Dolmen Shelter renderings imagine stone-shaped guest rooms

January 18, 2021 by  
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Sibling team Davit and Mary Jilavyan have imagined a boutique  hotel  with stone-shaped guest rooms partially inspired by their housing complex in Moscow. The project, known as Dolmen Shelter, is a fictional rendering that the duo hopes to someday see brought to fruition by their friends in the building industry. The hotel measures from 35 square meters to 55 square meters on 100-120 square meters of site area. According to Davit and Mary, they came up with the idea while walking near their house and seeing a landscape design made up of three  stones . The structures are reminiscent of single-chamber megalithic tombs known as dolmens, which date from the early Neolithic age. Related: Marc Thorpe designs live/work buildings built from earth bricks The project imagines a mini-hotel with at least three small stone-shaped guest suites, a design that the team chose instead of buildings made from different blocks to keep the project unique. The idea is to move away from modern house designs that prioritize contemporary shapes and glass, and instead focus on more organic shapes. Each stone-shaped suite is made of reinforced concrete and faced with plaster to imitate natural stone. A few very small windows help mimic a  cave’s  atmosphere. Red lighting evokes the same mystery that characterizes  ancient  dolmens; archaeologists still debate the reasons behind their presence and methods of construction. The team says this choice intentionally alludes to the mesmerizing estrangement and overall characteristics that attract people to these ominous stone structures.  Simple, minimalist furniture provides enough to live comfortably without excess, while a rectangular black volume with an entrance space is built into each suite to indicate the doorway. Overall, the hotel renderings remind one of the ancestral caves of early humans, a feature the Jilavyans believe will distract guests from their busy lifestyles and allow them to concentrate on themselves and their inner voices.  + Dolmen Shelter Via Dezeen Images via Davit and Mary Jilavyan

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Dolmen Shelter renderings imagine stone-shaped guest rooms

These elevated wooden cabins can only accessed via hiking trail

November 5, 2020 by  
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Norweigian architectural firm Spacegroup has released renderings of the Movikheien Cabins, a development of raised wooden cabins in Hagefjorden, Norway. The property design purposefully does not include car-accessible roads; this limited access, along with the elevated cabins, aims to exhibit minimal physical encroachment on the natural terrain. According to the architects, the global COVID-19 pandemic that initially hit in mid-March has opened new opportunities in local travel industries despite having negative consequences on the economy. While international travel became limited due to pandemic restrictions, leading to uncertainty in the airline industry and a historically low value for the Norweigan Krone, the locals began to turn to domestic travel to explore the destinations in their own backyards. Related: Snøhetta completes stunning Norwegian cabins for glacier hikers The new development will boast environmentally friendly design and social inclusivity. In the past, cabin and campground developments meant manipulating the natural terrain by cutting down large areas of forest to produce oversized structures with large carbon footprints. The Movikheien Cabins project breaks this trend, with traditional “light touch” small units measuring about 62 square meters each and made using 100% wood construction. Sixteen new cabins are proposed for the development, each sitting on elevated columns above the terrain to preserve the landscape while remaining connected to the forest. This shared-yet-separate space provides a social community element all while protecting the land. Even better, a principle concept in the planning is dedicated to ensuring that the space would not be accessible to cars, since building roads would require too much intervention in the landscape. Instead, the site is accessed solely by a hiking trail designed by the client and architects as well as a rock climber and arborist who walked and mapped the location. This aspect also contributes to a lower construction footprint, as all building components must be of a dimension to be transported without the use of heavy machinery. + Spacegroup Images via Spacegroup

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These elevated wooden cabins can only accessed via hiking trail

Middelkerke Casino blends into the surrounding Belgian sand dunes

October 22, 2020 by  
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Great architectural design provides function for indoor spaces but also considers the effect on the surrounding outdoor space. This is especially true in a sensitive habitat, like that along the coastline of Belgium, where a massive casino will meld into the curving landscape while bringing an economic boost to the region. As winner of a recent Design & Build Competition, Nautilus consortium plans to honor both the history and the landscape with the new building, which will be located in the municipality of Middelkerke. Related: Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnam’s beaches The primary design goal was to create visual appeal that blends into the seascape rather than standing out against it, with a focus on building placement and integration. For example, the event hall, restaurant and casino will be situated behind transparent facades that offer views of the beach, sea and horizon beyond. From the outside, the wood structure of the ‘boulder’-shaped hotel is striking, with a light, natural appeal that contrasts the surrounding glass- and concrete-clad buildings and merges seamlessly into the surrounding flora. Energy savings are incorporated into every phase of the design, including the cantilevered dune on top of the ground floor and the terraces of the hotel tower, which protrude over the facade, creating shade during hot summer months. In addition, the layout takes advantage of the cooling sea breezes. Material waste is avoided wherever possible, and recycled materials are incorporated throughout construction. Structurally, the campus addresses flood risk through dike reinforcement while also providing a public space that is pedestrian-friendly . The upper seawall area is a car-free zone focused on bicyclists and foot traffic; an underground parking garage offers convenience and keeps cars out of sight. “With this project our coast will be enriched with a new architectural anchor, that accurately represents the character of Middelkerke,” said Mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker. “It transmits strength and soberness as well as sophistication, with a lot of love for the sea and the dunes. In addition, this project may mean the beginning of the renewal of Middelkerke’s town centre as an appealing place to live and visit.” Nautilus consortium is a collaboration between developer Ciril, chief designers ZJA (architecture) and DELVA ( landscape architecture ), OZ (casino and hotel design), executive architect Bureau Bouwtechniek and contractors Furnibo and Democo. They are assisted by experts from COBE, VK Engineering, Beersnielsen, Witteveen+Bos, Plantec, MINT and Sertius. + ZJA Images via Nautilus Consortium

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Middelkerke Casino blends into the surrounding Belgian sand dunes

Plant a unique indoor garden with this modular living wall kit from Horticus

October 22, 2020 by  
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Designed by Horticus, these modular living walls offer a stunning way to reconnect with nature by creating a vertical hanging garden indoors, no matter how small the space. The flexible system is completely adaptable, with a modular, hexagonal steel frame with room for customized terracotta planters. The instructions are easy enough for even beginner gardeners. Simply soak the terracotta planters, assemble the modular frames into your desired layout, place the planters onto the frames and start planting. You can water without flooding the roots through a grid of watering holes on the side of the planters. Don’t worry, the website goes much more in-depth in terms of instruction, with additional maintenance tips and optional steps to keep your plants as beautiful and healthy as possible. Related: The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall Plants can be rearranged and replaced according to the customer’s preference. Users can lift the terracotta planters out to rearrange or repot. Planters come with little feet on the bottom for added circulation and finger gaps for lifting, so you can easily place them on a table for things like kitchen herbs or centerpieces. The company offers kits that provide owners with everything they need to get started on their personal indoor living walls. Kits range from three planters to up to 24 planters, with options to include a humidifier (great for tropical plants ), a light or a speaker inside. The website also includes a detailed plant guide with a list of tested plants that work best within the system. The guide designates plants in terms of growing difficulty level, from the “super easy” Zebrina plant to the “medium/expert” orchids. The smallest kit includes three planters and one frame and will set you back about $310, while the largest kit costs over $1,350. These planters are certainly an investment, but if you can swing it, Horticus will help bring a stunning garden oasis right into your home to help you improve your indoor air quality with style. + Horticus Via Dezeen Images via Horticus

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Plant a unique indoor garden with this modular living wall kit from Horticus

Breathtaking alpine views await atop Iceman tzi Peak

October 5, 2020 by  
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At 10,666 feet above sea level, the newly constructed Iceman Ötzi Peak observation deck provides nature-lovers with a stunning vantage point of the Italian Alps at the peak of the Schnals Valley Glacier ridge in South Tyrol. Designed by Network of Architecture (noa*), the sculptural viewing platform is built of weathered steel and elegantly engineered for minimal impact, resulting in a structure that appears to blend in with and float above the landscape. The 80-square-meter viewing platform was recently completed last month for the Hotel Grawand, a unique, high-altitude hotel that is just a stone’s throw away from the summit. The Iceman Ötzi Peak is named after Europe’s oldest known natural human mummy, the Iceman Ötzi, whose mummified body was found nearby and is now on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano. In addition to providing breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains, the undulating viewing platform also pays further homage to Ötzi with a geometric funnel cut into the observation deck that frames views of where Ötzi was found. The funnel is capped with a glass railing to give users the thrilling sensation of walking on air. Related: Apple Hotel gains a green-roofed wellness center in South Tyrol The lightweight viewing platform was designed to only touch the ground where necessary to limit visual and environmental impact, and it follows the natural topography. Weathered steel was selected as the primary material for its durability and its patina, which turns dark brown, gray and black over time to gradually blend in with the surroundings. “The parapet-high, vertical elements trace these gentle curves in their sequence,” the architects explained. “This creates a magical effect: an opening and closing of views that follows the movement of the viewer — an invitation to discover new perspectives time and again. This unique dynamic creates a fully immersive, sensual experience in which time stands still for a moment and every other souvenir is eclipsed.” + noa* Photography by Alex Filz via noa*

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Breathtaking alpine views await atop Iceman tzi Peak

Partnership is key for InterContinental Hotels Group’s circularity goals

September 18, 2020 by  
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Partnership is key for InterContinental Hotels Group’s circularity goals InterContinental Hotels Group, which has tens of thousands of properties currently in operation or development, has a large footprint. But did you know that many of its properties are run by third parties? That makes working toward sustainability goals challenging, according to Catherine Dolton, vice president of global corporate responsibility at the company. “It’s all about influencing those third parties to make changes,” she said. Still, it’s striving toward big goals. Earlier in 2020, the hotels group set science-based targets to address its water and waste impacts, as well as how it works with the communities in which is operates. And it’s started working in partnership with other companies to try to reach its circular economy goals. “We do have the power to make a difference,” Dolton said. “It’s not just about collaboration outside the industry. We also work with out peers through the International Tourism Partnership.” Shana Rappaport, vice president and executive director of VERGE at GreenBiz Group, interviewed Catherine Dolton, vice president of global corporate responsibility at InterContinental Hotels Group, during Circularity 20, which took place August 25-27, 2020. View archived videos from the conference here . Deonna Anderson Fri, 09/18/2020 – 16:34 Featured Off

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Prefabricated, luxury eco-pod sits high in the Swiss Alps

September 2, 2020 by  
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With sweeping views of the Rhône Valley just south of Lake Geneva, the Zen Suite is the latest addition to the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel. Designed by Montalba Architects, the minimalist-meets-luxurious pod immerses guests in the Dents-du-Midi mountain range of Switzerland. A creative combination of natural materials and sustainable construction, the hotel’s series of pods is aimed at creating spiritual harmony with the surrounding alpine ecosystem. The architects minimized environmental impact by raising the pods on platforms and leaving the surroundings mostly untouched. The eco-pods are positioned on elevated, stadium-style deck platforms along the side of the mountain, giving guests private and unobstructed views of the stunning landscape from almost every angle. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment The Zen Suite’s central circle is surrounded by curved wooden walls that are finished with fine details and tatami floor mats. The entire pod measures about 150 square feet, with an additional 220 square feet provided by the connected terrace. The platform, pod and bath box are all prefabricated elements of the structure. Hidden closets and storage compartments add to the contemporary feel of the space. In the simple bedroom, a sunken bed faces the front of the pod to make the most of the views. The wooden bathroom is constructed locally to minimize waste and transportation. The bathroom also utilizes an Ozone system to filter water without the use of harmful chemicals. A bathtub centers the distinct, circular design. The zen concept found throughout the design is inspired by the Wu Xing movement, which states that all things are connected and made up of energy. The five elements connected to the Chinese philosophy are represented through earth, water, wood, metal and fire. Each corner and space of the Zen Suite is meant to revolve around simple human ritual and self-reflection based on this theory, resulting in a transformative experience. Prices range from 650 to 1,250 Swiss Francs ($670 to $1,287) per night. +Montalba Architects Via An Interior Magazine Photography by Delphine Burtin via Montalba Architects

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Prefabricated, luxury eco-pod sits high in the Swiss Alps

Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

August 21, 2020 by  
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Located in the tourist-friendly Spanish village of Santa Maria de Palautordera, the Drop Box N-240 is a transportable, modular suite that is ready to “drop” into practically any location via crane. The models, designed by In-Tenta, are manufactured offsite, transported and quickly assembled. Along with wood as a renewable and sustainable building material for the frame, suites come with either natural wood cladding or composite panels made of cement and wood particles as exterior finish. The hotel property provides views of the Montseny Massif mountain range in Montseny Natural Park, included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This park is located in the Catalan pre-coastal mountain range, 25 kilometers from the stunning Mediterranean Sea and 50 kilometers from bustling Barcelona. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days In a project designed to increase in size without interfering with the natural environment, the prefab suite is suspended in the middle of the forest with a panoramic view over the trees. The floor plan includes a living room, a fully equipped bathroom and a platform with space for a queen-sized bed. The pod-like suite and attached terrace is installed like a treehouse , elevated over a metal structure to adhere to the sloped terrain while minimizing impact upon the site. The entire layout is designed for minimal occupation of land, giving the rooms a small, yet comfortable, ambiance. The cement-wood combination panels are low-maintenance, non-toxic, impermeable to water and aren’t susceptible to damage from living organisms. There are also several colors to choose from to customize the suite. The design company can also customize the floor plan depending on a client’s needs. In the case of the Santa Maria de Palautordera property, the entrance door is made of the same cement and wood mixture that makes up the rest of the facade, rather than the default transparent glass. The standard Drop Box N-240 layout includes a kitchen and a shower, but this particular suite ditched the kitchen and swapped a shower for a bathtub to save space. + In-Tenta Photography by estudibasic via In-Tenta

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Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

Cargotecture meets wine country in Paso Robles

July 27, 2020 by  
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Sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while gazing out over rows and rows of grapes is a thrill for any wine aficionado. But the Geneseo Inn at Cass Winery in Paso Robles, California offers something even more exciting — now wine-lovers can wake up to those vineyard views inside a repurposed shipping container . Cargotecture has come to wine country at last. The new, eight-unit bed and breakfast is now open and accepting guests. Ecotech Design, collaborating with the container fabricator CRATE MODULAR and the winery co-owners, Steve Cass and Ted Plemons, chose a 60-foot live oak tree as the centerpiece of the property. Ecotech Design integrated 20 factory-built, steel containers with conventional construction and set them in the rolling hills of the vineyard. Related: Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project The units incorporate two containers each. The interior of each container is made from locally sourced, sustainable materials and features a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Parking is built underneath the units, so that cars don’t mar the landscape views. The 12-foot high clerestory, cathedral ceilings have multiple operable windows to invite light and fresh air inside. Guests can regulate the temperature and conserve energy by opening and closing these windows. The bridal unit suite is larger and more deluxe than the other units; it is built with a 40-foot and a 20-foot container. There is also an office cluster, which uses four 20-foot containers and features reception areas and a communal deck shaded by an oak tree . The B&B’s earthy exterior color palette complements both the landscape and the wine labels used at Cass Winery . “The design was inspired by the vineyard itself,” said Walter Scott Perry, founder and principal of Ecotech Design . “The most compelling attribute of this project is the use of modular components, in combination with recycled materials, to enhance visual interest and create an impressive panoramic openness that connects interior spaces, walkways, and decks. These connect with the vineyard vistas beyond.” Perry has been a leader in sustainable building design since the 1970s, when he was a part of the passive solar design movement in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the last 15 years, he’s built with shipping containers at sites around California. The winery personnel are excited to welcome guests to stay on the 145-acre vineyard and to serve them an estate breakfast prepared by the executive chef. Many ingredients are grown on-site in the chef gardens . In addition to a deluxe food and wine experience, guests can book a private massage, yoga session, archery lesson, photography workshop or horseback excursion. + Ecotech Design Photography by Paul Vu Photography via Ecotech Design

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Cargotecture meets wine country in Paso Robles

Natural pink walls make up this eco-friendly hotel in Oaxaca

July 7, 2020 by  
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Designed by studios Taller Lu’um and At-te, the Monte Uzulu boutique hotel in Oaxaca, Mexico has doors made from  local wood  and walls crafted with a combination of concrete, earth and natural lime. The name comes from the word gusulú, meaning “beginning” in the region’s indigenous Zapotec language. As the hotel resides in the small fishing village of San Agustinillo, the designers wanted to honor the land surrounding the site by modeling the hotel to be close to nature. The  Pacific Ocean  can be found just a short walk away from the property, and construction kept as many trees as possible intact to make less of an environmental impact. According to the architectural team, a roughly 1,000-year-old jungle surrounds the hotel, so respecting the trees became a pivotal part of the design plan. Related: Ancient Mayan-inspired Casa Merida operates off the grid in Mexico Monte Uzulu’s balance with nature shows in its construction materials, which include natural elements such as locally-sourced wood,  soil  and dried palm leaves. A pink rendering of earth, lime and natural pigment covers the concrete walls, applied by hand and palette knife. The open-sided structure, moveable wood walls and thatched roof are modeled after the palapa design that is native to this part of western  Mexico . This design promotes natural ventilation and less sun exposure, making it perfect for the area’s hot weather. Six rectangular structures with gabled roofs connect with a series of stairs, making up 11 guest suites and about 7,782 square feet of total area. Each room has a terrace overlooking the jungle and ocean, with interior  concrete  walls left exposed to match the concrete floors and fixtures. Local artisans crafted the furniture, such as shelves and bed frames, using local wood. Sustainability measures, including a  rainwater collection system , water recycling system, natural water pools and a biodigester to convert organic waste, are implemented to reduce the hotel’s environmental impact even further. + Monte Uzulu Via Dezeen

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Natural pink walls make up this eco-friendly hotel in Oaxaca

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