This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

November 1, 2018 by  
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Tapped to design a home for a master gardener in Portland, Oregon, Olson Kundig crafted the Country Garden House, a light-filled home that frames garden views from every room. Designed for indoor-outdoor living, the home features walls of glass that overlook stunning vistas and spans 5,300 square feet to accommodate the needs of a multigenerational family. Clad in reclaimed barnwood, the home’s simple gabled form and ample glazing are evocative of traditional farm architecture. Completed in 2013, the Country Garden House is designed to harmonize with its lush landscape. Timber is used throughout, from the exterior siding and soffits to the interior surfaces and furnishings. Large grid windows with black metal framing help to break up the timber palette while also brightening the interior with natural light. American plantsman and garden writer Dan Hinkley was brought on to collaborate on the design of the gardens, which are visible from every room in the home. A green roof further ties the house into its surroundings, as do the easily accessible outdoor living spaces designed for family gatherings. “The entry sequence brings visitors underneath leafy trellises to a front door that opens to a long vista through the living room, opening to views of the verdant hillside beyond,” the architects explained in a project statement. “A long gallery corridor separates the private bedroom spaces from the more ‘public’ living spaces, and showcases the owners’ artworks. Their art extends into the main living areas with custom casework designed to display a rich collection of Asian porcelain, as well as a hand-painted mural by Leo Adams in the dining room.” Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials Enclosed by cedar walls and grid glazing, the living areas are anchored by a stone fireplace that separates the den from the living room. Exposed timber ceilings create “a sense of rustic refinement” and give the home another rustic counterpoint to the mix of contemporary and antique furnishings used throughout. + Olson Kundig Photography by  Jeremy Bittermann Photography via Olson Kundig

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This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

A solar-powered home hides behind a colossal, sloped green roof

October 12, 2018 by  
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We often profess our love of green roofs , but a recent home design in Krakow has really taken the idea to the next level. Polish firm Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa has just unveiled a beautiful home with an enormous green roof that’s sloped over the entire northern side of the home. The roof is so large that it camouflages the barn-inspired home entirely on one side, providing the home with its name, the House Behind the Roof. The 2,000-square-foot home is located in a residential area outside Krakow. The building is part of a housing estate with 10 other homes built relatively close together. According to the architects, the first stages of the planning were focused on ensuring the privacy of the homeowners. As a result, the home’s design was created with the immense roof that pulls double duty as an eave that shades the interior while providing the utmost in privacy. Related: A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture Although the architects wanted to go with a traditional, flat green roof, local building codes prohibited them from doing so. As an alternative, the architects decided to top the home with a 45-degree sloped plane on the northern side. Covered with lush succulents, the roof gives a touch of whimsy to the design but also acts as a privacy shade and insulation. On the southern side of the home, multiple solar panels soak up the sun’s energy. At the apex of the A-frame roof, a series of large skylights allow natural light into the home. The house is clad in a light-hued Western Red Cedar. Because of the resilient nature of the wood , it wasn’t necessary to treat the timber beforehand. As a result, the wood will take on a silver-gray patina over time. Additionally, care for the green roof is also minimal. Long-lasting dry periods in this region are not common, and the succulents planted on the roof are low-maintenance. The rustic wooden aesthetic continues throughout the interior of the two-story home. Along with the skylights, there are multiple windows that are mounted high in the walls to provide the interior with natural light and ventilation. The home is laid out in a rectangular plan, reminiscent of a traditional barn . The ground floor houses the kitchen and living space, along with a bathroom and utility room. The master bedroom and en suite bathroom are on the top floor, as well as two extra bedrooms and a children’s playroom. On the bottom floor, large sliding glass doors lead out to an open-air deck with a barbecue and dining space. + Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa Via Archdaily Photography by Bart?omiej Drabik

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A solar-powered home hides behind a colossal, sloped green roof

New study suggests it’s time to replace modern, grassy lawns

October 12, 2018 by  
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The lush green lawns surrounding many homes, businesses, parks and other outdoor spaces might not be the greatest idea, according to Australian scientist Maria Ignatieva and Swedish scientist Marcus Hedblom. In a new study published in the journal  Science , the urban ecologists suggested that we need to rethink the modern lawn in favor of more sustainable options. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that the negative environmental consequences of green lawns far outweigh the natural benefits, and we need to start exploring new forms of groundcover. The scientists claimed that the amount of water , fertilizer and mowing that lawns require is a problem — especially when we use gas-powered mowers that emit carbon monoxide and other toxins into the air. The use of those mowers negates any positives of the lawn pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. Related: How to transform your wasteful grassy space into a food forest garden The ecologists also pointed out that globally, lawns occupy an amount of land equivalent to the area of England and Spain combined. In arid regions of the U.S., lawns are responsible for 75 percent of household water consumption. To make matters worse, weed killers and fertilizers used to keep lawns pristine find their way to the water table. If you think artificial turf is a solution, think again. Turf does not contribute to carbon sequestration — the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — and it also causes problems with water runoff. It is also possible that it could poison local water tables. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that some communities have started allowing natural meadows to grow instead of lawns. In places like Berlin, residents have allowed the landscape to grow wild. These ideas are a step in the right direction, but the ecologists suggest the need for more scientific research into some plant types that could develop into naturally short grass alternatives that don’t require a lot of water for survival. The study also urges people to change their way of thinking when it comes to their lawns. + Science Mag Via Phys.org Images via Daniel Watson

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New study suggests it’s time to replace modern, grassy lawns

LEED Gold home celebrates Utah’s brilliant light and beauty

September 28, 2018 by  
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Designed to “celebrate Utah’s brilliant light and raw beauty,” this LEED Gold -certified family home in Utah embraces indoor-outdoor living. Salt Lake City-based Sparano + Mooney Architecture crafted the home for clients who sought the perfect mountain home in Park City, Utah. Working in step with interior designer Julie Chahine of J Squared interior design and clients who had a clear idea of what they wanted, the architects pulled together a sustainable and contemporary dwelling that works in concert with the landscape inside and out. Perched at a high elevation overlooking views of Park City and the Utah Winter Olympic Park, the two-story Park City Modern Residence was designed with a sensitive approach to the landscape. The site-specific design and division of the public areas from the private zones were informed by the existing topography. Outdoor terraces offer a seamless connection to the outdoors with immediate access from the master suite and living room; an accessible green roof planted with native flora also offers stellar views of a nearby golf course. To relate the home to the mountain environment punctuated by highly textured scrub oak, the architects employed a nature-inspired material palette mainly comprising cedar wood, glass and board-formed concrete. “These were inspired through a study of transparency, minimalism and serenity,” the architecture firm noted in a project statement. “The architecture and interiors are speaking the same language — the details, color schemes and artwork — all worked so perfectly with the architecture. Julie’s palette came from nature, and our materiality did too.” Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof Certified LEED Gold, the 5,500-square-foot abode draws renewable energy from a ground-source heat pump and keeps its energy demands low with high performance, energy-efficient building systems. Passive solar orientation also helps the home keep comfortably cool in the summer months and retains heat and access to natural light in winter. + Sparano + Mooney Architecture Images by Derek Israelsen

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LEED Gold home celebrates Utah’s brilliant light and beauty

A dome made of rearview mirrors, seat belts and soda bottles floats on Grand River

September 28, 2018 by  
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Husband-and-wife team Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi of New York City-based SLO Architecture recently set afloat the latest iteration in their series of Harvest Domes — massive dome-shaped installations made from locally sourced, repurposed materials . Dubbed Harvest Dome 3.0, their most recent buoyant installation can be found in the Grand River of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it celebrates the waterway’s heritage and role in powering the city’s manufacturing legacy. Measuring 20 feet in diameter, the colorful orb was constructed from a mix of surplus seat belts, rearview mirrors and soda bottles. Set afloat last month, Harvest Dome 3.0 was created for ArtPrize 10, a 19-day free event where artists from around the world transform three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids into an open-air gallery of art installations. SLO Architecture’s highly site-specific addition to this year’s line-up uses local materials harvested from the Grand River industry. Buoyed by a ring of 128 repurposed two-liter soda bottles, Harvest Dome 3.0 measures 20 feet in depth, 20 feet in width and 18 feet in height. “While the river’s energy propelled Grand Rapids to become a center for logging, furniture fabrication and automotive industries, the possibility of the river also engendered changes to landscape ecology, leading to flooding and contamination,” the designers explained in a project statement. “The transcendent abstract form of Harvest Dome 3.0 emerges from a flotsam of accumulated materials, its bright blue seat belt lines and sky-and-water-reflecting rearview mirrors shimmering like a bubble coming up from the surging rapids, transfiguring the river’s power and possibility.” Related: Beautiful Harvest Dome constructed from 450 found umbrellas wins the Dwell Vision Award A team of workers assembled the dome next to the Grand River over a series of days in late August. It was then lifted into the river by a crane and is secured in the water with ropes. ArtPrize 10 concludes October 7, 2018. + SLO Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via Scott Rasmussen / SLO Architecture; lead image via TJ Mattieu / SLO Architecture

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A dome made of rearview mirrors, seat belts and soda bottles floats on Grand River

Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

September 14, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based architecture studio SuperLimão and architect Gabriela Coelho recently completed GSC, a massive multi-use collector’s gallery built from shipping containers and other metal materials. Located in a lush area of São Paulo, the spacious complex also contains an office, a gym, a small workshop, a kennel and additional gallery space for the client’s other prized items. The industrial character of the cargotecture project was softened with the addition of turf and potted plants, while passive solar techniques were employed to maximize energy efficiency. Covering an area of nearly 19,400 square feet, the GSC is a multilevel project that houses the garage on the ground floor and uses a series of reused shipping containers stacked on top to form the upper level. Rather than place all the containers side by side in a row, the architects strategically arranged the 10 containers to promote natural ventilation, lighting and sight lines between the different areas. The interstitial spaces between containers were converted into green space with seating and timber decking. The roofs of the containers were also landscaped with rows and rows of potted plants. “One characteristic that differentiates our project from the usual container projects that we are used to seeing is that this particular project is totally adapted to our climate while utilizing the maximum passive techniques of form to maximize energy efficiency and take advantage of reusable materials from the container itself,” the architects explained. “All of the spaces have windows on three different levels. They not only allow for ventilation , but they also perform at an optimal level on days without wind. The exterior walls are finished in a ceramic paint and work in conjunction with the roof covered in foliage to thermally regulate the internal environment thus reducing the use of air-conditioning equipment.” Air conditioning is only used during the hottest parts of summer. Related: 13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island The interiors of the containers were renovated to house a variety of rooms, yet the look of the original walls and doors was preserved to reference the building material’s history. Full-height glazing creates a sense of permeability that continues throughout the structure. Outside, rainwater is collected in a large cistern and reused. + SuperLimão Via ArchDaily Images by Maíra Acayaba

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Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture

September 13, 2018 by  
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When Singaporean architecture firm Park + Associates was tapped to design an extension for Nanyang Girls’ High School in Singapore, the team knew that it would have to think creatively. The brief called for two large four-story blocks that would house a variety of programs, including classrooms, a large performing arts center and a multipurpose indoor sports hall. To meet these requirements without overshadowing the school’s existing architecture, the firm built the spaces below ground — an unconventional move and considered the first of its kind for an academic extension in Singapore  — and topped the new buildings with artificial turf that can be used for sports and outdoor recreation. Founded in 1917, the Nanyang Girls’ High School is one of the top public schools in Singapore. The school changed campuses several times and has been established at its present location along Dunearn and Bukit Timah Roads in the heart of Singapore since 1999. The school’s original colonial-inspired architecture comprises a clock tower flanked by two brick wings and has become an iconic landmark for the area. As a result, Park + Associates wanted to preserve the appearance of the building without necessarily emulating the existing school complex in the new design. Therefore, the firm decided to set the two new extension blocks partly below ground and top the volumes with curved green roofs that slope to touch the ground. By lining the roofs with artificial turf, the architects could also replace the school field. Careful consideration was taken to create bright and airy interior spaces within the partially underground extension, which enjoys access to plenty of natural light, views and natural ventilation. Related: New images show greenery engulfing Singapore’s tropical skyscraper The architects explained, “This Nanyang Girls’ High School extension, as the first secondary education institution in Singapore that has spaces below ground, is symbolic, as it allows students to see that rethinking assumption and rules, followed up with constructive discussions, can result in an outcome more successful and creative than otherwise imaginable.” + Park + Associates Images by Edward Hendricks and Frank Pinckers

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NY man spends 6 years building this incredible, energy-efficient hobbit home

September 13, 2018 by  
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A lot of lives have been touched by the Lord of the Rings films, but super fan Jim Costigan took it one step further by building his own Bag End-inspired hobbit home . The New York construction supervisor and his family spent more than six years building the energy-efficient cottage with a curved shape and lush green roof that would even make Bilbo Baggins a little bit envious. Like millions of people, Jim Costigan was enthralled by The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Specifically, though, he was drawn to the home of Bilbo Baggins, Bag End. The curved home enveloped in greenery spoke to Costigan’s love of design.  “I thought that was the coolest house I’d ever seen,” Costigan said. “Architecturally, I thought that that house in the movie was just really well-done, that it was really original. The curvatures, everything about it was unique.” Although Costigan had spent most of his career working on skyscrapers in Manhattan, he decided to re-create the charming design in his own backyard, with a cottage he now calls Hobbit Hollow. Related: This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year More than just a fan’s whimsy, the ambitious builder set about to not only recreate the famed hobbit home, but to make it an earth-sheltered passive house . From the start, the entire project was integrated with energy-efficient details, including thermal bridge-free construction that provides a tightly insulated shell, as well as triple-pane thermal windows and a heat recovery ventilator. Starting with a concrete foundation, the 1,500-square-foot home was built with various creative features that showed off his attention to hobbit detail as well as his commitment to sustainability . Just like Bag End, the exterior of the house is clad in natural stone. However, when it came to putting in the signature round door, there was a bit of a snag, because it didn’t meet Passive House standards. Working around the problem, Costigan built a circular red frame that hides the rectangular door. And of course, no hobbit home would be complete without a lush green roof that follows the curve of the design, blending it deep into the landscape. On the inside of the home, a high barrel-vaulted ceiling gives the tiny space character and depth. The abundance of windows and skylights in every room, except the guest bathroom, flood the interior with natural light . Adding to the charm is the various geometric shapes and patterns that the family imprinted into the concrete ceiling and skylight borders themselves. As an extra nod to the beloved films, a replica sword hangs over the electric stone fireplace, a gift to Costigan from his sons. Located in Pawling, New York, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom hobbit home sits on 1.7 acres of natural forestscape with an open-air bluestone patio in the back. From there, the family and visitors enjoy the sounds of a babbling stream that leads to an idyllic Shire-like waterfall and pond. + My Hobbit Shed Via Houzz Images via Jim Costigan

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NY man spends 6 years building this incredible, energy-efficient hobbit home

Energy-savvy art museum is anchored atop a historic Dutch dike

September 4, 2018 by  
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Rising out of a historic dike, the new Lisser Art Museum pays homage to the landscape’s context while offering a new contemporary cultural destination in Lisse, The Netherlands. Dutch architecture firm KVDK architecten headed the recently completed project and embraced smart, sustainable solutions from the optimization of natural daylighting to gray water collection systems. Wrapped in earth-colored Petersen bricks, the modest, light-filled building feels like an extension of the forest, and ample glazing provides connection with nature on all sides. Commissioned by the VandenBroek Foundation, the small-scale museum is located in the Keukenhof, a former country estate dating from the 17th century that had featured a terraced garden with an artificial dike — unique in the Netherlands at the time. The estate was later redesigned in 1860 by landscape architects J.D. and L.P. Zocher, who transformed it into a cultural park that has since achieved national heritage status. The recently completed museum was an addition in the Keukenhof cultural park masterplan drafted in 2010. “One ingenious but also complicated strategy involved placing the foundations in the historical dike core, thereby making the museum the pivot point between a landscaped approach, the historical terraced landscape, the open sandy area and the wooded dune ridge,” the architects explained. “Intensive consultation and careful dimensioning ensured that the plan for a museum on this sensitive spot was wholeheartedly embraced by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, the government body that oversees the register of national monuments.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde uses light art to breathe new life into an iconic Dutch dike The museum comprises two main volumes, the lower of which is set into the dike — glass curtain walls emphasize and embrace the land form — and supports the upper, cantilevered volume enclosed in brick . The interior is flexible with multipurpose spaces and follow the Guggenheim principle in which visitors experience all the exhibition spaces by winding down from the highest point. In addition to natural lighting, the museum is equipped with thermal energy storage, a green roof and a gray water system for toilets. The museum depot is located inside of the dike to take advantage of the earth’s natural cooling properties. + KVDK architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Sjaak Henselmans and Ronald Tilleman

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This eco-friendly prefab home was built in just 28 days

August 27, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based engineering and construction company SysHaus and Brazilian architecture firm Studio Arthur Casas have designed and installed the first-ever SysHaus, a modular family residence that features a wide array of eco-friendly features. Prefabricated from 100 percent  recyclable materials , the São Paulo house was constructed in just 28 days using proprietary technology that the designers say “doesn’t generate excess materials or utilize water.” The energy-saving elements of the house include a rainwater catchment and reuse system, solar roof tiles, a green roof and even a biodigester to turn organic waste into gas for the fireplace and kitchen. The chic and contemporary design of the SysHaus spans nearly 2,200 square feet. Since the single-family home was designed to embrace environmentally friendly principles both inside and out, the design and construction team enlisted the help of landscape designer Renata Tilli to direct the planting plans of the garden spaces. The lush landscape includes bamboo and grass, fast growing plants that require little maintenance and water. In contrast, Tilli also specified the inclusion of several olive trees, chosen for their slow-growing characteristics in a nod to the home’s longevity. Related: Beautiful cabin pops up in ten days with minimal landscape disturbance Architect Arthur Casas directed not only the architectural design of SysHaus, but also determined the interior furnishings and finishes of the prefab home. The cohesive design emphasizes a strong connection with nature thanks to its natural materials palette and large sliding doors that blur the boundary between the interior and exterior, which continues on to the outdoor landscaping and living spaces. The home features a sense of fluidity in the interior spaces, which feel interconnected. “Nature and design integration are key to this Brazilian Startup SysHaus’ and Studio Arthur Casas’ project,” the team said in a press release. “Using modular system manufacturing, project needs and specifications made its parts in a very efficient and functional mode.” + Studio Arthur Casas Images via Studio Arthur Casas

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