Modern timber winery blends Japanese and Viennese influences

February 7, 2019 by  
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Wien-based architecture practice Architects Collective used innovative timber construction for the contemporary Nett Winery in the Pfalz wine region of Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany. Unlike traditional wine cellars that typically feature massive walls or industrial steel, this new winery features comparatively lightweight construction using ecological materials, including a wooden outer shell and an inner structure of pumice-concrete. Inspired by Japanese architecture and Viennese modernism, the contemporary winery features an origami-like facade and a minimalist aesthetic with natural materials throughout. Covering a massive area of nearly 4,500 square meters, the Nett Winery manages the impressive feat of appearing to sit lightly on the land. The building consists of two long rectangular halls connected with a covered passage and includes not only the entire production facilities for winemaking  but also the sales area, tasting room, storage, office and living spaces for the family of winemakers as well. The hall on the west side houses the retail and showroom as well as the wine barrels, steel tanks, refrigeration and the living spaces. The storage facilities, garage and trash area are located on the east side. The roofed passageway that connects the two halls is used as a multipurpose space for seasonal work such as pressing, fermentation, pre-treatment or mobile bottling. Large windows offer panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards , including the famous ‘Mandelberg.’ Related: An award-winning winery in British Columbia elegantly steps down a hillside “With the three distinctive sheds on the roof that let light and air radiate into the interior, the shape of the building unexpectedly resembles a Japanese tea pavilion inspired by the hits of Viennese modernism,” the architects said. “This impression is reinforced by the very special treatment that the large wooden outer walls have undergone, known as Shou-Sugi-Ban, a thousand-year-old Japanese wood finishing technique in which the surface is protected by charring. The wooden surface of the 5-meter-long building was further developed through a brushing and oiling technique, making it extremely durable and giving it an imposing aesthetic.” + Architects Collective Via ArchDaily Images by Rui Camilo via Architects Collective

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Modern timber winery blends Japanese and Viennese influences

New guest home in Estonia uses a weathered metal facade to blend into ancient castle ruins

February 1, 2019 by  
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Visitors to the the ruins of a 14th-century castle in Vastseliina, Estonia will now have a beautiful place to stay in this beautiful guest home by Estonian architects, Kaos Architects . The Pilgrims’ House was clad in a weathered steel to compliment the ancient ruins of a 14th-century castle. Located in southeastern Estonia, the complex is a medieval setting with the ruins of a 14th century castle and an old pub house tucked into the rolling green hills and valleys adjacent to the Piusa river. When tasked with designing a guest home for the unique space, the bucolic atmosphere prompted the architects to create something that would be modern and comfortable, but that would blend in seamlessly with the landscape as well as the older buildings on site. Related:Modern gabled guesthouse embraces passive solar in Australia Along with the idyllic landscape, the architects were also inspired by the castle’s long history . After a miracle was reported to have taken place there in 1353, the castle complex became a popular pilgrimage destination. Although in ruins today, the site is used as an “experience center” to welcome guests who would like to experience the medieval way of life. To create the new addition to the complex , the architects tucked the Pilgrims’ House into a deep slope in the landscape so that it would not block the view of the castle ruins. Partially hidden by bushes and trees, the center’s weathered metal facade was intentionally used so that it would compliment the red brick and granite of the ruins. On the interior of the building, the design went medieval through and through. High ceilings and wooden doors, brick floors and secret niches create a vibrant, fresh interior with plenty of medieval features such as the steel chandeliers. Various small windows are reminiscent of early castles, offering scenic views while providing the utmost in privacy. In one room, a jet black wall showcases white graphics that were inspired by old engravings, featuring the area’s long history. Guests will enjoy a stay in the Pilgrim’s House where the personnel is dressed in medieval clothing and serve traditional fare. Although the guest rooms are quite humble, they do have hints of modern comforts such as a claw foot bathtub and simple Scandinavian-inspired furniture . + KAOS Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Terje Ugandi and Maris Tomba via KAOS Architects

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New guest home in Estonia uses a weathered metal facade to blend into ancient castle ruins

Aquaponic gardens bring life to an unused balcony in an architects’ office

February 1, 2019 by  
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When a young architecture start-up in Vietnam went looking for office space, the Farming Architects  team, led by founder An Viet Dung, looked to the local vernacular for inspiration. The result is the Urban Eco Balcony, a 376-square-foot office designed to showcase how it’s possible to bring new life to the empty and unused balconies found throughout Hanoi. The interior space is comprised of a unique steel grid system, which was installed with an aquaponic system to breathe new life and green space into the office. According to Farming Architects founder An Viet Dung, when the budding design practice decided to open its first office in Hanoi, the team realized that the city’s ubiquitous balconies were largely unused, most likely because of urban pollution , noise and even security issues. Related: New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting Using this urban challenge as inspiration, the firm decided to rent a downtown office that would focus on the importance of giving purpose to these “dead spaces.” By using a number of architectural solutions, Farming Architects created an open and vibrant working space , referred to as the Urban Eco Balcony, with various multi-functional features. First, the architects installed a steel girder-tree system that helps create a strong connection between the interior and the balcony areas. Large floor-to-ceiling glass doors lead to the outdoor spaces and welcome  natural light inside. The steel grid formations also provide protection from harsh sun rays and help block the rain from coming into the office. Additionally, the steel frames are modular, meaning they can be rearranged depending on necessity. This feature adds a lot of functionality to the office, as the structures can be used as storage, book cases, mounts for additional lighting and more. Perhaps the steel grid system’s best use, however, is to support the office’s aquaponic system , which fills the balcony. Filling the “dead spaces” with plants would be an obvious choice to liven up the work space, but the architects wanted to take it a bit further by creating a system of aquaculture with plants grown hydroponically. This system requires little-to-no maintenance and creates a fresh, healthy atmosphere for the working space. + Farming Architects Photography by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An via Farming Architects

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Aquaponic gardens bring life to an unused balcony in an architects’ office

Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina

February 1, 2019 by  
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Córdoba-based firm  Alarcia Ferrer Arquitectos has just unveiled a stunning, green-roofed vacation home in Argentina’s remote Calamuchita Valley. The rocky, sloped landscape drove the inspiration for Casa FM’s design, which is a massive concrete 3,444-square-foot structure with a rectangular shape that juts out over the mountain ledge, offering dreamy views of the valley below. The architects chose to use concrete as the primary building material mainly for its low maintenance properties. Using a simple rectangular shape, a concrete shell adds strength, flexibility and insulating properties to the structure. Its low stature and expansive green roof stretches out over the entirety of the home and also helps blend the structure into its natural surroundings. Related: A striking concrete home in Ontario targets minimal environment impact Casa FM is actually comprised of two autonomous houses, with the lower one-bedroom house embedded into the terrain and the second level housing two bedrooms. Connected via a stone staircase adjacent to the building, each of the two spaces was designed to offer guests an intimate relationship with the surrounding environment. The interior is clad in the same smooth concrete as the exterior. Rectangular skylights flood the living space with natural light , providing a sense of contrast with the concrete walls and flooring. Warm wood furnishings along with leather couches and woven rugs give the space a welcoming, cozy feel. Like most houses that were built around amazing landscape, the interior design of Casa FM was laid out strategically to make the most of its setting. All of the rooms lead toward the open-plan living room, which features one long floor-to-ceiling glass wall. From this main living area, an expansive open patio space offers spectacular, unobstructed views of the valley below and the surrounding mountain range. + Alarcia Ferrer Arquitectos Via Dwell Photography by Federico Cairoli and Federico Ferrer via Alarcia Ferrer Arquitectos

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Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina

Disconnect in this serene tiny home tucked into a coastal sheep farm in New Zealand

February 1, 2019 by  
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Tiny homes around the world offer guests stunning views and relaxing atmospheres, but this studio-style tiny retreat in New Zealand is right up the alley for anyone looking to reconnect with nature. Located in Akara, South Island, the compact, pitched-roof cabin has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall to provide stunning views of the rolling green landscape that leads out to the sea. If that’s not enough, the open-air front patio features a large cedar hot tub for watching the sun go down after a nice day of surfing in the bay. Located just 30 minutes from Akara, South Island, this charming tiny cottage is tucked into a coastal sheep farm just steps away from beautiful Little Akaloa Bay. To get to the property, guests must make their way on a five-minute stroll through scenic native bush. Nestled into the tall trees and rolling green landscape, the tiny home is a welcoming beacon. Related: This geometric cabin in Slovenia is a perfect romantic getaway for nature-lovers The tiny studio sleeps just two people, with a double-sized bed that folds up when not in use. There is a small kitchenette and bathroom. The home is kept warm and toasty during the chilly months thanks to a wood-burning stove. The massive, floor-to-ceiling glass wall looks out from the interior, providing stunning, unobstructed views all day long. Of course, at the heart of the retreat is the outdoor space, which includes an open-air deck. There’s a barbecue grill and small dinette set for meals, as well as plenty of seating and a hammock for just taking in the views. However, the best place to relax in and around the tiny cabin is definitely the round cedar hot tub. The picturesque area is the perfect spot for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts or those simply wanting a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Guests will be able to enjoy the beautiful remote bays that surround the beautiful property by renting the surfboards, paddle boards and fishing equipment available. + Glamping Hub Tiny Home Rental Via Tiny House Talk Images via Glamping Hub  

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Disconnect in this serene tiny home tucked into a coastal sheep farm in New Zealand

Light-filled, sustainable office in the Netherlands produces all of its own energy

January 25, 2019 by  
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Dutch firm Team Paul de Vroom + Sputnik has just completed work on a beautiful, light-filled office in the Netherlands. Built around an open-air patio, the Big Green Egg’s new European office is designed to foster an inspiring work environment. Additionally inspiring, however, is the building’s sustainable profile, which includes solar panels that make the building 100 percent self-sufficient, a gray water collection system, natural building materials and a large green roof. The architects worked closely with the Big Green Egg Europe team to create an office environment that was vibrant and healthy. The volume of the building is quite humble, a square, two-story volume clad in brick. However, the combination of natural building materials such as stone and wood offer a strong connection to the environment. Massive glazed facades flood the interior with natural light . Related: A London office boasts biophilic design for a healthier, happier workplace The office space generates its own electricity as well as energy for heating and air conditioning thanks to a rooftop solar array. Additionally, a green roof runs the length of the building and is installed with a rainwater collection and storage system that is used to irrigate the building’s landscaping. At the heart of the design is the open-air central patio . This space was designed to offer employees an outdoor area for casual meetings or simply to take in some fresh air under the massive tree that sits in the middle of the space. Additionally, the patio is designed for entertaining and is the perfect place to highlight the company’s famous high-end ceramic barbecues. On the interior, each room is tailored to a specific use but with flexible features. There is ample space for formal conferences as well as smaller offices for teamwork sessions or private phone conversations. Natural flagstone flooring runs throughout the interior to give the space continuity. The smaller rooms also have custom-made dynamic wall furniture that provides optimal versatility depending on desired use. Within the walls, there is a pull-out desk and bench that can be extended depending on the number of seating spaces needed. To add a bit of whimsy into the interior design, there are fun animal statues throughout the space and even a boardroom wall covered in soft felt. + Team Paul de Vroom + Sputnik Photography by Ossip van Duivenbode via Team Paul de Vroom + Sputnik

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Is the Green New Deal the all-inclusive climate plan we need?

January 25, 2019 by  
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The media is abuzz with talk of a wildly ambitious proposal to address climate change and transform the economy. A group of progressive, first-term Democrats and youth activists are behind the proposal, called the Green New Deal. Met with doubt, inaction and controversy, these political newcomers argue that this extreme legislation is not only possible but absolutely necessary given the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent report , which warns that the causes of climate change must be dramatically addressed within the next decade or the impacts will be catastrophic. In support of the youth activists, Representative Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) drafted a Green New Deal proposal and demanded that a newly selected committee convene to design a viable solution within one year. The ambitious proposal has seven goals: 1. Shift 100 percent of national power generation to renewable sources. 2. Build a national energy-efficient “smart” grid. 3. Upgrade all buildings to become energy-efficient . 4. Decarbonize manufacturing and agricultural industries. 5. Decarbonize, repair and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, especially transportation. 6. Fund massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases . 7. Make “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major U.S. export. Centered around building a green economy, the plan does not stop at decarbonization solutions; instead, it incorporates economic and social justice programs aimed at drastically reducing inequality. “The activism and enthusiasm, partly triggered by Ocasio-Cortez, seems to tie the climate problem in with a variety of other issues — including jobs for all, living wages, healthcare for all — and that coupling is a new twist in this story, and I think it’s really exciting,” Dan Schrag, professor of climate studies at Harvard, told PRI’s Carolyn Beeler . But this ‘reach for the moon’ approach by the optimistic freshman Democrats has been met with controversy and doubt from both major parties. In a lukewarm response, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reinstated a previous Climate Crisis Select Committee, headed by Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL). Ocasio-Cortez and the youth activists, spearheaded by the Sunrise Movement , argue that Pelosi’s response is insufficient, pointing to inexcusable appointment of committee members who accept donations from, or have existing investments with, fossil fuel companies, including the committee Chair, Representative Castor herself. Related: 10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration Furthermore, critics of the response argue that the committee is ineffective without subpoena power, or the right to summon witnesses to court. Pelosi and other seasoned Democrats, however, are concerned the plan is naively optimistic, and wary that the environmental proposal includes divisive platforms such as guaranteed employment and universal healthcare . They argue the proposal must focus more singularly in order to receive the support needed to be effective. Opponents also question how the government will afford the aggressive budget. Since the proposal is more of what the Intercept called a “plan to make a plan,” no exact cost-analysis exists, but the green economy overhaul is expected to cost the government trillions of dollars . Watch Rep. Ocasio-Cortez answer the funding question with CNN’s Chris Cuomo: Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, is similarly unapologetic about the price tag. He  confirmed to The Intercept that the Green New Deal deliberately “touches on everything — it’s basically a massive system upgrade for the economy.” Supporters are determined that green energy -related policy and jobs can be the vehicle on which they transform pervasive inequality and unchecked capitalism and respond to catastrophically urgent climate issues. In fact, IPCC’s report states that adequately addressing climate change will require “unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society.” Despite the spike in tweets and Google searches over the past few months, media attention and controversy alone will not save the planet. So when the media’s attention shifts, will the committee be able to make any traction toward the proposed goals? Related: 6 positive advancements against climate change to lead us into 2019 Given the Trump administration’s disregard for climate science and refusal to hinder the fossil fuel industry, many believe it is unlikely there will be any legislative impact until 2021 at the earliest. This month, however, Governor Cuomo of New York announced his own state-level proposal , explicitly calling it a Green New Deal and including a statewide goal to become 100 percent renewable by 2040. A recent poll by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication revealed that a majority of respondents from left, right and center political-affiliations support the general goals of the Green New Deal. Among millennials, a group that will soon become the largest voting group in the country, 51 percent of all respondents support the Deal. While the specific legislative promises are uncertain and likely impossible without more controversy and political disobedience , the proposed Green New Deal has politicians and the American public thinking about the need for drastic actions toward climate change and may succeed in turning the tide on inaction just moments before our last chance. Via Vox Images via Makunin and  Mrganso

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Serene off-grid tiny home sits tucked away in a Hawaiian rainforest

January 23, 2019 by  
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Tucked into a lush green rainforest in Volcano, Hawaii, this tiny home retreat has been designed to be a relaxing oasis for those wanting to immerse themselves into nature. The Hale Iki cottage which is just 240 square feet, runs completely off-grid thanks to four 354 watt solar panels and rain water collection system. Located just outside of Volcanoes National Park in a clearing in the rainforest, the tiny cottage offers everything needed for a serene stay in a natural setting. The home itself is surrounded by natural greenery filled with Ohio trees, hapu’u ferns, and lots of ti and hibiscus, and even has lava tubes on the property. While the tiny home is at just 240 square feet, the lovely cottage is quite compact, but the extra large front deck makes the living space nearly double in size. An open-air porch with plenty of seating and a gas grill, this is the prime spot to relax and take in the stunning views. Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home—and you can stay overnight The rental home was designed to be completely off-grid. Solar panels generate sufficient power to run the home’s electricity needs. There is also a rainwater collection system installed on the roof that runs water into large water tanks. Although the home is completely off grid , that doesn’t mean there is a shortage of amenities. The interior of the home has been equipped with everything needed for a relaxing stay. A large kitchen with a solar refrigerator and other modern appliances provide everything needed to prepare home-cooked meals. The living room is filled with comfortable furnishings and a flat screen TV and the bedroom sleeps two comfortable in the queen-sized bed. Natural light floods the interior, but of course, the best natural light can be found just outside the front door. + Hale Iki Airbnb Via Tiny House Talk Images via Hale Iki

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Adaptable home brings together multiple generations under a solar roof

January 16, 2019 by  
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When local design studio Jost Architects was approached to design a home in Kew East, Melbourne , the firm not only navigated a challenging, complex site, but it also designed for multigenerational living that wouldn’t feel claustrophobic. The result is an adaptable 358-square-meter home spread out across three floors and designed to harmonize with its surroundings. Moreover, the Kew East House was also crafted with a reduced energy footprint thanks to the use of passive solar principles and solar photovoltaic panels. The clients, a couple with teenage children and a dog, Timba, asked Jost Architects to create a multigenerational home in anticipation of when the grandparents, who currently live overseas, move in in the future. To accommodate the clients’ elderly parents, the architects designed an internal granny flat on the ground floor next to the garage. Above, the first floor houses the master bedroom and main living areas. The two children’s bedrooms and a rooftop balcony with sweeping views of the park to the city are located on the top level. Strict council setbacks and a steep terrain informed the design of the house, which is recessed into the slope. The architects also took cues from the neighborhood and landscape to knit the Kew East House into its surroundings. “The banded fascias fold and rake, vertically and horizontally, braiding the building into the streetscape. The functional spaces are layered within this fabric,” the architects said. “Externally, the materials are selected for their robust and tonal hue responding to the huge eucalyptus enveloping the site and the other beautiful native flora around the Kew Billabong and Yarra River beyond.” Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Natural light floods the interior through thermally broken windows and multiple skylights, while Melbourne’s intense heat is kept at bay with deep eave overhangs, external sliding and fixed timber batten screens as well as operable glazing that allows for cross ventilation. The Kew East House is powered with a 4.95 kW photovoltaic system . + Jost Architects Photography by Shani Hodson – Zoso via Jost Architects

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Adaptable home brings together multiple generations under a solar roof

1942 army train car used in WWII gains a new life as a beautiful tiny home

January 16, 2019 by  
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For those history buffs out there, a stay in this beautifully converted WWII train car would be a dream come true. Tucked into the Smoky Mountains in Maryville, Tennessee, Platform 1346 , which was previously used as a kitchen car for U.S. Army cooks, has been carefully revamped to provide a serene tiny home retreat in an idyllic setting while still retaining its historic character. The train car goes back to 1942 when it was used as a troop train kitchen car for U.S. Army cooks preparing meals for troops that were being transported to the East Coast to board ships bound for Europe. The car served throughout the war until it was decommissioned in 1955 and placed in a military surplus yard for years. Later, it would be called back to duty in the 1970s during the Cold War, when it would serve as a mobile command car for SAC (Strategic Air Command). The historic car was used to transport large computers and communication equipment until 1988, when it was officially retired from duty. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small After being put up for sale at auction in 2005, the old train car was purchased by a retired Lt. Colonel and transported to Maryville, Tennessee. After the train car sat unused for years, the new owners of the property decided to revamp the structure into a tiny home weekend retreat . The family found most of the materials for the renovation secondhand, scouring Craigslist and estate sales for cabinets, countertops, dishware, appliances and more. After eight months of construction, plumbing and electrical work, the almost 80-year-old train car was given a new life as a tiny Airbnb rental. Located on six acres of pristine wooded land, the Platform 1346 offers a beautiful retreat to enjoy the idyllic surroundings. On the interior, hardwood flooring and white walls make the home feel comfy and welcoming. Multiple large windows flood the interior with natural light and provide stunning views of the natural surroundings. The tiny home escape can comfortably accommodate four guests with one queen-sized bed and a queen-sized pull-out sofa bed. The kitchen offers all of the amenities for enjoying a nice homemade meal, including a dining counter that looks out over the expansive fields. There is also an open-air deck, which is a great place for dining al fresco. After a day out hiking or simply enjoying the fresh mountain air, guests can enjoy a nice soak in the large clawfoot tub. There also is a fish pond and a fire pit on site, making for a relaxing spot to unwind in the evening time. + Platform 1346 Photography by Tayler Smith via Platform 1346

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1942 army train car used in WWII gains a new life as a beautiful tiny home

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