Modern aluminum addition blends seamlessly in with 19th century rowhouses

July 17, 2017 by  
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It’s never easy to blend new buildings into traditional neighborhoods, but Toronto-based Aleph-Bau , has skillfully managed to fit a wonderfully modern aluminum-clad home – called Twelve Tacoma – into a section of 19th century rowhouses in Toronto without encroaching on the historic neighborhood’s charming character. From the outside, Twelve Tacoma’s sophisticated white paint and corrugated aluminum cladding certainly stands out from the colorful brick rowhouses, but its subtle design and neutral tones manage to quietly blend into it surroundings. Additionally, certain details such as the simple front railing and plexiglass door awning – although more contemporary – mimic its neighbors in a respectful nod to the area’s vernacular. Related: Swedish architect surprises mum with dazzling corrugated aluminum home The upper floor of the home is the only section visible from the front of the rowhouses , but the home’s beautiful design is best seen from the back. To squeeze the contemporary addition into the established architecture, the architects used a steel structure to create the frame of the house in between the existing wooden parameters. The finished product is a series of stacked volumes that create a very modern and open home. According to Delnaz Yekrangian, Aleph-Bau’s director, the home design relied on a number of elements to blend it into its natural and manmade surroundings, “Architectural elements disappear in favor of the atmosphere – one that is an amplified reflection of the outside; light, the sky, the clouds, the neighbors’ tree, the sound of rainfall and the shabby structures in the laneway are inside now.” On the inside, the home is open and airy, with a minimalist interior design scheme. Modular sliding storage units are found throughout the home in order to avoid clutter.  Numerous floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors on every level allow for optimal natural light, also adding a sense of transparency to the home. Further connecting the home to its surroundings is the large rooftop terrace , which, thanks to its many asymmetrical shapes, provides a fun and private space for the homeowners. + Aleph Bau Photography by Tom Arban  

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Modern aluminum addition blends seamlessly in with 19th century rowhouses

Innovative retractable glass roof can convert a mall into an outdoor space at the touch of a button

July 11, 2017 by  
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Large complexes such as shopping centers, hotels, conference centers aren’t exactly known for their energy-efficient design , but it doesn’t have to be that way. Working under the motto of “indoor comfort, outdoor freedom,” Turkish company Libart has created an innovative retractable ceiling system helps large spaces conserve energy use by letting in natural light and air circulation during good weather and shutting out the harsh weather – essentially converting the complex into an outdoor space at the touch of a button. Large shopping malls and retail complexes have typically been dark, cave-like spaces that don’t allow for much natural light. Libart’s flexible architectural system changes that by bringing natural elements into virtully any space, or according to the company. Large glass panels flood the interior with natural light and illuminate the space naturally, drastically reducing the need for artificial lighting and air conditioning. Perfect for a variety of uses, the attractive sliding glass structures can cover the interior during inclement weather or completely open to enjoy sunny days. Related: Sliding Walls Transform This Tokyo House Into an Office The retractable glass ceiling, referred to as “modern architecture in motion”, is a clean, minimalist structure that enhances almost any interior space, large or small. Custom made, the glass ceiling can be used for any number of buildings, from shopping centers and luxury hotels to industrial warehouses and conference centers. + Libart Images via Libart

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Innovative retractable glass roof can convert a mall into an outdoor space at the touch of a button

IKEA teams up with NASA to design out-of-this-world space saving furniture

June 9, 2017 by  
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IKEA is teaming up with NASA for the coolest collaboration this side of the moon. The Swedish furniture giant wants to figure out how to make a Mars habitat feel like a real home, so they spent a few days at the MDRS Habitat in Utah. Their goal is to look for ways to tackle the problems of urban living (cramped spaces – check, toxic air – check) to find solutions to make life better here on Earth… or Mars. Real astronauts train at the MDRS Habitat in Mars-like desert conditions to prepare for space. This summer, a team of IKEA designers took up the residence in the space for a few days in a mini-training session. The scientists were isolated for 3 days in a confined space isolated in the alkali desert in order to do a little design brainstorming. The design team described it as camping – but better. IKEA wants to figure out how to make small living quarters with tainted air and water more livable. If they can make it work in a small Mars simulation, what is to stop them from making it work across the world? Related: IKEA unveils plan to lift 200,000 people out of poverty “I think that the essence of this collection will be about appreciating what we have on Earth: human beings, plants clean water and air. But also diversity and a sense of belonging – things that we take for granted on a daily basis. After this journey, it’ll probably feel pretty awesome to come home to my own bed,” said IKEA Creative Leader, Michael Nikolic. + IKEA

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IKEA teams up with NASA to design out-of-this-world space saving furniture

Glowing see-through garden house lets plants soak up the sun

May 31, 2017 by  
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Sometimes less really is more. This beautiful glowing home by H.a Architects was inspired by just one thing – lush greenery. Located in Ho Chi Minh City , the Less Home is clad in perforated white metal that lets in optimal natural light for the abundant vegetation that weaves throughout the interior. The home’s two-story tower design had to be strategic to make the most out of the small plot of land where the building stands. The compact space, which currently houses a family of seven, led the architects to create a flexible interior layout. Composed of various moveable partition s, the system allows the family to customize different layouts throughout the lifetime of the home. Related: Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads On the interior, the design is minimalist in terms of furniture and decoration, instead using lush vegetation as the foremost design feature. Inspired by the surrounding tropical environment, the designers wanted to pull the exterior inside as much as possible. As a result, various trees and garden pockets are distributed throughout the home, creating a healthy, vibrant greenhouse feel. The home’s perforated white cladding helps feed the vegetation, which in return, provides clean breathing environment for the family, something especially important in a city known for its urban pollution . Via Archdaily Photography by Quang Dam  

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Glowing see-through garden house lets plants soak up the sun

Striking rammed earth home blends into the hills of Santa Fe

May 1, 2017 by  
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This incredible Santa Fe residence by Studio GP Architects was inspired by the rich landscape of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon. The home is constructed from rammed earth and surrounded by native plants that help it seamlessly blend into the breathtaking desert landscape. The homeowners of the La Tierra Nueva Residence were looking for a home design that would allow them to enjoy the beauty of the natural landscape from the inside or outside of the home. Multiple large triple-pane doors and windows were installed to provide amazing views as well as optimal natural light for the interior. Additionally, the home had to be strategically functional for the aging couple so the living space, kitchen, and bedrooms are all located on the same floor. Related:Rammed earth walls form the core of this modern Australian home The home’s walls were constructed out of rammed earth , a technique traditionally and currently used for its strong insulative properties , which in this case, also provided the earth tone aesthetic desired by the homeowners. The zinc-toned roof and walls pay homage to the traditional corrugated metal traditionally found in the area. In fact, the roof plays a vital role in the design; the multi-layered planes mimic the rolling hills of the expansive La Tierra Nueva in the background while the extended panels shelter the structure from the elements, especially the high desert sun. The roof also has an integrated rainwater harvesting system that funnels water through concealed gutters to be used to irrigate the native juniper bark and sage bushes used in the landscaping. + Studio GP + Zola Windows Images via Studio GP and Zola Windows

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Striking rammed earth home blends into the hills of Santa Fe

Architecture graduate celebrates her first year living in a tiny home she built herself

April 5, 2017 by  
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Most architecture graduates daydream about creating larger-than-life buildings – but 27-year-old Stephanie Henschen is celebrating her first year living in a tiny home she designed and built herself. The University of South Florida grad student spent 10 months building the home for her thesis project. Not only did she get an A for her work, but she’s become a fully-fledged member of the tiny home revolution. Henschen began the project with little experience in construction. After buying a building plan at a tiny home workshop, she began to build the design in her grandmother’s backyard in St. Petersburg, Florida with some help from her family. Once finished, she hauled it to the USF campus to present as her thesis project, and she received a glowing review. Initially, she had plans to sell the home to pay off her debt, but she became so attached to the project that she decided to live in it. She eventually moved the home to a RV resort where she has lived comfortably for the last year. Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer Although the project wasn’t necessarily driven by the need to minimalize her life, Henschen says that sustainability and minimalism came easily as soon as she began designing the compact space. The timber home measures 210 square feet and it’s loaded on a trailer for easy transportation. On the interior, multi-colored wooden panels give the space a nice cabin feel, which is enhanced with personal touches such as white curtains. The bedroom sits up on an elevated loft-like space reached by ladder, and a honeycomb-shaped window floods the interior with natural light. Although she’s become quite attached to her first tiny home, she has recently put it on sale for $30,000. She hopes to use the money to build two more tiny homes – one to live in and one to sell. + Searching for Hamlet Photo courtesy of Stephanie Henschen

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Architecture graduate celebrates her first year living in a tiny home she built herself

MINIs tiny innovative home for three purifies the air in Milan

April 5, 2017 by  
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How do we cope with the increasing shortage of attractive housing in today’s cities? Car manufacturer MINI teamed up with New York architects SO – IL to tackle this challenge by producing an innovative solution: MINI LIVING — Breathe. Unveiled at the Milan Salone del Mobile 2017, the tiny housing prototype reinvents urban living and offers owners a refreshing garden-like environment and the freedom to move and adapt their home. Located on a previously unused 50-square-meter urban plot, the MINI LIVING — Breathe installation comprises six compact living spaces and a roof garden for three people inside a five-meter-wide microhome. Built with a modular metal frame, the home can be easily disassembled, moved, and reassembled or expanded upon in a new location. A flexible and light-permeable outer skin wraps around the metal skeleton instead of opaque walls. The light-filled housing prototype follows MINI’s principles “Creative use of space” and “Minimal footprint.” MINI Living — Breathe’s forward-thinking design is centered on the idea of a house as an active ecosystem. The translucent outer skin, which can be replaced with different fabrics depending on the urban climate, features a special coating that filters and neutralizes the air. The ten-meter-tall home acts as a giant air filter and helps improve the surrounding microclimate with its lush rooftop garden with plants that help clean toxins from the air. “The approach we took with MINI LIVING – Breathe extends far beyond purely a living concept,” says Oke Hauser, Creative Lead of MINI LIVING. “We view the installation as an active ecosystem, which makes a positive contribution to the lives and experiences of the people who live there and to the urban microclimate , depicted here by the intelligent use of resources essential to life – i.e. air, water and light.” The kitchen, located on the ground floor, serves as the main entry area and social gathering point of the home. Living spaces are located in the above three levels, while the sleeping areas, a potential wet area, and a roof garden are placed in the uppermost floors. Textile walls divide the living areas and allow for privacy while still permitting light to seep through. A water catchment system on the roof harvests rainwater for reuse in the tap. Related: A rolling garden on wheels recently popped up in the middle of Milan SO – IL writes: “By making living an active experience, the installation shines a spotlight on environmental awareness and encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted. Instead of a traditional organization with rooms dedicated to specific functions, this house is composed as a loose stack of porous realms. A variety of atmospheres and spatial experiences are generated through the manipulation of light, air and water.” MINI Living — Breathe is open to visitors of the Salone del Mobile on Via Tortona 32 in Milan, Italy from April 4 to April 9, 2017. + SO – IL Architects Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu

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Beautiful cliffside home ‘split in half’ by landslide rebuilt with wooden pods

March 21, 2017 by  
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Sometimes beautiful design is just fate. When AR Design Studio decided to add an extension to a cliffside home on the UK’s South Coast, the entire house ended up being split in half due to a major landslide . Fortunately, the architects stayed on to design a replacement house, resulting in a beautiful vacation home called the Crow’s Nest. This time, however, the gorgeous structure, which is made out of four wooden “pods,” was built with highly-engineered technology to stabilize the structure against future land movements. The Crow’s Nest home is built looking over a large cliff on the UK’s South Coast. To secure the new home against future natural disasters , the architects worked with engineers to create an integrated system that could resist major land movements. The system entailed installing dwarfs walls into a massive concrete slat that sits underneath the home. This was strategic to creating an adjustable raft-like structural frame where the walls absorb any major land movement. In this case, mechanical jacks installed underneath the frame would be able to re-level the house afterwards. Related: These 6 extraordinary cliffside homes will give you chills Although the original home was severely damaged by the landslide, the architects managed to use its original cabin design as inspiration for the new one. The team created an elongated structure with a series of four “twisted” pods, creating a unique contemporary cabin character . Clad in beautiful blond larch panels, the home seamlessly blends in with the surrounding landscape. The entryway is made up of the smallest pod , which leads into the main living area. The “tower pod” to the left houses the large master bedroom, along with the children’s bedroom and bathrooms. The remaining pod on the right of the living area is a guest space that can be closed when not in use. The interior comprises a light, airy design with a modern cabin feel. Bold wooden furnishings are found throughout, but the use of various industrial materials give the space a contemporary touch. Large windows offer optimal natural light as well as stunning views of the forest and coastal views. + AR Design Studio Via Design Milk Photography by Martin Gardner

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Beautiful cliffside home ‘split in half’ by landslide rebuilt with wooden pods

Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

March 21, 2017 by  
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A company based in Toronto is bringing New York City its first community solar project. UGE International , one of the world’s leading renewable-energy contractors, will be partnering with Gotham Community Solar to develop a new array at a multi-tenant commercial facility between the Park Slope and Boerum Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in early summer, will have a rated peak capacity of roughly 100 kilowatts, according to UGE. The building abuts another UGE project: the Whole Foods Market at 214 3rd Street, colloquially known as “3rd and 3rd” by locals. “It’s been a privilege to work with ConEd , the Department of Buildings, and the project’s ownership group on developing this landmark project” Tim Woodcock, UGE’s Regional Director, said in a statement. Related: UGE is building a massive rooftop solar array atop this popular Brooklyn church Woodcock anticipates selling any surplus power to nearby residents at rates lower than those offered by their utility companies. The benefits would be twofold: cheaper electricity that also comes from a sustainable source. “The solar power generated by the project will be credited to numerous residential accounts, offering access to the benefits and low cost of solar energy to those previously excluded due to their housing situation,” he added. + UGE International

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Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

Chilean home’s folding timber flap gives owners optimum temperature control

February 27, 2017 by  
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Designed by Santiago-based B+V Architects , the Folding House in Las Cabras, Chile was strategically wrapped with a wooden “flap” to give the owners optimal temperature control. The unique feature prevents excessive solar radiation during the searing hot summer months while inviting the heat in winter. In addition to providing year-round temperature control, the responsive design element pulls double duty as a sun-streaming cover for the rooftop deck, which offers spectacular lake side views. The stunning 900-square-meter home was tucked into a steep incline, exposing it to the area’s high temperatures. To create a responsive design that wouldn’t sacrifice aesthetics, the architects added the double-ventilated wooden façade as an attractive and protective element. The feature allows the homeowners to enjoy the amazing lake views year-round from the comfort of the outdoor deck, without overheating in the summer months. Related: Eco friendly origami house unfolds on Brazilian beach The double ventilated wooden flap facade shades the home’s exterior walls and roof. In summer, the wooden facade acts as an eave that protects the home from excessive solar radiation . During winter, on the other hand, the wooden envelope allows heat to enter the interior, which is stabilized by high-quality insulation , as well as elimination of all thermal bridges. For additional heating on cloudy days, a small wood-burning stove can be fired up. On the interior, large floor-to-ceiling windows flood the home with natural light and also enhance cross ventilation when opened. A large open courtyard sits in the center of the interior, seamlessly connecting the exterior with the interior. + B+V Architects Via FlipBoard Photography by Rodolfo Lagos Berardi Images via B+V Architects

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