This modular outdoor swimming pool from Finland could make a splash near you

August 1, 2018 by  
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Reclaiming the waterfront with outdoor swimming pools isn’t a new concept, but Office for Peripheral Architecture (OOPEAA)’s latest design stands out from the pack with its modular and scalable design that can be applied in a wide variety of settings. Declared the winner of an invited architecture competition organized by Töölö Urban for the Allas Sea Pool Family , the Finnish architecture firm’s proposal was selected for its embrace of the outdoors and incorporation of local culture. Dubbed the ‘New Nordic Urban,’ the floating sea pool will use a modular and flexible building system constructed with recyclable cross-laminated timber elements. The first Allas Sea Pool opened in the heart of Helsinki in May 2016 and has been positively received, not least because of its year-round operations. The company now has hopes of going global with its outdoor pools and multifunctional spaces. OOPEAA won the competition with its flexible and adjustable design that exudes the “Nordic values of good life” with its inviting character and waterfront connection. “The winning proposal for the new global concept for the Allas Sea Pool Family by OOPEAA takes the notion of the New Nordic Urban as its starting point,” explains OOPEAA. “The ‘New Nordic Urban’ is defined as a sense of experience. It brings together the Nordic sensibility for the contemplation on nature with a healthy orientation towards physical activity and an urban inclination towards the social aspects of life. It is a celebration of the Nordic values of egalitarian sharing and good life. The ‘New Nordic Urban’ is essentially about bringing together the social sense of the urban (to see and to be seen + to share in the company of others) and a chance to enjoy nature and the element of water (contemplation + physical activity and sports).” Related: Detox your troubles away in this new public sauna built of natural materials Sustainability is also a part of the design, which will be built primarily of cross-laminated timber , the modular parts of which can be transported over waterways. The design’s scalable nature covers a wide range of sizes – from the smallest, with an indoor area of 800 square meters on a 2,000-square-meter floating platform, to the largest, with an indoor area of 3,500 square meters on a 10,000-square-meter platform. OOPEAA’s first design will be built in Oulu in Northern Finland with a slated completion date of 2019. + Office for Peripheral Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via Office for Peripheral Architecture

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This modular outdoor swimming pool from Finland could make a splash near you

A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas

July 26, 2018 by  
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When a pair of retired ordained ministers set their sights on creating a sustainable community for “spiritual renewal,” the couple turned to Austin-based design practice Miró Rivera Architects to bring their vision to life. Located on a 47-acre meadow property in Texas , the recently completed Hill Country House serves as the community’s first housing prototype and as a private residence for the clients. Affectionately dubbed “The Sanctuary” by its owners, the spacious farmhouse-style abode combines rural influences with a modern aesthetic on a very modest budget. Arranged in a linear layout spanning 5,100 square feet, The Hill Country House cuts a striking and sculptural silhouette in the landscape with its zigzagging standing-seam metal roof that mimics the surrounding hilly topography. The home is primarily clad in white corrugated aluminum siding interrupted by vertical planks of warm cedar siding. The tapering limestone chimney, inspired by an existing shed on site, was built of dry-stacked local stone. Natural and locally sourced materials were used to reduce environmental impact and to tie the appearance to the landscape. Inside, the home is flooded with natural light and overlooks framed outdoor views. Crisp white walls and tall ceilings lend the home its bright and airy character. The public and private areas of the home are located on opposite ends. “Particular attention was paid to creating spaces that would enable hosting large groups of friends and family, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor space,” the architects explained. “The stark white aluminum cladding is broken at various intervals by warm cypress siding that defines a series of rooms outside the house, including a temple-like screen porch that extends from the volume containing the main living spaces.” Related: Spectacular wildflower roof grows atop a dreamy Texan cabana The environmentally friendly features of the Hill Country House have earned it a 4-star rating from the Austin Energy Green Building, a precursor of the LEED certification system. An 8 kW solar array meets nearly two-thirds of the home’s annual energy usage, while a five-ton geothermal system supplies mechanical heating and cooling. The homeowners’ water needs are supplied by a 30,000-gallon rainwater collection system. According to a project statement, the owners hope their modern farmhouse will serve “as a model for future off-the-grid development.” + Miró Rivera Architects Images by Paul Finkel / Piston Design

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A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas

This round treehouse’s undulating roof mimics the flow of water

July 26, 2018 by  
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Nothing screams “serenity now” like an off-grid treehouse retreat that lets you wake up to the sounds of rustling leaves and a burbling brook. Thankfully, the architects at MONOARCHI have created a gorgeous round treehouse  that goes above and beyond the traditional fare, tucked away in a bamboo forest in China. Treewow O is about 26 feet off the ground, and it comes complete with an open-air deck shaded by an undulating round roof. Located in a remote village at the foot of the Siming Mountain range in Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, Treewow O was inspired by the incredible surrounding landscape. The house is approximately 26 feet high, a measurement chosen to blend the structure into the surrounding bamboo fields. Related: Microsoft unveils amazing treehouse office where employees can brainstorm in fresh air Built just a few steps away from a creek, the treehouse is divided into two levels and supported by steel beams, a design feature that was chosen to minimize the project’s impact on the landscape . The design consists of three non-concentric circles clad in wooden panels. A beautiful undulating roof covers the main structure and extends in certain places to shade the wraparound terrace. According to the architects, the constant movement of a nearby stream inspried the roof’s unique, wavy shape. To create the treehouse, the architect worked in collaboration with local craftsmen. According to the project description, the undulating form mirrors a local building practice used to protect interior spaces from harsh weather conditions. In addition to its protective qualities, the gradient movement of the design helps provide natural air circulation to the living space. The interior of the round structure houses a bathroom and living space on the first floor, with a spiral staircase leading up to the large bedroom on the second floor. The bold circular design helps to define the private and public spaces in the structure. According to the design team, “When the guest enters the terrace on the first floor, they will start to experience the circular sequence of spaces from the eave along the terrace to the connected interior: from the living room to the huge window, to the terrace of large depth and to the unwrapping roof to enjoy the view to the creek and the landscape of the mountain of bamboos; from the bedroom to the low window, to the falling roof to capture a good view.” + MONOARCHI Via Archdaily Images via MONOARCHI

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This round treehouse’s undulating roof mimics the flow of water

Substance harmonizes with style in this former Spanish Colonial Revival home

July 26, 2018 by  
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Any home perched on the side of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, is a winner. With awesome sky views as the backdrop for majestic deep-red sedimentary sandstone mountain ranges, the vistas are breathtaking, an awesome balance of beauty and tranquility. The owners of a Spanish Colonial Revival style house on the mountain loved the views, but the design of the house stifled the indoor/outdoor relationship they craved. Claire and Cavin Costello of The Ranch Mine architectural firm stepped in and made their vision a reality. The primary concerns of the homeowners were the choppy floorplan, the authentic but heavy clay tile roof on the house, dark beams that absorbed rather than reflected light, and chunky columns inside and out that ruined the panoramic views. The style was lovely, but it didn’t do justice to the natural surroundings. Related: Yield’s Sweet Suspension Shelf is Inspired by Spanish Colonial Design Instead of simply redecorating, the Costellos opted to remove all the original design elements and start the makeover with a simple two-story stucco house . To open up the floorplan and flow of the house, they connected the living spaces and added a glass, wood and steel staircase that left a wide-open view from the back to the front of the house and beyond. An ensuite bedroom added to the second floor juts out over the mountain to leave the footprint unchanged. Clad in limestone with calcite veins, the bedroom addition contrasts beautifully with the surrounding red sandstone that has hints of calcite throughout. The crowning glory to the project was more than 2,000 square feet of shaded patios around the entire perimeter of the house that also protects the interior from searing sunshine. For added comfort, cooling misters line the covered patio on the first floor. This patio leads to additional comforts including a fire pit, hot tub and pool. Custom-built steel screens on the southerly exposed second floor patio keep the sun at bay and the breezes flowing and are easily retractable to watch the sunset at the end of the day. + The Ranch Mine Images via Roehner + Ryan

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Substance harmonizes with style in this former Spanish Colonial Revival home

Recyclable House is an eco-getaway that celebrates the circular economy

July 25, 2018 by  
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A recently completed environmentally friendly retreat has opened for bookings on AirBnB in the picturesque countryside near Beaufort, Australia. Designed by  Quentin Irvine , the Recyclable House is an experimental modern home that stays true to its name with its use of recyclable materials and passive solar construction principles. Conceived as a “prototype house for the circular economy,” the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath rental comfortably fits 10 guests and promises “sensational indoor air quality.” Inspired by Australia’s iconic galvanized steel woodsheds, Irvine designed the Recyclable House with a gabled farmhouse aesthetic. Three sides of the building are clad in durable Z600 galvanized steel. The fourth facade is covered in timber planks charred using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique. All components in the home were selected for durability and are either biologically or technologically recyclable. Even the walls, which are built with plasterboard, are fully compostable. Passive solar principles and highly effective insulation create comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, with extra heating provided by a Pyroclassic wood-burning stove and a solar hot-water system; no air conditioning has been installed. Natural finishes used throughout ensure low toxicity. Related: Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home “Whilst learning the building profession I identified and became frustrated with the fact that most Australian homes are essentially built with/for rubbish whether they were promoted as eco friendly homes or not,” explains Irvine, discussing the impetus behind his project. “Even though materials were often coming to site as quality recyclable materials , they would be destined for landfill the minute that they were installed due to the building practices and installation methods used. I found solutions to many of these problems by researching older building methods as well as thinking creatively about the problem.” Completed in December 2015, the Recyclable House was recently made available to rent on AirBnB starting at $95 a night. + Recyclable House AirBnB Images by Nic Granleese

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A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience

July 25, 2018 by  
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Modular architecture and sustainable strategies blend together in the Ivanhoe Extension, a bold and contemporary addition to a suburban home in Melbourne. Designed by Australian practice Modscape , the two-story extension not only creates more space for the clients’ growing family, but also offers a new way to embrace their beautifully landscaped backyard. The house is equipped with many energy-efficient solutions such as solar passive heating, rainwater harvesting and double glazing with thermal break frames. Located behind a weatherboard house, the Ivanhoe Extension is a handsome structure clad in sustainably sourced blackbutt timber and Colorbond Diversaclad. The ground floor is fitted with full-height glazing for a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, while the upper floor is wrapped in a curved battened screen to ensure privacy and protection from the sun. The new addition houses an open-plan living space, dining area and kitchen on the ground floor, and the master suite is found on the upper level. The original house has been turned over to the “kids domain.” “A new double?height entrance space has been created in the middle of the house providing a clean separation and demarcation between existing and new,” Modscape explained. “As soon as you walk in the front door, your eye is drawn up to the circular skylight, which casts directed light to the open stairs below. To accommodate for the sloping site, the extension is terraced down the block with a slight change in levels between the original house (which has now become the kids domain), the entrance way and the new modular living area. This helps to subtly define different zones, while the same oak flooring used throughout provides continuity and flow.” Related: This highly insulated modular home is completely self-sustaining The modular components were prefabricated offsite within a factory so that the clients could continue living in their house free of disruptions. Demolition and site preparation took approximately three weeks — the clients moved out four weeks prior — and installation of the modules took only one day. + Modscape Images by John Madden

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Danish-inspired holiday cabin is a dreamy Pacific Northwest hideout

July 19, 2018 by  
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Seattle-based design practice Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects is no stranger to creating charming cabins that embrace nature in the Pacific Northwest . So when a local family tapped the firm for a vacation home on a wooded plot overlooking the Hood Canal, the architects delivered with a clean and modern dwelling thoughtfully integrated into the site. Called ‘The Coyle’, the gabled buildings draw inspiration from the owner’s Danish roots and are wrapped in dark-stained cedar siding to recede into the surroundings. Located on a meadow of a long peninsula facing the Hood Canal, The Coyle is backed by a dense Douglas Fir forest and overlooks views of the water. The architects used the classic Danish sommerhus (summer cottage) for the starting point of their design, which emphasizes “clean, economical forms and materials.” Since the clients were on a budget, care was taken to integrate the site’s existing structure, which was repositioned and remodeled. “The angle of the cabins to one another was carefully decided to maximize views while still being aware of the additional burden it might place on the budget,” explain Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects. “The clean, minimal finishes selected by the clients — and their hands-on approach that included staining the cedar siding — also helped bring the costs down.” Related: An old 1930s home gets a modern makeover into a cozy beach cabin The clients, a family of outdoor enthusiasts, were also keen to adopt an indoor-outdoor living experience. In response, the architects separated the program into three gabled structures, each of which opens up to generously sized decks through wood-framed glazed doors. Ample glazing brings plenty of natural light to the interior, which is minimally dressed with white-painted walls, beamed ceilings and light timber floors. The holiday home is spacious enough to accommodate the client’s family as well as visiting guests. + Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects Images by Alexander Canaria and Taylor Proctor

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Danish-inspired holiday cabin is a dreamy Pacific Northwest hideout

This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

July 11, 2018 by  
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Japanese firm Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects has unveiled a beautiful round home that is wrapped in a spiraling rooftop garden. The family home, which is located on a remote Japanese island, was built out of woven bamboo lattice and clad with earthen walls . To create a strong connection between the home and nature, a spiraling garden that rises from the ground level provides optimal growing conditions for fresh vegetables and herbs that the family can enjoy year-round. Located on the remote island of Awaji, the home was built for a family of four. The architects designed it with an eye to withstandi the temperate climate on the island, but they also drew inspiration from the family’s nature-conscious lifestyle. Their first objective was to create a fertile area that could help feed the family year-round. Secondly, the master plan called for creating a closed-cycle landscape to make the home self-sufficient , enabling the family to live in harmony with the environment for years to come. Related: This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature The architects began by creating a large circular frame out of woven bamboo lattice. They then clad the round form with Sanwa Earth finish. On the interior, they used a technique called Tataki to create a  hard-packed earthen floor  out of dirt, lime and water. The walls were also made out of packed earth . The combination of earthen walls and flooring provides a tight thermal envelope for the home. In winter, the walls and floors absorb heat, which is released at night, keeping the living space warm. In the hot summer months, the home’s stack effect layout (a height difference between the central space and the rest of the home) enables optimal air circulation to cool the interior. Inspired by the family’s eco-conscious lifestyle, the architects wanted to incorporate greenery into the already eco-friendly home design. Accordingly, the roof was turned into a spiral garden whose shape provides optimal growing conditions. Rising up from the ground level, the rooftop garden wraps around the home, providing a perfect blend of sun exposure and humidity to grow a variety of plants and vegetables. Rainwater soaks the top part of the garden, then flows downwards to a series of retaining ponds filled with aquatic plants. + Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects Photography by Kaori Ichikawa via Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects

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This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

July 11, 2018 by  
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A two-story heritage building in Melbourne has been remade into Birkenstock Australia’s new headquarters, an eco-conscious development with a modern aesthetic to reflect the classic elegance of the company’s shoe line. Designed by local architecture firm Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) , the adaptive reuse project targets carbon neutral status thanks to its solar photovoltaic system, passive solar design, and a sustainably minded material palette that includes recycled timbers and natural materials. The offices are also designed with human comfort and health in mind and feature low-VOC materials, an abundance of indoor plants and natural daylighting. Located in Clifton Hill, the award-winning Birkenstock Australia headquarters includes a retail shopfront, e-tail, wholesale operations, offices, showrooms and a workshop, as well as a courtyard and warehouse with a mezzanine. The Australian landscape is celebrated throughout the adaptive reuse project’s design, starting with the retail shopfront, which is outfitted with double glazing, a living grass floor and a deciduous tree. The central courtyard also echoes the landscape with recycled timber sleepers and a water tank. “Creating a green environment within an existing, heritage building is much more challenging than a new build,” explains Melbourne Design Studios founding director Marc Bernstein-Hussmann, who adds that they opted to integrate the different departments of Birkenstock into a single company culture. “Coincidentally over a hundred years ago the building was conceived for a boot manufacturer. We’ve reinvented an almost derelict building to live and breathe its owners’ values.” Related: Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home To promote collaboration between the departments, the architects inserted an open office layout dressed with air-purifying plants. The interior is flooded with natural light, while timber slat screens provide shading. The sustainably sourced timber palette includes woods such as sugar gum with linseed oil, EO plywood, and recycled paper with bamboo fiber that’s used in the office’s bench tops. + Melbourne Design Studios Images by Peter Clarke

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Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

A former anti-aircraft platform is now a beautiful skywalk in Gibraltar

July 6, 2018 by  
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If you’re not afraid of heights, you can now experience the famed Rock of Gibraltar in a whole new way. Gibraltar-based architecture firm  Arc Designs has turned an old WWII military platform on the very top of the landmark into a gorgeous glass skywalk with stunning views of the Rock and the surrounding ocean. Located 340 meters above sea level, the Gibraltar Skywalk is comprised of four layers of glass and over 60,000 pounds of steel embedded into the rocky, steep terrain. The glass-enclosed viewing area is built in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, which contained a platform formerly used as an anti-aircraft base in WWII. The architects used the base as a starting point to extend a glazed walkway and balustrade over the rocky terrain. Related: This terrifying glass walkway in China ‘cracks’ as you step on it Visitors can access the viewing platform via stairs or a glass elevator. Once on the walkway, they can enjoy east and westward views that look out over the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. In fact, according to Arc Designs, the extraordinary location drove the inspiration for the skywalk ‘s design: “The design aspiration of this project was to afford the visitor with new and unrivaled views in all directions including over the rocky cliff-face below, while at the same time ensuring a subtle intervention, which did not detract from the natural and historic nature of this unique setting.” Although the setting guarantees beautiful views, the perilous terrain did present quite a few challenges for the project. “Because vehicular access to this area is limited to very narrow and winding roads, the entire walkway structure had to be fabricated in smaller sections which could be transported and assembled together in-situ,” explain the architects. To ensure that the glass skywalk was secure enough to withstand the visitor load, as well as the typical wind speeds – which can reach over 93 miles hour – the structure had to be embedded into the ground with multiple rock anchors. The entire project used a steel skeleton made up of 18 separate pieces. To build out the walkway, over 8,000 square feet of glass panels were installed. + Arc Designs Via Dezeen Photographs by Stephen Ball, courtesy of Bovis-Koala JV

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A former anti-aircraft platform is now a beautiful skywalk in Gibraltar

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