Green-roofed Czech cabin is built with recyclable hempcrete

April 5, 2021 by  
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After living as a modern nomad for years, Ond?ej Koní?ek finally decided to settle down by realizing his dream cabin on a 20,000-square-meter wooded property in southeast Czech Republic. Fueled by his love for the nature, Koní?ek tapped Czech architecture firm Ateliér Lina Bellovi?ová to design House LO, an eco-friendly, green-roofed home that not only embraces landscape views but is also built with hempcrete — a bio-composite building material seldom used in the country. When architect Lina Koní?ek Bellovi?ová was asked by Koní?ek to build with hempcrete — a composite of hemp hurds and lime with insulating properties typically used to construct non-weight-bearing infill walls — she knew it would be a challenge. The architect had never seen it used as a building material in the Czech Republic. “First struggles evolved in a valuable experience and fascination with its features and its history,” said Bellovi?ova, who used hempcrete for House LO’s walls. “Building with hempcrete is easy and allows the builder to build their house on their own.”  Related: “Cannabis walls” add warmth to this eco-friendly home in Israel In addition to ease of construction, hempcrete also has carbon-sequestering and insulation benefits; it can be recycled and is resistant to pests, fire and mold. The architect topped the home with a green roof for additional insulation. Completed over the course of a year, the timber-framed cabin features a simple, modern design to blend in with the landscape. The single-story dwelling includes a concrete basement that houses technical equipment, storage, a lounge and a special chamber where the client develops his photographs. The ground floor above is a light-filled space centered on an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen flanked by two bedrooms and a bathroom. A large terrace that is sheltered by deep roof overhangs wraps around the entire cabin and can be accessed by sliding glass doors that bookend the main living space. + Ateliér Lina Bellovi?ová Images by BoysPlayNice

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Green-roofed Czech cabin is built with recyclable hempcrete

Mask Architects designs a cavernous luxury villa in Sardinia

March 4, 2021 by  
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European design firm Mask Architects has shared renderings of a proposed luxury villa that resembles a white, seaside café. Informed by local Sardinian architecture and digital modeling software, the project — dubbed the Villa G01 “Rock and Cave” special — has been proposed for one of the most exclusive areas of Northern Sardinia and celebrates indoor/outdoor living with a massive garden, spacious terraces and openings that offer panoramic views of the sea. Mask Architects’ Villa G01 is a new interpretation of the sculptural buildings designed by Jacques Couëlle, a self-taught French architect who was nicknamed “the architect of billionaires” after his luxurious and fanciful designs made from carved concrete. Like Antoni Gaudí , Couëlle followed a style of organic architecture that emphasizes a relationship with nature. Mask Architects seeks to build on Couëlle’s legacy in Sardinia by using modern computer modeling and robotic construction to achieve Villa G01’s sculptural and organic design. Related: Amazing dragon-inspired cliff house in Spain uses the Earth to stay cool The home’s curved concrete exterior shell evokes imagery of Sardinian rocks. Inspired by the natural voids created in these rocks through the process of erosion, the exterior curves inward to create sheltered outdoor terraces. The connection to nature is strengthened by the villa’s placement in a large garden landscaped with native trees, plants and stones. The outdoor area also includes an infinity pool that the architects say can be constructed from prefabricated , high-density polyurethane blocks using KUKA robotics milling. It would then be installed onsite with a special steel structure and a varnish of gelcoat. The conceptual seafront villa comprises five bedrooms with stunning views as well as a spacious living area that connects seamlessly to the outdoors via folding glass walls. An outdoor kitchen with a dining table, outdoor cinema and a sunbathing and multipurpose area arranged around the pool extend the footprint of the 4,000-square-meter home. + Mask Architects Images by Derya Genc / Genc Design Studio via Mask Architects

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Mask Architects designs a cavernous luxury villa in Sardinia

Luxe, solar-powered home boasts a green soul in Brazil

January 29, 2021 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm Studio CK Arquitetura has recently completed the Casa Doce Vida, a custom luxury home that emphasizes sustainable design. Dubbed a “residence with a green soul,” the house embraces views of and connections to nature from every room to give the homeowners a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience. The eco-friendly dwelling is also entirely powered by solar panels installed onsite. The structure captures rainwater for irrigating lush horizontal and vertical gardens as well for cleaning purposes. Casa Doce Vida is located in Aspen Mountain Lawn, an upscale condominium complex in Gramado, the southern Brazilian mountain resort town famous for its year-round temperate weather and idyllic environment. The residential development highlights the region’s wealth of green space with its naturalistic layout of winding roads, gently rolling hills and abundance of tall, mature trees. As a result, the architects surrounded the home with full-height glazing and operable windows to pull views, natural light and fresh air indoors. Related: CRA unveils designs for Biotic, a high-tech district in Brazil “With brutalist contemporary architecture, the organic facade, with a huge vertical garden permeating both sides, presents a total connection with nature!” the architects said. “An extraordinary environment to connect with the outside and with yourself, and enjoy the time and the absolutely beautiful landscape.”  A natural materials palette of stone and timber further blurs the boundaries between indoors and out, while a muted color scheme keeps focus on the lush outdoor environment. In addition to the solar panels, rainwater harvesting system and large expanses of glazing that help reduce the building’s energy footprint, Casa Doce Vida is also equipped with double-combustion fireplaces. These fireplaces rely on ethanol and certified firewood to reduce the use of vegetable-based fuel by over 50%. The architects offset the building’s carbon footprint by planting native trees on site. + Studio CK Arquitetura Photography by Roberta Gewehr via Studio CK Arquitetura

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Luxury timber home mimics a rocky outcropping for minimal site impact

December 18, 2020 by  
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As part of an ongoing series to promote the eco-friendly use of renewable materials, Montreal-based studio Natalie Dionne Architecture has completed the Forest House I, a low-impact luxury home that celebrates timber inside and out. Set atop an outcrop of the Canadian Shield in the forested Eastern Townships, roughly 100 kilometers southeast of Montreal , the recently completed dwelling was commissioned by a couple who had long dreamed of a home in the heart of nature. In addition to a predominately timber palette, the architects inserted large glazing and outdoor living spaces to achieve a seamless transition between the indoors and out. Though rich in natural beauty, the client’s 3-acre property posed major siting challenges in the beginning due to suboptimal orientation and the presence of many rocky outcrops. Rather than fill in the landscape with concrete, the architects took inspiration from a “particularly impractical” 3-meter-tall rock formation to devise an elevated design solution that would not only minimize site impact to the existing terrain but would also improve the home’s access to views and natural light. Related: This timber-clad cabin appears to hover over an idyllic lake landscape Wrapped in low-maintenance eastern white cedar pretreated to encourage a silvery gray patina , the linear, 215-square-meter home rises out of the landscape like a rocky outcropping that is anchored on one end atop a base where a rock once stood. The other end, which is supported by slim columns, appears to hover over the rocky cleft and culminates in a partially sheltered terrace pointing toward a moss-covered escarpment. Glazed sliding doors allow for an uninterrupted transition between the outdoor living area and indoor kitchen, dining room and living room. The couple’s bedroom suite is tucked away on the southern end of the house. A staircase leads down to the smaller ground floor, where the entrance hall and a bunkroom — capable of accommodating up to 10 guests — are located.  Views of the forest are pulled indoors by floor-to-ceiling glazing, and a variety of timber surfaces reinforce the design’s connection with nature. Solid maple was used for the kitchen islands as well as for the vanities and stairs. The built-in cabinetry is constructed from Russian plywood. The timber palette is harmoniously integrated with polished concrete floors, white gypsum walls and natural aluminum windows. + Natalie Dionne Architecture Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau via Natalie Dionne Architecture

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Luxury timber home mimics a rocky outcropping for minimal site impact

Chic geothermal-powered home embraces indoor-outdoor living

November 18, 2020 by  
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Dutch design studios  Bedaux de Brouwer  and  i29  have blurred the boundaries between indoors and out at Outside In, an aptly named 400-square-meter villa for a family of four. Completed in September 2020, the luxury home makes a verdant green patio the heart of its living area and features expansive glazing all around to take in views of the surrounding garden. In addition to bringing nature indoors visually, the home also reduces its impact on the environment with energy-efficient technologies that include geothermal energy storage, a heat pump and rooftop solar panels.  A minimalist  natural materials  palette and restrained design approach define Outside In, a single-story family home wrapped in an all-black brick facade to make the building recede into the landscape. Large integrated planters with overflowing greenery sit just outside the front of the building to further soften the home’s appearance. In contrast, the interior is dominated by white walls and light-toned wood surfaces that bounce back the daylight that floods the home. “With a purist design approach and modest materials, Bedaux de Brouwer and i29 designed a villa that has a luxurious quality, without being pretentious,” the designers explained in a press release. “The biggest quality of this house is the harmonious integration of interior and exterior to the smallest details.” Unity is also achieved indoors through the use of  custom furnishings  — from cabinetry and sliding doors to beds and wardrobes — all made from the same light-colored timber.  Related: Old train shed is transformed into a gorgeous office and restaurant in the Netherlands The  solar – and geothermal-powered home is divided into two main parts. A spacious living area houses a dining room and kitchen that wrap around a lush light-filled interior courtyard. Meanwhile, the private wing includes a master bedroom and two secondary bedrooms that face a walled-in swimming pool and garden. + Bedaux de Brouwer + i29 Images: i29 / Ewout Huibers

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A clever, garden-filled facelift revives a derelict building in Denmark

November 5, 2020 by  
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Copenhagen-based architecture firm Tegnestuen LOKAL has radically reinvented one of the “ugliest” buildings in a Frederiksberg neighborhood with an innovative facade renovation that brings residents closer to nature and each other. The project — dubbed Ørsted Gardens — is the transformation of a 1960s concrete building that was notorious for its unwelcoming and dilapidated appearance. Instead of a simple facade renovation, the architects decided to dramatically alter the building’s appearance by inserting a series of triangular glass bays that serve as semi-private decks with 50 small gardens.  What began as an ordinary facade renovation aimed at protecting the concrete balconies from water damage gradually morphed into a complete overhaul of the front facade during the design process. Instead of simply reinforcing the open balconies with glazed panels, the architects inserted triangular glass bays to create new semi-private social spaces that would encourage random meetings between residents. The addition of operable glass panels also allow the balconies to be comfortably used from spring to fall and helps to buffer the apartments from the noise of the heavily trafficked road in front of the building. Related: HHF Architects’ renovated a group of crumbling buildings to help revitalize an entire neighborhood “A central aspect of the renovation is the notion that the building should contribute positively to the experience of the street,” the architects said. “The monotonous façade of the past is broken up into smaller geometric entities creating a sense of rhythm as you pass the building signaling a residential building, comprised of many families and individuals.” In addition to introducing an attractive, geometric facade that can be appreciated from both inside the building and the street level, the architects have also infused the apartments with greenery. Each glass bay accommodates a small garden that grows across the glazed facade to blur the boundaries between inside and out. Residents are also free to use their semi-private garden plots to grow decorative plants or vegetables. + Tegnestuen LOKAL Photography by Hampus Berndtson via Tegnestuen LOKAL

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A clever, garden-filled facelift revives a derelict building in Denmark

Greenhouse-inspired home harvests rainwater for backyard garden

October 28, 2020 by  
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In the idyllic town of San Miniato in the region of Tuscany, Italy, local architecture firm  LDA.iMdA architetti associati  has completed a multifunctional home that takes inspiration from the structural technology in greenhouses. The client’s dream of growing a vegetable garden served as a major design influence for the contemporary dwelling, which features a gabled shape optimized for harvesting rainwater that can be reused for irrigating the expansive rear garden. The project, dubbed La casa nell’orto (or House in the Orchard), also incorporates eco-friendly materials such as prefabricated wood self-supporting panels and is elevated off the ground to  reduce the impact on the landscape .  Set on a long and skinny east-west plot, the House in the Orchard follows the shape of the site with its rectilinear volume that spans an area of 84 square meters. The main entrance, located on the west side of the plot, includes a short flight of steps leading up to the front door. The minimalist gabled shape, based on a child’s basic drawing of a house, was created with a lightweight frame — inspired by technology typically used for  greenhouses  — overlaid with an ecological polyolefin sheet selected for high solar reflectance. Like a greenhouse, the  gabled  volume emphasizes an indoor/outdoor connection and was constructed with large expanses of glazing. The operable glazing also promotes natural ventilation. The architects took a house-within-a-house design approach to the interior layout by inserting a smaller gabled structure that comprises the main living functions, including an  open-plan  living area, dining area and kitchen, as well as a bedroom, bathroom and storage space. An even smaller gabled volume set behind the main living structure serves as an indoor greenhouse.  Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse “This project is part of the research we are investigating for: how the figurative synthesis of an architecture is often recurrent in the architect’s work, and how it can be an important element of investigation in finding answers or models for a contemporary fluid and dynamic society,” the architects explained in a press statement. The House in the Orchard was also designed with the intent of hosting events such as the StudiAperti 2019. + LDA.iMdA architetti associati Photography by MEDULLA studio

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A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

September 11, 2020 by  
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Local practice Salem Architecture has recently renovated the Maison Ave Courcelette, a stately, midcentury home with an improved indoor/outdoor connection in the heart of Montreal. Originally constructed in 1947, the house was built with beautiful attention to detail and sculptural, rounded openings — elements that both the architect, Jad Salem, and the owner wanted to preserve and highlight. The resulting transformation achieves those goals while generously opening up the interior to the large exterior courtyard and bringing an abundance of natural light indoors. Located in the residential borough of Outremont, the Maison Ave Courcelette project connects to a large backyard and is surrounded by many mature trees around the perimeter of the site. To improve the relationship between the home and the outdoors, the architects opened up the rear, south-facing facade with large sliding glass doors. The stones of the facade that were replaced by the new glazing were kept for use in a possible house extension. The new cladding on a portion of the rear facade is made up of vertically oriented timber elements that complement the original stone of the house and serve as an openwork sidewall for privacy from the neighbors while allowing natural light to filter through. Related: Transformed midcentury modern home focuses on sustainability To protect the house from unwanted solar gain in the south, the architects created covered outdoor terraces as well as a retractable canopy for comfortable use of an entertaining space with a sunken seating area and a fire pit next to the pool. “The landscaping, in separate areas, offers owners the opportunity to enjoy the backyard while having a variety of experiences and atmospheres,” the architects noted. New windows have also been added to other parts of the home to bring in additional daylight. Inside, original midcentury building elements have been elegantly enhanced. The architects added new arched openings that follow the configurations of the existing arched windows to elevate the sculptural feel of the home. The railing of the central curved staircase — a major focal point — has been kept minimal so as not to detract attention from the staircase’s sculptural shape and the rounded openings in the ceilings. The original wood floor has also been maintained in some rooms while materials for the new floors were carefully selected to complement existing finishes. + Salem Architecture Photography by Phil Bernard via Salem Architecture

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A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

Sustainable teak home blends into the Costa Rican hills

August 19, 2020 by  
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San Jose-based Studio Saxe has completed Tres Amores, a contemporary family home that takes in spectacular ocean and mountain views in Costa Rica. Nestled on the hilltops in the town of Nosara, the luxury home was designed to blend in with its lush surroundings through its staggered massing and natural materials palette, which includes exterior cladding of charred teak wood with black-framed windows. The home also takes full advantage of its beautiful surroundings with an emphasis on indoor/ outdoor living via floor-to-ceiling glazing and sheltered outdoor patios. In response to the seismic conditions and constrained footprint of the site, the architects created a lightweight steel structure that was pre-cut offsite and then quickly assembled onsite. The structure is wrapped in sustainably sourced teak wood cladding that was charred for longevity and finished with natural oils. The dark exterior takes cues from the landscape.  Related: Luxury prefab Costa Rican home features dramatic wing-like roof Covering an area of approximately 515 square meters, Tres Amores is spread out across two staggered floors topped with extended horizontal roof planes that shield the interiors from the sun. The living spaces located on the lower floor connect to the private bedrooms above via a light-filled stairwell with full-height glazing that frames views of the ocean. The interior decor is kept minimalist so as not to detract from the landscape views. As with all of Studio Saxe’s projects, special design consideration was given to sustainability and site conditions. Tres Amores’ bioclimatic design was informed by site studies that include wind patterns, sun exposure and temperature data. The home further minimizes energy use with solar hot water heaters and water recycling through filters and state-of-the-art treatment plant systems. The architects said, “This design is a clear reflection of an approach to design that combines high tech preemptive design with low tech construction methods.” + Studio Saxe Photography by Andres Garcia Lachner via Studio Saxe

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Sustainable teak home blends into the Costa Rican hills

Green-roofed CLT home opens up to a dreamlike garden in Germany

August 10, 2020 by  
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Near Hannover, Germany, Bremen-based treehouse specialist and architecture practice Baumraum has completed the Green Dwelling, a green-roofed , cross-laminated timber home built to achieve a strong fusion between the landscape and the built environment. Located on a large 2,000-square-meter site, the house takes inspiration from its lush surroundings, which include an adjacent forest and a dreamy garden developed by perennial specialist Petra Pelz. Natural materials define both the interior and exterior palettes, while large glazed windows strengthen the connection between the indoors and out. The Green Dwelling was created for young clients who wanted a new home that neighbored their parents’ existing residence. When the clients first contacted Baumraum, the conversation began with talk of building a treehouse that then evolved into a commission for the design of a new house in addition to the treehouse. The overarching design goal was to create “an oasis in the green” filled with natural light, ecological construction and strong visual and physical connections with nature.  Related: Sigurd Larsen completes a luxurious, treetop hotel cabin in a Danish forest The resulting home features a Z-shaped floor plan that begins with a garage, side rooms and entrance area at the front of the house, then transitions to a spacious living room with an open kitchen. The layout culminates with a guest room, bathroom, sauna area and bedroom in the rear. Large windows installed in each room provide garden views. The entire structure was built from cross-laminated timber and the natural, untreated larch surfaces were deliberately left visible throughout almost all of the interior. A lush green roof tops the home. On the western border of the property, the architects have also added the Tree House Green Dwelling, a treehouse perched atop an oak tree that serves as a year-round retreat and playground. Three flights of stairs lead up to the treehouse’s 4-meter-tall terrace and the square treehouse cabin , which rises to a height of almost 6 meters. Highly reflective stainless steel wraps around the facade to render the building almost invisible in the landscape. + Baumraum Photography by Ferdinand Graf Luckner via Baumraum

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Green-roofed CLT home opens up to a dreamlike garden in Germany

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