This light-filled home and office in Portugal blurs indoors and out

February 5, 2019 by  
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On the outskirts of Ílhavo, Portugal, architect Maria Fradinho of the firm FRARI – architecture network recently designed and built her own industrial-inspired home and office using a modern and playful house-within-a-house concept. Sandwiched between two red-shingled homes, the contemporary abode stands in stark contrast to its more traditional neighbors. Dubbed the Arch House, the dwelling was named after the “theatricality” of its facade, a simple gabled shape with strong geometric lines and massive walls of glass. The Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory, one of the region’s most important industries, inspired the Arch House design. As a result, the home features a sleek, black, metal-clad exterior. In contrast, the interior is dominated by white surfaces and filled with natural light and strategic views that give the rooms a sense of expansiveness without sacrificing privacy. Full-height glazing also pulls the outdoors in, while indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with a covered patio that spills out to the backyard. A house-within-a-house concept is explored with the insertion of shipping container-inspired stacked volumes, each faced with windows, which overlook the indoor living room on the ground floor. “It was important for the architect to guarantee this process of transition from the public to the private, as well as ensuring adequate privacy in the interior, because of the maximum exposure desired,” according to the a project statement. “Inspired by ship containers , the volume set with which the interior is developed, creates a total height in some areas, recreating the great industrial environment of a main ship. This set of different roof heights widens the spaces and makes them more comprehensive, providing a visual relation between the various places in the house.” Related: A house within a house in Slovakia unfolds in layers Spanning an area of 300 square meters, the Arch House occupies a little less than a third of its long and narrow lot. The home is spread out across three floors and includes a basement. The open-plan ground floor houses the primary communal spaces, including the living room, kitchen and dining space, while the private areas are located above. + FRARI – architecture network Via ArchDaily Images by ITS – Ivo Tavares Studio via FRARI – architecture network

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This light-filled home and office in Portugal blurs indoors and out

Australia will not reach its carbon reduction targets by 2030, claims new study

February 5, 2019 by  
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An international group called the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a damaging report on Australia’s energy policies, placing doubts that the government will reach its carbon reduction targets by 2030. Australia previously agreed to cut carbon emissions by around 26 percent by the year 2030. Although the country will likely reach the carbon goals it set by 2020, the OECD claims they will not hit their target in 2030. “The country will fall short of its 2030 emissions target without a major effort to move to a low-carbon model,” the report explained. “Australia should consider pricing carbon emissions more effectively and doing more to integrate renewables into the electricity sector.” The OECD is an international organization comprised of 36 countries that aims to encourage sustainable economic growth. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the group’s climate study contends that Australia is unique in that its greenhouse gases have actually increased over the past 10 years. Related: Greenhouse gas emissions rose during 2018 after three year decline The group also contends that Australia is far from reaching any of its emissions goals by the target date of 2030. The report suggested that Australia should price emissions better and incorporate more renewable energy sources into its long-term plans. Although Australia has an uphill battle if it wants to meet its goals by 2030, it has made some progress over the past few years. This includes using more natural gas instead of coal and relying more on renewable energy sources for electricity. Unfortunately, these efforts have done little to curb the rise in carbon emissions . Despite lowering its reliance on coal, Australia still uses non-renewable energy sources for most of its electricity. The government also supports the consumption of certain fossil fuels, which contribute greatly to carbon emissions throughout the country. That said, use of renewable energy sources is on the rise, which is definitely a good sign. In response to the negative report, Australia’s Environment Minister, Melissa Price, claims that the country is on pace to meet its carbon goals by the year 2030. Even if the current policies are not enough to reduce carbon by 26 percent, the fact that they are scalable has Price convinced that the goal will eventually be met. Via Sydney Morning Herald Image via Shutterstock

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Australia will not reach its carbon reduction targets by 2030, claims new study

Solar protective glass gives the iceberg-like Hercule home a mirrored finish

January 31, 2019 by  
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Modern, monolithic and minimalist , Hercule is a single-family home designed like an iceberg — the bulk of the building is hidden while the visible portion emerges out of the ground like the tip of an iceberg. Named after local hero John “Hercule” Gruen for its “robust strength,” the house located in Mondorf-les-bains in the south of Luxembourg is the recently completed work of local architecture practice 2001 . Embedded into the sloped terrain, the concrete dwelling further immerses itself into the landscape with a massive wall of solar reflective glass that mirrors the surroundings. Located on residual land between an old farmhouse and a suburban villa, the project site had a sloped terrain that the architects decided to turn into a design attribute rather than an obstacle. The natural context determined the layout of the home’s three floors, which step down the slope from west to east. Covering a built footprint of 446 square meters, the home appears deceptively compact from street level because of the spacious basement level. The main living spaces as well as the technical rooms are all located on the basement floor, which includes a two-car garage, a fitness and spa area, a wine cellar, storage and the open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area that open up to an enclosed outdoor courtyard through full-height glazed sliding doors. The dimensions of the open-plan living area — measuring 14 by 6 meters — is repeated on the two floors above ground that house the bedrooms and bathrooms. Related: Mirrored pavilion all but disappears into nature Minimalism is stressed throughout the design, with the main structural elements visible and enhanced through formwork and sanding.  Solar protective glass clads the east and west facades, which are oriented toward the street and the garden. To the south, a blind béton brut wall serves as a beam for the upper two floors to ensure a column-free living area below, while the north side is punctuated with garden-facing openings. + 2001 Photography by Maxime Delvaux via 2001

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Solar protective glass gives the iceberg-like Hercule home a mirrored finish

A new Polish film has exposed the illegal trafficking of sick cattle

January 31, 2019 by  
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After a film broadcast on Polish TVN 24 revealed that a slaughterhouse was illegally trafficking sick cattle , Polish police have launched an investigation into the matter. The film showed secret footage of cows too sick to stand being dragged into the plant, as well as slaughterhouse workers cutting carcasses at night “to avoid official supervision.” With no way of knowing where the meat went, the scandalous footage could end up being as serious as the 2013 EU horsemeat scandal that exposed Europe’s complex meat market and triggered product recalls. As first reported by the BBC, a statement issued just days after the movie premiered on TV, Poland’s chief veterinary officer said his inspectors and Polish police received a tip about the possible illegal slaughter at an abattoir in northeastern Poland near Ostrow Mazowiecka. On the night of January 14 eight sick cows were found at the facility and it was decided their suffering must come to an end and were ultimately killed. “During the check, the owners of the animals were identified, along with an animal dealer who transported cattle unfit for transport, and abattoir staff responsible for animal welfare there,” the statement said. Related: ChimpFace could help fight the illegal trade in chimpanzees The inspectors are continuing their investigation by attempting to identify buyers and sellers of meat from sick animals and are also checking other slaughterhouses in the region. According to Eurostat, an EU statistics agency, Poland is the EU’s seventh-largest producer of cow meat behind Ireland, Spain, Italy, the UK, Germany and France. In 2017, the country produced over 558,000 tons of beef and beef products, and each year they slaughter approximately two million head of cattle. However, just two percent of Poland’s meat consumption is beef, which means nearly all of Polish cow meat is exported. Data from UK Revenue and Customs (HMRC) shows that in 2018, the UK imported $85 million worth of Polish beef. Many are hoping that this latest revelation will lead to regulatory action that should have happened after the first scandal. The designated veterinarian for the slaughterhouse and his county supervisor have already been fired. “I think the police, which is at this moment already engaged in this issue, will be trying step by step to explain what has been the role of the supervisory authorities in this illegal, reprehensible, and downright criminal procedure,” says journalist Tomasz Patora of TVN 24’s Superwizjer. Via BBC Image via Shutterstock

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A new Polish film has exposed the illegal trafficking of sick cattle

Igloo-inspired glass and timber cabins offer gorgeous views in Lapland’s winter wonderland

January 25, 2019 by  
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Christmas may be over, but it’s still possible to visit the home of Santa Claus, and stay in these incredible igloo-style glass cabins . Helsinki-based firm, VOID Architecture designed the wooden huts with massive heated glass panels in Lapland, Finland to give visitors a serene place to stay while exploring the winter wonderland. The resort is located in Rovaniemi, the beautiful capital of Finland, known for its picturesque winter months. According to the architects, the structures were designed to be modern takes on the traditional igloo design. The individual cabins are built out of timber with large glazed walls that slant inwards as they reach the roof’s apex. The double height walls, made out of large triple-glazed panels, create an immersive feel to the interior, creating a strong connection with natural surroundings. Related:8 cabins that are perfect for a dreamy winter getaway The interior design of the living area was designed to offer a warm and comfortable home away from home. Taking into account the extreme winter weather in the area, all of the glass surfaces are heated to allow guests to fully enjoy taking in the views from virtually anywhere. Light wood paneling and modern, yet comfortable furnishings were used throughout the guest huts to create a cozy cabin atmosphere . Each structure contains a large living space with double height ceilings, two bedrooms, a bath and kitchen. Additionally, guests can enjoy their own private sauna and outdoor hot tub located on a large terrace. Guests to the resort can enjoy the views from the comfort of their own accommodation or visit the resort ‘s large restaurant and lounge, also built with a fully glazed facade. Large sliding glass doors lead out to an expansive balcony that provides stunning panoramic views of the snowy landscape. The resort also offers plenty of activities to enjoy the amazing surroundings. + VOID Architecture Via Archdaily Photography by Timo Laaksonen via VOID Architecture

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Igloo-inspired glass and timber cabins offer gorgeous views in Lapland’s winter wonderland

Studio Roosegaarde wants to turn space waste into shooting stars and 3D-printed housing

January 25, 2019 by  
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At the Space Waste Lab Symposium in Almere, Netherlands, artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde announced his creative new solutions for reducing space waste. The main project of his ambitious proposals will be Shooting Stars, a collaborative effort between Studio Roosegaarde and the European Space Agency that will pull floating space waste through the Earth’s atmosphere to create a sustainable alternative to traditional fireworks. The second solution will explore repurposing space waste as the building blocks for 3D-printed structures to house future space societies. Space waste includes natural debris generated from asteroids, comets and meteoroids as well as man-made debris generated from artificially created objects in space, particularly old satellites and spent rocket stages. In a bid to solve the space waste problem — Studio Roosegaarde estimates there are approximately 8.1 million kilograms of space waste — the team has worked together with experts from the European Space Agency and students to launch the Space Waste Lab, a multi-year program to capture and recycle space waste into sustainable products. Streamed live in Dutch , the Space Waste Lab Symposium that was held on January 19 put forth two sustainable proposals for eliminating the currently 29,000 objects larger than 10 centimeters floating in space. The first, called Shooting Stars, would pull the waste through the Earth’s atmosphere, where it would burn and create artificial shooting stars in a new spectacle of light and sustainable alternative to polluting fireworks. The second project aims to design and 3D print innovative structures made from space waste for operation in-orbit and on the moon. Related: Studio Roosegaarde’s laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky “Although the Netherlands is small, we can make a huge impact in playing a role to clean up the space waste, with new innovations and offering opportunities,” Adriana Strating, executive director at KAF (Kunstlinie Almere Flevoland), said at the symposium. The Space Waste Lab will travel next to Luxembourg . + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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Studio Roosegaarde wants to turn space waste into shooting stars and 3D-printed housing

Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views

January 25, 2019 by  
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When Stockholm-based firm, OOAK Architects were tasked with building a beautiful home for two windsurfing aficionados on the Greek island of Karpathos, they created a design completely driven by the incredible surrounding nature. The Patio House is a beautiful concrete home with large open cutouts that sits gently on the landscape, cantilevering over the rocky cliff to provide breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. According to the architects, the design and orientation of the home was driven by the rugged landscape, which is comprised of two stepped plateaus. Due to the nature of the terrain, the architects decided to cantilever the home from the higher ledge, a decision that would optimize the amazing sea views. Related:This off-grid home on a Greek island provides ‘cinematic frames’ of the sea “The question became how to introduce a foreign object– a house –into this spectacular landscape, enhancing its qualities without altering its character,” said OOAK. “Rather than trying to mimic the landscape, the house is gently placed on the site as an object, leaving the surrounding landscape as untouched as possible.” The natural terrain not only influenced the home’s overall design, but also its materials. To install the home into the rocky cliffside, the architects built the home with reinforced concrete , clad in a board-marked finish that gives the home a strong Mediterranean aesthetic. Additionally, the home’s roof was covered with gravel to blend in with the surroundings. The home’s volume is a fairly simple horizontal silhouette that stands out due to its various distinctive cutouts. These large apertures, some windows and some left completely open, were strategic to provide breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea from virtually anywhere in the home. The interior design , which includes Scandinavian-inspired furnishings and all white walls, is bright and airy, giving the design a fresh, modern aesthetic. Located high above the sea, the home is often exposed to strong winds, which prompted the architects to add a sheltered open-air patio at the heart of the living area. This space is a usable outdoor space, with a small dining area and plenty of greenery, that the family can use to enjoy fresh air despite the severe winds. For entertaining, the homeowners can also enjoy a large terrace that was placed on the lower plateau and accessed by a large staircase. + OOAK Architects Via Dezeen Photography by Yiorgos Kordakis and Åke E:son Lindman, via OOAK Architects  

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Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views

This tiny home eschews minimalist design for vibrant colors and bold patterns

January 24, 2019 by  
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Most tiny homes tend to go for the standard “less is more” strategy when it comes to interior design. But one Texas designer, Galeana Younger from the Galeana Group , is breaking that mold with her stunning “maximalist” tiny home. Forgoing the typical neutral color palette, Younger decked out the 190-square-foot tiny home with a host of vibrant colors, funky patterns and plenty of personal touches that give the home a jubilant character. Recently, the designer told Lonny that she wanted the tiny home design to be full of fun. “I wanted to create an environment that would allow/encourage people to feel comfortable and happy but still slightly elevated and outside of themselves,” Younger said. “Like they were in a hip, urban locale that made them feel a little more chispa than usual.” Related: The off-grid Eucalyptus tiny home radiates cool, Californian vibes Accordingly, the bold interior design found throughout the home has quite a bit of “spark” from the moment you enter. The living space features a small wicker sofa covered with various pillows in an array of colors and textures. To the right, the bedroom is wallpapered in a lively black and white cactus print. Contrasting the busy pattern on the walls is the ceiling, which is painted a light ethereal blue. A triangle-patterned rug is on the floor, nicely connecting the black door and trim, which is found throughout the interior. Moving into the kitchen , the blast of fun, vibrant colors cannot be missed. The geometric backsplash is comprised of multiple hues and shades that add a sense of whimsy to the cooking area. Open shelving stores the home’s dishware along with decorative bottles in different shapes and colors. Further into the back of the space is the bathroom. Surprisingly spacious for a tiny home, this black and white motif still manages to be filled with personality. The shower stall was hand laid with the words, “Howdy, ya’ll.” Above the bathroom, a ladder leads to a compact sleeping loft . + The Galeana Group Via Curbed Photography by Mark Menjivar via The Galeana Group

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This tiny home eschews minimalist design for vibrant colors and bold patterns

Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste

January 24, 2019 by  
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Clutter in your home creates a weight, in every sense of the word. From the physical weight of moving objects around to the mental weight of maintaining each item, to the emotional weight of retaining items out of guilt. Ultimately, having too much stuff can take a toll. With the documentary Minimalism hitting Netflix a few years ago, and now Marie Kondo teaching everyone how to declutter their homes, the idea of decluttering and downsizing seems to be everywhere these days. There are many reasons decluttering is healthy for the mind and home, but there are also side effects of decluttering including the waste produced during the purge. When figuring out what to do with the items you no longer covet, consider sustainable practices, your wallet and your mental health. The mere act of clearing out the clutter is a step towards sustainability in your home. After all, that leaves less objects to clean, repair and carbon offset. It also removes the clutter from your mind. Once you get to the point of letting things go, it’s important to shift your subsequent buying habits so that you don’t accumulate unwanted items again. So now that you’ve cleared out the excess things in your home, what do you do with all the stuff you’re getting rid of? With simplicity and eco-friendly practices in mind, the goal is to avoid sending even the smallest item to the landfill . Here are some options to consider. Related: 9 simple tips to Feng Shui your home Sell Have a garage sale or sell items with online social media or community pages or apps on your phone. Type “Buy/Sell” into your Facebook search engine and you’re likely to find a local marketplace. If you’re overwhelmed by a large amount of items to sell, hire a local estate sale company to handle the task for you. Although it digs into your profits to pay someone else, it’s better than filling the dump with usable items. Donate Many cities have community pages online where you can offer up your goods as a “pay it forward” type of thing. By giving your belongings to someone who might need or want it, you’re ensuring a fuller life cycle and incurring less waste. You might even get someone to come pick it up, reducing the need to haul it away. For example, some people repair and resell appliances or lawn mowers so they will offer to pick yours up, saving you a lot of hassle. Also, look into local drop boxes. Some areas have them on nearly every corner for usable clothing and shoes. If your city has a sharing station, such as a small shed that anyone can take from as needed, donate food and toiletries there. Also look for organizations like Love Inc, who help people get needed personal care items or organizations that assist people with clothing and personal care items needed for interviews to get a job. Preschools, church childcare and homecare centers all appreciate the donation of toys is workable conditions. They might also accept a few changes of lightly used clothing to keep around in the case of potty or recess accidents. Look to your local shelter for another donation option. From kid to adult sizes, shelters are always in need of warm clothing and coats. It’s also a good place to extend the life of blankets you no longer use and along with all those unopened hotel toiletries you store. For unwanted shoes, check around for local drop boxes that recycle them, such as  the Nike recycling program , or others that send them to communities around the world to those in need. Of course, there is always the option of donating goods to local thrift shops as well. When it comes to home improvement supplies, take the load to your local Habitat for Humanity. Some branches will even pick up at your location so you can let go of the extra lumber, roofing, flooring pieces and cement blocks you’ve been holding onto. Not only does it feel good to know that you’re helping out others, but it’s rewarding to know that you’re also giving back to the environment by keeping items out of the waste stream. Related: Declutter your life with Lift, the ultimate multi-use bike hooks Repair An object may lose its usable value to you once it is broken, but remember that many things can be repaired with a little effort and perhaps a new part. It will also save you money to repair broken goods rather than to purchase a new one. Instead of tossing it directly towards the landfill, see if you can repair it and then either continue to use it, donate it or sell it. Recycle Most areas have public recycling services either offered through city curbside pick up or as a centralized processing center where you can drop things off. You will want to check with your local recycling center to see what they allow, but most take metal, batteries, light bulbs, cardboard, glass, plastic jugs and paper. Often times they also have an electronics recycling station for TV, stereo and video recording equipment, along with the remotes and cables that go with them. Reuse If you can’t find a way to sell, donate or recycle, consider repurposing your castaway items. Turn that old sweater into boot socks. Use t-shirts for automotive rags. Make a memory quilt with a loved one’s clothing. Just be sure that you don’t hold on to clutter with the intent of upcycling that will most likely never happen, or you’ll find yourself bogged down with the ‘stuff’ once again. Images via Shutterstock

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A modern vacation retreat is embedded into the rolling hills of southern Portugal

January 24, 2019 by  
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Tucked into the rolling meadows of Southern Portugal’s Alentejo region, a beautiful 2,691-square-foot vacation home holds court in an idyllic area that is perfect for disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Cercal House, designed by Lisbon-based studio Atelier Data , boasts a Mediterranean style that is embedded into the landscape in order to blend in seamlessly with the natural environment. One of the most complicated challenges for the architects was the site’s problematic topography. Located on land separated by a river, the dry terrain is sloped on each side. Taking this challenge to heart, the designers decided to use the slanted landscape to their advantage by implanting the structure into the landscape’s natural shape while reducing its impact on the land. Related: Atelier Data transforms an old horse stable into a simple but stunning home in Portugal Embedding the home into the landscape provided an  energy-efficient advantage to the home while also adding a solar orientation that would reduce the home’s energy use. Additionally, the site can capture the best views of the home’s expansive pastoral setting. Wanting to meld the design into this setting, the architects created a structure that mimicked a traditional gable-house silhouette, but they added a modern touch in the form of four square cut-outs on one side of the roof. These openings not only allow for a subtle connection to the landscape but also provide an abundance of natural light and air ventilation to flow throughout the home’s interior. Jutting out from the interior living space is a large, open-air patio with polished concrete floors, and this space frames the picture-perfect views. In fact, four open-air patios are located at each corner of the home, which has three bedrooms that are arranged in a square layout. Further connecting the home with its surroundings is a beautiful infinity pool built at land level. + Atelier Data Via Dwell Photography by Richard John Seymour via Atelier Data

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A modern vacation retreat is embedded into the rolling hills of southern Portugal

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