Fruit trees grow on the roofs of this rammed earth home in Hanoi

April 18, 2018 by  
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Vo Trong Nghia Architects puts a fresh spin on the ancient art of rammed earth construction in the Dong Anh house, a modern dwelling with fruit trees growing on the roofs. Taking advantage of the property’s secure and isolated location in Hanoi, the architects applied an “open garden design” that embraces nature in, around, and even on top of the home. The thick earth walls have the advantage of high thermal mass and keep the home cool by storing heat during the day and then dissipating that heat at night. Although Vietnam has a history of rammed earth construction, particularly in the country’s northwest region, most of the country’s construction relies primarily on concrete, not earth. In hopes of promoting the advantages of rammed earth walls in a modern context, Vo Trong Nghia Architects crafted the walls of the Dong Anh house out of soils taken from a variety of land mines, all within 20 miles of the site. The soils were then filtered, ground and mixed with cement and other additives before being compacted in formwork. The diversity of soils creates a unique striation on the compacted, nearly 14-inch-thick walls. Related: Trees grow on every balcony of this Hanoi university building Designed for a large family, the spacious 5,382-square-foot home covers two stories in a roughly H-shaped plan. The first floor comprises the main communal spaces as well as the maid room, storage, and three bedrooms. The second level includes two additional bedrooms and an outdoor courtyard . The fruit trees grown in large planters are located on both roofs. “Amount of fruit trees on the roof, along with the open garden around the house is another emphasis that makes a green, cool and friendly environment to the people,” wrote the architects. “And sloping roof is also a reasonable design for tropical monsoon climate in Vietnam.” + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Images by Hiroyuki Oki

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Fruit trees grow on the roofs of this rammed earth home in Hanoi

Lush rooftop oasis flourishes on a renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City

April 18, 2018 by  
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Formerly a derelict Art Deco structure, Casa Verne has been reborn as a contemporary family home with a secluded getaway in the center of a busy Mexico City neighborhood. Zeller & Moye renovated the 1930s townhouse and took care to preserve period features while injecting new modern touches. The crowning achievement can be found on the roof, where the architects created a lush garden and oasis of native plants. Zeller & Moye’s renovation of the townhouse stripped away internal walls to create more spacious living areas. New roof lights pull in natural light to the previously dim interior while whitewashed walls create a bright and airy atmosphere. Dark-stained wood used on the floors of the first level and on the staircase to the rooftop terrace provide a grounding contrast. Related: Green-roofed timber cabin floats above the ground in Mexico City The service spaces are located on the ground floor, while the main living areas on the first floor are accessed via a striking pink marble staircase. The architects also added a new top floor that houses the master bedroom suite and garden that’s surrounded by high walls for privacy. The floors of the extension as well as the garden path are finished in cut marble pebbles, a reference to Mexico City’s lost riverbeds and lakes. + Zeller & Moye Via Dezeen Images © Omar Mun?oz, Juan Carlos Garza

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Lush rooftop oasis flourishes on a renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City

This house from Skylab Architecture mimics the appearance of the Rocky Mountains

April 16, 2018 by  
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Portland studio Skylab Architecture ‘s Owl Creek Residence is an angular retreat  that blends into Colorado ’s mountainous landscape while offering expansive views of the Rocky Mountains. The house’s rugged steel structure mimics the topography of the surrounding area, enhancing visual connections to the landscape and simultaneously drawing it inwards. The 4,200-square-foot (390-square-meter) house sits on a hillside near the town of Snowmass, a popular destination for winter sports . Its main lounge area mimics the natural slope of the site and features stepped seating that maximizes space within the stairwell. Related: Geothermal-powered Wildcat Ridge Residence boasts breathtaking views of Aspen, Colorado Five bedrooms occupy the lower level of the residence, along with other amenities such as a steam room and hot tub. A triangular spa with an elevated deck and an expansive outdoor terrace is located right off the kitchen. The choice of cladding materials and finishes – weathering steel , wood and stone – further allows the house to harmonize with nature. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls in the common areas form the tip of the triangular plan and offer expansive views of the surrounding landscape. Most of the upper level is reserved for entertaining and includes an open-concept living and dining room, a den, and a kitchen. + Skylab Architecture Via Dezeen Lead photo by Robert Reck

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This house from Skylab Architecture mimics the appearance of the Rocky Mountains

For 16 years, this stork has flown 8,700 miles to return to his one true love

April 16, 2018 by  
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Just when you thought the world was one raging garbage fire , along comes this amazing stork to brighten the day. For the past 16 years, without fail, one male stork has flown 8,700 miles to be with his mate who can no longer fly after being shot by poachers. Klepetan the stork travels from his winter nest in South Africa to his mate’s Malena’s home in Croatia every single March where they reunite and raise a new brood. Malena was injured by a gunshot in 1993, but a local hero took her home after finding her by a lake and nursed her back to health. “If I had left her in the pond foxes would have eaten her. But I changed her fate, so now I’m responsible for her life,” said Stjepan Vokic, the man who cares for Malena. Now, although she can’t migrate any longer, she has a pretty sweet life. Vokic has built an “improvised Africa” where she can stay warm, and he cares for her by bathing her, catching her fish in the river and making sure her feet are moisturized. He even watches stork documentaries with her so she won’t get lonely, and takes her fishing. Related: This friendly fish has visited a Japanese diver for 25 years Klepetan arrives every March as spring begins in Croatia after traveling for a month from his winter home. Every spring, Vokic builds a new nest on his roof so that when Klepetan arrives, the couple can mate, and so far, they’ve had 62 chicks together. In the fall, Klepetan migrates back to South Africa with his new little family, and Malena stays behind with her human friend. Vokic says that the couple struggles to say goodbye every year, and Malena hides and stops eating when she knows Klepetan is about to go. Via Oddity Central Images via HRT

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For 16 years, this stork has flown 8,700 miles to return to his one true love

Stunning ash staircase ties together an eco-conscious home in Mexico City

April 16, 2018 by  
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Located on a brownfield , the Cuernavaca House has an impressive eye for both sustainability and beauty—so much so that the project was long-listed earlier this year for the 2018 RIBA International Prize . Architectural practice Tapia McMahon designed the light-filled residence that fills out the entire plot, making room for light wells, greenery, and spacious rooms within. Repurposed materials and energy-saving solutions are present throughout the family home that’s beautifully tied together by a winding ash staircase. An aggregate of recycled materials and concrete form the Cuernavaca House’s structural walls. The walls’ high thermal mass keep the city’s heat at bay during the day. For a warmer touch indoors, exposed concrete is paired with an abundance of timber from wooden floors and large timber bookshelves to the twisting central ash staircase lit from above. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to take advantage of cross breezes, views, and natural light. Related: This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden The open-plan layout helps promote the flow of natural light and breezes. The office and guest bedroom are located on the ground floor and an expansive living area occupies the first floor above, while the main bedrooms are placed on the upper levels, as is a large roof terrace with a daybed. Greenery punctuates the home, from the roof terraces to the balconies, and is irrigated with collected rainwater . + Tapia McMahon Via Dezeen Images via Rafael Gamo

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Stunning ash staircase ties together an eco-conscious home in Mexico City

Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

April 16, 2018 by  
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An hour north of Oslo, Danish studio Norm Architects have designed a family home they describe as the “epitome of hygge ,” a Scandinavian term for a mood of coziness and wellbeing. Set into a hillside, the Gjøvik House comprises a cluster of six interconnected timber volumes positioned to take in views of Mjøsa lake and the Norwegian woods. The overlapping areas of the timber volumes give rise to private pockets and cozy nooks, elements that the architects say are integral to the hygge concept. The 1,668-square-foot Gjøvik House was envisioned by the architects as a place “where you can truly hibernate while taking shelter from the frigid days of Nordic winter.” To blend the cluster-style home into the landscape, the architects clad the facade in vertical strips of timber that will eventually develop a silvery patina over time. Large glazed openings frame selected views of the landscape and bring in copious amounts of natural light. Related: 6 ways to make your life more “Hygge” – the Danish secret to happiness The interior features a similarly restrained materials palette of white walls, concrete , and wood paired with minimalist and modern furnishings. “The Gjøvik house, consisting of overlapping cubes of different sizes, makes for an intimate and dynamic family home with materials, levels and inbuilt, tailor-made furniture creating a minimal yet warm and secluded feeling,” wrote the architects. The spacious kitchen, located at the heart of the house, is awash in natural light and provides a contrast to the narrow nooks spread out across the home. + Norm Architects Images via Norm Architects

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Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

Stellar views and a small footprint defines this Tasmanian timber cabin

April 12, 2018 by  
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A small abode perched high on the eastern slopes of Tasmania’s Mount Wellington offers spectacular landscape views. Room11 Architects designed the boxy dwelling with a deliberately compact footprint as an “intensely private” retreat that keeps the focus on outdoor views framed by large windows. In addition to enviable views, natural cross ventilation and a wood-burning stove help keep the home, called Little Big House, attuned to nature. Located high above Hobart, Little Big House is an escape from the city set in a forested landscape. The simple residence is clad in vertical unfinished timber in a nod to the local vernacular construction styles of Southern Tasmania. “A small home with big volumes, the house is a bespoke building in a cool climate,” wrote the architects. “Eschewing many of the traditions of Australian architecture , this house is distinctly Tasmanian.” Related: Historic train shed transformed into Tasmanian School for Architecture Polycarbonate cladding on the east and west facades bring additional light to the minimalist interior without compromising privacy. White walls and tall ceilings create a bright and airy atmosphere indoors; the entry, kitchen, and bathroom spaces are finished in black to provide visual contrast. The focus is kept on the double-height living room set next to a long strip of glazing, while the bedroom is tucked above on the mezzanine level. + Room11 Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Ben Hosking

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Stellar views and a small footprint defines this Tasmanian timber cabin

Stunning home in California wine country seamlessly opens up to the outdoors

April 9, 2018 by  
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Feldman Architecture completed the beautiful House in Healdsburg, a contemporary home that embraces the outdoors with large pivoting walls that blur the boundaries between inside and out. Created in collaboration with Arterra Landscape Architecture , the House in Healdsburg comprises a 2,100-square-foot main home and an 850-square-foot guesthouse. Created to feel like an open-air pavilion in the middle of Sonoma wine country, the House in Healdsburg was built for a couple with a love of the outdoors and entertaining. Thus, custom garage-style glass walls were installed around the open-plan common area, which comprises the living area, dining room, and kitchen. The operable glazed walls can also be found in the media room and master bedroom in the perpendicular wing. Related: Stunning solar Butterfly House masters resource conservation in California The modern home’s concrete flooring and black steel components give it an industrial feel that’s tempered by dark-stained cedar siding and low stone landscape walls. The guesthouse, located a short walk away, is a smaller interpretation of the main house. + Feldman Architecture Via ArchDaily Images © Joe Fletcher

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Stunning home in California wine country seamlessly opens up to the outdoors

Experimental furniture eyeing urban regeneration pops up in Madrid

April 9, 2018 by  
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Enorme Studio teamed up with MINI to create an urban installation that taps into concepts of sustainability and urban regeneration. Called Mountain on the Moon, the experimental project comprises three mobile structures: a glass house/office and terraced bench seating units with attractive greenery on either side. The installation, located in Plaza de la Luna, was created for the Madrid Design Festival. Mountain on the Moon embraces the ideas of flexible and portable architecture as a means of encouraging collaboration and connection in the city. “Every day we all become increasingly aware of the need to improve our habits and the collective awareness about our environment, although nonetheless our cities—gigantic and vast—are often far from reflecting this change of paradigm,” wrote Enorme Studio. “It is urgent that, as citizens we contribute, along with different players like designers, public institutions, brands… and to start to collectively rethink new collective visions for our cities, which can regenerate the urban landscape in a way cohesive with people and their environment.” Related: Portable ParkedBench parklet injects a breath of fresh air in London The installation’s green spaces serve as informal seating, while the gabled glass house doubles as an office or lecture space equipped with USB charging points and reading lights powered by solar energy . Plywood lines the light-filled interior decorated with plants for a greenhouse -like feel. The paintings on the outside of the green terraces, which appear to mimic mountains or waves, reinforce this connection to nature. + Enorme Studio Via domus Images by Javier de Paz García, Luis Alda

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Experimental furniture eyeing urban regeneration pops up in Madrid

This tiny house on wheels can expand to meet the owner’s needs

March 30, 2018 by  
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Owning a house no longer means you have to stay in place. This tiny house on wheels, built to withstand extreme climates, can both change locations at a moment’s notice and expand in order to adjust to specific user needs. The Tiny House Company’s newest design, named Swallowtail, can be used as a primary home, weekender, studio, extended living space, or anything in between. Post-war homes inspired the tiny house’s design – it features a butterfly roof , timber screen, plywood cladding and corrugated sheeting. The butterfly roof has an integrated box gutter and downpipe for easy connection and rainwater collection , all hidden from view beside a paulownia timber screen. Related: This huge ‘tiny house’ on wheels can fit a family of five! The location of the doors and windows maximizes  cross-ventilation , and the walls and roof are well insulated. Durable and low-maintenance cladding and flashing ensure that the house retains a watertight seal at all times. The minimal floor plan keeps the interior looking uncluttered and clean, accommodating a range of optional extras and different furniture arrangements. Owners can add storage, shelving, optional window/door upgrades and additions, awnings, a planter box, higher-end fixtures, and additional cabinetry. Basic models of the home start at around $62,500. + The Tiny House Company Via Apartment Therapy

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This tiny house on wheels can expand to meet the owner’s needs

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