Beech Architects convert 125-year-old windmill into a modern guesthouse

September 26, 2017 by  
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Beech Architects converted a 125-year-old windmill in Suffolk, England, into a modern guest house for rent. Complete with a metal-clad observation pod on top, the new guesthouse is well insulated and features custom-made furniture that fits its constraining circular layout. The 60-foot high windmill was built in 1891 and had a role in agricultural production at the time. However, the building had been disused for decades–until Beech Architects restored it. The owners, a surveyor and his wife who live in the house next door, plan to rent out the new guesthouse for extra income. Related: This windmill converted into a beach house is the perfect waterfront getaway “The biggest design challenge was the reinstatement of the cap or ‘pod’, which was not intended as a faithful historic reconstruction, but rather as contemporary and innovative interpretation that would also serve as the principal living and viewing platform ,” Beech Architects told Dezeen. Related: Rothschild Foundation Moves Into Beautifully Renovated Windmill Hill Dairy Farm The architects added insulation panels to the exterior walls and topped the entire structure with a wooden observation pod. The flexible timber rib system, manufactured by MetsaWood , is covered by 200 panels of zinc. This particular element of the conversion is why some locals complained that the structure doesn’t fit into its surroundings and looks “alien”. Nevertheless, the conversion project has recently received a RIBA award nomination. + Beech Architects Via Treehugger

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Beech Architects convert 125-year-old windmill into a modern guesthouse

Wolves return to Rome’s periphery for the first time in 100 years

September 26, 2017 by  
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The wolf , an animal that has served as a symbol of Rome since ancient times, has returned to the historic Italian city for the first time in a century. The alpha predators were recently sighted in a nature preserve at Castel di Guido, only a short distance from Leonardo DiVinci international airport and the perimeter highway encircling the capital of Italy. Scientists estimate that there are at least four wolves, two cubs and two adults, that reside in the area. According to Roman mythology, Romulus, Rome’s founder, and his brother Remus were suckled by a female wolf in a cave after being abandoned on the Tiber River. This episode is represented throughout Roman iconography, including the seal for Rome’s soccer club, AS Roma. The return of this iconic species to Rome is welcomed by the locals. “We’re very pleased that they are back,” said Alessia De Lorenzis, a professor whose work involves tracking and documenting the wolf pack. Related: American Coywolf is a fascinating hybrid species with supercharged adaptation Wolves were originally hunted in Europe and North America, nearly to extinction, in part due to their predation of livestock animals. The modern wolves of Rome seem to pose little threat to livestock as an analysis of their feces has demonstrated that they rely almost entirely on a diet of wild boar, a plentiful animal in the region. In Italy, the killing of wolves was promoted until the 1970s, a time when the Italian wolf population had fallen to about 100 animals. Wolves received protected status in 1971 and the population has since recovered to about 1,500-2,000 individuals, with a particularly robust population in the mountainous region on the border of France . Via The Telegraph Images via  the Italian League for Bird Protection

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Wolves return to Rome’s periphery for the first time in 100 years

Former chicken coop transformed into a backyard artists studio in Berlin

September 25, 2017 by  
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We’ve heard of horse stables transformed into dwellings for people, but converted chicken coops are a first. Büros für Konstruktivismus turned an old henhouse into a timber-lined artist’s studio in the backyard of a Berlin villa. The adaptive reuse project, called Hühnerhaus (German for henhouse), preserves part of the original facade and completely overhauls the interior into a modern light-filled space. Constructed just after World War II in a lush garden, this former henhouse is a simple gabled structure with rustic roots. Architects Sandra Bartoli and Silvan Linden wanted to maintain the building’s slightly ruinous and overgrown appearance, while gutting and remaking the interior. Thus, the architects largely left the henhouse facade intact but transformed the interior into a single-room pine-lined space with an added mezzanine. The original chimney and steel beams were also covered in pine to create a near-seamless timber appearance. Related: Eight lucky hens live in this high-end chicken coop equipped with underfloor heating in New York Natural light pours in through large glazed surfaces. Stairs with in-built storage lead up to the mezzanine , where the attic for sheltering pigeons used to be. The door for pigeons was transformed into a triangle-shaped window that frames views of the trees and garden. + Büros für Konstruktivismus Via Dezeen Images via Büros für Konstruktivismus

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Former chicken coop transformed into a backyard artists studio in Berlin

Compact New Zealand home sets its sights on going off the grid

September 25, 2017 by  
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High on a hill above New Zealand’s idyllic Peka Peka beach sits an eco-friendly compact home that responds to the surrounding landscape. Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects designed the dwelling, named Peka Peka House I, as three boxy units perfectly positioned to maximize shelter as well as views of Kapiti Island, forestry, and farmland. In response to the client’s desires to eventually go off-grid, the home is equipped with photovoltaic panels, solar hot water panels, above-code insulation, and other energy-saving features. Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects separated the living, sleeping, and garage functions into three interconnected box-like volumes, each positioned in response to climate and views. Two of the boxes are clad in black-stained cedar ; one contains the living functions, while the other comprises bedrooms. The third box is clad in profiled polycarbonate and contains the garage and workshop. At night, the polycarbonate-clad volumes glows like a lantern. Timber decking surrounds the three volumes. Related: Dreamy cabin is a luxurious escape in the New Zealand bush The cedar-clad boxes are arranged to form a sheltered north-facing courtyard that provides views towards the sea and is protected from coastal winds. “As requested by our knowledgeable clients, the house promotes some eco values in the form of a combination of PV and solar hot water panels and above code insulation,” wrote the architects. “Their long-term ambition is to go off-grid. LED lighting throughout and exposed and insulated concrete slab as a heat store helps reduce power consumption. Natural ventilation picks up the consistent afternoon sea breezes.” + Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Jason Mann

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Compact New Zealand home sets its sights on going off the grid

Light-filled home for book lovers and their cute cats is built of recycled materials

September 18, 2017 by  
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If you’re a bibliophile who loves cats, prepare to swoon over this light-filled row home in New York City . Barker Freeman Design Office (BFDO Architects) transformed a row house in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn into the House for Booklovers and Cats. The renovated dwelling was built with materials recycled from the original architecture wherever possible, and features an expansive built-in book wall and special cat accommodations. The clients, a pair of poets, asked BFDO Architects to infuse color and light into their old Brooklyn row house , while creating a live/work arrangement with room for their extensive collection of art and books. The literary couple also requested that the renovation include special circulation for their two shy cats that like to hide in high and small places. The architects began the renovation process by sprucing up the facade and painting the front door a vibrant shade of red. They gutted the interior—originally dark, musty, and narrow—and knocked down walls to create an open and airy space and repainted it with bright white walls. Full-height rear windows and a skylight flood the interior with natural light. The main floor comprises the 20-by-50-by-10-feet tall primary living space with an eye-catching full-length bookshelf on one end integrated with special pieces that allow the cats to circulate through the room. “Shelves project to create steps for the cats to climb up to a continuous open ledge where they can observe activities from a high vantage point,” said the architects. “Trap doors allow the cats access to rooms above at either end of the house.” Related: CATable: A Multifunctional Work Desk to Keep Your Cat Entertained and Off Your Keyboard In addition to the living room, the main floor includes a media room, dining area, and kitchen. The upstairs houses the studio with a balcony, as well as a concealed skylit “nest” built from timber recycled from the home. The bottommost level is a “cat-free zone” comprising a workout space and guest suite. Playful pops of color punctuate the modern space, from the yellow-hued columns and melon-popsicle shelf niches. Materials in the home were recycled when possible; the architects reused the existing paneled wood doors, doorknobs, and hardware, and also refinished the pine flooring. + Barker Freeman Design Office Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

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Light-filled home for book lovers and their cute cats is built of recycled materials

Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home

September 14, 2017 by  
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A 1924 barge in London has been transformed into an amazing floating home . The historic Humber Keel cargo boat now functions as a comfortable two-bedroom home with two baths, open living space and terrace views. The restored houseboat maintains the original woodwork and custom midcentury furnishings. The barge, originally used for transporting steel and coal and working in shallow waters, sits in the Poplar Dock Marina of London . It offers 812 square feet of living space which includes two bedrooms, a large open-plan reception/dining area, modern galley kitchen, and a desk area. Related: Solar-Powered Bauhaus Barge Offers Luxurious Living with a Low Carbon Footprint Much of the original woodwork has been retained throughout the house, including the original Goodin wood burner in the living room. Some of the additions to the interior include a dipped terra cotta pendant light by Hand and Eye Studio London, a Saikai Kaico Japanese enamel kettle, hand-thrown dishes by David Green Ceramics, and the 1960s Greaves and Thomas Egg chair. The house is currently for sale through The Modern House. + The Modern House Via Dwell

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Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home

Portuguese winery transformed into a minimalist and modern home

September 8, 2017 by  
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A 20th century winery has traded barrels of grapes for family gatherings thanks to the efforts of Extrastudio . The Lisbon-based architecture firm transformed the former winery into a light-filled home in Azeitao, a small village in southern Portugal. The architects retained the gabled structure’s original building footprint, but refreshed its look with a red-colored render that gives the building its new name—the Red House. Built in the 20th century by the client’s grandparents, the winery has been overhauled into a minimalist and modern dwelling complemented with a black-bottomed pool. Despite its contemporary interior, the home exudes rustic appeal thanks to its gabled roofline and uneven application of red-colored render. The facade’s patchy and pinkish appearance, which changes over time, echoes the look of the original weathered walls. “A natural red pigment was added to the mortar, to reinforce the building’s presence, allowing the house to age gradually and changing its tonality, without ever requiring a coat of paint,” said the Extrastudio, according to Dezeen . “Over the days and months, the colour of the house alters, lighter or darker depending on the humidity, almost black when it rains.” The render derives its color from powdered brick and heat-treated clay, a material that protects the facade against weathering damage. Related: 100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs Natural light fills the Red House, which is dominated by white-painted interiors, pale concrete floors, and tall ceilings. Mirrors line the living room to further reflect light. Full-height black glass doors stretch the width of the garden-facing facade on the ground floor and slide completely open to expand the living space to the outdoors. The ground floor comprises the communal areas, arranged in an open-plan layout, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are placed on the floor above. A small room occupies the attic. + Extrastudio Via Dezeen Images via Extrastudio

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Modular shed-like addition turns a 1930s bungalow into an open, light-filled home

August 25, 2017 by  
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A 1930s California Bungalow in Sydney received a modern shed-like addition that maximizes the usability of the original structure, adding plenty open-concept space and natural light. Architect Prineas designed the affordable addition as a modular structure that’s easy to build and alter for optimal flexibility, while honoring the original design of the home. The Allen Key House comprises an original 1930s bungalow and an modern, modular addition conceived as a shed-like structure. The latter emphasizes the kitchen and entertaining areas and acts as the true heart of the home. Related: A translucent room fills this beautifully renovated brick house with daylight The design team made sure that the existing bungalow is kept in its original state. They connected the original structure and the addition with a glazed link which creates two internal courtyards and introduces more natural light into the en suite and study. Related: Timber-clad Cut-away Roof House in Sydney puts a modern spin on traditional pitched roofs Built on an extremely tight budget, the rear addition relies on a grid system that forms double-height spaces through modular design. This system of modules allows simple reconfiguration of courtyards, light wells and stairs. + Architect Prineas Via Architizer Photos by Chris Warnes

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Teslas electric truck will have a 200-300 mile range

August 25, 2017 by  
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More details have been obtained about the Tesla semi truck, which is set to be unveiled next month. According to Reuters , the big rig will have a working range of 200 to 300 miles. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also considering developing an electric tractor trailer to accompany the vehicle. Scott Perry of Ryder, a fleet operator in Florida, told Reuters that Tesla is building “an electric big-rig known as a ‘day cab’ with no sleeper berth, capable of traveling about 200 to 300 miles with a typical payload before recharging.” It is possible Perry has seen the truck first-hand, as Elon Musk mentioned in June that he would be gathering feedback from the trucking industry. At a meeting with Tesla shareholders, Musk said “We’re getting them closely involved in the design process, so the biggest customers of the heavy duty Tesla semi are helping ensure that it is specified to their needs, so it’s not a mystery. They already know that it’s going to meet their needs, because they’ve told us what those needs are. So it’ll really just be a question of scaling volume to make as many as we can.” A conventional semi truck can travel over 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel. This means the Tesla version will have a substantially lower range. To make up for this, Elon Musk is considering developing an electric tractor trailer. Now, he and his team just need to make sure the technology is feasible. Even if Tesla’s big rig doesn’t surpass 300 miles, there is still likely to be a market for it. Approximately 30 percent of US trucking jobs are regional trips of 100 to 200 miles, according to Sandeep Kar, the chief strategy officer of Toronto -based Fleet Complete. “As long as (Musk) can break 200 miles he can claim his truck is ’long haul’ and he will be technically right,” said Kar. The fact that the vehicle will have self-driving technology is an added benefit. Read more: Solar-powered Tesla Tiny House hits the road in Australia Transportation firms are also interested in acquiring electric semi-trucks, as they are less costly to maintain than conventional vehicles. Energy from the grid is also less expensive than diesel . The main challenge is ensuring the big rig’s battery doesn’t take up precious cargo space. When Tesla was pressed for comment via email, a spokesman replied, “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation, whether true or untrue, as doing so would be silly. Silly!” Tesla isn’t the only automobile manufacturer seeking to expand into the trucking industry. Reportedly, Daimler , the largest truck manufacturer in the world, will begin production this year on an electric delivery truck. The big rig will have a driving range of 100 miles and will be able to carry a payload of 9,400 pounds, or about 1,000 pounds less than its diesel counterpart. + Tesla Via Reuters , The Verge Images via Tesla

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Teslas electric truck will have a 200-300 mile range

Australian facility aims to produce 50,000 metric tons of building material from CO2 by 2020

August 25, 2017 by  
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Mineral Carbonation International wants to transform Carbon dioxide emissions into useful building materials . The Australian firm just unveiled a pilot plant at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources that will attempt to mimic, but speed up, the weathering process by which rainfall produces rocks . MCi launched their technology with a demonstration of their process to transform CO2 into building products. They capture the CO2 from mining company Orica’s Kooragang Island operations. According to The Guardian, CO2 bonds with the rock serpentinite to create solid carbonates in an hour-long process. On their website, MCi says the material could potentially be used for cement , bricks, or plasterboards. Related: Why 2,000-year-old Roman concrete is stronger than our own At the same site at the University of Newcastle , a first-generation batch plant has been operating since 2016, but the university described this new semi-continuous pilot plant as the first of its kind, and said with both plants running MCi will be able to conduct research to hone the process and generate materials for testing. MCi hopes to be generating 20,000 to 50,000 metric tons of the material for use in building by 2020. MCi CEO Marcus Dawe said in a statement, “We need solutions to climate change . We need technology that is ready and tested by the time we have solved the pricing of carbon in our economy. Like the adoption of renewables in energy production, our technology aims to help decarbonize industries like cement, steel, and chemical production.” University of Melbourne geologist Peter Cook said MCi has shown the technology works chemically, but it may not offer a single solution to the large issue of climate change. He told The Guardian, “I think it’s one of these processes where you’ll be able to make money from it in the local area. The difficulty is, for instance we’re getting 36 billion tonnes of CO2 per annum from our use of fossil fuel .” He did say he didn’t want to diminish the great value in MCi’s work. + Mineral Carbonation International Via The Guardian and University of Newcastle Images via Orica and University of Newcastle

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Australian facility aims to produce 50,000 metric tons of building material from CO2 by 2020

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