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

Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees

April 9, 2019 by  
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With clothing production leading the world as one of the highest-polluting industries, a new fiber contradicts the earth-damaging qualities of traditional materials. Ioncell technology , developed at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, uses a range of materials, including wood, recycled newspaper, cardboard and old cotton to make fabric. This is good news for an environment scarred by cotton production and the development of synthetic fibers. The new and improved material can also be recycled at the end of its life cycle, significantly reducing clothing waste . In a country already acutely aware of sustainable practices in forest management, the trees sourced from Finland offer a much lower carbon footprint than traditional clothing. Ioncell materials also protect the water supply by using ionic liquid in place of harsh chemicals. Related: The convenience of “highway fitting” your clothes is hurting the planet While the designers focus on sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, the clothing also avoids contributing to a massive post-consumer waste problem. That’s because the fibers are biodegradable. Additionally, the fibers do not contain any harmful microfibers now associated with massive ocean pollution and damage to sea life. Sourced from birch trees , the wood is responsibly harvested as part of a forest management program that grows more trees than they harvest. Once cut into smaller logs, the wood is sent through a machine that turns it into large chips. At this phase, the chips are sent to the cooker and then turned into sheets of pulp. The pulp is then mixed with the ionic liquid that results in a cellulose material. Fibers are then spun into yarn and turned into fabric. Designers and researchers involved in the project report that the resulting material is soft and drapes naturally, making it a good choice for formalwear, coats, scarves, gloves and other products. It also accepts dye well. The process for making Ioncell fibers is still in the research and development phase and they currently only produce it on a small scale, but they are hoping to unveil a preliminary product line as early as 2020. + Aalto University Via World Economic Forum Images via Aalto University

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Ioncell technology creates eco-textile clothing fibers from birch trees

Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico

April 8, 2019 by  
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On the edge of Lake Avándaro in the Mexican town of Valle de Bravo is House A, a beautiful, contemporary home that’s designed by Mexico City-based architectural firm Metodo in collaboration with Ingeniería Orca to embrace views of the lake. Named after its sharply pitched A-frame construction, the three-story home is built with walls of glass and folding glazed doors to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. A palette of natural materials complement steel and glass elements to create a modern and warm ambiance. Spread out over three floors with an area of 3,523 square feet, House A was created with large gatherings and entertaining in mind. The ground level, which opens up through folding glazed doors to an outdoor patio and lawn, comprises an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen; a TV room; service rooms; and a guest suite. The main entrance and parking pad are located on the second floor, where the first master suite and children’s room can be found. The small third floor features a second master suite, a yoga terrace and a secondary children’s room. “The intention of House A is precisely to be able to appropriate its surroundings and give its inhabitants a way to ‘live’ the lake,” the architects said in a project statement.” The ‘ A-frame ’ shape is used to its fullest potential to make this possible. Therefore, it was very important that the structure was present in every space of the house. Additionally, we wanted the structure to be a coherent element with the house’s functionality.” Related: Ruins of Sweden’s oldest church sheltered by a new A-frame building The architects built the dwelling with a contemporary steel structure along with local construction techniques and materials . The house is oriented toward the north for views of the lake while lateral balconies, inspired by boat decks, let in solar radiation in mornings and evenings. + Metodo + Ingeniería Orca Photography by Tatiana Mestre via Metodo

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Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico

Eco-friendly "treehouse" in a French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors

April 3, 2019 by  
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Architectural firm Atelier Victoria Migliore may have left its home base of Paris to design a beautiful treehouse-inspired family home in northwestern France, but the company made sure to bring its Parisian sense of style with it. Tucked into an idyllic forest landscape, the rustic, sophisticated home, which features a surprisingly modern interior design, was built on stilts to reduce the home’s impact on the landscape. No trees were felled during the construction process. Located in Fréhel, in the Brittany region of northwestern France, the “ treehouse ” sits on a sloped landscape in the middle of a pine forest. As the construction began, the architects aimed to protect the idyllic natural state of the surroundings; therefore, not one tree was felled. To reduce the home’s footprint, the structure was raised between 3 feet and 9 feet off the landscape using deep screw piles. Related: A treehouse made from sustainable wood hides a luxurious interior Following the natural topography, a long, roped wooden walkway leads from a lower ground level and wraps around the home’s edge, slowly rising up to the entrance. The home is comprised of several rectangular volumes, all clad in charred timber , arranged with wide spaces in between to create several open-air terraces. Punctuated by extra-large windows, the volumes were also oriented to provide stunning views from virtually any angle inside the home. The angular windows frame incredible views but also provide a strong harmony between the living spaces and the outside world. Throughout the interior, large trees feature prominently, even up through an interior courtyard ‘s wooden flooring. In addition to its connection to nature, the home’s 900-square-footage includes any number of surprising features. In the center of the home is a central walkway that stands out with blue-and-white zigzag tiling. When the homeowners are feeling the need to truly immerse themselves in the outdoors, there is a hammock that is hung between the rooftops of two of the home’s volumes, creating a serene spot for reading, napping or just breathing in the fresh air. + Atelier Victoria Migliore Via ArchDaily Photography by Cyril Folliot via Atelier Victoria Migliore

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Eco-friendly "treehouse" in a French pine forest boasts surprisingly chic interiors

New York vows to ban plastic bags statewide in 2020

April 3, 2019 by  
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Lawmakers in New York just agreed to ban plastic bags across the state. The law is a part of a larger budget agreement and makes New York the second state in the United States to join the fight against single-use plastics . “I am proud to announce that together, we got it done,” Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, stated. The ban on plastic bags will officially start on March 1 of next year. In addition to ditching plastic bags, businesses within the state will be allowed to charge up to five cents for every paper bag. Two cents from that charge will go into a fund that enables low-income families to purchase reusable bags, while the remainder will go towards an environment fund. Related: EU moves forward with its plastic ban The only other state in the union to pass such a law is California, which initiated a ban back in 2016. Hawaii has also gone to great lengths to discourage the use of plastic bags, with most counties in the state prohibiting them. This is not the first time New York has attempted to ban plastic bags . Two years ago, politicians tried to pass a law that would force companies to charge customers five cents per bag. That initiative was blocked by Cuomo. In 2018, Republicans in the state blocked a similar plan, though Democrats picked up a few seats in the state legislature, making the most recent ban possible. While the new law is a big step towards curbing plastic waste, not all residents in New York are happy about it. In fact, a few people have expressed their concerns about the ban and claim they use the plastic bags at home. Environmentalists also believe that customers should not be allowed to buy paper bags instead of purchasing reusable ones. There has also been some backlash from grocery stores in New York. While some owners are in favor of the ban, they think a portion of the five-cent charge should go back to the stores to help with costs associated with banning plastic bags. Via Eco Watch Image via  cocoparisienne

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New York vows to ban plastic bags statewide in 2020

Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zrich

April 2, 2019 by  
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In the midst of a centuries-old forest sits the Two Family House, an aptly named project that houses a pair of maisonette apartments for two families at the edge of Zürich, Switzerland. Local architecture firm Hajnoczky.Zanchetta Architekten collaborated with architect Angela Waibel on the design, which takes advantage of its wooded location with full-height windows that capture views of the changing landscape. Due to regulations that enforce minimal disturbance to the landscape, the building’s unusual triangular shape is dictated by the forest, which diagonally divided the parcel. To fit two homes onto the constrained space without compromising space and comfort, the architects used the slope of property to vertically separate the two apartments. Each of the four levels has a slightly different floor plan and size; the upper floors, for instance, have cantilevered elements, such as projecting windows, that increase floor space. The larger of the two maisonette apartments occupies the ground floor, which comprises the bedrooms, and the first floor, where the communal spaces are located. Since the building is set into the existing slope, both the ground floor and first floor have direct access to the gardens. The second apartment occupies the uppermost two floors. To make up for the smaller footprint, the upper apartment has access to three rooftop terraces. The building is primarily a timber-clad concrete structure, aside for the topmost level, which is built of timber construction. Related: Massive tree-like sculpture takes over Switzerland’s largest train station “To enhance the distinctiveness of the building, we have chosen a black timber facade to elegantly contrast with the surrounding nature,” the architects explain in a statement. “The tree grove is part of a forest arm that permeates through the city. From dense foliage in summer, the location metamorphoses in winter into a snowy scenery with a beautiful creek that flows to the lake of Zürich .” + Hajnoczky.Zanchetta Architekten Images © Lucas Peters

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Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zrich

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