Green renovation to a ’50s California home features recycled denim insulation

March 2, 2021 by  
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A private residence in San Anselmo, California has received a  green renovation  with some unique features. Designers from Pfau Long Architecture expanded the space to 2,800 feet to help this project stick out from the rest, complete with sustainable solar power and recycled denim insulation. The home, which belongs to a local architect, traces its history back to the 1950s. According to project leaders, it may have been originally designed by the famed Bay Area modernist architect Henry Hill. The property sits on a 1.4 acre  Marin County  hillside, almost completely camouflaged by trees, some of which the architects decided to construct around to minimize land impact. Related: Energy-efficient villa in Portugal uses locally sourced cork for insulation Designers kept the existing main structure, which included floor-to-ceiling glass windows and ashlar masonry  stone walls, choosing to add a wing with two more bedrooms and an updated family room with a kitchen. The main living room is completely open and partially characterized by a kitchen island with new appliances and new masonry to match the existing system. The new renovations help make it a low energy use home, utilizing sustainable building elements such as  FSC-certified  vertical grain Douglas Fir wood and steel. The steel beams are exposed to give the home a simple, open layout. The team also replaced the floor-to-ceiling glass walls with low-E insulated glazed glass to save energy and included solar panels, solar and hydronic heating, solar pool heating and a graywater system. Likewise, the building itself is integrated perfectly into the hillside ridge to allow for low water usage and incorporation of native plants in the landscaping. Architects chose to add a special kind of insulation into the walls of the old home to save additional energy, which came in the form of used  natural cotton fiber . Specifically, strips of recycled blue jeans made from scraps and clippings from denim clothing manufacturing. + Pfau Long Architecture Via Design Milk Photography by Bruce Damonte  

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Green renovation to a ’50s California home features recycled denim insulation

Prefab Morgan Motor Company Experience Centre uses sustainable timber

November 27, 2020 by  
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Bath, U.K.-based Hewitt Studios has given a stunning makeover to Morgan Motor Company’s aging café, museum and showroom with the new Experience Centre, a prefabricated visitor center made from sustainably sourced timber . Designed with reusability in mind, the building takes cues from the British motor car manufacturer’s hand-built sports cars that are constructed from three recyclable core elements: ash timber, aluminum and leather. The sustainably minded building also reduces its carbon footprint with high-performance insulation, daylighting and a responsible stormwater management strategy. With more than a century of experience working with local craftsmen to construct its handmade cars, the Morgan Motor Company has built its reputation on ethical sourcing, natural materials and a focus on longevity. As a result, Hewitt Studios wanted the new Experience Centre to reflect the company’s sustainable values and used three prefabricated structures built of timber in a nod to the company’s historic ash body frames. These structures include the Jewel Box, a display space for the company’s hero car and customer handovers; a sculptural visitor entrance foyer; and an external covered car canopy that is large enough to shelter the demo car fleet. The car canopy features an undulating profile evocative of the Malvern Hills’ rolling topography. Related: Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmark’s historic Kalø Castle Ruins The architects also put new cladding and roofing atop the existing buildings and built out the internal spaces. Timber and easily recyclable aluminum flashings were used for the cladding and are detailed for easy dismantling and recycling. Metsawood Kerto laminated veneer lumber, an inexpensive off-the-shelf industrial product made with certified timber from sustainably managed forests, was also incorporated into all of the new structures, particularly in the sculptural canopies.  The architects explained, “This strategy of using a single conventional product in a number of unconventional ways delivers terrific value for Morgan, creating the impression of an expensive bespoke outcome using readily available ‘stock’ timber sections — maximum bang for their buck!” + Hewitt Studios Images via Morgan Motor Company

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Prefab Morgan Motor Company Experience Centre uses sustainable timber

Montana Heritage Center renovation will celebrate the states history and geology

October 23, 2020 by  
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A multimillion dollar expansion and renovation project is underway in Helena, Montana for the Montana Historical Society. Led by 80-year-old architecture firm Cushing Terrell, the Montana Heritage Center renovation project includes a 66,0000-square-foot expansion and the renovation of almost 67,000 square feet of existing space. The project will focus on the local land, with expansions appearing to emerge from the earth to reference the Lewis Overthrust, a geophysical event that helped define the state’s landscape with a collision of tectonic plates that drove one plate over another. The expansion project, to be completed in 2024, is 10 years in the making and will cost $52.7 million, nearly doubling the size of the existing 1952 Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building. Inside, the building will preserve the stories of Montana’s people as a repository for historic collections and resources. When it is completed, the center will serve as a place of learning and discovery for local residents and visitors alike. Related: LEED Platinum Stockman Bank harvests rainwater and solar power in Missoula Designers are pursuing USGBC LEED and IWBI WELL certifications in an effort to highlight sustainable architecture. Continuing to pay homage to the existing structure’s history, the design uses the space between two buildings to connect the old with the new via a dynamic entryway. “The vision for who we can be in the future really has also been built into this process, bringing together diverse voices from across our state from east and west, north and south, our tribal nations, men and women, young and old — it will be reflected right here,” said Montana Governor Steve Bullock. “Those voices will shape its architecture and landscaping the way that our mountains and our plains and those winding rivers have shaped each and every one of us. This building design also looks to the future by incorporating sustainable features that will showcase the ingenuity and the values that make Montana such a special place.” For exterior landscaping , the design includes features and plants that mimic the Montana plains, grasslands, foothills, forests and mountain landscapes on a smaller scale, with a trail linking all of the ecosystems together. Thanks to this design, visitors to the center will have an opportunity to experience and feel connected to the diverse Montana backdrop as well as those who have lived within the state’s borders for generations. + Cushing Terrell Images via Cushing Terrell

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Old industrial building is now an energy-efficient complex in London

September 21, 2020 by  
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International practice Make Architects has transformed a 1950s industrial building into the Asta House, a mixed-use development comprising commercial offices, luxury and affordable residences, retail spaces and a new pocket park in London’s Fitzrovia. Developed for Derwent London, the adaptive reuse project was sustainably designed to retain as much of the original facade and structure as possible while injecting the building with a new, contemporary aesthetic. Make Architects also reduced the project’s long-term carbon footprint by installing triple glazing, additional insulation, operable windows and solar hot water heating panels to preheat domestic hot water for the entire building. Located on a corner site between Whitfield Street and Chitty Street, the Asta House features 36 design-led residences that include one- to three-bedroom apartments, 10 social apartments and four intermediate apartments. The architects also added two additional stories — carefully stepped back from the facade to preserve the building’s architectural integrity — to house a pair of penthouse apartments. By setting back the penthouses, the architects created space for extensive private decks. The other apartments in the building share a courtyard terrace backing Charlotte Mews, and all residents will have access to Poets Park, a 240-square-meter pocket park with a small cafe. Related: The origami-like monocoque pavilion in London is shaped by its environment The Asta House’s contemporary interiors feature a restrained material and color palette and are flooded with natural light from large windows. Contrast is created with black detailing against white backgrounds and the juxtaposition of rougher tactile elements with smooth surfaces. Built-in furniture helps achieve a streamlined appearance.  “The modern, yet intimate scale and design of this project aims to appeal to those who want a character-rich home in this bohemian area,” said architect Kunwook Kang. “Externally the project is completely respectful of its location, chiming with surrounding colours and massing. Internally our choice of materials was key. We’ve created smooth, consistent interiors that make the most of original features and crafted new ones to provide not only functional, efficient homes, but also spaces that delight.”  + Make Architects Images via Jack Hobhouse and Make Architects

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Washington bans wildlife-killing competitions

September 21, 2020 by  
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On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to ban the killing of wildlife in contests. This makes Washington the seventh state to ban such contests with the aim to conserve wildlife. Washington now joins California, Vermont, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Mexico in implementing a ban on hunting competitions. The successful vote means that the residents and visitors of Washington cannot kill wildlife for competitions, allowing only a limited number of coyotes and other wild animals to be hunted. Hunting contests have proven detrimental to wildlife populations over the years. Popular hunting events, such as the Washington Predator Coyote Classic and the Lind Gun Club Coyote Hunt, have led to the deaths of thousands of animals. These two events alone led to the killing of 1,427 coyotes between 2013 and 2018. Unfortunately, these events are often celebrated and the winners crowned as heroes. To make matters worse, the ethics of the games also allow the winners to post images and videos on social media with piles of coyote carcasses. Related: New rules allow hunting of Alaskan bear cubs and wolf pups “I’m so grateful the commission has finally banned these cruel, unsportsmanlike competitions,” Sophia Ressler, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity , said. “These wasteful contests don’t reflect the values of most Washington residents or proper, science-based wildlife management.” In many states, similar contests still continue under the justification of population control. But president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) , Kitty Block, says the organization has a mission of stopping such games. “We have made it our mission to end all wildlife killing contests — gruesome events that make a game out of recklessly and indiscriminately killing animals for cash, prizes, and bragging rights,” Block said. “These competitions that feature piles of animal carcasses are not only cruel and unsporting, but they are also at odds with science .” Block argues that population regulation is not the work of humans but a natural process, and that mass culling will not help resolve human-wildlife conflicts. “Wild carnivores like coyotes and foxes regulate their own numbers, and the mass killing of these animals does not prevent conflicts with livestock, people, or pets.” + Center for Biological Diversity Image via U.S. Forest Service

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Key phase of Everglades restoration project starts in November

September 21, 2020 by  
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Federal and Florida state authorities are working together to complete the Tamiami Trail Next Steps Project, an important part of restoring the Everglades. The state was just awarded a $200 million contract, meaning the last step of this plan, which Congress approved in 2009, will finally begin in November. “Phase 2 of the project will focus on raising and reconstructing the remaining 6.7 miles of the eastern Tamiami Trail with features to further improve water conveyance, roadway safety, and stormwater treatment,” according to an official statement. “Construction on Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in November 2020.” Related: Can Florida save its prized Everglades from climate change destruction? The Tamiami Trail is the 275 miles of U.S. Highway 41 that join Tampa and Miami. Politicians in Tallahassee came up with the idea to link Florida’s west and east coasts with this route in 1915. But in the last 105 years, traffic has increased more than anybody could have foreseen, straining local ecosystems . Before the highway and other human interference, more than 450 billion gallons of water per year easily flowed southward into what is now Everglades National Park. By 2000, that figure was only about 260 billion gallons of water per year, resulting in a deteriorating ecosystem. That year, Congress authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), which aimed to “restore, preserve, and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for other water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood protection.” With a 35-plus-year timeline and a $10.5 billion budget, this was the largest hydrologic restoration project in the country’s history. The restoration project is important for both wildlife and the state’s economy. Routing more freshwater to the Everglades will keep salt water at bay, providing drinking water for humans and animals and helping to restore wetlands for wading birds. A better water flow will also boost recreational activities and agriculture and help maintain real estate values. Everybody from the Florida panther to the alligator to the Midwestern tourist will benefit from this investment in the Everglades ecosystem. “The granting of this award is an exciting milestone in the completion of such a critical project for Everglades restoration,” said Margaret Everson, acting director of the National Park Service, according to CBS Miami . “This step is a wonderful example of how collaboration and coordination with our partners sets the stage for long-term restoration efforts.” + National Park Service Via CBS Miami Image via Pixabay

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Bulk up the eco-friendly way with Grounded’s plant-based protein shakes

September 21, 2020 by  
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Pop culture from days gone by was littered with images of big, ripped guys pouring raw eggs into blenders and eating huge slabs of steak. But those days are over. After all, vegans and environmentally conscious people want to build muscle, too. Enter Grounded’s plant-based protein milkshakes. Being beefy can now mean nixing meat and dairy, too. Grounded’s plant-based protein milkshakes are dairy-free , but each shake still has 20 grams of protein from plants. These protein shakes are also gluten-, GMO-, nut- and soy-free, making them a feasible option for many different lifestyles. As the website says, Grounded shakes are “crap-free”! Related: The best sources for plant-based protein For the creamy effect without the dairy, Grounded uses coconut milk , which has a sweet flavor and smooth, thick texture similar to dairy milk but with a smaller carbon footprint. Coconut milk also has less sugar than all types of dairy milk, including skim milk. Unlike many protein shakes on the market, Grounded eschews a chalky, artificially sweetened flavor found in many protein shakes on the market, instead opting for two rich, delicious flavors (M*lk Chocolate and Mint Choc) made from natural ingredients. Ingredients include organic , fair-trade cocoa powder, pure vanilla extract, pink Himalayan salt and pea protein, just to name a few. “There’s a real need for a clean, genuinely natural, plant-based option,” said Bryn Ferris, co-founder of Grounded. “We know this is the most natural plant-based protein drink out there.” It’s hard to claim you’re environmentally conscious if you’re also using plastic these days. That’s why every single container of Grounded’s plant-based protein shakes is 100% recyclable . These shakes come in cartons and, yes, the cartons are also made from plants. And that is why Grounded is so different from so many other options out there … for now. Soon, other companies may follow this example and start bringing more plants to their products (and packaging) to help you nourish your body in sustainable way. + Grounded Via Plant Based News Images via Grounded

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

Old Polish barn transforms into a cool contemporary home

May 14, 2020 by  
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Pozna?-based design studio  mode:lina  recently transformed a decrepit old barn into the ?lonsko Cha?pa (Silesian House), a light-filled home that beautifully combines elements of the agricultural vernacular with contemporary design. While the barn’s gabled form and concrete structure were mostly preserved, the architects improved the livability of the building by shortening its length and raising the roof to create a second floor for the bedrooms. The barn’s existing brick, steel and concrete details have been deliberately left exposed and celebrated in the redesign.  Inspired by the austere appearances of the old State Collective Farm buildings, the architects took a minimalist design approach to the Silesian House. In addition to truncating the length of the original building, the existing roof and exterior walls were simplified to create a pure  gabled  shape with no overhangs. New timber cladding was installed to the exterior envelope that was then punctuated with large irregular openings to let in as much daylight to the interior as possible.  Key to the renovation was the addition of a new double-height extension that houses the living room and dining area. “The original structure and shape of the barn is clearly visible from the living room, where we have an exact cross-section of the building in the form of a  mezzanine ,” the architects of the exposed concrete structure explained. A spacious kitchen with black granite countertops and timber cabinetry is located beneath the mezzanine. Related: Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery The interior is dressed in exposed  natural materials  throughout, including on the upper floor where brick walls are complemented by timber floors and ceilings and exposed beams and columns. The exposed materials and white walls provide a perfect neutral backdrop for the clients’ extensive art collection. The architects also converted the small building next to the 300-square-meter Silesian House into a guesthouse.  + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewi?ski

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1973 Airstream is an ‘easy-breezy’ off-grid home with a fold-out deck

May 12, 2020 by  
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Design-build firm Innovative Spaces worked with a client to bring her tiny-home-on-wheels dream to fruition by renovating a 1973 Airstream Tradewind into the Alice Airstream — a gorgeous, modern home complete with off-grid capabilities and a deck. When tasked by an adventurous client to create a new home on wheels for herself and her dog and cat, the Innovative Spaces team went to work searching for the perfect abode. Not only did the home have to be mobile, but it had to be off-grid ready as well. When the designers found a 1973 Airstream Tradewind, they knew they had the perfect trailer to get started. Related: Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals Innovative Spaces owner Nate Stover explained that although the Airstream trailer was in fairly poor shape, they knew they had found a diamond in the rough. “The condition of these vintage trailers rarely matters for our projects, as we replace just about everything on the interior and often also do quite a bit of customization on the exterior” Stover said. “It was your typical 1970s trailer — pretty funky inside after years of sitting around.” Alas, the classic trailer was about to receive a very modern-day makeover at the hands of the creative design team. Although the exterior was in good shape, only requiring a cleanup and new coat of a Sprinter Blue Grey paint, the interior needed to be completely gutted. The first step was to lift the shell off of the chassis to ensure that the home had a solid foundation. To do so, they had to rebuild a new chassis out of aluminum, which was chosen specifically to give the trailer a durable shell. Next up, a new subfloor system comprised of gray and black water tanks, wiring and plumbing and fiberboard was installed, followed by spray foam insulation. The final and most exciting step was implementing the new interior design . The client had requested an open-concept space that included a decent cook’s kitchen and a spa-like bathroom. From there, Innovative Spaces added deep shades of blue to complement the white walls and natural tones throughout the interior. Most of the furnishings within the 165-square-foot home were designed to provide optimal comfort and functionality. The enviable kitchen includes modern appliances as well as a small dining nook at the entrance. The sofa doubles as a bed while an opaque, flower-printed privacy wall leads to the luxurious bathroom. Of course, the design also makes plenty of space for the cat and dog with custom, built-in pet beds. Although the trailer’s interior is definitely compact, the savvy layout and fresh design scheme makes the space extremely livable. When it’s warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors, the Airstream has an awesome added amenity — a drop-down deck with enough room for seating plus protective netting to keep bugs at bay. + Innovative Spaces Via Dwell Images via Innovative Spaces

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1973 Airstream is an ‘easy-breezy’ off-grid home with a fold-out deck

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