Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

August 6, 2018 by  
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A beautiful A-frame cabin has popped up on the remote Finnish island of Vallisaari to serve as an “ecological alternative to cabin life.” Imagined by Finland-based designer Robin Falck , Nolla is a beautiful cabin retreat that was built using sustainable materials and designed to leave minimal impact on the environment. Nolla (which means “zero” in Finnish) is located on the island of Vallisaari, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsinki. Carefully constructed for zero emissions, this  A-frame cabin stands just 13 feet tall, lifted off the landscape by multiple supports so that it leaves little-to-no impact on the pristine landscape. The minimalist design was inspired by the need to provide an off-grid retreat that lets guests truly connect with nature. An all-glass wall floods the interior with natural light and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The interior of the cabin is modern with furnishings from the Stockmann Sustainable Collection, which specializes in eco-friendly products. Related: These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design The cabin’s energy needs are met by solar power. Guests can cook on a Wallas stove, which runs entirely on Neste MY Renewable Diesel that is made entirely from waste and residue. Guests can rest assured that their voyage to the cabin is also sustainable, because the ferry that travels to the island runs on the same eco-friendly diesel, which reportedly reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent. “With the Nolla cabin, we want to offer visitors the possibility to experience modern cabin life in the realm of nature, with minimal emissions, Falck explained. “An ecological lifestyle does not only require giving up unsustainable commodities, but also discovering modern, sustainable solutions that can be used instead. This has been an essential part of the design process.” Nolla, which will be on the island until the end of September, is part of Neste’s Journey to Zero project. Neste has collaborated with notable eco-concious companies to design and promote the cabin’s eco-message. The first guests to visit the eco-retreat will be hosted by Finnish zero waste influencer Otso Sillanaukee, a specialist on sustainable everyday living . “Finns are known for spending time at their beloved summer houses. We wanted to explore sustainable solutions that could enable cabin life with minimal emissions,” said Sirpa Tuomi, marketing director at Neste. “Shared and circular economy, as well as new technologies and innovations, have made it possible to enjoy our cabins without harming or burdening the environment . Some of the solutions that have been used at the Nolla cabin are perfectly adaptable at any cabin.” + Robin Falck + Neste Images via Neste

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Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

Handsome timber-clad extension embraces Australias great outdoors

August 3, 2018 by  
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When the residents of a home in Eganstown, Australia, decided to add a modest extension to their house, they were looking for more than just extra breathing room. Enlisting the help of Melbourne-based emerging design practice Solomon Troup Architects , they envisioned the extension as a way to more fully embrace the expansive hillside landscape. The resulting structure—named the Limerick House—does just that, all while referencing the outdoors with its natural materials palette . Covering an area of nearly 2,100 square feet, the Limerick House offers a twist on the original home’s pitched forms with an asymmetrical gabled roof inspired by the lean-to timber shearing sheds found throughout the local landscape. “The gabled form of the addition responds to the existing pitched roofs of the existing house,” explains Solomon Troup Architects. “The new addition has the same dimensions and shape as the existing three railway cottages used to build the existing house, but is sloped on the eastern boundary to create a doorway, used to link the house to another existing house on the property.” In another nod to the local sheds , the new extension is built mainly from timber. Spotted gum decking boards—stained black—clad the exterior and will develop a silvery patina over time. In contrast to the dark facade, the interior is lined with light-colored silvertop ash boards, which the architects say give the addition the look of a “warm winter weekend cabin.” Related: A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience The extension houses an open-plan kitchen and dining area, freeing up room in the main house, which now includes a master ensuite, two bedrooms and a living room that opens up to a cozy den through a sliding door. A massive steel-framed pivoting door opens the new structure up to the outdoors and a spacious timber deck partly sheltered by a deep roof overhang. Large windows let in plenty of natural light and views. + Solomon Troup Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Tatjana Plitt

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Handsome timber-clad extension embraces Australias great outdoors

Tiny Heirloom unveils ‘The Goose’ a custom tiny home with stunning interiors

August 2, 2018 by  
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Once again, the genius design team from Tiny Heirloom has unveiled another spectacular tiny home . Built on a gooseneck trailer, The Goose offers a spacious tiny home on wheels that can sleep up to six people and comes with all of the amenities of a conventional home — just in a compact size. Starting at $84,995, The Goose comes in three sizes and can be customized in various ways or, as the designers put it, you can “Build Your Goose.” Future homeowners can choose from a number of options in order to meet their specific tiny home needs, starting at the length of the home, which can be 27, 30 or 34 feet. The living area comes standard at 8 feet by 13.5 feet. Related: Rock climbing walls cover this tiny home built for adventure lovers The exterior of the home is inspired by a modern farmhouse aesthetic, with white cladding and a wooden front porch. Although the home is installed with LED lighting , the interior is well-lit during the day with an abundance of natural light. An all-white interior with multiple windows and optional skylights emits a fresh, healthy aesthetic. The design allows for a beautifully open space that is enhanced by exposed wooden beams crossing the vaulted ceiling. The tiny home’s layout puts the living room on one side and a separate master bedroom on the opposite side, elevated by a set of stairs. A large cook’s kitchen is equipped with modern appliances and has a fold-out table for dining. The Goose’s full-size bathroom puts the closet-like bathrooms typically found in tiny houses to shame. One of the best aspects of the tiny home is that it comes with various options to customize the space, including extras like additional closets and storage. For larger families looking to make the most out of the space, two additional sleeping lofts can be added. Extra amenities like an in-wall electric heater and a composting toilet are also available. + Tiny Heirloom Via New Atlas Images via Tiny Heirloom

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Tiny Heirloom unveils ‘The Goose’ a custom tiny home with stunning interiors

Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

August 1, 2018 by  
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Retrofitting an old house into a Passive House is a challenging feat to say the least, but when done right, it can be amazing. When Bo and Itzy decided to turn their old Victorian home in Brooklyn into a passive home, they took on the ambitious project with help from NYC-based firm  ZH Architects . The result is  powerhouse of energy-efficiency, redesigned and revamped for healthy living. Although the number of new passive home projects continues to grow, retrofitting old structures to fit Passive House requirements is still a massive undertaking rife with complications. In an interview with the architects, Bo explained that one of the biggest hurdles of their home renovation was making the space airtight. Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs “Most passive houses have been either newly built or brownstone/townhouse conversions,” Bo said. “It’s a lot easier to get this right when dealing with a rectangular box or only two exposed walls with a flat roof. With an old Victorian home like ours, there are nooks and crannies everywhere. The hardest part is really getting the house airtight, so you need to work both from the inside and the out taking great care that you don’t have any air infiltration or gaps. We used an Intello vapor barrier on the inside of the attic and a Zip System on the exterior.” The home currently has an air tightness of about 0.29 ACH (air changes per hour) which, according to the architects, is a world record for a retro-fit building. Insulation was a big factor in creating an energy-efficient living space. The architects wrapped the home in extra layers of thick, eco-friendly insulation and installed high-performance windows to create a sealed envelope. Despite New York’s bitterly cold winters and severe summer heat, the interior will sustain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. To complement this level of comfort, the interior design is light and airy, with white walls and hardwood flooring to create an inviting space. For Bo and Itzy, having a passive home was not only about monetary and energy savings , but also to focus on creating a healthy living atmosphere. Along with the home’s many efficient features, the renovation avoided all VOC paints and harmful chemicals. Instead of using polyurethane for the flooring, they went with a natural Scandinavian lye treatment which includes using a natural mixture of oil and soap. The home was also installed with Energy Star-rated appliances, solar roof tiles  and LED lighting . Of course, the process did mean making quite a few tough decisions about the home’s original features. For Itzy, the idea of getting rid of the large chimney was daunting, but by doing so, they were able to create an extra room in the attic. As another perk, they were able to install a wine cellar in the basement that uses an innovative concept for cooling. The heat pump water heater in the basement, which draws in warm air and blows out cool air, was redesigned to blow that cooler air into the wine cellar to keep the bottles cool. With this Passive House project complete, the residents and the architects hope to inspire others to take the time to retrofit old buildings for energy efficiency. + ZH Architects Images via ZH Architects

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Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

An old school bus is upcycled into an open-air theater in India

July 27, 2018 by  
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When Doaba Public School in Punjab, India decided to retire a 20-year-old school bus , it was reluctant to part ways with the vehicle. The bus had belonged to the school’s first fleet of school buses — now increased to a fleet of more than 50 vehicles — so, the administrators tapped Indian design practice Studio Ardete to reuse the decommissioned bus. The resulting design, called the Bavillion, is a geometric pavilion that’s integrated into the school and offers a play area, an open-air theater and a gallery space. The 323-square-foot Bavillion serves the Doaba Public School located in the remote Punjabi village of Parowal. More than 2,500 students from over 100 villages travel — primarily on buses — to the school. Knowing how important buses are to the school, Studio Ardete was careful to keep the vehicle shape intact (including the steering wheel and driver’s seat) while gutting the interior to make way for a new gallery space lined with multi-faceted panels for texture. The pavilion structure was built on the outside of the bus as a “triangular prismatic volume,” and a deck was installed atop the roof of the bus. The upcycled “Bus-Building” was also developed to teach the students and community about the circular economy and the benefits of recycling. The pavilion functions as a congregation space with bleacher seating for students and teachers, while the interior gallery offers insight and documentation on the school’s history over the past four decades. Related: Old Greyhound bus converted into gorgeous tiny house on wheels “The bond shared by the school bus and the school has thus found a new meaning,” Studio Ardete said in a project statement. “After serving more than 8,000 school trips and taking on the responsibility of a million student’s transfers, it finally rests as an integral part of the school. A play area, an open air theater, a gallery and above all a symbol that inculcates the importance of reuse and upcycling in the students so their vision for tomorrow can be driven toward a sustainable future.” + Studio Ardete Images via Ar.Purnesh Dev Nikhanj

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An old school bus is upcycled into an open-air theater in India

Take a break in this nautically inspired tiny pod on a Scottish island

July 24, 2018 by  
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Airbnb’s roster of unique lodgings has just added a new star to its lineup: this tiny pod retreat located on a remote Scottish island. Designed by Roderick James Architects , the submarine-inspired, aluminum-clad Airship 002 is located on four acres of expansive greenery on the the Isle of Mull and comes equipped with all the amenities needed to disconnect from life’s hustle and bustle. The Airship 002, which rents for $168 a night , stands out in the idyllic landscape thanks to its elongated form capped with two all-glass domes on either side. Clad in  shiny aluminum , the building has a nautical theme – immediately noticeable thanks to multiple portholes in the walls. Inside the tiny pod, wood paneling creates a warm interior enhanced by an abundance of natural light. Related: Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve Although the Airship is a compact structure, the contemporary interior design creates a warm and relaxing atmosphere. The kitchen is an open space with all of the amenities needed to create a home-cooked meal. To open up space throughout the tiny structure, space-saving techniques, such as a fold-out table, keep the living area uncluttered. Located just past the kitchen area, the bedroom features a comfy four-poster queen bed. A pair of portholes over the bed allows guests to enjoy a bit of stargazing as they drift off to sleep. At the heart of the interior are the two domed glass walls  on either side of the pod. A serene seating area with a wood-burning stove looks out over the mountains and sea to the west. On the opposite side, a large writing desk faces the beautiful Sound of Mull. A wooden deck with outdoor seating on the side of the pod offers additional views of the incredible surroundings. + Roderick James Architects + Airship 002 Via Uncrate Photography by Nigel Rigden

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Take a break in this nautically inspired tiny pod on a Scottish island

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

A 19th century building is reborn as solar-powered temporary housing for families in need

July 19, 2018 by  
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No matter where you live or what you do for a living, there’s always a chance that fate will take a few bad turns, leaving you and your family in need of temporary housing. The Cambridge Health and Human Services Department (CHHSD) and Cambridge’s HMFH Architects recently joined forces to build such a shelter in a lovely 19th century building once thought doomed for demolition. In addition to providing safe, short-term housing, the project focuses on sustainability in its design. Once a grand, aluminum-gilded structure among the dignified homes along Massachusetts Avenue, building number 859, constructed in 1885, was turned into offices years ago. But time took its toll: the aluminum siding faded, the entryway became disheveled, rust sullied the fire escapes and flourishing gardens were harshly paved. Related: Architect converts derelict 19th century Mexican home into light-filled mixed-use community center The city purchased the dilapidated structure, and HMFH Architects razed the interior down to its structural beams and studs to make room for 10 family-sized housing units that each provide temporary homes with private baths for an adult and one to two children. Each floor has a kitchen and dining area shared by tenants. The architectural design team joined forces with the Cambridge Historical Commission to ensure as many details as possible were restored to their original state, from the front stairway design to the paint, trim and roofing materials. Sustainable design was also high on the list of project goals. The building meets Cambridge’s goal to keep the site’s energy use to as close to zero as possible, concurrent with generating sufficient renewable energy to fulfill its own yearly consumption. To accomplish this, the building has three types of solar roof tiles , maximum-efficiency mechanical systems to decrease heating and cooling needs and LED lighting operated by sensors. Double-thickness walls and insulation along with energy-efficient windows and doors also helped the project meet its energy goals. “The new residence at 859 Mass Avenue provides a welcoming, comfortable environment for families and children in need,” said Ellen Semonoff, Cambridge’s Assistant City Manager for Human Services. “The beauty and functionality of the building let families know that they are valued members of our community.” The Cambridge Historical Commission presented the 2018 Cambridge Preservation Award to jointly honor the project and the city for its work. + HMFH ARCHITECTS + Cambridge Health and Human Services Department Images via Bruce T. Martin and Ed Wosnek

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A 19th century building is reborn as solar-powered temporary housing for families in need

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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