A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat

June 20, 2018 by  
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A city-dwelling family in need of rural respite reached out to Von Weise Associates to make their country escape a reality. In response, the Chicago-based architecture firm delivered a stunning modern getaway that fully embraces the rural vernacular with a sensitive renovation of an existing farmhouse and barn. Located in the southeast Michigan township of Sawyer near Lake Michigan, the Retreat House consists of a new single-family house and adjacent studio for the artistic couple. In designing the home’s layout, Von Weise Associates took cues from the layouts of traditional farms , where the different functions were typically located in different buildings. In much the same way, the retreat conceptually places the different living spaces — including the sleeping, cooking and work areas — into separate volumes. Anchoring the home is the kitchen , dining area and living space housed within the refurbished old barn with a striking gambrel roof and soaring arched ceilings. The light-filled great room opens up to an adjacent screened porch. The original farmhouse was gut- renovated into an artist’s painting studio and sleeping loft. Large windows and skylights flood the interiors with natural light, while the reflective whitewashed walls emphasize a bright and airy feel throughout. Modern and unfussy furnishings, natural timber and a rusty-red painted exterior help tie the building to its rustic past. Related: Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse “All portions of the house have a close relationship to the ground, making the landscape a vital part of the program,” Von Weise Architects said. “The orientation of the house creates multiple outdoor living spaces, plus a gardening area. The landscape and the orientation of the structures set up layers of space that moves from the public way to privacy of the house. The most private space beyond the house embraces the expansive wooded site on three sides.” + Von Weise Associates Images by Steve Hall

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A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat

This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof

June 18, 2018 by  
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Outside the concrete jungle of São Paulo , Brazil is a solar-powered holiday retreat that fully embraces nature. Brazilian architecture firm Studio MK27 designed the striking home, called the Planar House, for a couple and their three children. Despite the rather spacious size of 10,763 square feet, the dwelling projects lightness thanks to its concrete slab green roof that appears to float above the landscape. Topped with a grassy green roof , the Planar House was crafted to blend in with the surrounding lawn and rolling hills. The building was constructed almost entirely of reinforced, poured in-situ concrete. Slender metallic pillars on both side of the home hold up the concrete slab roof. The home, which was designed for entertaining, consists of five en-suite bedrooms, the staff quarters, kitchen, kid’s playroom and expansive living and dining areas with indoor-outdoor access thanks to sliding glass doors. A hallway that runs north to south divides the programming. “Planar House is a radical exercise in horizontality, [an] aspect commonly explored in the projects of the studio,”  Studio MK27 explained. “Discreetly inserted in the highest point of the plot and favoring the existing topography, its presence is most strongly felt in the footprint rather than volumetrically. [The home is] an extensive line in an open landscape.” Related: Flat green roof helps Casa Guarujá integrate with the forest in Brazil The holiday home’s design was strongly influenced by Miesian architecture. The home is sandwiched between two concrete slabs with the upper slab serving as a structural platform. The interiors feature board-formed concrete ceilings and a mostly timber material palette that lends warmth throughout. In contrast to the home’s rigid geometry, the architects added a sinuous brick wall — punctuated by voids to let in light and views — that wraps around part of the home. The architects said, “The wall, which is usually a symbol of division and isolation, in this project, is at times concave and at others convex, embracing the entrance garden and creating transparencies as well as offering protection from the street.” + Studio MK27 Images by Fernando Guerra

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This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof

Light-filled Lake Cottage with a zigzagging roof is embedded into the hillside

June 1, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm artek created a site-specific holiday home lodged into the hillside by a lake in El Peñol, a Colombian town renowned for its massive 650-foot-tall monolith. In a nod to the hilly environment (and perhaps the town’s famous monolith), the Lake Cottage is topped with a series of steep gables joined together to create a dramatic zigzagging roofline. Large sliding doors and windows as well as an outdoor stone patio blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. Completed in 2016, the Lake Cottage covers two floors with an area of 1,076 square feet. The home is oriented northeast to face the Guatape Reservoir and the fjords, peninsulas and islands beyond. The cottage consists of five interconnected gabled structures, with the rightmost structure serving as the entrance. The entrance is marked by a fully glazed gabled end wall, however only the left halves of the four other end walls are glazed. The zigzagging roofline extends slightly outward to shade the home from unwanted solar heat gain. “The composition of the construction elements (Tekton) are arranged in an ideal order, the stereotomic constraints make up the platforms, the interior walls are emptied monolithic concrete with EPS soul that allow achieving the asymmetric trapezoidal silhouettes in a rhythm of full and empty,” the architects wrote. “This as a cloak protects the house from the ‘natural antagonist phenomenon.’” Related: Kengo Kuma’s new community center hides a hilly indoor landscape under its zigzag-roof The interior is finished in light-colored wood. The large glazed openings, in addition to the row of clerestory windows in the rear, let in natural light. The home comprises an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen to the north and also includes three ensuite bathrooms, one of which is located on the smaller lower level. The upper level opens up to an outdoor terrace that connects to the boat dock and rear parking pad via a stepping-stone path. + artek Via ArchDaily Images by Sergio Gómez

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Light-filled Lake Cottage with a zigzagging roof is embedded into the hillside

Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico

May 15, 2018 by  
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Architects Fernanda Canales and Claudia Rodriguez completed a unique weekend home that consists of nine pavilion-like volumes, each carefully positioned for optimal views. Located in a rural site just a few hours outside Mexico City , the 6,500-square-foot holiday retreat — named Casa Bruma — was designed as a series of boxes in order to sidestep the removal of existing trees. To soften the look of the concrete, the architects darkened the facades with a black pigment and topped most of the units with gardens. Casa Bruma features nine volumes of varying heights — corresponding to topographic conditions and spatial hierarchy — clustered around a central stone-paved courtyard . “This design solution was born out of the need to respect every existing tree on the site and to provide every space with sunlight both during the morning and the afternoon,” the architects explained. “The result is an ‘exploded house,’ where the dwelling is composed of isolated volumes that are placed according to the views, the orientations and the existing vegetation.” Walkways connect the main buildings, which house the kitchen, dining room, living room, master bedroom and children’s bedroom. The two guest bedrooms and the garage are located in the remaining units on the other side of the courtyard. The living room and one of guest rooms also open up to outdoor roof terraces . Related: A lush rooftop oasis flourishes on this renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City The minimalist design uses only five materials: black concrete , wood, stone, metal and glass. The natural materials palette and subdued colors give the home a “timeless character” and help the buildings recede into the landscape. Throughout the site, the element of surprise is a common theme, starting with a semi-hidden path at the entrance that gradually reveals glimpses of the courtyard. + Fernanda Canales Via Dezeen Images by Rafael Gamo

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Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico

Wake up to Himalayan views in this timber-clad holiday home in India

April 23, 2018 by  
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A zen-filled getaway awaits families in the foothills of the world’s highest mountain range. There, Matra Architects designed the Woodhouse Farm, a private holiday home tucked in north India’s Nainital. Surrounded by traditional village houses, the timber-clad abode derives inspiration from the local vernacular while ensuring comfort and unforgettable views of the Himalayas . A sharply pitched roof clad on one side with skylights floods the interior with natural light while mimicking the nearby mountains. Available to rent on AirBnB , the cozy retreat sleeps up to 10 guests in five bedrooms and five-and-a-half baths starting at $528 a night. “The design of the house responds to proximity of snow clad northern Himalayan panorama on the horizon while still rooted strongly to the existing and unharmed terraces it occupies,” wrote the architects. “These two overwhelming landscape features influenced the building’s placement at the lowest terrace level of the property and its merger with the larger environment.” Related: Soak in views of the Indian Himalayas at this bamboo-clad hotel villa The exterior is clad in locally sourced oiled toona wood, while the building is set on a dry stonewall base also locally excavated. Following the natural terrain, the pine-lined interior steps down into three levels, each approximately 560 square feet in size. Four 48-foot-long truss frames built of multiple glued sal wood planks and thin steel tie rods support the roof and provide enough reinforcement to create an open space uninterrupted by additional columns. Square windows punctuate all sides of the facade to ensure “zen views” of the landscape. + Matra Architects Via Dezeen Images via Edmund Sumner

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Wake up to Himalayan views in this timber-clad holiday home in India

This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

June 5, 2017 by  
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This underground holiday home in Greece is topped with a green roof that offers panoramic views of the Peloponnese peninsula. The owners commissioned LASSA Architects to design a house that would activate the periphery of the plot and provide a vantage point from which to observe the surroundings. The 1614-square-foot Villa Ypsilon is located in an olive grove in southern Peloponnese. A three-pronged concrete shell forms the roof and establishes three courtyards with different exposures to the sun. An eye-shaped swimming pool and sun deck are partially sheltered underneath a concrete lip that defines the green roof. Two other curved facades frame a sunken seating area and the main entrance to the building. Related: Take a Peek at a Stunning Secret Swiss Villa Hidden Into a Mountainside! “The design of the concrete shell and the courtyards’ orientation is such that it produces shadows at specific times of the day,” said the architects. “We are interested in the idea of form integration. That is, that form can be the result of overlapping and precise design decisions . . . in this case the vaulting concrete shell is structural, its bisecting axes frames specific views, its sloping [form] makes it walkable and its extent is a result of environmental optimization.” Related: Beautiful Underground Aloni House Blends in With The Earth Most of the structure is prefabricated, which significantly reduced assembly costs and construction time. The architects used a CNC machine to fabricate prototypes of the concrete shell and develop the final shape of the house. The use of locally sourced materials – such as concrete, terrazzo and marble – root the design in its cultural and geographic context. + LASSA Architects Via Dezeen Photos by NAARO

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This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years

June 5, 2017 by  
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Want to know exactly what President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement means? Here are some projections of how climate change could alter our planet in the upcoming century. From rising sea levels to a thawing Arctic and bleached coral reefs , the Earth we leave to our grandchildren could be a remarkably different place. Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Gavin Schmidt told Business Insider we can’t stop global warming . It’s already in motion even if we were to curb all carbon emissions tomorrow. But Schmidt said it’s possible for us to slow climate change so we can better adapt to our changing world. Business Insider drew from several sources to examine what our world could look like – if nations do indeed stick to the Paris Agreement. Related: Several scientists predict the apocalypse will occur uncomfortably soon We’ll see more temperature anomalies – or how much a given temperature is off the normal temperature of a region. Greenland summers could be utterly free of ice by 2050. Tropical summers could have 50 percent more extreme heat days by 2050. Water resources will be impacted, with scientists predicting severe droughts will occur more frequently. Rising sea levels could also change life on the coasts of numerous countries, and unexpected collapses of ice shelves could erratically change sea levels. Oceans could rise two to three feet by 2100, which could displace around four million people even in the best case scenarios. Meanwhile oceans will warm as they absorb carbon dioxide and lead to acidification that threatens coral reefs – nearly all of tropical reefs could be harmed. Half of those tropical coral reefs are still under threat in best case scenarios. Schmidt said the 2100 Earth could be between “a little bit warmer than today and a lot warmer than today.” We have an opportunity now to curb emissions and slow climate change through solutions like renewable energy or carbon capture technology. We just have to take action. Via Business Insider Images via NASA , Andreas Kambanis on Flickr , and Matt Kieffer on Flickr

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How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years

Self-built Tinhouse is a contemporary take on Isle of Skye vernacular design

July 26, 2016 by  
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Set on the northwestern tip of the Isle of Skye, the 70-square-meter Tinhouse overlooks beautiful views of The Minch strait. The holiday home is both modern and rustic with its gabled form and corrugated aluminum skin. The metal cladding also helps protect the home from the harsh elements. Rural Design founders Gill Smith and Alan Dickson designed and built the Tinhouse over the course of five years and chose materials for “an ease of build by one person.” The architects write: “In this way, the handmade Tinhouse celebrates the self-build tradition commonly found in a rural context.” Related: Modern Cliff House overlooks stunning seaside views on Scotland’s Isle of Skye In contrast to the uniform metal skin, the modern interior sports a diverse color and materials palette. Muted concrete, white-painted surfaces, and timber framing provide a neutral backdrop for the vibrant pops of color used in the furnishings, from the grass green chairs to the sunset orange cushions. The bespoke furniture reflects the “handmade spirit of the house” and is built from recycled materials , such as the beds and seats constructed from leftover structural timber. A series of windows line the side of the house facing the water to frame views of the strait. + Rural Design Via Dezeen Images © David Barbour, Rural Design, Alex Rece

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Dreamy holiday home by the lake makes the most of a small footprint

May 30, 2016 by  
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Commissioned by a family of five who sought a simple country getaway from Bratislava , the holiday home is sited on an island in the Danube River overlooking beautiful lakeside views. With only 65 square meters to work with, the architects organized the home around a large open-plan central living room and exposes a tall vaulted ceiling to create a sense of spaciousness. Natural light pours into the building through large glazed folding doors that open up to the adjacent lake and extend the footprint of the home to the outdoors. Whereas the building facade is mostly painted white, the timber-lined interior features a playful and eye-catching pop of color in the wall and shelving partition painted vibrant green. The partition opposite the green-painted wall is made from masonry blocks that absorb thermal energy from the fireplace and gradually release the heat over time. Both partition walls hide the sleeping areas and bathrooms, which include a master bedroom on one end and two sets of bunk beds on the other. Loft space beneath the rafters on both ends of the home can be used to accommodate extra guests or as play area for children. Related: JRKVC’s IST House Uses Traditional Slovakian Building Techniques to Reduce its Footprint “Outside the cabin is almost monochrome, just natural wood and white painted cladding,” says architect Peter Jurkovi?. “No details. All attention is paid to the essential part of the house, which is inside. There we find the beauty, colors and textures.” + JRKVC Via Dezeen Images via Peter Jurkovi?

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Dreamy holiday home by the lake makes the most of a small footprint

Statue of Liberty, Venice among world heritage sites at risk from climate change

May 30, 2016 by  
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The Statue of Liberty, Venice, Stonehenge, Galápagos islands and Easter Island are among the 31 natural and cultural world heritage sites in 29 countries that are threatened by climate change , according to a new report . Titled “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate,” the study was launched by UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) at the the UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. “Globally, we need to better understand, monitor and address climate change threats to World Heritage sites,” said Mechtild Rössler, director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center. “As the report’s findings underscore, achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to a level well below 2°C is vitally important to protecting our World Heritage for current and future generations.” Related: Five Pacific Ocean islands have already disappeared because of climate change The report finds that the iconic tourism sites are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, intensifying weather events, worsening droughts and longer wildfire seasons. Scientists involved in the study stressed the importance of global warming mitigation, stating that reducing greenhouse gases and restoring ecosystems in line with the Paris Agreement is “vital for the future of World Heritage.” According to the study, climate resilience will be important to protecting the sites. Venice is taking action on climate change adaptation with the building of the Mose flood barrier project . Related: Venice’s $7 Billion Moses Flood-Protection System Passes its First Test The report is not without controversy. It was revealed that the government of Australia pressured UNESCO to remove any mention of Australia in relation to the country’s wold heritage sites, including the Great Barrier Reef. The scrubbing of any references to Australia comes at a time when 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has been hit by coral bleaching. While Australia claimed it would impact tourism, Will Steffen, a scientific reviewer of the report, called the tactics reminiscent of “the old Soviet Union.” + Report: World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate Via The Guardian Images via Flickr and Wikipedia

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