The ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ is transforming northwestern Pakistan

June 27, 2018 by  
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Once arid hillsides have now become wide swaths of lush green woodland in northwestern Pakistan , where hundreds of millions of trees from 42 different species have been planted as part of the provincial government’s “Billion Tree Tsunami” program. “Before, it was completely burnt land. Now, they have green gold in their hands,” forest manager Pervaiz Manan told AFP . The reforestation effort aims to control erosion, combat climate change , reduce flooding, increase the chances of precipitation and provide economic opportunities for locals. “Now our hills are useful, our fields became useful,” local driver Ajbir Shah said . “It is a huge benefit for us.” Much of the land being replanted was decimated between 2006 and 2009, when the Pakistani Taliban controlled much of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where the project is now underway. In addition to the more than 300 million trees planted in the region under the provincial government, 150 million trees were given to private landowners to plant, while 730 million already-planted trees have been protected to allow for regrowth. The mind-blowing number of trees , over a billion, has been confirmed by independent observers. “We are 100 percent confident that the figure about the billion trees is correct,” World Wildlife Fund Pakistan manager Kamran Hussain said. “Everything is online. Everyone has access to this information.” Related: Pakistan just broke the world record for the hottest April day ever The Billion Tree Tsunami comes at a time when Pakistan’s forest stock has shrunk to a perilous low; only 5.2 percent of the country is covered in forests, well below the 12 percent recommended by the United Nations . Started in 2014, the Billion Tree Tsunami program still needs to implement some safeguard systems, such as fire protection, before its expected completion in 2020. In 2017, the federal government of Pakistan began its own project to plant 100 million trees by 2022. While some are skeptical of the project’s long-term success, with infrastructure historically taking precedent over environmental concerns, the Billion Tree Tsunami offers hope. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ruling party leader Imran Khan said, “Every child in Pakistan should be aware of the environmental issue which, until now, has been a non-issue.” Via Phys.org and AFP Image via Haroon (HBK)

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The ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ is transforming northwestern Pakistan

Couple converts old Cougar Camper into contemporary light-filled home

June 26, 2018 by  
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When Lauren Jones and her husband purchased a beat-up 2010 Keystone Cougar Camper, it was almost beyond repair. But the ambitious couple put on their DIY hats and painstakingly renovated the old beast into the Cougar Den – a gorgeous, light-filled tiny home on wheels with a shockingly sophisticated interior design. The 300-square-foot tiny home is a perfect example of how it is possible to carry out a DIY camper renovation without breaking the bank. Doing most of the work by themselves, the couple spent approximately $6,000 on the entire project. They are now selling the Cougar Den for $35,000 . Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer The interior design of the Cougar Den is bright and airy. Natural light floods the tiny house’s interior space, which was painted a calming white. The budding designers created a few accent walls using cedar shiplap and wallpaper. The light-hued hardwood flooring also enhances the tiny home’s clean look. One of the biggest renovation projects was the kitchen. The original kitchenette was old and outdated, so the couple removed almost all of the cabinetry and installed open shelving instead. A new green color, along with a white hexagon-tiled backsplash and gold accents, creates a contemporary yet welcoming design. A running theme throughout the renovation was to use every inch of space efficiently. When it came to the camper’s bedroom, the couple redid the space entirely to make room for a queen-sized bed and plenty of closet space. They then replaced a slide-out entertainment center with bunk beds for guests. They also added storage underneath the base of the beds. However, without a doubt, the heart of this tiny  camper home is the living area. A leather love seat is book-ended by a seating nook and dining area, creating a comfortable seating area where the tiny home’s occupants can relax, socialize, or simply curl up with a good book. + The Arrow Anglers Via Dwell Images via The Arrow Anglers

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Couple converts old Cougar Camper into contemporary light-filled home

LEED Gold Cambie Fire Hall is a beacon of sustainability in Richmond, BC

June 25, 2018 by  
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Vancouver-based Assembly Architecture and Alberta-based S2 Architecture recently completed the Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and BC Ambulance Services Station, a LEED Gold -certified facility that shows how civic architecture can be beautiful, effective and sustainable. Built to serve the City of Richmond in British Columbia, the new building spans over 26,000 square feet and rises to three stories, with room for fire rescue vehicles and up to six ambulance vehicles. The station is illuminated by ample natural light during the day and is built to post-disaster standards. The $20.7-million Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and BC Ambulance Services Station sports a distinctly contemporary design with its geometric form, clean lines and abundance of glazing . The massing, design and use of transparency throughout were informed by the surrounding residential fabric and help reinforce ties between the new station and the community. The red cladding on the upper level adds a punch of color and is a nod to the red-brick architecture of traditional fire stations . The north stair tower is wrapped in translucent fiberglass panels to create a glowing beacon-like effect at night. “From this notion, we looked at the building as an anchor to the local area and residences, as well as a landmark for the larger region,” explains Robert Lange, Principal-in-Charge in a project statement. “By listening carefully throughout the design process, the design team were able to create a design that immediately resonated with RFR and their vision for Hall No. 3.” Related: LEED Platinum fire station boosts firefighter wellness in Seattle The facility integrates fire-rescue and ambulance services under one roof and prioritizes natural lighting. A glazed outdoor patio, for instance, forms the organizing element around which the offices, kitchen and dining room are placed. The Cambie Fire Hall No. 3 and BC Ambulance Services Station will also serve as a Department Operations Center (DOC) thanks to post-disaster design features, such as the on-site emergency generator and tie-ins for concrete aprons, that keep the building operational even after a seismic event. + Assembly Architecture + S2 Architecture Images by Sunny Jhooty and Liam Wake, Lobby

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LEED Gold Cambie Fire Hall is a beacon of sustainability in Richmond, BC

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils Sberbank Technopark for Russias Silicon Valley

June 25, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has just received planning permission for their design of Sberbank Technopark at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre in Moscow, a 400-hectare, government-supported high technology business district known as Russia’s ‘Silicon Valley.’ The building was designed with Zaha Hadid Architects’ iconic curves, which give the massive structure a futuristic and spaceship-like appearance. The building will accommodate 17,000 people working in Sberbank’s information technology and marketing components. The Sberbank Technopark was commissioned by the eponymous state-owned Russian banking and financial services company headquartered in Moscow . Over 70 percent of Russia’s population relies on Sberbank’s services. Designed with dramatic cantilevered facades, the Sberbank Technopark sprawls out over 2.8 million square feet and serves as the bank’s hub for IT innovation. “These are the people who will be responsible for all the bank’s ‘substance’ – its technical content, its brains,” says Sberbank President German Gref. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the Technopark to facilitate collaborative thinking and innovation—such as large communal spaces and light-filled atria —following extensive analysis of current work processes in the bank’s technology and marketing departments. “The necessity to innovate and collaborate within the workplace environment is fundamental to Sberbank’s operations,” says Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects. “Technopark’s design reconfigures working relationships by adopting a holistic approach to create an inter-connected, multi-functional workplace ecology driven by the bank’s requirements for enhanced communication, interaction and diversification that promotes creativity and engagement.” Related: Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid to masterplan Russia’s largest port The Sberbank Technopark has received the ‘State Expertise’ certification from the city’s planning authority. Construction on the project is slated to begin in the near future. + Zaha Hadid Architects Renderings by Anima, VA, and ZHA; Photography by Skolkovo Innovation Centre

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Zaha Hadid Architects unveils Sberbank Technopark for Russias Silicon Valley

Couple convert a 20-year-old bus into a solar-powered tiny home on wheels

June 25, 2018 by  
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After buying a gutted 1998 Thomas Vista 3600 on Craigslist, couple Nicholas and Heather spent the next year renovating it into their dream tiny home on wheels, lovingly named the Vicaribus . Doing all of the work themselves, the ambitious DIY-ers managed to create ample living space, a dining room, an office, a guest bed and storage in just 120 square feet of space, which runs on solar power . After deciding to move out of their conventional “sticks-and-bricks apartment” and into a converted bus , Nicholas and Heather knew that strategic planning was the key to creating a comfortable tiny home. The couple bought the old Thomas Vista bus with the seats already ripped out, so the first step to their DIY bus conversion was to outline a building plan that used every inch efficiently. Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel To create ample living space that would be flexible for years to come, the couple built a modular furniture unit with movable pieces. The couch’s two armrests double as shelving systems and additional storage is located within the seating. The most ingenious component is found in the middle of the sofa, which is a rolling ottoman that turns into a fold-out table. The ottoman moves and can be used as a desk, additional seating or a footrest. The result is space saving furniture that can be converted from a couch into a dining or working space in a matter of seconds. The couple’s enviable DIY powers did not stop with the impressive multi-use couch. Moving on to the kitchen, they used an unfinished solid wood door to build their kitchen countertop. Heather used a dry brushing technique to create a sophisticated, marble-esque look. The rest of the tiny house’s interior is a bright space, flooded with natural light thanks to the decision to keep the vehicle’s original windows. Although the couple managed to work within a tight budget, they knew that the tiny home’s energy system was no place to cut corners. From the beginning, Nicholas and Heather wanted to live off the grid, so they chose to install two 165W solar panels with custom-made brackets next to the rooftop deck. Working with a smart battery, the array is enough to meet their energy needs. + Vicaribus Images via Vicaribus

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Couple convert a 20-year-old bus into a solar-powered tiny home on wheels

Prefab DublDom home delivered via helicopter as a gift to a remote Russian town

June 19, 2018 by  
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Moscow-based design studio BIO Architects has installed its latest prefab DublDom in the snowy mountains of Kandalaksha, a ski town in northeastern Russia. The DublDom was installed as a gift for the town after resident Alexander Trunkovkiy won the competition “Find Your Place 2016,” which asked participants to submit location proposals for a DublDom and explain how a prefab home would benefit the area. Lifted into place by helicopter, this new tiny cabin in Kandalaksha serves as a shelter for tourists who flock to the mountainous region for outdoor recreation. Alexander Trunkovkiy’s winning competition entry was selected from more than 500 submissions. Trunkovkiy made a persuasive case when he implored BIO Architects to install a DublDom as a replacement for a mountain shelter that had burned down. The DublDom, he said, would serve as a place where townspeople and visitors could rest while enjoying skiing in winter, hiking in summer and views of the mountains year-round. Clad in bright red panels, the tiny cabin in Kandalaksha uses the standard DublDom modules but with a reconfigured interior optimized for high-altitude use. The lightweight,  prefab structure was constructed to the highest standards of durability and energy efficiency and then dropped into place by helicopter. “Due to combining high-tech materials, we managed to halve the weight of the modules,” the architects said. “The materials and the coating are calculated to be used at the low temperatures and high wind loads.” Related: Tiny and Affordable Russian DublDom Home Can Be Assembled in Just One Day Elevated on six pillars, the metal-framed mountain shelter comfortably accommodates up to eight people. The interior is minimally furnished with a warming stove and table in the center flanked by rack-beds on the perimeter of the large central room. The space beneath the beds is used for storage. A glazed, gabled end wall provides passive heating and panoramic views of the southern Kandalaksha gulf and islands. + BIO Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Art Lasovsky

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Prefab DublDom home delivered via helicopter as a gift to a remote Russian town

This passive-energy lake house unites multiple generations under one roof

June 14, 2018 by  
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Located on a peninsula on Ossippee Lake, New Hampshire, the Anker Jordan Residence is a lakeside cottage that offers multi-generational living with a spectacular view. Designed by New York City-based Scalar Architecture , the New England home was created with passive energy performance, privacy, and aging in mind. The dwelling’s relatively compact footprint and its unusual geometric form were informed by passive solar studies as well as surrounding views of the lake, forests, and White Mountains range beyond. Although one of the undeniable charms of the Anker Jordan Residence is the beautiful view, the site also proved one of the project’s most challenging aspects. The property’s main views lie to the north and it receives little southern solar exposure; neighbors on the south and east also posed privacy concerns. In addition to site considerations, Scalar Architecture had to develop a design that allowed for comfortable intermingling between three generations and protected the building against the region’s harsh winter weather. Through adaptive computation design, the 3,000-square-foot Anker Jordan Residence takes on the shape of two conjoined prisms clad in Everest roofing standing seam metal siding and insulated with high-density spray foam insulation. The folded roof mitigates southern exposure, northern views, and snow shed. The orientation of the building allows for the summer westerly winds but deflects northwestern winter winds. Large KasKel windows punctuate the metal-clad envelope to let in views and natural light from all directions. The home also opens up to a 700-square-foot deck. Related: Atmospheric 1950s home renovated as a school facilitates self-guided education “The interior of the prism is articulated as interconnected cells that afford a complex landscape of social interaction,” explain the architects. “The process is then reiterated in a fractal fashion to address a multi-generational dwelling program: A conjoined second prism – evolved from the first one, provides a discreet yet connected realm for the young adults occupying the middle level. Below it, the ground floor is given over to the grandparents’ quarters.” + Scalar Architecture Images by Miguel de Guzman, Imagen Subliminal

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This passive-energy lake house unites multiple generations under one roof

Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

June 13, 2018 by  
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Located just outside Kawarau Falls near Queenstown, New Zealand, a tiny, off-grid  cabin conceals a truly luxurious and light-filled interior with a striking, jet-black facade. Designed by local architect Anna-Marie Chin, Tom’s Cabin, which can be rented through Airbnb , is strategically built to provide amazing views of the idyllic landscape while fitting in with the local vernacular. The 1,291-square-foot off-grid  cabin , which was voted New Zealand’s best small home in 2016, offers a serene retreat tucked into the natural landscape around Kawarau Falls. The low-lying volume with a “tilted” sloped roof mimics the landscape of the rolling hills, and the jet black exterior gives the cabin a contemporary, sophisticated feel. The simple gable form of the rooftop also provides an ultra-tall entryway, which is clad almost entirely in glass to provide stunning views from the small wooden deck. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The interior space is surprisingly well-lit by natural light . Using a simple color and material palette, the interior walls of the cabin are clad in plywood paneling, punctuated with large windows. Concrete floors and black accents create a seamless cohesion with the exterior. Various space-saving features and custom-made furniture provide the interior with plenty of storage . The cabin has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to six adults, with additional bedding available for small children. A large fireplace and underfloor heating keep the interior temperatures warm and cozy year round. For additional amenities, guests can enjoy the outdoor cedar hot tub after a long day of hiking or biking. In case of inclement weather, the cabin comes equipped with high-speed internet and a projector for movie night. + Tom’s Cabin Airbnb + Anna-Marie Chin Via Dwell Photography by David Straight

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Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

A 1920 Swiss barn is reborn as a modern home for a family of five

June 11, 2018 by  
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Swiss design studio Ralph Germann architectes  has overhauled an old drafty barn into a beautiful contemporary home with a new timber annex. Located in the rural village of Orsières in southeast Switzerland, the barn renovation and expansion project was commissioned by a family of five who sought a modern and light-filled abode. The adaptive reuse project—named the House EKC—was built with locally sourced materials and is equipped with an air-water heat pump, solar thermal panels, and dimmable LEDs. The House EKC covers an area of 2,153 square feet and includes a 108-square-feet outdoor terrace . The old barn had originally been used for hay storage in the upper loft while the lower volume was used as a stable for goats or sheep. Ralph Germann completely gutted the barn and rebuilt a reinforced concrete structure, including the walls and slabs, to meet seismic code. Thermal insulation was applied in the interior in order to preserve the barn’s “‘vernacular’ aesthetics.” “The insertion of large windows into the masonry respected “the principle of origin”,” said the architects. “The glass simply took the place where wood has originally been and supplies light and passive heat. A balcony-loggia made out of concrete and wood took the place of the old balcony which was used to sun-dry the hay.” The new wooden annex mimics the proportions and low gabled roofline of the historic barn. The timber, which includes larch and spruce wood, were sourced locally from the Val Ferret region. Related: The rustic exterior of this abandoned barn hides a surprising space to get away from it all The light-filled interior features plaster walls and ceilings finished in mineral paint “white RAL 9010” that reflect light and helps create the illusion of more space. Oiled-brush larch wood lines the floors. The main staircase is built of solid larch and serves as the backbone of the house. The solid larch furniture was designed by Ralph Germann to ensure a cohesive interior design. The custom design also presented the opportunity to create a high-back bench in the dining area that doubles as a guardrail for the staircase. The kitchen features white laminate with “Dekton gray concrete” countertops. + Ralph Germann architectes Images by Lionel Henriod

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A 1920 Swiss barn is reborn as a modern home for a family of five

20-foot shipping container converted into off-grid oasis deep in the Catskills

June 7, 2018 by  
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The beautiful Contanium shipping container cabin , just a two-hour drive from NYC, is proving that going off-grid doesn’t have to mean going bare bones. Available for rent on Airbnb, the solar-powered container cabin offers peaceful solitude with all of the comforts of a luxury cabin, including a comfy sofa bed, kitchenette, writing desk, wood-burning stove, and outdoor hot tub. The 20-foot shipping container is perfect for a summer weekend away or even a winter wonderland experience. The container is highly insulated for the cold New York winters, and a wood-burning stove helps the interior stay warm and cozy at all hours of the day and night. The solar-powered cabin comes installed with a composting toilet and a gravity-feed water system. Low-energy windows also provide natural light while reducing heat loss in the wintertime. Large sliding glass doors open onto the patio in the warmer months, letting guests enjoy nature right outside their living space. Related: This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world Inside the cabin’s beautiful woodsy interior, guests can enjoy the comforts of home. The lights are controlled by a touch-activated LED lighting system . A small but sufficient sofa bed can be folded up for seating space. The kitchenette, although compact, is fully stocked with top-of-the-line appliances. The bathroom is just 40 feet away and is a modern, sophisticated take on the traditional outhouse, with lots of natural light, pine paneling and an open shower stall. The outdoor patio has a large seating area positioned around a fire ring. Additionally, a yoga platform and hammock all but guarantee a rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit. Outside, guests will enjoy a wood-fired hot tub made out of a 120-gallon galvanized metal tub, which can be filled up with stream water. Besides staying in a beautiful eco-friendly cabin , guests will have a breathtaking natural forest to explore. The cabin sits on 20 acres of woodland with various trails to choose from, including one that leads to a 30-foot waterfall just 100 yards north. + Contanium Cabin Via 6 Sq Ft Photographs via Airbnb

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20-foot shipping container converted into off-grid oasis deep in the Catskills

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