A historic hotel is sustainably revamped into a charming alpine village getaway

December 17, 2018 by  
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Bolzano and Berlin-based design practice NOA (network of architecture) recently renovated and expanded the Zallinger Refuge, a holiday guesthouse in the Dolomites that prides itself on its eco-friendly features. Located in Seiser Alm at 2,200 meters with breathtaking mountain views, the updated hotel comprises a cluster of structures that reference the site’s history and South Tyrolean architecture. The project has been certified under Climahotel, a certification program by the Climate House Agency of the Province of Bolzano that recognizes eco-tourism development. The Zallinger Refuge traces its beginnings to the mid-nineteenth century. Seven barns once surrounded the structure, however were later replaced by a single large building near the turn of the century. In a nod to the early site history, the architects constructed seven new chalets arranged in pairs to “bring back the charm of an alpine village.” Crafted to reflect the structure of the ancient barns with a modern twist, the chalets are built using prefabrication methods with stacked wooden blocks and wood shingle roofs to achieve a contemporary “log cabin” appearance. “In this project we have also tried to bring out that strong relationship between architecture and context, which characterizes all our works,” said architect Stefan Rier. “We want to propose new models of life and hospitality that on the one hand recover traditional forms and materials, on the other hand express quality of design, high levels of comfort and sustainability. The alpine environment is a complex and fascinating system that must be understood and respected. We think it’s important to think of new spaces and ways to inhibit it: environments on a human scale, comfortable, welcoming, but above all unique and authentic.” Related: Luxury lakeside hotel promises a return to nature in Italy In addition to the original 13 rooms in the central guesthouse, the Zallinger Refuge has added 24 rooms in the new mini-chalets. Timber lines the interiors for a cozy feel, while an energy-efficient pallet boiler provides the heating and hot water supply. The historic lodge was redesigned to include the reception, the lobby, the lounge and the restaurant. A new metal-clad building introduced to the site houses the wellness area with a sauna overlooking stunning views. + NOA Photography by Alex Filz via NOA

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A historic hotel is sustainably revamped into a charming alpine village getaway

Old barn and granary gains a new life as an inspiring community hub

November 26, 2018 by  
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Cambridge-based design practice MCW Architects has completed the transformation of a heritage barn and granary into an uplifting community center and home of local charity ACE Foundation . Purchased by the charity in 2009 on the outskirts of Cambridge , the Victorian farm was renovated in a two-part process, the second phase of which MCW Architects was commissioned to design and implement. In addition to refurbishing the existing structure and improving energy efficiency, the £1,500,000 second-phase transformation also included new build elements, such as the glazed hall that links the Stapleford Granary to the barn. As a champion of adult and continuing education both locally and internationally, the ACE Foundation wanted to create an inspiring place conducive to hosting all types of learning. Its vision was to transform the Victorian farm and granary into a sustainable working environment and accessible community amenity. In the first phase, the granary and surrounding outbuildings were transformed into a small performance space for 60 people, including multipurpose facilities for chamber music, lectures and exhibitions, as well as recording facilities, a seminar room and some office spaces. When MCW Architects was brought on for the second phase, the firm converted the existing barn into offices for the ACE Cultural Tours team and refurbished the ground floor of the granary — along with the cart lodge — into a creative space for fine and applied art. The glazed corridor connecting the existing structures is multipurpose and serves as a foyer, gathering space and long gallery. All areas are naturally ventilated without reliance on air conditioning. In addition to passive design components, the buildings save energy with an underfloor heating system, additional windows and skylights that let in greater daylight and energy-efficient lighting systems throughout. Related: A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat The architects said, “The redevelopment of this sensitive site was carried out in a way that retains the character of the existing fabric and spaces whilst being able to breathe new life into the place so that it can support and sustain the uses and needs of the Foundation into the future.” + MCW Architects Photography by Jim Stephenson and ACE Foundation via MCW Architects

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Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments

November 21, 2018 by  
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In a bid to save, rather than tear down, a historically significant bridge in the Netherlands, Delft-based cepezed architects unveiled an adaptive reuse scheme for turning the defunct bridge into a base for energy-neutral dwellings and a conference center. Created in collaboration with Expericon, Hollandia Infra, Mammoet and the IV-Group, this innovative proposal was the result of a consortium that sought to sustainably redevelop the structure, which spans the river Lek near Vianen. Although the plan did not pass planning approval, the team hopes that its designs will serve as inspiration for similar adaptive reuse projects in other locations. Originally built in 1936, the arch bridge over the river Lek was once one of the most important connectors between the north and south sides of the Netherlands. Starting in 2004, however, the historic bridge was rendered obsolete after the completion of the larger Jan Blanken-bridges. The consortium was put together in hopes of restoring and reusing the bridge so as to avoid the cost and labor of dismantling and removing the existing structure. The plan — informed by the consortium’s focus on “ sustainability , circularity and uniqueness” — proposed turning the ramps of the bridge into zero-energy apartments that would bookend a centrally located catering and conference pavilion. The design would use efficient and lightweight materials for the new construction; an abundance of glass would also be installed to take advantage of impressive landscape views and to bring ample natural light indoors. The industrial heritage of the bridge would be celebrated through the preserved architecture. Related: Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park “With the inevitable further modernization, beautiful old constructions on a variety of locations frequently go out of use,” said cepezed director Jan Pesman in a project statement. “With smart solutions, we can often think up and design unique new destinations for them. We really love such challenges; reuse provides the historical settings with new layers of meaning and the new functions with an enormous added value. Moreover, it is plainly sustainable, of course.” + cepezed Images via cepezed

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A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode

November 9, 2018 by  
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Formerly cold, dim and damp, a terrace house in Northcote, Victoria has been reborn into a vibrant and welcoming dwelling with an emphasis on gardening. Designed by Green Sheep Collective for a client named Jill, the compact project, named Jill’s House, saw a modest expansion of just 22 square meters of space yet gained its bright and spacious feel thanks to a thorough renovation. Created to meet the client’s aspirations for a “very healthy home,” Jill’s House embraces recycled materials, low VOC finishes and passive solar principles for a minimal energy footprint. Having developed deep ties with her local community, the homeowner wanted the renovated house to be suitable for long-term living and retirement. As a result, the redesign prioritized accessibility, low maintenance and durability. Tapping into its extensive experience in eco-friendly retrofits, Green Sheep Collective opened the home to greater amounts of natural light while improving energy efficiency with the reorientation of the living areas to the north and the installation of high-performance materials, such as improved insulation and low-e double glazing. The open-plan living area also enjoys a seamless connection with the outdoors to support the client’s hobby of gardening. “The comfort, energy efficiency and longevity of the house have been improved immeasurably,” the designers noted. “Despite an existing north wall along the boundary, sunlight is brought deep into the house via a raked ceiling paired with electric-operated clerestory windows that soar above the kitchen and dining areas, doubling to encourage the ‘stack effect’ for ventilation and distinguish the extension from the original Victorian home.” Related: Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia Adding to the overall sense of vibrancy, bright pops of color woven throughout were inspired by the client’s favorite Derwent pencils from childhood. A natural materials palette  — including plantation timber flooring and recycled red bricks — lend additional warmth and complement the restored furnishings that include the dining table, dining chairs and lounge suite. + Green Sheep Collective Photography by Emma Cross via Green Sheep Collective

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A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode

An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant

November 7, 2018 by  
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New Delhi-based, multidisciplinary design practice Studio Lotus has transformed a portion of Jaipur’s lavish City Palace Museum into Baradari, a contemporary fine dining restaurant that pays homage to its rich architectural roots. Formerly used as a fairly nondescript palace cafe, the 14,000-square-foot property has been given a sumptuous revamp using traditional craftsmanship and artisanal techniques. The adaptive reuse project is not only a hybrid of centuries-old elements and modern aesthetics, but is also a historic preservation project that included careful restoration efforts. The royal family of Jaipur commissioned Studio Lotus to redevelop the neglected property into a fine dining destination with a private dining area, bar, lounge space, a quick service counter and back of house facilities to accommodate approximately 200 patrons. The design team began with a lengthy research and restoration phase, during which the walls were stripped of recently added plaster to reveal the original stone masonry. These walls were then restored and repainted using traditional techniques and materials, including cured slaked lime with crushed sandstone and brick . The restaurant is organized around a pavilion -like bar, created in the likeness of a ‘baradari’ (meaning a pavilion with twelve columns), that divides the courtyard into two zones and is built from handcrafted marble and glass. Traditional Jaipur craftsmanship is mixed with modern design throughout the restaurant, from the structural additions to flooring and furniture. The black and white marble floors, for instance, are a contemporary take on the traditional Rajasthani leheriya pattern, while the designs for the decorative art made from thikri (mirror) techniques were computer generated. Related: The Farm art hotel delights guests with recycled art and farm-fresh food Energy usage is also minimized thanks to a combination of low tech and high tech means. In addition to energy-efficient air conditioning and remote-controlled LEDs , the restaurant is equipped with rainwater harvesting systems and strategically placed water features that help create a cooling microclimate. + Studio Lotus Images via Studio Lotus

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An ancient Jaipur palace property is transformed into a modern restaurant

An old warehouse is rehabbed into chic apartments in Montreal

October 25, 2018 by  
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A former industrial warehouse in Montreal has been reborn as an airy and modern residential development thanks to the work of local architectural practice Blouin Tardif Architectes . Originally built at the turn of the century, the building has shed its manufacturing persona, yet the adaptive reuse project retains traces of its industrial past with exposed beams, tall ceilings and a brick facade. Dubbed Monument, the renovated building consists of seven contemporary apartments. Located in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal district at the corner of Colonial Avenue and Demers Street, the building was first erected in 1905 for The Saint Louis Preserving Company. A major overhaul and expansion was carried out in 1933 after lingerie company Grenier took over the building; the company left the location in 2012. To pay homage to the building’s long manufacturing history, Blouin Tardif Architectes followed a minimalist approach that preserved the existing frame and material palette of steel, concrete and wood while creating additional openings to increase access to natural light . Related: Old Sydney warehouse is transformed into an industrial-chic home Renovated to include a new third level atop the existing two floors, the three-story building comprises seven spacious units with parking spaces tucked in the basement. The three units on the ground floor consist of two- and three-bedroom layouts each with a fully wood-finished loggia. Above, the second and third floors house four residential units styled as penthouse-style townhouses with courtyards and terraces. The bedrooms, bathrooms and office are organized around a courtyard on the lower level, and the living spaces and a private outdoor terrace are located in the new extension above. Through the preservation of the building’s historical, architectural details, such as the brick masonry, and the addition of modern design elements, Blouin Tardif Architectes tips its hat to the former preservation company — which was known for making jams, pickles and hot sauce — as well as the lingerie company that called the building home for more than 80 years. + Blouin Tardif Architectes Photography by Steve Montpetit via Blouin Tardif Architectes

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An old warehouse is rehabbed into chic apartments in Montreal

A curved tunnel provides an unexpected connection in a renovated, mid-century home

October 24, 2018 by  
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When a well-traveled couple tapped Australian design practice Nic Owen Architects to renovate and expand their modest 1940s home in Hampton, the architecture firm channeled the clients’ love of adventure into a design that boasts elements of mystery and surprise. Connecting the original clicker brick structure to a new extension is a dark tunnel that’s curved to obscure views of either end and to create what the architects call a “surprising adventure,” giving rise to the project’s name, the Journey House. The project brief called for greater living spaces, updated amenities and a strong connection with the outdoors to complement a more tranquil and relaxing home environment. To respect the neighborhood’s character, the architects preserved the existing building and tucked the contemporary extension into the rear away from view of the street. Obscuring the extension creates a “voyage of discovery” for visitors who enter the mid-century home and then travel through the black timber-clad, curved tunnel that opens up to the surprisingly bright and airy destination: the new timber-framed extension housing the open-plan living spaces. Large,  double-glazed windows and sliding doors provide the close connection to nature that the homeowners wanted. “Filled with natural light, vaulted ceilings and the abundance of space, this new extension adds modern life to a tired mid-century classic,” the architects said in a project statement. “The project was a great opportunity to explore the idea of journey, the path one takes exploring the environment, to create an enticing, stimulating, workable space. I enjoyed challenging the perception of a typical family renovation/extension.” Related: A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience Updated to 166 square meters, the renovated and expanded house also boasts improved energy efficiency. In addition to the double-pane glass windows and doors oriented to the north to capitalize on solar gain, the architects installed custom CFC solar shades and used recycled materials and LED lighting throughout. + Nic Owen Architects Photography by  Christine Francis via Nic Owen Architects

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

October 23, 2018 by  
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Urban farming can be tough, especially when it’s in the middle of the densely packed Belgian city of Mechelen. But thanks to the determination of a client “with green fingers” and the clever design thinking of Belgian architecture firm dmvA , a solution was conceived in House TP, a renovation project with a new greenhouse in the rear. In addition to space for growing greens, the transformed property also enjoys greater access to natural light and views of the outdoors. Located next to a church, the compact, 90-square-meter home is sandwiched between two buildings with a north-oriented rear side. To improve access to sunlight, the architects removed the back of the building save for a single steel beam that inspired the firm to insert extra beams to create a base for a “floating” greenhouse , which allows natural light to pass through to the patio space below. In contrast to the mostly closed front facade, large glazed openings were also added to the back of the building to frame views of the greenhouse from the second and third floors. Since the top floor enjoys the greatest access to natural light , the architects decided to place the primary living areas on the third floor while placing the bedroom downstairs. The ground floor houses an additional living space that can be converted into a bedroom. The removal of walls and an open-plan layout make the compact home feel larger than its footprint lets on. The stairs were also strategically placed to the side of the building to avoid blocking sight lines. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion In contrast to its redbrick neighbors, the building exterior is painted a bright white. Another major exterior change includes the addition of a gate with steel blinds installed at an angle of 45 degrees. “This kind of gate provides sufficient privacy but still gives an open, light impression,” reads the firm’s project statement. “Previously, the dark corner at the gate was a problematic spot in the street, but with the intervention of dmvA, it has become a fresh corner that revives the street. dmvA not only created a house that met the wishes of the owner, but the refurbishment also led to a revival of the street.” + dmvA Via ArchDaily Images by Bart Gosselin

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

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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