Jordanian repurposes old VW Beetle into ‘world’s smallest hotel’

November 14, 2017 by  
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One enterprising man deep in the Jordanian desert is proving that when it comes to hotel design , it’s the spirit that counts. Mohammed Al Malaheem, 64, has converted an old VW Beetle into a mini hotel for guests visiting his hometown of Al Jaya. Although it may not technically be the world’s smallest hotel, it certainly runs large when it comes to hospitality. A former tour guide for the area, Malaheem (who goes by the name Abu Ali) and his daughter revamped the tiny vehicle into a hotel room in 2011 after his retirement. The roadside hotel was designed to provide a nice place for visitors to the largely deserted village to feel comfortable. After working on the car’s design, Ali converted an adjacent cave into a reception area named “Baldwin’s Grotto”, complete with a bathroom, kitchen, and gift shop. Related: These campers made from 1970’s VW Bugs are the cutest things ever Ali told CNN that the mini hotel project was mainly inspired by his love of his hometown, “This village is my homeland, I was born here, I grew up here, I lived here. I wanted to start a project that improves its situation and places it on the tourism map, because it truly overlooks some of the most beautiful scenery in the region.” Although the village may not be on top of many travel bucket lists, Al Jaya does have its charms. The area is located near Al Shoubak, home to the 12th century castle called Montreal. What it lacks in fancy amenities, the hotel more than makes up for in off-grid relaxation, full of peace and quiet, and of course, Malaheem’s warm hospitality. The VW hotel – which charges 40 Jordanian Dinars (approx. $56) for an all-inclusive, one-night stay – can only accommodate two guests at a time, but from the looks of the many “thank you” notes left by previous visitors, the hotel is beloved by many. In fact, Ali’s place has received so many positive reviews that he’s planning to add several more VWs in the future. Via CNN Photography by Anas Al Rawashdeh/Mohammed Al Malaheem

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Jordanian repurposes old VW Beetle into ‘world’s smallest hotel’

MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

October 24, 2017 by  
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Could flexible architecture be the future of urban design ? Prolific Dutch architects MVRDV just unveiled one very colorful hotel whose nine rooms can be transformed into a variety of configurations. The funky hotel – called (W)ego – is an example of how flexible architecture can help urban areas adapt to diverse needs quickly and effectively — whether it’s making room for growing families, providing student housing, or creating shelters for refugees. The 30-foot-tall hotel is the center of the firm’s Dutch Design Week installation called The Future City is Flexible. In it the firm proposes a new urban design model that is suited to the “users’ most elaborate fantasies.” The hotel has a total of nine rooms, each of which is designated by ultra-vibrant colors and quirky features geared to a variety of tastes. Related: Fully-furnished shipping containers form unique prefab hotel in Manchester The life-sized installation allows visitors to negotiate with each other in order to find the perfect living space of their dreams. The interactive method is based on the idea of creating a participatory process in order to achieve true happiness, “Through gaming and other tools, (W)ego explores participatory design processes to model the competing desires and egos of each resident in the fairest possible way,” explains MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. The hotel, which is currently on display in Eindhoven, was created in collaboration with The Why Factory , the firm’s own research lab that studies how cities across the world will deal with issues such as climate change and population growth in the future. + MVRDV + The Why Factory Via Dezeen Photography by Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

This Airbnb alternative lets you stay in modern homes by top architects around the world

October 23, 2017 by  
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Architecture aficionados take note – a new Airbnb-inspired platform is offering stays in stunning modernist homes around the world. Started by two savvy architects, PlansMatter offers an impressive catalogue of beautifully designed homes to choose from such as Christian Müller’s earth-rammed Villa Vals in Switzerland or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kinney House in Wisconsin. The rental platform is the brainchild of Connie Lindor and Scott Muellner, two architects who share a love of beautiful design . The service allows the team to spread that love by enabling architecturally-inclined travelers to explore new destinations while experiencing firsthand what its like to wake up in some of world’s most exquisite homes. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Muellner explains, “Even though the importance of design is becoming increasingly evident, often times we only experience the thoughtful design of our physical environment at a product design level, or in public architecture. To experience world-class residential architecture by actually staying in it for a few days, or ideally more, is incredibly moving. This experience really lets us understand the positive impact great architecture can have on our day-to-day lives.” Their vacation rental options are certainly impressive, including works by big name architects such as Olson Kundig , Bohlin Cywinski Jackson , Christian Müller and Frank Lloyd Wright . There are even quite a few options for the eco-minded traveler looking for off grid options such as the itHouse by Taalman Architecture. + PlansMatter Via Artsy Images via PlansMatter

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This Airbnb alternative lets you stay in modern homes by top architects around the world

Watch the solar eclipse from a private plane AND stay in an amazing Airbnb dome

August 10, 2017 by  
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The upcoming solar eclipse is slated to be the event of the century , so it seems only fitting to celebrate in style. National Geographic and Airbnb have teamed up to treat two budding astrophysicists (or just you and your mom) to a stay in this cool geodesic dome in a remote area in Oregon the night before the eclipse. However, the real prize is watching the momentous occasion from the comfort of a private jet that will fly the winners high in the sky, following the eclipse’s path. The dreamy geodesic pod is located in a remote area of Oregon, and comes complete with an observation deck and with a variety of telescopes. Upon arriving on the 20th, the winners will be met by their hosts: Dr. Jedidah Isler, a National Geographic Explorer and the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University and, Babak Tafreshi, a renowned National Geographic photographer and science journalist. Related: Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say Right before the actual eclipse is visible from the ground, the two lucky winners will board a small private jet at the nearby Redmond Municipal Airport. The pilot will take off over the Oregon shore – flying west while following the Path of Totality – in order to be witness to the very first moments of the eclipse from high in the sky. + Airbnb Solar Eclipse Stay

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Watch the solar eclipse from a private plane AND stay in an amazing Airbnb dome

Beautiful bamboo building withstands floods and storms in Vietnam

July 13, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm RÂU ARCH created this beautiful thatched roof building burrowed deep into the lush rainforests of Vietnam. The MOOC Spring building is designed to accommodate the many visitors that come to the nearby natural springs. Due to the reoccurring storms and floods in the area, the architects chose to use a combination of locally-sourced stone, timber and bamboo , along with traditional building techniques in order to create a resilient structure able to withstand the harsh climate. The building was designed as an addition for an adjacent resort and houses a restaurant and lounge area. In addition to using locally-sourced materials in its construction, the Mooc Spring building was also built using traditional methods. The circular shape was chosen to withstand harsh winds and the building sits on a base made out of local stone. The first floor contains utility rooms as well as the kitchen and bathrooms. Related: Luxurious bamboo beach bar and restaurant bolsters spa in Vietnam The upper level, which houses the reception area and restaurant, was constructed using timber and bamboo . Although concrete pillars were used for optimal strength, they were wrapped with honey-hued nulgar bamboo for added resilience and of course, for its beautiful aesthetic. The local material was woven throughout the building in various intricate patterns and details to create an atmosphere that would blend in with the natural surroundings. The interior space is exceptionally well-lit thanks to the large glass skylight in the thatched roof that floods the interior with natural light . + RÂU ARCH Via Archdaily Photography by Hùng Râu Kts

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Beautiful bamboo building withstands floods and storms in Vietnam

New interactive periodic table shows how each element influences daily life

July 13, 2017 by  
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How do gallium and tantalum influence your daily life? Quite a bit, it turns out. Gallium is a component of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs , while tantalum can be found in mobile phones . Boeing software engineer Keith Enevoldsen designed the interactive Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words to show just how much those seemingly-obscure elements on the periodic table play a role in our lives. Scandium is found in bicycles ; palladium is used for pollution control . These tidbits are just a few of the facts you can find out on Enevoldsen’s interactive periodic table, targeted towards kids but still informative for adults. Bet you didn’t know there’s krypton in flashlights, antimony in car batteries , or strontium in fireworks? Related: New periodic table shows the cosmic origins of your body’s elements Each element on the interactive table comes with a description and a list of a few different uses. The tables are color-coded to show how the elements are grouped together, and symbols indicate whether an element is a solid, liquid, or gas. Other symbols show whether the element is common in the human body or in the earth’s crust, and if it’s radioactive , magnetic, noble, and rarely or never found in nature . Enevoldsen updates his tables when new elements are added. For example, in November 2016 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved four brand new element names – 113 Nihonium (Nh), 115 Moscovium (Mc), 117 Tennessine (Ts), and 118 Oganesson (Og) – and Enevoldsen added them to his charts. He offers the tables in different formats, in words or in pictures, as posters available for purchase online . He also offers print-your-own element flash cards. Enevoldsen also runs a website called ThinkZone with miscellaneous thought experiments and resources for mathematics, language, science, history, geography, art, and music. + The Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words Images © Keith Enevoldsen and via Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

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The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year

June 6, 2017 by  
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Want to travel to the beach or a mountaintop or a jungle – and spend the night in style every time? The Ecocapsule offers that flexibility in a tiny off-grid package. The company just announced it has secured financial backing to move forward with the microhome – and they’re planning to deliver the first Ecocapsules to clients later this year. Late night television host James Corden recently tested the versatile pods out in a peaceful garden, a horse ranch, and a restaurant rooftop – check out his take after the break. Corden hit up the Ecocapsule to explore the latest trends in travel and eco-friendly living. The egg-shaped, mobile microhome is around eight feet high, seven feet long, and 14.5 feet wide, and it’s powered by rooftop solar cells and a small wind turbine . It also collects rainwater to be reclaimed as drinking water. A folding bed, bathroom, kitchenette, and living area provide travelers with all the amenities of a luxury hotel . The Ecocapsule can be towed via trailer or sent to a location in a shipping container. Related: The world’s first off-grid EcoCapsule is now available for pre-order Corden envisioned the Ecocapsule in exotic locations like the Grand Canyon or a beach in Ibiza. He took his characteristic humorous approach to the design of the pod, asking founder Tomas Zacek, “How do I know this isn’t just some sort of spaceship?” Ecocapsule will only make 50 of the first edition pods, but they plan to start mass producing the microhomes for a lower price in 2018. It seems Corden enjoyed his time wandering in the Ecocapsule; he said in the video, “I could stay here for years.” He also told Zacek that snuggling encapsulates the ethos behind the Ecocapsule. + Ecocapsule

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The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year

Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’

June 6, 2017 by  
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Some people may spend years designing their dream home, but one ambitious couple in Oregon has just spent years building their “extreme green dream home.” As beautiful as it is sustainable , the Desert Rain home by Tozer Design is a 2,236-square-foot net-zero structure that was designed to meet the Living Building Challenge’s green building criteria – the industry’s most stringent. The couple began to build their “conventional” dream home on the same 0.7 acre lot in 2008, but upon hearing about the Living Building Challenge in the fall of 2009, they made the painful decision to scrap their original plans and shoot for the challenge. The result is a beautiful estate made up of five buildings, including the main residence, a detached apartment, a second detached building that can be used as an office or guest space, and the home’s two garages. Related: California city could become the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S. The new construction began by repurposing materials from two aging mill houses that were previously on the lot. In addition to salvaging the existing materials, the team went far and beyond in finding sustainable, locally-sourced materials for the new home. In addition to the recovered wood already salvaged, reclaimed wood and FSC-certified lumber were brought in from the surrounding region. Additional materials were also specially made for the home’s green construction , such as the exterior plaster, which is almost entirely made out of local clay, straw, and sand. To conserve energy and costs whenever possible, other materials were constructed by the team by ordering and crafting the materials onsite. For example, rather than purchasing the items separately, a large roll of steel was ordered and cut onsite to construct the roofing, eaves, and rain gutters. Desert Rain is a power house of sustainability as well as energy efficiency . The home uses three renewable energy systems , including a solar array on the rooftop, a solar thermal drainage system that heats water and powers the hydronic floor system, and an innovative solar “hot air” system that is used to evaporate liquid from the home’s composting system. Given that the home is located in the arid high-desert region of Eastern Oregon, where the climate is dry and annual rainfall scarce, water conservation can be complicated for any homeowner. This made achieving the Net Zero Water criteria of the project a complicated task. However, using the unique layout of the five buildings, a rainwater collection system was conceived using the standing seam metal roofs to route rainwater through downspouts to the ground-level gravel filters to be used in the landscaping, which features mainly native plantings. + Tozer Design Via Living Future Photography by Chandler Photography

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Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’

World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

June 5, 2017 by  
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Could a new urban vacation trend take the trees out of treehouses ? The world’s first “cranehouse” has opened in Bristol and it’s every bit as spectacular as their conventional trunk-supported counterparts. Designed by vacation specialists Canopy & Stars , the tiny structure is hoisted by a cargo crane 26 feet over Bristol Harbor. What’s more, the low-impact wooden structure is completely carbon neutral, and it was built using sustainable materials . The “hanging basket” is a collaboration between Canopy & Stars and DIY company, B&Q, who decorated the space with a chic collection of sustainable furnishings. Touches of nature are found throughout the space, including walls inlaid with tree branches, a watering can shower, and a bed made out of a reclaimed tree trunk . Industrial hints such as copper finials, polished concrete, and natural vegetable-fiber mats complete the rustic, yet sophisticated interior design. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Along with a “living painting” by local artist Anthony Garrett, the design focused on creating a similar “multi-sensory experience” one might experience in a true treehouse. Scents of woodlands such as lavender, sage, and bark waft through the interior. Wild flowers are planted in recycled wooden crates on the exterior of the house and various pollinators were planted on the roof to attract bees and butterflies. Guests at Crane 29 will be able to enjoy the beautiful off-grid retreat by spending their time swinging in the indoor hammock and taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the harbor. Reservations, which run £185 a night, include a gourmet breakfast basket delivered to the house in the morning. Tom Dixon, managing director of Canopy & Stars, explains that the project was a labor of love for the company, “It’s taken three years of planning and design, and only three weeks of building, but we got there. What started as a dream has now become a reality,” said “We hope people enjoy their stays in this amazing building and wake up to the great outdoors feeling they are truly part of this pocket of nature in the city – a real natural high.” Crane 29 will only be opened to guests for just 100 days, but all of the profits from the rental space will be donated to the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth . + Canopy & Stars Via Telegraph Images via Canopy & Stars

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World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

8 tiny folklore-inspired cabins pop up in the Welsh countryside

May 25, 2017 by  
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Eight spectacular tiny homes inspired by local folklore and traditions are waiting for you in the Welsh countryside. The pop-up cabins represent the winning designs of the Epic Retreats competition, which invited architects and designers to create glamping-style tiny homes based on local Welsh traditions. The results include a huge stovepipe hat cabin, a dragon-inspired retreat, a mini observatory, and a tiny space inspired by traditional mining sheds that are available for a luxury off-grid adventure. As part of the competition rules, each cabin design had to be built for less than £11,000 (approx $14,000). Additionally, the competition, which was a collaboration between Best of Wales , Cambria Tours , and George + Tomos Architects , required that the cabins be geared towards the glamping trend, meaning that they had to include basic vacation home features. All of the eight winning designs include a double, king-size or circular bed, a living area with a wood-burning stove and hob, as well as an en-suite bathroom. Related: Luxury off-grid Autonomous Tents can pop up almost anywhere in the world As part of the fun event, 200 lucky guests will be staying at the cabins this summer. “The unique cabins, complemented by our country’s stunning landscape, make for an unbeatable experience,” said Llion Pughe, one of the two founders of the project. “We look forward to welcoming our first guests this summer, who will get to see Wales in a completely unique setting.” Recently unveiled in the picturesque rolling green hills of the Wales countryside, the cabins will be moved between two locations this summer. The event, which coincides with the Wales’ Year of Legends , a year-long tribute to the country’s many mythologies, will exhibit the cabins in southern Snowdonia for the month of June, and afterwards, they will be moved to Ll?n Peninsula from mid-July until mid-September. + Epic Retreats Via Dezeen

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