Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

August 13, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects is bringing its modern, sinuous designs to Malta, a nation renowned for its historic sites. Set to become the tallest building in the country, the Mercury Tower will soar to 31 stories and a height of 112 meters in Paceville on the main island’s northeastern coast. The mixed-use tower will twist to separate the programmatic functions and optimize views of the sea. Zaha Hadid Architects’ Mercury Tower will take over a 9,405-square-meter site that had sat unoccupied for more than 20 years. The site is also home to the old Mercury House that dates back to the early 20th century. In addition to designing the strikingly modern Mercury Tower, the architects have been working with Malta’s leading conservation architect to renovate the area’s heritage structures, including the old Mercury House facades, and reuse the existing historic interiors for gathering spaces and as an entrance for the new apartments and hotel. Related: Chris Briffa Architects’ Sustainable Hanging Home Features a Green Roof in Malta The Mercury Tower’s new public amenities — such as cafes, shops and a large piazza with interactive water features — will be set alongside the refurbished Mercury House. The tower comprises nine stories of apartments below and a 19-story hotel volume above. The residences will be aligned with the street while the larger volume stacked above is rotated to position hotel rooms toward the Mediterranean Sea for better views of the water. This rotation — located at the 10th, 11th and 12th floors — also helps reduce solar gain. The insulated facade and carefully positioned glazing also improve the building’s thermal performance and ensure comfort for residents, workers and guests. Zaha Hadid Architects concluded in a statement, “Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects, by VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

Take a trip to the shire in this tiny ‘Hobbit House’ on wheels

August 13, 2018 by  
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Not only have we found the cutest hobbit tiny home on wheels , but there’s a whole gaggle of these cute dwellings at the WeeCasa Tiny House Resort set in picturesque Colorado. Guests can choose from 22 tiny homes , but the Hobbit House is by far the most adorable, complete with a circular front door, ivy-clad roof and hand-crafted wood features. The WeeCasa Resort is located in Lyons, Colorado , just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. The resort’s tiny homes, which range in size between 135-400 square feet, are set up neighborhood-style to foster a sense of community among the guests. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll around the neighborhood, a dip in the nearby river or a hiking or biking excursion through the beautiful surrounding landscape. Related: Spend the night in this magical Hobbit House tucked into the Washington shire Each tiny house in the resort is different, with its own distinctive charm and character. The 170-square-foot Hobbit House is one of the most popular choices by far. Built by Incredible Tiny Homes , this four-person guesthouse immediately gives off “shire” vibes, which are enhanced by the cedar shake siding and an ivy-covered roof. The entryway is through a large round door — of course — that opens up into a cozy, wood-clad interior. The fairytale structure has a spacious kitchen and living area punctuated with more circular windows. For sleepy hobbits, there is a queen-sized bed in the sleeping loft at the far end of the tiny home. The retreat even houses a small felt Frodo, who can often be found perched in the windows or lounging on the couch. An electric fireplace heater keeps the space nice and toasty while guests enjoy a nice warm cup of mead. + WeeCasa Tiny House Resort + Incredible Tiny Homes Via Tiny House Talk Images via WeeCasa Tiny House Resort

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Take a trip to the shire in this tiny ‘Hobbit House’ on wheels

Locally salvaged zinc panels clad a seaside getaway in Chile

August 9, 2018 by  
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Designed by Chilean architecture firm Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos , the Coo Lodge is a seaside getaway that is tied into the surrounding landscape history with its weathered zinc cladding. The reclaimed metal plates, sourced from old construction sites, have been oxidized to a reddish color similar to the color of the ground. Located on the beach with spectacular views of the sea and distant volcanoes, the building was constructed to feel like an extension of the landscape. The zinc -clad Coo Lodge is located in Queilen, a tiny town in the southern Chilean archipelago of Chiloé known for its beaches and beautiful views. The architects looked to the landscape for much of the inspiration for the house design and even delved into the early history of the original inhabitants, nomadic navigators known as ‘Chonos or Payos’ who made their living from the sea. “To discover their vestiges was to discover their vernacular condition, it was to discover a culture,” the architects wrote. “The above opened our senses to work on the pre-existing.” The architects also divided the site into three main parts: a green field near the main road, a grass-covered rocky “intermediate level” and the white sand beach that was formerly covered by a large growth of weeds before the designers cleared out the space. Because the 1,722-square-foot Coo Lodge was placed on the “intermediate level,” the architects created a series of block-y volumes — six of which house bedrooms and one larger structure for the communal living areas — to complement the large sculptural rocks. The buildings are elevated  and fan out across the landscape, and they are connected by outdoor walkways. Large windows punctuate the sea-facing facades. Related: Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood “The enclosures being separated are intimate, typical of the visitors who keep them in their status as a nomad in the place,” the architects continued. “A great volume is the space of encounter, public space, exposed, that around the fire and the kitchen , invites to live according to the logic of the rural ensemble in Chilo.” + Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos Images by Federico Cairoli

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Locally salvaged zinc panels clad a seaside getaway in Chile

Escape to the Redwoods in this recently renovated Sea Ranch timber cabin

August 8, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in The Sea Ranch community, here’s your chance to spend the night in one of the original mid-century cabins recently restored by Oakland-based design practice Framestudio . Originally designed by San Francisco Bay area architect Joseph Esherick in 1968, the Timber Ridge Sea Ranch Cabin was created as part of Demonstration Homes, a project led by developer Oceanic to show how the local design guidelines could produce a beautiful and low-cost getaway. Renovated last year, the 684-square-foot timber cabin is available for short-term rentals on Esherick MiniMod . Set amidst a forest of towering redwood trees in the historic south end of The Sea Ranch, the compact timber cabin — dubbed the Esherick MiniMod — is a peaceful getaway. Framestudio sensitively modernized the three-level cabin while preserving its historic elements; the structure is one of the few remaining Demonstration Homes that’s still close to its original state. Priorities included an updated galley kitchen, increased capacity to sleep a total of six and secure storage areas. “Framestudio developed a scheme which restored many of the original details, hallmarks of Esherick’s design, using wood which had been reclaimed from alterations not original to the design,” the project statement reads. “New interventions were conceived to contrast in color from the historic framework of the home, but constructed from materials suitable for the age of the home.” Related: Wooden Sea Ranch Cabin is nestled in a Californian redwood forest The home’s open-plan nature was preserved, but the layout of the two adjoining bedrooms can be manipulated with a new full-height partition that divides the sleeping area into two separate sections and slides away when not in use. For extra storage, the bedroom alcoves were updated with blue laminate cupboards. Framestudio also added a built-in sofa that includes extra storage and a pullout queen-sized bed. Rates at the Esherick MiniMod begin at $120 per night . + Framestudio + Esherick MiniMod Images by Drew Kelly

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Escape to the Redwoods in this recently renovated Sea Ranch timber cabin

Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

August 6, 2018 by  
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A beautiful A-frame cabin has popped up on the remote Finnish island of Vallisaari to serve as an “ecological alternative to cabin life.” Imagined by Finland-based designer Robin Falck , Nolla is a beautiful cabin retreat that was built using sustainable materials and designed to leave minimal impact on the environment. Nolla (which means “zero” in Finnish) is located on the island of Vallisaari, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsinki. Carefully constructed for zero emissions, this  A-frame cabin stands just 13 feet tall, lifted off the landscape by multiple supports so that it leaves little-to-no impact on the pristine landscape. The minimalist design was inspired by the need to provide an off-grid retreat that lets guests truly connect with nature. An all-glass wall floods the interior with natural light and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The interior of the cabin is modern with furnishings from the Stockmann Sustainable Collection, which specializes in eco-friendly products. Related: These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design The cabin’s energy needs are met by solar power. Guests can cook on a Wallas stove, which runs entirely on Neste MY Renewable Diesel that is made entirely from waste and residue. Guests can rest assured that their voyage to the cabin is also sustainable, because the ferry that travels to the island runs on the same eco-friendly diesel, which reportedly reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent. “With the Nolla cabin, we want to offer visitors the possibility to experience modern cabin life in the realm of nature, with minimal emissions, Falck explained. “An ecological lifestyle does not only require giving up unsustainable commodities, but also discovering modern, sustainable solutions that can be used instead. This has been an essential part of the design process.” Nolla, which will be on the island until the end of September, is part of Neste’s Journey to Zero project. Neste has collaborated with notable eco-concious companies to design and promote the cabin’s eco-message. The first guests to visit the eco-retreat will be hosted by Finnish zero waste influencer Otso Sillanaukee, a specialist on sustainable everyday living . “Finns are known for spending time at their beloved summer houses. We wanted to explore sustainable solutions that could enable cabin life with minimal emissions,” said Sirpa Tuomi, marketing director at Neste. “Shared and circular economy, as well as new technologies and innovations, have made it possible to enjoy our cabins without harming or burdening the environment . Some of the solutions that have been used at the Nolla cabin are perfectly adaptable at any cabin.” + Robin Falck + Neste Images via Neste

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Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

Stay in a dreamy treehouse inside an ancient English forest

August 3, 2018 by  
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A magical treehouse retreat has opened its doors in the village of Lee in England’s stunning North Devon region. Built largely by hand, this luxurious one-bedroom rental is dressed in a combination of reclaimed and modern materials. Set within remote woodland, the Treehouse Retreat immerses guests in a private paradise in nature without sacrificing modern comforts. Built to sleep two, the two-story Treehouse Retreat is clad in locally sourced cedar charred using Shou Sugi Ban , a Japanese technique that enhances the grain of the wood and naturally protects it from rot, pests and the elements. Timber is used throughout the interior as well to tie the treehouse to its surroundings. Reclaimed flooring from an old U.S. factory was used for the bookcase and windowsills, and the stairwell banister was constructed using locally salvaged branches. Large windows, indoor plants and an outdoor terrace also emphasize the getaway’s indoor-outdoor living experience. The spacious hexagonal terrace overlooks sweeping valley views and is furnished with a solid teak dining set as well as with a wood-fired pizza oven and gas-powered barbecue. Glazed French doors connect the terrace to a bathroom, living space, dining nook and a charming kitchen with a restored 19th-century oak sideboard. Upstairs, a bedroom occupies the entire second floor and offers views of the tree canopy as well as the ‘botanical fleur’ feature wallpaper. “Designed as the ultimate escape, this unique destination also boasts a wide range of features to help guests disconnect from their day-to-day lives, with everything from a Zen-inspired meditation corner to a thoughtfully-styled reading nook lovingly dressed to help visitors distress,” said Nadia McCowan Hill, Resident Style Adviser at Wayfair U.K. , which dispatched an in-house team of stylists to dress the treehouse’s interior. The Treehouse Retreat can be booked exclusively on TripAdvisor Rentals with nightly rates starting from $271. + Treehouse Retreat Images by David Cotsworth Photography

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Stay in a dreamy treehouse inside an ancient English forest

Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

July 16, 2018 by  
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Renowned Mexican architect Alberto Kalach has designed a series of idyllic timber cabins along the Pacific Ocean in Oaxaca , Mexico. Available to rent on Airbnb, these cabins were developed as part of the Punta Pájaros, an ecological development located approximately 25 minutes from Puerto Escondido, a port town with stunning surf, pristine beaches and a buzzing nightlife. The cabins, which are strategically placed away from the hustle and bustle and are oriented to face the ocean, offer a blissful opportunity to reconnect with nature in all directions. The Alberto Kalach-designed cabins include Casa Mar and Casa Arena as well as eight other cabins with private pools and gardens. These holiday getaways are built almost entirely of timber and are raised approximately a meter above the ground to minimize site impact. Each dwelling is fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and al fresco shower. Sliding doors built of palm wood completely open the interior up to the landscape, let in cooling cross breezes and provide panoramic views of the stunning landscape. “Each cabin was designed based on a simple wooden structure, reticulated in modules of 3 x 3m, concentrating the wet core at the center of the house, to leave a bedroom and common area at opposite ends with views of the landscape and a wide perimeter covered terrace,” explained Kalach’s firm. “Using the same modulation, other rooms were allocated to kitchen and dining services. The houses are camouflaged in the local landscape, being identifiable only by their twisted water covers, which look like bird profiles.” Related: Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico The cabins face a long, nearly private beach with rock climbing and fishing opportunities on one end and the Manialtepec Lagoon on the other. The cabins are also very close to Casa Wabi , a multicultural and multidisciplinary community artists’ retreat designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando . The cabins start at around $200 USD a night. + Alberto Kalach Images via Alberto Kalach

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Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

Old fishermans shack is reimagined as a dreamy eco retreat

June 26, 2018 by  
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Eco-conscious couple Jamie and Ingrid Kwong have breathed new life into an old fisherman’s shack by transforming the dilapidated structure into a cozy, environmentally-friendly getaway. Located on Pittwater’s Mackerel Beach in New South Wales, Australia, The Little Black Shack is a restorative retreat that offers complete immersion in nature with minimal site impact . The house was reconstructed by hand with recycled materials and lovingly furnished with secondhand items. Local fishermen originally hand-built the shack around the 1930s. The couple, who lived nearby, had admired the shack for over 20 years and finally jumped at the chance to buy the property when it was put up for sale in 2013. The building was in poor condition with termite-damaged wood, but the couple was undeterred in fixing up the shack and spent the next 18 months with family and an eco-minded builder to completely restore the shack by hand. “Our aim is to give our guests a relaxing and restorative experience in our sustainable little patch of paradise by giving them everything they need, whilst taking very little from the environment ,” the couple explained. “By the end of their stay, our guests tend to take a lot less for granted too. If you want real stars, wildlife, peace, quiet and a place to connect with and appreciate nature and each other, you might want to jump on the old wooden ferry ‘Myra’ and cross Pittwater to Mackerel Beach.” Related: Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact The Little Black Shack was rebuilt with recycled and repurposed materials as part of the owners’ desire to reduce their impact on the environment. Instead of air conditioning, the property relies on natural ventilation and passive heating supplemented with a hand-built, sandstone open fireplace. The paints used throughout the home are all-natural, water-based and VOC-free . Rainwater is also harvested and reused; during times of drought, a desalination system is used to turn salt water into purified fresh water. The couple hopes to take the Little Black Shack completely off the grid in the future. The idyllic retreat is available for rent; for a closer look inside, follow their Instagram . + The Little Black Shack Images by Luisa Brimble

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Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus Hotel with worlds first high-rise exoskeleton opens in Macau

June 15, 2018 by  
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Macau has officially opened the doors to Morpheus, a sculptural, 40-story luxury hotel that also boasts the “world’s first” high-rise exoskeleton—a curvaceous lattice-like covering that gives the building its iconic appearance. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects , the sleek and sinuous structure serves as the new flagship hotel for the City of Dreams resort. The $1.1-billion architectural icon is one of the last projects that architect Zaha Hadid worked on before her untimely death. Morpheus Hotel is the latest addition to Macau’s City of Dreams, an integrated resort that includes a casino , two theaters, a shopping district, 20 restaurants and four hotels on the Cotai Strip. Taking inspiration from China’s rich traditions of jade carving, the architects crafted Morpheus with flowing curves that define the exterior and interior design. “Conceived as a vertical extrusion of its rectangular footprint, a series of voids is carved through its centre to create an urban window connecting the hotel’s interior communal spaces with the city and generating the sculptural forms that define the hotel’s public spaces,” wrote Zaha Hadid Architects in a statement. The Morpheus’ exoskeleton wraps around a pair of towers and a central atrium that soars to a height of 35 meters, while its ground level is connected to the City of Dreams resort’s surrounding three-story podium. A series of sky bridges traverse the atrium, while twelve glass elevators offer spectacular views of the hotel’s interior and exterior. The hotel houses 770 guest rooms, suites and sky villas as well as civic spaces, meeting and event facilities, game rooms, three restaurants, a spa and rooftop pool, and back-of-house areas and ancillary facilities. Related: Zaha Hadid Unveils Plans for “City of Dreams” Hotel Tower in Macau The use of an exoskeleton allowed for the creation of expansive interiors uninterrupted by supporting walls or columns. “Morpheus combines its optimal arrangement with structural integrity and sculptural form,” adds Viviana Muscettola, ZHA’s project director. “The design is intriguing as it makes no reference to traditional architectural typologies.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Virgile Simon Bertrand

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A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

June 11, 2018 by  
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St. Petersburg-based architecture firm Rhizome group designed and built Tochka na Karte Hotel, a prefabricated structure crafted to embrace the outdoors. Located in the northern Russian town of Priozersk in Leningrad Oblast, the hotel complex is a sleek and modern getaway nestled among mature pine trees. The use of modular technology has helped reduce construction waste and minimize site impact , including the preservation of existing trees. Located just a two-hour drive north of St. Petersburg , the Tochka na Karte Hotel (Russian for ‘a point on the map’) is set on the shore of Lake Ladoga on the border of the Republic of Karelia. Due to its proximity to St. Petersburg, historical points of interest and abundance of pristine nature, the area has long served as a major tourist destination for Russians and foreigners alike. The hotel taps into the region’s natural beauty by using floor-to-ceiling glazing to frame outdoor views from every room, thus blurring the line between indoors and out. The prefabricated building comprises three two-story blocks with 32 standard rooms, detached suites (built of two modules) and a reception building (assembled from three modules and some prefabricated elements). The modules, which measure 3.5 meters by 7 meters, were constructed in a factory and then assembled on site. Stairways and terraces connect the modular blocks. The facade was built of timber and dark metal to tie the building into the wooded landscape. To further blend the hotel into its pine forest backdrop, the structures were “dispersed” among existing mature pines near where the Vuoski River meets Lake Ladoga. Related: This minimalist prefab hotel offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps “We believe we succeeded in achieving the essence of a place inherent to modern Nordic architecture,” the architects wrote. “Terrain forms, trees layout and our strive to provide a view of the shore from every room constitute the buildings’ location on the site.” + Rhizome Images by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov

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A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

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