Jet black lakeside home in the Netherlands designed to embrace the surrounding nature

January 18, 2019 by  
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Located just south of Amsterdam, the Vinkeveense Plassen is known for its incredible lakes and surrounding nature. When one family approached Dutch firm, i29 Interior Architects and Chris Collaris to build a home in the idyllic area, the designers created a beautiful 592-square-foot home strategically designed to embrace the incredible natural surroundings. Situated on a elongated island plot next to the lake, the home was designed with an inside-out strategy to make the most out of the limited square footage. The compact building lot enabled the architects to create a plan that would both reduce the project’s footprint and make the home more energy efficient. Working within those parameters, the designers chose a layout that includes four modules that house the living room,  kitchen/dining room, three bedrooms and one bathroom. A central, open-air patio connects the separate living spaces and creates a strong link with the exterior. Related: Curvaceous geothermal-powered home “floats” on a French lake The orientation of the home was at the forefront of the design. Being so close to the water, the architects wanted to make the most of the views and the natural sunlight . By dividing the home into four modules, the home was able to take advantage of the panoramic views and natural sunlight, reducing the home’s energy use in the process. The exterior of the home is clad in jet black timber panels , blending the home into the heavily forested lot. Large windows were embedded into the wooden facade to enhance the design’s minimalist feel. The landscaping around the home includes a lot of large trees that provide natural shade, and a lovely open air deck provides space for entertaining or dining al fresco. In contrast to its all-black exterior, the interior of the home is bright and airy. Large sliding glass doors and various windows allow natural light to flood the living spaces. Each volume has a distinct height and dimension, so the interior spaces are clearly defined. All white walls with light wooden hue accents and minimal Scandanavian-inspired furnishings give the space a fresh, modern aesthetic . + i29 Interior Architects + Chris Collaris Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Ewout Huibers  

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Jet black lakeside home in the Netherlands designed to embrace the surrounding nature

Former camping site turned into gorgeous family home clad in charred wood and natural stone

January 11, 2019 by  
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When tasked with creating a family home in Austin, local firm, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture , decided to go with a blend of charred wood , locally-sourced stone and glass panels. The result is the stunning Llano retreat, a design that was strategically built to embrace the natural landscape, while providing a contemporary, but cozy living space.   Situated along the Llano River in central Texas, the building site was used for years by the family as a camping and fishing spot for the weekends. After years of spending the warm Texas nights under a pole structure with metal roof, the family finally decided to put up a proper shelter, in the form of a beautiful family home that was specifically designed to take advantage of the idyllic natural setting. Related: Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool “After years of getting to know the ranch land, the family chose a site for their home at the top of a hill overlooking the river, only accessible through a low-water crossing,” said the team. “The design is a result of the knowledge of the landscape and the desire to retain the connection to nature.” The U-shaped layout of the home allowed the architects to bring the outdoors into the living space via a front courtyard . In the back of the home, the natural landscape consisting of trees, shrubs and wildflowers was left in its natural state. The home’s exterior is clad in locally-sourced limestone and wood charred in the Japanese shou sugi ban style.   Large glass panels not only further connect the interior with the exterior, but also flood the home with natural light. Large roof overhangs shade the windows during the hot summer months, but allow sunlight to enter the home during the colder months, reducing the need for artificial heating. The home’s doors and operable windows were strategically placed to enable air circulation. Inside the home, the interior design , led by the team from Laura Roberts Design, was focused on providing the family with a rustic yet cozy atmosphere. Double-height ceilings were clad in warm Douglas Fir and crossed with expose beams, giving the home a modern cabin feel. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels enable the homeowners to comfortably enjoy the stunning views from virtually any corner of the home. From the large kitchen, sliding glass doors open up to an outdoor space. + Michael Hsu Office of Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Casey Dunn

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Former camping site turned into gorgeous family home clad in charred wood and natural stone

Gorgeous, low-maintenance home comprised of dual farmhouse-style buildings

November 22, 2018 by  
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When architect Tim Sharpe and his wife Rani Blancpai decided to build their own home, they knew they wanted a design that would be low-maintenance in terms of energy and upkeep for years to come. To create their ultra-durable and low-energy home, they combined two extended barn-like volumes, clad in both galvanized steel and Australian spotted gum wood, to create a modern farmhouse installed with various passive features . Located in Byron Bay, Australia, on a large lot surrounded by hoop pines, the two farmhouse-style buildings make up the main four-bedroom home and a “granny flat”. Both structures have large gabled roofs, covered in a bright galvanized steel, which will patine over time. The rest of the structures are clad in a Australian spotted gum wood that contrasts nicely with the steel roofs. Not only were these two materials chosen to give the home a modern farmhouse aesthetic, but they are also known for their low-maintenance qualities. Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas The main home is a massive 3,600-square-foot space with four bedrooms. With its large steep-pitched gable ceiling, the interior is spacious and inviting throughout. To make the most out of natural light and solar gains , the main living space and bedrooms in the home were oriented to the north and east, “This results in minimal need for summer cooling and winter heating, and assures a pleasant, light-filled, comfortable space,” says Sharpe. Indeed, the interior living space is bright and modern, flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of large windows and a few strategically-placed skylights. A simple, neutral color scheme and natural materials give the space a contemporary, yet homey and aesthetic. Sharp designed a lot of the furniture himself, including the dining table and chairs. To create a comfortable and cost-effective temperature control year round on the interior, hydronic heating and cooling systems, sustained by a 23 KW solar PV system , were installed underneath the polished concrete floors. There are also multiple fans to enhance natural ventilation throughout the home. + Sharpe Design Construct Via Dwell Photography via Andy Macpherson via Sharp Design Construct  

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Gorgeous, low-maintenance home comprised of dual farmhouse-style buildings

Natural stone and an expansive green roof blend the stunning Gozu House into the Andes Mountains

August 30, 2018 by  
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When it comes to creating a serene living space, Medellín-based firm Opus Studio put nature first in their design for the gorgeous Gozu House. Located in the small Colombian province of Antioquia, which sits in the Andes mountains, the home blends into its stunning natural environment with help from its natural stone cladding and expansive green roofs . Sitting at an altitude of 7,200 feet, the 5,000-square-foot family home sits nested into a lush, green valley within the Andes Mountain range. The structure is comprised of three main modules, topped with two undulating green roofs meeting at the center module. The home’s jagged silhouette is designed to mimic the the mountains in the background. Related: A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest The Gozu House has a subtle presence thanks to its low, elongated volume, which, along with the natural pine wood and stone cladding , virtually camouflages the structure into its natural environment. The entrance of the home sits between the two “wings” of the design. Once inside, the entryway extends into a winding corridor that wraps around the interior, leading to the central living area and the exterior. Large glass panels and sliding doors provide a seamless connection with the outdoor space throughout the home’s layout. At the heart of the design is an open-air courtyard with a swimming pool surrounded by a large wooden deck –  a fun entertainment area for socializing. To create a home that was energy-efficient, the architects relied on a number of passive strategies. For instance, the main living space is oriented to the east to take advantage of the day’s sunlight while the bedrooms face the West to provide shade and privacy. Although the dual green roofs certainly play a part in connecting the home to its surroundings, they also provide an insulative thermal inertia for the living space, reducing the home’s energy needs. + Opus Studio Photography and video by Isaac Ramírez Marín via Opus Studio

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Natural stone and an expansive green roof blend the stunning Gozu House into the Andes Mountains

Lake house in Chile built with reclaimed wood melts into the forest

August 6, 2018 by  
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Just north of Chilean Patagonia, a beautiful, low-impact lake house blends into its incredible forest landscape, virtually invisible to the naked eye. Designed by architect Juan Pablo Labbé , Casa LM’s use of reclaimed wood and glass creates a strong relationship between the family home and its idyllic surroundings. Located on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, just a few kilometers to the east of Puerto Varas, the CL Home is located on the edge of a dense forest. The building lot has a slight slope that ends at the lake’s shoreline, creating the ideal space for a family lake home . Related: Beautiful cabin pops up in ten days with minimal landscape disturbance The concept for the design was born out of two main pillars. First, the home had to fit into an existing clearing to minimize impact on the environment. Secondly, the design had to incorporate distinct features in accordance with the seasons so that the home could be used year-round. The resulting space, which is over 2,000 square feet, is made out of local materials , with reclaimed wood as the main element. The design of the home incorporates just one single volume topped with a slightly slanted roof, whose shape virtually camouflages the home into the terrain. The area is known for its heavy rains, so the slanted roof helps direct rainwater to the back of the home. Designed to accommodate six people during the summer months, the home allows the owners and their family to take full advantage of the large open-air terrace that overlooks the lake. As part of the design process, the team decided to leave space for the existing trees to grow up through the deck, further connecting the home to its surroundings. In the winter months, the home is used by just two people, who spend most of the time inside, enjoying the home’s warm, cabin-like atmosphere. The interior space remains closely connected to the outdoors thanks to the interior finishings, made with wood  reclaimed from an old house. At the heart of the living space is a beautiful fireplace that helps keep the space warm and cozy during the winter months. The floor-to-ceiling glass panels, which look out over the lake, create harmony with the exterior as well. The large windows flood the home with natural light and offer spectacular views year-round. + Juan Pablo Labbé Via Archdaily Photography by Francisco Gallardo

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Lake house in Chile built with reclaimed wood melts into the forest

Architects used reclaimed materials to create this stunning home

June 27, 2018 by  
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Tijuana-based firm Guillot Arquitectos has unveiled the gorgeous PS House, a private residence that was built with reclaimed materials salvaged from a previous home on the same lot. The beautiful home design focuses on providing a strong connection with the outdoors and creating a long-lasting space that will accommodate the owners’ needs as they age. The PS House is located on a 10,000-square-foot plot in a secluded residential area of Tijuana, Mexico. The previous home had endured years of structural damage that was too severe to repair; however, when the building team demolished the original structure, they managed to salvage plenty of construction materials that they then used in the new home or donated to other projects. Related: Breezy Verandah House embraces indoor-outdoor living in India From the very beginning, the plan for the PS House’s design  had two main pillars. First, Guillot Arquitectos wanted to create a layout that would allow for a south-facing garden as well as a central patio. Secondly, the residence had to be limited to two floors in order to accommodate the owners’ needs as they aged. The building’s facade of exposed concrete and insulated red brick was chosen to provide the home with optimal energy efficiency . Double-glazed windows and an insulated metal roof bolster this feature by providing an ultra-tight thermal envelope. Solar panels help to provide the PS House with energy, and a greywater system sustains the landscape around the home, including the garden space. The main entrance to the home is through an outdoor patio with a fountain. Once inside, visitors follow an interior walkway that opens up to a spacious living room with plenty of seating. A large, red-brick wall gives the space a modern yet natural atmosphere. The living area, as well as the kitchen and dining room, all lead out to the heart of the home: a large open-air patio . A sliding glass wall connects the interior with the patio, which has a BBQ area, outside chimney and ample seating and dining space. The rest of PS House was equipped with various connections to the outdoors. The master bedroom enjoys beautiful views of the green space that surrounds the home. A wide staircase leads to the bottom floor, where the extra bedrooms, an office space and a small wine cave all have access to the garden area as well. + Guillot Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photography via Guillot Arquitectos

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This solar-powered school produces enough surplus energy to power 50 homes

June 27, 2018 by  
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This timber elementary school and kindergarten in Switzerland boasts more than just good looks — the School in Port, designed by Zürich-based architecture firm Skop , also gives back to the community through excess energy production. Located in a residential neighborhood, the energy-plus building and communal power station draws from a rooftop array with more than 1,100 solar panels that completely covers the school’s energy needs and powers 50 additional households. Moreover, the school is visually tied to its neighbors with a contemporary zigzagging roof that references the pitched roofs of the local vernacular. Skop won an international competition in 2013 to design School in Port, which is largely informed by sustainable principles. The building was prefabricated using timber sourced from sustainably-managed forests. Wood, which was chosen for its ability to sequester carbon , was also used throughout the interior and in the furnishings. All other construction materials were chosen for their non-toxic, recyclable and low-impact properties. The school covers an area of more than 180,000 square feet to cater to 280 children from kindergarten to elementary school. The light-filled interior is organized around a “central circulation zone,” a zigzagging east-west spine and open learning space that branches off to staggered classrooms and other enclosed spaces to the north and south. Flexibility is a major theme of the interior design — in addition to the multifunctional circulation zone, adjacent classrooms and group working spaces can be connected through large doors — that encourages a variety of teaching and learning methodologies. Related: This minimalist prefab hotel offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps “Placed on a gentle slope, the building takes advantage of the topography and links various outdoor spaces according to the different access routes of the school children,” Skop explained. “On the main level, all rooms benefit from the spatial qualities of the folded roof. Each classroom appears to be an independent little house, creating a cozy and homelike atmosphere for the children.” The School in Port has achieved a MINERGIE-A rating and is also connected to the district heating. + Skop Images via © Simon von Gunten and © Julien Lanoo; illustration via © Skop

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This solar-powered school produces enough surplus energy to power 50 homes

Sea stars overcome melting disease through rapid evolution

June 27, 2018 by  
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Five years ago, millions of sea stars off the west coast of North America were killed by a mysterious virus that caused the animals to lose limbs and liquefy, with several species under serious threat of extinction. Following the peak of the epidemic, described as “one of the largest marine mass mortality events on record,” scientists noticed that young ochre stars, among the species most impacted by the virus, were surviving at much higher rates. Today, the starfish have seemed to miraculously recover, and researchers may have the explanation for their salvation. A new study suggests that the animals possibly developed a genetic resistance to the still-puzzling densovirus, a threat that had been lurking in the region for decades but could have been fully activated by climate change . About 80 percent of ochre sea stars died as a result of the mysterious virus , which was disturbing for its ecological consequences and the manner with which it killed. “The sick ones tend to just fall apart in front of your eyes,” biologist Jeff Marliave told KUOW in 2013 . “An arm will actually break off and crawl away.” Scientists now believe that the massive die-off accelerated the process of natural selection. “When you’ve removed a whole bunch of them, you’ve shifted the whole genetic diversity of that population,” researcher Chris Mah told the Guardian . “In other words, to put it in human terms, if you wiped out a huge chunk of the human species, you would change the genetic makeup of humans.” Related: Underwater robots seek and kill invasive starfish Those that survived the wasting syndrome had the resistant gene, which they then passed onto their offspring. While the sea stars may have avoided a terminal fate this time, such epidemics are expected to occur with greater frequency in the future. “The concern is that marine disease, extreme environmental events and the frequency of those are on the rise,” study lead author Lauren Schiebelhut told the Guardian . “If we have too many extreme events in a row, maybe that becomes more challenging for species to respond to.” Via The Guardian Images via Jerry Kirkhart , Oregon State University and David O.

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Sea stars overcome melting disease through rapid evolution

This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

April 17, 2018 by  
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Vietnamese firm H&P Architects has created a unique “cave” fit for human habitation. Their “Brick Cave” townhouse has three levels of brick walls, each one with apertures that create a playful atmosphere of light and shadow throughout the interior. Pockets of greenery accent the brick construction throughout the house, and a vegetable garden on the roof caps off the structure. Built on a corner lot in ?ông Anh, Vietnam, the home is nestled on the street and blends into the urban landscape. The architects chose to use brick in the construction to create not just a unique home design, but one with an ecological shade system. The multiple walls both filter natural light into the home and shade the interior from the region’s searing summer heat. Related: H&P Architects’ Bamboo Homes Float Above Rising Flood Waters on Recycled Oil Drums The idiosyncratic design is a labyrinth of walkways, stairs and angles illuminated by streams of natural light. In fact, to use the sun to the home’s advantages, the architects conducted a number of studies on the sun’s daily positions in relation to the house. Although the apertures may appear a bit random at first sight, they were strategically implemented to keep the home cool in the summer heat while providing as much natural light as possible. According to H&P Architects , the unconventional combination of bricks and greenery was essential to connect the home to its surroundings: “Brick Cave encompasses a chain of space…with random apertures gradually shifting from openness/publicity to closeness/privacy and vice versa. The combination of ‘close’ and ‘open’ creates diverse relations with the surroundings and thus helps blur the boundaries between in and out, houses and streets/alleys, human and nature.” In addition to having various openings, the walls are slanted inwards. This represents another conscious choice on the part of the architects–the slanted walls provide better viewing angles of the surrounding area and add a sense of nature to the design, letting in elements such as rain and wind. Harsh elements are commonly to blame for house flooding in this region, so the architects wanted a resilient design that would aid in protecting the home by letting the elements pass through it rather than crash into it, essentially creating a safe shelter. + H&P Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Nguyen Tien Thanh

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This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

This couple turned an old RV into a five-person home for just $3,000

April 5, 2018 by  
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Renovating an old RV is no easy feat, but ambitious couples are taking on the challenge with some seriously incredible results. When sky-high rental prices in California forced Ashley and Dino Petrone to look for alternative housing options for their family, they decided to convert a 2003 Cougar Keystone camper into one very sophisticated living space. Although it’s a mere 180 square feet, their new home is spacious enough for their large family and includes a beautiful interior design. Even more surprising, the family spent just $11,000 to create the tiny home of their dreams. The Petrones sold their five-bedroom house with hopes of building their dream home on land they purchased in Ventura, California. However, they needed a place to live while they built it. Soaring rental prices in California forced the couple to look for an alternative living situation; they solved this problem by purchasing a dilapidated Keystone camper for $8,000 and spending just $3,000 to renovate it, proving once again that brilliant home design doesn’t have to be expensive. Related: Family of five moves from a 2,100-square-foot-house to a beautifully renovated school bus After purchasing the camper, they gutted the entire rundown interior, saving absolutely nothing. “The state of the RV was old and blue and dirty. The curtains were horrible and huge and the whole feeling just felt dark,” explained Ashley. They kicked off the renovation by ripping out the camper’s carpet and replacing it with beautiful pale timber flooring. They took down the original wallpaper in the camper and replaced with it chic wooden trim. They also replaced all of the old kitchen cabinetry, as well as the built-in furniture, which took up too much space. An Ikea desktop was custom cut for the new kitchen in order to make the space as efficient as possible. Once the camper’s shell had been renovated, the family began to add custom furniture and storage solutions that would help avoid clutter. The living space is light and airy, with an abundance of natural light . The family’s sleeping quarters take up the opposite sides of the camper, with the parents in the master bedroom at one end and the kids in triple bunk beds at the opposite end. Throughout the space, the decoration is minimal, but sophisticated – the Petrones found most of the items at garage sales or discount stores. The family posts updates on their fabulous RV conversion on their website, Arrows and Bow , as well as on their Instagram page . + Arrows and Bow Via Dwell Photographs courtesy of Arrows and Bow

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