completed in December 2017, the adaptive reuse project imbued the dated building with a modern refresh that oozes warmth and comfort with its predominate natural materials palette. During the renovation process, the architects carefully preserved elements of the original design, such as the vault, as reminders of the building’s history. Commissioned by Scandinavian real estate company Forenom, the modern Hostel Jyväskylä spans an area of 1,043 square meters and includes 49 beds with rooms ranging in size from five to 18 square meters. The ground floor houses the reception and includes space for retail and restaurant use, while the lodgings are located on the second, third and fourth floors. The basement level holds a larger restaurant as well as the hostel’s spa and sauna facilities. The Jacuzzi space is inside the former bank vault, which is lined in alder. In keeping with modern Finnish design, the interiors are minimalist and dressed in simple natural materials with plywood furnishings throughout. Boxy plywood volumes were constructed for the bedrooms, of which there are three types on each floor. The compact bedroom volumes open up to a shared central space, kitchen and bathrooms. Related: Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal “In all parts of the building, the same simplified colors and materials are repeated: black, white and wood,” Studio Puisto said. “The history and spirit of the building also oozes from its interior. The walls and furniture are covered with domestic birch plywood and the floors in the lobby and bedrooms are linoleum. The hostel’s ecological choices, efficiency and communality make up for a fresh type of accommodation that is an interesting new addition to the service structure of the center of Jyväskylä.” + Studio Puisto Architects Images by Pauliina Salonen and Henri Juvonen

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Studio Puisto transforms an old bank into a modern hostel in Finland

Architect Stefan Hitthaler breathes new life into a 1970s UFO-inspired chalet

August 14, 2018 by  
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A UFO-inspired house may be one of the last things you’d expect to find in a quaint Italian village, but this Space Age mountain chalet fits surprisingly well in its forested surroundings. Charmed by the unusual home, which had been designed by Innsbruck-based architect Josef Lackner in 1973, Bruneck-based architect Stefan Hitthaler has given the five-sided building a modern refresh and expansion for better usability and comfort. The remodeled chalet is used as a holiday retreat that can sleep multiple guests. When architect Stefan Hitthaler was commissioned to renovate the UFO House, the dwelling had fallen into disrepair and was in sore need of an amenities update. Hitthaler decided to replace all the siding and introduce a fresh material palette mainly comprising untreated larch , fir and gray-waxed concrete. The home, set on six low concrete pillars, was also expanded to include a more spacious outdoor deck and a retracting spaceship-inspired ladder entrance. The relatively compact mountain chalet offers just over 61 square meters of space across a main floor and smaller basement level, which is why the architect opted for an open plan . Full-height glazing that frames landscape views and opens up to a balcony also brings plenty of natural light into the main room, which is anchored by a fireplace and two large beds on either side. Behind the fireplace is a small kitchen unit and two extra, smaller bedrooms. A bathroom has been added to the lower level, which is finished in waxy gray concrete. Related: Off-grid UFO home is completely powered by wind, water and sun “The project provides better usability and optimized living comfort thanks to an increase in thermal insulation and the installation of floor heating with heat pump and ventilation,” said Stefan Hitthaler of the energy-efficient upgrades to the UFO House. “All these solutions generate a greater energy savings. These interventions haven’t compromised the idea and the structural quality of the outer shell and the interior.” + Stefan Hitthaler Images via Harald Wisthaler

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Abandoned house gets a gorgeous, energy-efficient refresh

August 9, 2018 by  
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Few homes undergo the trials and tribulations of Boston Villa – and fewer still receive a gorgeous renovation that also wins an architectural prize. But in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne, Australia, that’s exactly what happened. For years, Boston Villa stood abandoned, serving as a shelter for indigent wanderers. Even after Nest Architects ‘ clients Dean and Lisa saw promise in the property, someone set it on fire halfway into the preliminary stages of the rebuilding process. The couple remained undaunted, however, and Nest Architects forged ahead with the overhaul, creating a beautiful, light-filled home with numerous energy-saving and sustainable features. For the project’s first phase, the architects tore down walls to let natural light and air flow freely through the space. This demolition also opened up views of courtyards and created light sources throughout the structure. Skylights illuminate the laundry room and bathroom, louvered windows let filtered light brighten the children’s bedrooms, and an enormous glazed glass wall brings the glow of sunlight into the study, guest room, dining room, kitchen and living spaces. Rustic timber columns and beams accentuate this wall and help it harmonize with the rest of the home’s aesthetic. Two large windows flanked by striking Victorian brickwork highlight the front of the structure. Related: Abandoned house transformed into a gorgeous sanctuary on a remote Chinese mountain Because the clients wanted a sustainable home as well, Nest Architects included a number of features that reduce the house’s overall footprint. The concrete slab foundation effectively controls heat loss, and internal thermal blinds coupled with low-E glass fend off heat from the sun. The architects used recycled fittings and fixtures in every room; additionally, all the plywood and timber came from recycled sources. Low-voltage lighting and appliances with five-star energy ratings further reduce the amount of electricity consumed. Boston Villa won the Victorian Institute of Architects Award in the Alterations and Additions Category in 2011. + Nest Architects Images via Jesse Marlow

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