Mecanoo unveils stunning glass lake house that harmonizes with nature

December 14, 2018 by  
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Dutch firm Mecanoo has just unveiled Villa on the Lake — a stunning example of contemporary home design that sits in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings. Tucked against a lake near the U.K. city of Lechlade, the cube-like home features facades of floor-to-ceiling glass panels and a massive rooftop terrace that offers optimal views over the water. At just over 6,000 square feet spanning three floors, the Villa on the Lake is a mammoth of a home. Despite its large size and predominantly glass facade, however, the bold design creates a strong harmony with its all-natural forest and lake surroundings. The entrance is connected to a long bridge that winds through the lake’s edge of thick forest. Curving the bridge allowed the architects to avoid felling trees, leaving the landscape in its natural state. Related: Mecanoo to update Washington’s MLK Library with massive green roof According to the architects, the home was designed from the inside out, so the homeowners could enjoy unobstructed views from anywhere in the home while still maintaining a sense of privacy. Glass panels make up the front and side facades, giving off the appearance that the home is floating on the water. Inside, white walls and sparse furnishings, along with an abundance of natural light, brighten the space. The main living area is on the second floor while the bedrooms and private areas are on the top floor. A large staircase joins the three stories, one of which is actually underwater. The sunken basement houses a cinema, game area, bar and wellness spa. Of course, for truly enjoying the stunning panoramic views, the home boasts two open-air terraces . The rooftop terrace is more than 800 square feet, and the second deck, which leads out from the living space, wraps around the home’s volume, hovering just over the water. + Mecanoo Via Archdaily Photography by Mariashot.photo and Blue Sky Images via Mecanoo

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Mecanoo unveils stunning glass lake house that harmonizes with nature

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for children

December 14, 2018 by  
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While it’s obvious that we want the children in our lives to have only the most natural, clean, organic clothes and toys , it’s also important to our planet that we introduce sustainable goods from the start. As children grow up with eco-friendly items at their side, they will naturally grow up to respect the Earth, seeking out these types of green products for the rest of their lives. To get them started on the right foot, here are some of our favorite sustainable gifts for kids and babies. Veggie Crayons These crayons , which are made from organic herb and vegetable powders as well as food-grade soy wax, are safe for babies and children to use. While they shouldn’t be eaten, they are safe for hand to mouth transfer, and they do not contain toxic ingredients like petroleum. Plus, the square shape also makes them fun for stacking and playing. “Adopted” animals Support organizations like WWF , Oceana , The Nature Conservancy and more, and in return, your child will have an opportunity to learn more about our planet and the animals that roam it. Many organizations will allow you to symbolically adopt an animal , and for your donation your child will receive a plush animal, coloring books, educational materials and more. Related: 20 sensory table activities that offer creative ways to teach kids through play Plush toys Kids love their “stuffies,” so gift them their new favorite this year. These options from Ouistitine are adorable yet minimalist, so they’ll still look chic lying all over your living room floor. Plus, each toy is handmade from the scraps of natural, eco-textiles like wool, linen and cotton . Sustainable clothing Clothing is a gifting staple in many households, but conventional fashion often relies on unsafe fabrics and unethical production processes. If you’re looking to give the little ones clothing this year, be sure to choose options that are organic , non-toxic and responsibly made. Gardening kits Most kids love to get messy, so add in the benefits of growing their own food and teaching them the importance of gardening, and you have quite a gift! Surprise the kids with a gardening kit (like this one ), which is fun for children of all ages. You can also check out this website for educational resources to go along with the gift. Images via  Wee Can Too , WWF , Christopher Michel , Ouistitine ,  Phichit Wongsunthi and Shutterstock

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A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for children

A gorgeous houseboat with a shockingly spacious interior can be yours for $375K

November 7, 2018 by  
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Tiny home builders are always popping up with new and ingenious ways to make a small space seem larger, and this gorgeous houseboat is no exception. The amazing interior design will make you forget all about the home’s 510-square-footage. Located on Seattle’s ship canal just minutes from downtown, the charming cottage on the water comes with plenty of unique features, including a Japanese-style, cedar soaking tub, a custom-made elevator bed and an open-air rooftop lounge. The beautiful houseboat, which is currently listed for $375,000 , is clad in a serene blue hue that pays homage to its aquatic environment. Inside, the design is simply jaw-dropping. Light wood panels on the ceiling complement the calming white walls, while large windows naturally brighten the entire space. Throughout the home, unique cork flooring leads from the living room to the kitchen to the two bedrooms, seamlessly connecting the spaces. Related: This whimsical houseboat in Seattle is straight out of a fairytale The interior, which has recently been renovated, uses a number of space-saving techniques  and fabulous furnishings to open up the tiny home. The living room is a welcoming area with a long comfy couch meant for socializing. The sofa and most of the furnishings were kept in neutral shades to keep the atmosphere peaceful. Strategic pops of color here and there add a modern vibrancy to the design. In this home, every room has a strong personality. The kitchen was renovated with rustic, live-edge counters and backsplash. Salvaged slate cabinets were installed to lend an industrial touch to the design. The spa-like bathroom boasts a soothing pebble floor and an aromatic, cedar soaking tub. The two bedrooms also hide a few fun secrets, such as the vertical lift bed that converts one of the bedrooms into an office space or playroom when raised. Throughout the home, ample storage in the walls and stairs helps to avoid clutter. Of course, the heart of the home is found on the upper level lounge with a small sitting area, which leads to an open-air rooftop balcony . This space is perfect for entertaining, al fresco dining or just enjoying the serene water views. + Metropolist Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Diwas Photography via Metropolist

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A gorgeous houseboat with a shockingly spacious interior can be yours for $375K

Natural stone and an expansive green roof blend the stunning Gozu House into the Andes Mountains

August 30, 2018 by  
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When it comes to creating a serene living space, Medellín-based firm Opus Studio put nature first in their design for the gorgeous Gozu House. Located in the small Colombian province of Antioquia, which sits in the Andes mountains, the home blends into its stunning natural environment with help from its natural stone cladding and expansive green roofs . Sitting at an altitude of 7,200 feet, the 5,000-square-foot family home sits nested into a lush, green valley within the Andes Mountain range. The structure is comprised of three main modules, topped with two undulating green roofs meeting at the center module. The home’s jagged silhouette is designed to mimic the the mountains in the background. Related: A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest The Gozu House has a subtle presence thanks to its low, elongated volume, which, along with the natural pine wood and stone cladding , virtually camouflages the structure into its natural environment. The entrance of the home sits between the two “wings” of the design. Once inside, the entryway extends into a winding corridor that wraps around the interior, leading to the central living area and the exterior. Large glass panels and sliding doors provide a seamless connection with the outdoor space throughout the home’s layout. At the heart of the design is an open-air courtyard with a swimming pool surrounded by a large wooden deck –  a fun entertainment area for socializing. To create a home that was energy-efficient, the architects relied on a number of passive strategies. For instance, the main living space is oriented to the east to take advantage of the day’s sunlight while the bedrooms face the West to provide shade and privacy. Although the dual green roofs certainly play a part in connecting the home to its surroundings, they also provide an insulative thermal inertia for the living space, reducing the home’s energy needs. + Opus Studio Photography and video by Isaac Ramírez Marín via Opus Studio

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Natural stone and an expansive green roof blend the stunning Gozu House into the Andes Mountains

This groovy ‘Sculpture Home’ in California can be yours for just $1.4 million

August 2, 2018 by  
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If you’re in the market for an extraordinary home just steps away from the Pacific Ocean, this unique modernist home can be yours for a cool $1.4 million . The curvaceous monolithic dwelling, which was designed by a landscape architect in 1969, is a truly unique space. With its continuous flowing curves that wind from the exterior to the interior and various periscope-like lookouts, the home’s design gives off a quirky yet tranquil atmosphere. Located between Monterrey and Santa Cruz and just steps away from the beach, the home has a striking modernist style and all-white facade, enhanced with various periscope-like lookouts that jut out from different angles around the structure. A 5,000-square-foot garden oasis,  landscaped with winding paths and drought-resistant plants, only adds to the home’s allure. Related: Unique asymmetrical home in the Netherlands takes a novel approach to sustainability The interior space continues with a whimsical but sophisticated design that makes its 700 square feet seem much larger. The compact space exhibits expert craftsmanship throughout, from its smooth concrete floors and handmade glass tiles to the eye-catching stainless steel and glass staircase that leads to the bedroom.  The interior design is minimalist, with carefully-chosen furnishings that open up the space. The round living area has an abundance of windows and a curved seating and dining area with a gas chimney serving as the centerpiece. The living space is flooded with natural light thanks to the home’s many windows and glass doors. Upstairs, the bedroom is a quiet space with a private pod-like deck – a prime spot for enjoying beautiful sea views. Adjacent is a spa-inspired bathroom with a 54-inch round soaking tub that overlooks the garden. + Sculpture Home Photography by Brent Black

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This groovy ‘Sculpture Home’ in California can be yours for just $1.4 million

Historic Polish microbrewery and mountain lodge gets a beautiful 21st-century update

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm  ADR has just unveiled a spectacular renovation of the Trautenberk Microbrewery in the Polish village of Horní Malá Úpa. Located right at the foot of the Krkonoše mountain range, the historic brewery was in bad need of repair. To breathe new life into the outdated building, the architects stripped it down to its skeleton, but they were careful to maintain the brewery’s historic character during the renovation process . The architects began the project by stripping the structure down to its bare bones. Due to its location in a climate with severely harsh winters, the building had undergone quite a few renovations over its history, mostly in the late 1900s. To bring the structure into the 21st century, the designers wanted to give the building a more modern interior all while retaining the building’s original character. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen designs BREEAM-seeking brewery renovation in Riga Today, the brewery is a contemporary and inviting space that includes a hotel and restaurant, as well as brewery facilities in the basement. Visitors enter the renovated building through a modern lobby with wooden ceiling and floors. Red metal columns throughout the building give the space an industrial touch. The most important part of the structure is, of course, the brewery. Visitors start their tour of the brewery in the basement, which houses a revamped microbrewery that produces some 1,000,000 liters of of cold, frothy beer per year. Stumbling up from the beer tasting, guests make their way to the restaurant on the first floor. This space has also been completely renovated, but the architects managed to keep some of the building’s original features, such as lamps that date back to the pre-war years. The restaurant is an open space, with plenty of natural light and seating to enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding hills and slopes. After a few more beers, guests can make their way to the guest rooms on the upper levels of the brewery. Set up in dorm-like configurations, the hotel has a mountain lodge feel, with 130 beds, shared bathrooms and common areas. + ADR Architects + Trautenberk Microbrewery Photography by Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma via BoysPlayNice

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Historic Polish microbrewery and mountain lodge gets a beautiful 21st-century update

This cedar-clad tiny home radiates true southern charm

June 9, 2018 by  
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Although we’ve seen some seriously modern and sophisticated tiny homes  over the years, it’s always nice to go back to the movement’s minimalist roots. The Old Blue Chair  is a classic example of tiny house design done right. From its beautiful cedar block siding to the sweet powder blue dutch door, this beautiful cottage exudes simple southern charm. Located just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, this lovely tiny cabin , which peers out over Lookout Mountain, is designed to let guests unwind from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The wooden deck outside the bright blue front door is just the place for socializing and passing the hot southern summer nights by with a mint julep or two. Related: Minimalist living meets luxury in the Sturgis Tiny Home The interior design proves to be just as inviting as the charming exterior. Guests enter the home through the hand-crafted dutch door. The top section of the door can be left open to enjoy the beautiful views of the valley 1,400 feet below. White shiplap walls and dark wood flooring create a contemporary cabin feel. The living space is split between a large sofa and a cozy reading nook with a circular window hidden under the stairs. The kitchen features a four-burner stove and plenty of shelving to keep the space organized. In between the living room and the kitchen, a high-top table is used for dining. The tiny home sleeps up to five people, who can choose between the dual sleeping lofts on each end of the interior and can be reached by ladders. Of course, to really relax, guests can enjoy the central fire pit and outdoor hot tub while taking in the incredible 180-degree view of Lookout Valley. + Live a Little Chatt Images via Live a Little Chatt

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This cedar-clad tiny home radiates true southern charm

Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid to masterplan Russias largest port

June 8, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has won the Admiral Serebryakov Embankment competition, an international masterplanning contest for Novorossiysk, a Russian city on the Black Sea coast with the nation’s largest shipping port. Created in collaboration with local architecture firm Pride TPO, the winning masterplan aims to reconnect the city with its coast and celebrate the region’s rich industrial history and relationship with the sea. The masterplan will introduce a diverse mix of programming and facilities that prioritize non-vehicular circulation. As the nation’s main port on the Black Sea, the southern Russian city of Novorossiysk connects the country with the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and the Suez Canal. The city is the third-busiest port in Europe by turnover and is the leading Russian port for exporting grain. Zaha Hadid Architects and Pride TPO tap into Novorossiysk’s rich history and traditions as a center of trade in their masterplan. The masterplan is organized on the concept of “instancing,” a concept borrowed from photography in which a subject is slightly manipulated in between frames. Here, it is applied in the 13.9-hectare masterplan’s nine main buildings, each a manipulation of the same form in response to the individual structure’s functions, site conditions, and requirements. The design was informed through digital computation models . Related: Zaha Hadid’s only house rises like a spaceship in a forest near Moscow “Connected at various levels with walkways, squares, and podia and controlled by parametric [tools], the relationships of volumes are informed by multiple simultaneous iterations that test the orientation, height and thickness of these volumes. Utilising this parametric model allows the designers and stakeholders alike to accommodate fluctuations in the financial, volumetric, functional and time-related projections of the client without losing control of a coherent and architecturally elegant urban formation,” explained Zaha Hadid Architects. “Setting the orientation perpendicular to the sea, the Masterplan ensures maximum open unimpeded views towards the sea, as well as a comfortable layout considering the wind movements in and around the site. This results in a configuration that is porous and well-knit with the city fabric, inviting residents as well as visitors in and around the volumes.” The first phase of the masterplan will start construction in the second half of 2019. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects, by VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid to masterplan Russias largest port

Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory

June 8, 2018 by  
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Prolific landscape architecture firm  James Corner Field Operations  has managed to transform many desolate areas with its amazing park designs, but perhaps its crowning achievement will be Brooklyn’s Domino Park. Set to open to the public on June 10, the park — which was installed with reclaimed relics from the former Domino Sugar Refinery — has been converted into a quarter-mile long stretch of open green space running along the Williamsburg waterfront. Working with Brooklyn-based Two Trees Management, James Corner Field Operations (the lead architects on the beloved High Line park in Manhattan) has taken great care to convert the former industrial area into a welcoming public green space for the Williamsburg neighbors. The stretch of land from Grand Street to South Fifth Street has been desolate for years, its vacant lots blocked to visitors with chain-link fences. Now, after an extensive renovation to create a community-tailored recreational area, the project is ready to welcome the public. Related: Abandoned Lot Turned into Public Farm and Mountain Bike Course in Brooklyn First and foremost, the master plan for the park’s design included a strong emphasis on historic preservation. Reclaimed sugar refining and industrial materials, as well as various timber pieces, are just some of the relics  salvaged from the factory and placed in the park to pay homage to its origins. The 1,200-foot-long waterfront esplanade runs the length of the east bank of the East River, providing visitors with incredible panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and the Williamsburg Bridge. For those looking to simply sit and enjoy the surrounding views, there are plenty of benches around the park, which were also made out of reclaimed wood from the factory. The park’s expansive green space  is separated into two areas, a passive zone and an active zone. For those looking for a relaxing day at the park, there is an urban beach where visitors can soak up the sun on lounge chairs. A Japanese Pine garden leads into an open lawn with a designated 100-person picnic area and a large playground. For those who love to be active, there is a full-sized volleyball court, two boccie courts, and a 6,300-square-foot playing field. Dogs are also welcome to stretch their legs in the spacious dog run. At the heart of the park is a central gathering space, “Water Square.” Like most of the firm’s work, the greenery found throughout the park includes various sustainable plantings, as well as a mix of local and exotic foliage, flowers and trees. A four-tiered seating area with a water fountain provides visitors with a meeting place to enjoy the incredible views. Next to the wooden seating, four salvaged syrup tanks from the refinery were installed as a whimsical “Syrup Tank Garden.” Overlooking the park is an elevated, five-block long walkway. “Artifact Walk” is made from various pieces of salvaged factory equipment, such as steel columns, crane tracks and tall cylindrical tanks. During the ambitious project, Hurricane Sandy forced the planners to put resilience at the forefront of the design. Accordingly, the park is raised above the 100-year flood elevation levels and pushed back 100 feet from the water’s edge. + James Corner Field Operations + Two Trees Management Via Architectural Digest Images via Two Trees Management

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Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory

This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

June 5, 2018 by  
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While some architects use various strategies to blend their design into natural surroundings, Santiago-based firm  Felipe Assadi Arquitectos chose to go bold and bright with its design for La Roja. The modular home , which is comprised of four modules stacked on top of each other, is a bright crimson, cube-like structure that rises out of the deep green forest landscape of San José de Maipo, Chile. Although the house was constructed on-site, its materials were fabricated away from the current location. Additionally, the home’s four modular boxes can be transported by trucks and installed on virtually any flat landscape. Related: Modular Gomos homes can be assembled in three days flat The two-story, 936-square-foot home comprises four  prefab modules , with each floor made up of two units. To give depth to the box-like design, the architects added a sloped roof and a beautiful double-height entryway that pulls double duty as an open-air terrace. This large outdoor area enabled the architects to create a bright and airy interior flooded with natural light . The wall that wraps around the terrace is clad in floor-to-ceiling windows, creating a strong connection between the modular home’s interior and exterior. A bright, minimalist interior with a floating staircase leading up to the bedrooms also opens up the space. Traditionally, many architects and homeowners have used natural materials or even mirrored facades to blend their home into such a beautiful landscape, but the team from Felipe Assadi Arquitectos went another route completely. The architects say that the decision to paint the house an eye-catching crimson red was meant to “activate the relationship between the landscape and the project through contrast.” + Felipe Assadi Arquitectos Via Dwell Photography by Fernando Alda

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This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

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