These solar-powered, mobile chicken coops help farmers prepare for harvest

December 11, 2019 by  
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Created specifically for the farmers working at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano, this automated, solar-powered chicken coop , by Designers on Holiday , combines two important agricultural tasks: giving a chicken brood access to fresh grass and letting the animals fertilize new crops. The Chicken Caravan is a lightweight structure with wheels so that it can easily be transported by hand or tractor. Clad in a shimmering aluminum to reflect heat, the modern chicken coop was built with two large “wings” on either side to shade the interior, protect the hens from direct sunlight and provide natural air circulation. Related: The Moop — a modern, modular, prefab coop for design-savvy chickens The Chicken Caravan is also automated. Solar sensors on the doors automatically trigger the doors to open at the first light day and close after sunset. A singular solar panel keeps the batteries charged for easy maintenance of the system. The interior of the tiny structure is designed to keep the chickens as comfortable as possible. It can also be outfitted with various nest boxes and perches. A narrow ramp folds out for the chickens to come in or out, and there is also a portable fence to keep the hens inside and predators at bay. While some people might not see the need for such an innovative take on a basic, functional design, the Chicken Caravan’s mobility is a true game-changer for farmers . The mobile structure enables them to easily move their chickens to different areas so they can graze evenly over the pastures while preventing overgrazing. As the chickens harvest one section, they can also be used to fertilize other areas during the planting season. + Designers on Holiday Images via Designers on Holiday

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These solar-powered, mobile chicken coops help farmers prepare for harvest

Striking, sinuous home outside of So Paulo is inspired by the shape of native pine trees

December 3, 2019 by  
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Rio de Janeiro-based Mareines Arquitetura has unveiled a striking home tucked into the mountainous region near São Paulo. The Pinhão House boasts a unique, elliptical volume with various levels and a leaf-shaped roof that juts out over a covered swimming pool, which is also integrated into the home’s curved shape. Located in Campos do Jordão, the Pinhão House is a gorgeous design with a curvaceous volume surrounded by nature, and it was also built by local craftsmen using locally sourced, natural materials . The massive home spans four levels, with a garage and wine cellar on the ground floor and the main living area on the first floor. Related: Eco-friendly guesthouse in Brazil sports a green roof and rammed earth walls The main floor comprises a large social area that is enclosed by a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels to provide stunning views of the nature that surrounds the home. Various glass doors open up to a wrap-around, open-air porch. Below the main living space, a winding ramp leads to an indoor spa area with a massive swimming pool and sauna. Four bedroom suites and a home office with 180-degree views of the mountains and native Araucaria trees are located on the highest level. These trees were essential to the design , because they inspired the structure’s unique, curving volume. According to the architects, “The building shape sprouted like a fallen Pinhão, one of the many particles that form the fruit of the local Araucaria trees. An organic, sinuous form that seems to weave through the trees and winds. Instead of stairs, ramps. Instead of corridors, compressions and expansions of the internal sculptural contiguous spaces. This manipulation of the spaces together with the use of ramps enhances the importance of the sensorial experience of the architecture.” Bold curved walls, windows and cabinetry flow throughout the space, creating fluid connections between each level, which are joined via a long, winding ramp. Natural materials, such as wood walls and stone accents, create a cozy and warm atmosphere. These materials were all crafted by local artisans of Campos do Jordão. + Mareines Arquitetura Via ArchDaily Photography by Leonardo Finotti via Mareines Arquitectura

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Striking, sinuous home outside of So Paulo is inspired by the shape of native pine trees

Cedar Haven is a forest retreat made with reclaimed logs

December 3, 2019 by  
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Blending contemporary design with natural materials, Washington-based residential architecture firm Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture completed a stunning timber home that feels like an extension of its alpine forest environment. Created for a homeowner who wanted a residence that echoed the tranquility of its mountain surroundings, the aptly named Cedar Haven was built mainly from timber and stone — much of which was reclaimed from the site itself. Several salvaged logs and other found objects from the surroundings were deliberately left in their natural state to emphasize the organic beauty of the design. Located on a site where a previous log home once stood, Cedar Haven was created in response to the client’s desire for a more contemporary house that still exuded the warm, rustic feel of a traditional log cabin . The result is a stunning, custom home that features a dramatic, light-filled great room with a massive stone fireplace, a sculptural spiral staircase and custom, handcrafted details throughout. The natural materials palette and large windows — particularly those in the double-height great room — blur the boundary between indoors and out. Related: A traditional log cabin in Colorado is the perfect winter wonderland retreat “The Cedar Haven project draws inspiration from the surrounding natural beauty,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Inside, vertical lines and artful asymmetry mimic the forest outside the soaring great room window. A staircase of spiraling posts echoes a grove of trees , and a colorful petrified stump captures the attention of all who enter.” In addition to the petrified stump, reclaimed wood is used for statement design pieces in the home. Cedar trunks act as eye-catching pillars inside and outside of the house, while a twisted tree trunk frames one of the three stone fireplaces. Reclaimed stones were also used to build the fireplaces and chimneys. + Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture Photography by Benjamin Benschneider via Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture

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Cedar Haven is a forest retreat made with reclaimed logs

Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally-sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world

November 5, 2019 by  
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UK architecture firm  Invisible Studio has become known for its ground-breaking low-impact designs , but this time the innovative architects have just unveiled a beautiful structure that manages to combine sustainability with elegant minimalism. To put it simply, “Room in a Productive Garden” is a small hotel gymnasium made out of natural stone with a large window that looks out over a vegetable garden. However, even though it may just appear to be a big window, it is, in fact, one of the largest glass panels in the world! The new project is part of an expansion of a hotel in Somerset. Located on  the grounds of Hadspen House, the single-story 1,600-square-feet room is a bright and airy gymnasium where guests can enjoy a nice workout while taking in the serene view of the vegetable garden out front. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The small gym was strategically designed to blend into its natural surroundings. It’s minimalist volume was intentional to reduce the project’s impact on the landscape. Additionally, the designers used natural stone sourced on site to create the exterior cladding. The stone was crushed and rammed into the walls to add an earthy tone to the facade. According to the architectural studio, the eco-friendly building was “conceived in a manner as ‘no building’ – more, a window on to a mature productive garden with as few distractions from the garden as possible,” they explain. “The garden provides food for the hotel, and is an important part of the arrival experience into the gymnasium. At the heart of the design is the massive glass window , which not only lets in optimal light into the workout space, but also provides serene views of the surrounding nature. At 50 feet wide and 10 foot tall, the continous glass panel is one of the largest in the world. The interior of the building is also an example of sophisticated minimalism . The gym walls are lined entirely in beech wood, with slats concealing the lighting and ventilation systems. At the base of the glass panel, there is a long continuous bench for those who would like to take in the unobstructed views calmly versus running on the treadmill. + Invisible Studio Via World Architecture Images via Invisible Studio

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Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally-sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world

Biodegradable coffee pods are now available for composting

November 5, 2019 by  
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In the United Kingdom alone, approximately 95 million cups of coffee are consumed daily, with more than one-third of British coffee-drinkers admitting that they dispose of their coffee capsules into trash bins. Roughly 20 billion non-biodegradable, one-cup coffee pods end up in landfills. But Italian espresso giant Lavazza is offering a more eco-friendly alternative — a compostable coffee pod. Non-biodegradable coffee pods are a challenge to recycle because a single capsule is comprised of a mix of materials, including aluminum, foil and especially plastic . Plastic takes up to 500 years before it begins to disintegrate. Related: The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead Lavazza, meanwhile, is now offering more sustainable coffee pods, called Eco Caps, that are biopolymer-based. In contrast to the non-biodegradable coffee pods, Eco Caps take just six months to degrade. These pods are convenient to dispose of in the food waste bin, depending on your local composting rules. Lavazza has partnered with TerraCycle, a waste collection service that specialized in hard-to-recycle items, to make it easier for Eco Caps to be industrially composted if local composting is not available. The TerraCycle partnership was formed to solve the issue of consumers being generally confused about what can be recycled. Compostable and biodegradable coffee pods are becoming a trend. For instance, online retailer Halo also offers a separate range of compostable pods that are made with paper pulp and sugar cane. “The coffee revolution has happened, and one of the key challenges the industry now faces is the millions of tons of waste created as a result,” explained Richard Hardwick, Halo’s co-founder. “Aluminum and plastic coffee capsules are difficult to recycle, so most of them end up in the bin. And that’s why up to 75 percent are currently being sent to landfill every minute. Most people don’t understand the irreversible damage these coffee capsules are inflicting on the planet.” + Lavazza Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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Biodegradable coffee pods are now available for composting

This beautiful charred timber lake house extension in Munich is chemical-free

May 3, 2019 by  
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German architect studio, Buero Wagner , designed a modern, chemical-free home using a twist on the traditional Japanese practice of charring wood. The Black House is located near Munich’s Lake Ammersee and features a rural German architecture with a sleek industrial design. It is an addition to an existing family home and uses the site’s natural topography to create a stacked look on the exterior with a fluid, open concept inside. The charred timber façade is a popular trend in Western architecture and uses a sustainable Japanese practice that creates weather-proof wood through a fire-treatment process. The black house has three levels, with the bedroom and open bathroom in the basement level, kitchen and dining in the middle and a living room at the top, all connected by short steps to create modular but overlapping spaces. Related: Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zürich “Spaces and uses form one fluid entity, creating a variety of spatial situations,” said Buero Wagner. Perhaps the most dramatic design element to the house is the pivoting windows on the northwest corner of the living room space. Virtually the entire northern and western walls pivot on an off-center single axis and open up onto the terrace — creating one seamless and open space for hosting. This space also builds a connection from the interior to a small forest outside. The concrete flooring blends seamlessly with the concrete terrace, creating an entirely new, hybrid and open-air space, without a clear line between inside and outside. The house most notably uses a charred wood façade that has a resurgence of popularity in Western architecture. The wood is fire treated and then coated with a natural oil. The result is a jet-black, charcoal aesthetic that is naturally weatherproof. Charred wood is carbonized, which means it is resistant to water , fire, bugs, sun and rot. Despite the charred wood ’s resistant properties, it can be a difficult and tedious process to fire-treat and install. The interior walls and floor utilize an untreated oiled oak combined with slabs of exposed, sandblasted concrete. Together, these materials give the interior an industrial and modern look. A panel heating system is incorporated into the concrete walls and floors, and provides energy efficient  thermal energy storage. + Buero Wagner Via Dezeen Images via Buero Wagner

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This beautiful charred timber lake house extension in Munich is chemical-free

Urban waste is upcycled into an adorable, beetle-shaped micro library on wheels

April 29, 2019 by  
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Beijing-based firm  LUO Studio has just unveiled an adorable mobile micro library crafted out of upcycled industrial parts. Made from an abandoned bicycle, discarded iron car sheets and reclaimed wood , the Shared Lady Beetle is a tiny contraption in the shape of a beetle that roams on four wheels, bringing books to local children. According to the designers, they were inspired to create a functioning mobile library by a teacher friend who often has to transport educational materials to the school via an old grocery cart. Realizing that most teachers have similar problems when it comes to moving teaching props here and there, the firm was inspired to create a “small and ingenious storage cart” to support the efforts of local educators. Related: Circular library lets you roll your books home In addition to creating a functional and mobile book dispenser, the team also searched for ways in which they could reduce the city’s waste, specifically discarded bicycles that have reached the end of their life in the bike-sharing systems found in most urban areas nowadays. In most cases, these bikes are often left exposed to the elements and treated poorly. They suffer any number of malfunctions, leading city management to simply discard them rather than repair them. Accordingly, the designers went to work finding an old bicycle to upcycle that would provide wheels for the library. Along the way, they also came across discarded iron car sheets and old wooden panels. Using the form of a beetle for inspiration, they crafted a compact “pavilion” with two wings that open outward. Inside the library, the wings and the interior body are lined in bookshelves. The bookshelves get larger from top to bottom, creating a lower shelf that pulls double duty as a reading bench. The interior partitions of the library were put together in order to be completely disassembled or adjusted according to different needs. Although built with education in mind, the design for the adorable beetle is quite versatile and could be used in any number of services such as a cafe cart, small clinic and more. + LUO Studio Via Archdaily Photography by Jin Weiqi via LUO Studio

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Urban waste is upcycled into an adorable, beetle-shaped micro library on wheels

Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient

April 23, 2019 by  
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Sydney-based firm  Casey Brown Architecture  has unveiled a gorgeous home in Great Mackerel Beach, a remote coastal area in South Wales. Conceived as a modern beach shack, the Hart House is tucked deep into a steep cliffside looking out over the ocean. Only accessible by boat, the home, which is covered in an aluminum shell, is completely off-grid thanks to solar panels on the roof, a water collection system and an onsite waste system. According to the architects, the home’s simple box volume is a “contemporary interpretation of the quintessential one-room Australian beach shack.” The house sits back from the shoreline and is tucked into a rising cliffside covered in natural vegetation. Using the incredible landscape as additional inspiration, the architects focused on creating an  energy-efficient home that would be both resilient and self-sustaining. Related: Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat Because of its remote location, the home is only accessible by water, which meant that the structure had to not only be resilient but self-sufficient. A rooftop array of solar panels generates enough energy to meet the needs of the residents. Additionally, the design has an integrated rainwater collection system, and waste is processed on-site. Clad in a corrugated aluminum shell, the beach house is well-protected from the local climate , such as the harsh salt environment, cold winds and even bushfires. Only the front of the home is left exposed with a large glass wall made up of several floor-to-ceiling panels that provide an abundance of natural light and stunning views of the ocean. The home’s corrugated aluminum shell is punctuated with small openings, framed in large Corten Steel frames, which allow for optimal cross ventilation. The interior design of the three-story home creates a harmonious connection with the surrounding natural environment. Lined in birch plywood with timber flooring and large windows, the top floor living space is a warm, light-filled oasis. Spotted gum was chosen to build the front deck as well as the doors and windows because of its sustainable profile as well as its natural fire resistance. Under the living space is a bedroom that leads out to a terrace constructed from  sandstone  harvested onsite. The terrace sits on a base, also made of sandstone, that cascades down toward the beach through various stepped retaining walls. + Casey Brown Architecture Via Wallpaper Photography by Rhys Holland via Casey Brown Architects

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Stunning ‘beach shack’ on remote Australian beach is 100% self-sufficient

This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

April 22, 2019 by  
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There’s no dispute that travel trailers are gaining popularity among those looking to get off the grid and use fewer natural resources, especially while enjoying activities such as camping and road tripping. At 760 pounds and just over 12 feet in length, the Polydrop trailer is an impressive option for your next adventure. Created by architectural designer Kyung-Hyun Lew, this travel trailer has a lightweight frame and sleeps two people comfortably. For the minimalist traveler, it has pretty much all the essentials. The 2017 prototype was so lightweight that the designer was able to travel for an entire year with the personal trailer hitched to a small 4-cylinder car. The attention gained from Lew’s initial 2017 trip influenced the newer 2019 version with improved parts. Inside the wooden cabin bolted to the aluminum frame, there is a three-quarter-sized mattress, three sections of storage cubbies, two USB outlets and a vented roof. The interior is lit with recessed  LED lighting , and thick insulation protects inhabitants from all sorts of weather while saving energy. Heating (controlled by a thermostat), lighting and the electronic system are all powered by a solar panel. Related: Lume Traveler offers panoramic sky views from an open roof There is also a kitchenette with cabinets for electric hookups as well as two storage drawers in the rear. Unlike other travel trailers , the Polydrop doesn’t leave much room for the kitchen space, but the makers insisted that it has all the essentials for a camping trip at a site with separate facilities, like restrooms and benches, available. This isn’t your grandfather’s travel trailer — the Polydrop makes use of a polygonized teardrop shape with a super modern design and a futuristic feel. Safety wise, Timbren Independent suspension and hydraulic disk brakes get the job done for safe driveability. For the unfussy traveler who just needs a place to rest and some storage, the Polydrop certainly offers a successful approach to camping and road-tripping. The simplicity with a sleek, modern design is perfect for those looking for something not quite as bulky as a traditional travel trailer but more comfortable than a tent. + Polydrop Via Curbed Images via Polydrop

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This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Chilean city of Pucón, Santiago architect Alejandro Soffia has recently completed a prefab home that visually pops against its wooded surroundings. Fittingly named the Yellow House after its bright yellow facade, the modular residence is elevated off the ground for reduced site impact and to create a treehouse-like feel. The home’s modules were strategically connected with wooden joints and punctuated by full-height glazing to frame views of Lake Villarrica on one side and the Villarrica volcano on the other. Built from a series of SIP modules that Soffia designed himself, the prefabricated Yellow House spans just under 1,100 square feet and consists of a long hallway that connects an open-plan living room, kitchen, library and dining area on one end of the house to the two bedrooms on the other side. The house also opens up to an outdoor terrace built from wood. “The hypothesis is, that if you create a prefabricated system which has a good architectural design, then you can reproduce this quality as much as you need it, within the laws of short/long production series,” explains Soffia, who adds that he prefers prefabrication due to its reduced site impact and speed of construction without compromising quality. “And if in the serial industrial production of buildings you get bored, you can also customize form and function through the system. More benefits when you fasten the building process and have more control over quality and cost.” Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Full-height glazing fills the interior with light and creates an indoor/ outdoor living experience that immerses the owner in the forest. In contrast to the bright yellow corrugated facade, the interiors are lined in wood, with some sections left unpainted and others painted black. Minimalist decor keeps the focus on the outdoors. + Alejandro Soffia Via ArchDaily Images by Juan Durán Sierralta, Mathias Jacobs

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This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

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