Affordable flat-pack Surf Shack shelter operates completely off the grid

September 20, 2017 by  
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Nature lovers looking to construct their own sustainable off-grid getaway are going to love the new flat-pack Surf Shack shelter designed by the Backcountry Hut Company . The new pre-packed assembly system is similar to the company’s previous models, but now offers a variety of cladding options as well as the possibility to install a fully-glazed wall and a beautiful deck space, all designed to make living in the wilderness a breeze for those wanting to reduce their footprint. Vancouver-based Leckie Studio Architecture + Design founded the Backcountry Hut Company in 2015 in order to give people the ability to build their own flat-pack eco-shelters that have little-to-no ecological impact. Founders Wilson Edgar and Michael Leckie based the company’s ethos on the IKEA model of providing affordable, well-designed products for the masses. Instead of providing flexible furniture for tiny apartments, however, the BHC focuses on creating simple, recreational structures that can be installed in virtually any remote location. Related: Backcountry Hut Company designs rugged flat-packed cabins for wilderness enthusiasts Like their previous models, the new Surf Shack is a flat-packed system that’s designed to be assembled on site. The prefab “kit of parts” consists of an engineered wood post-and-beam skeleton infilled with prefabricated panels, and an easy nail-on window system. However, the new and improved “shack” comes with alternative cladding options such as faded cedar siding. It’s also possible to install a fully-glazed wall, as well as an outdoor deck that extends from the interior living space. Designed for easy assembly, the system can be erected on any site that is accessible by truck or helicopter. Once delivered, the parts can be put together by lifting the prefabricated walls and roof panels into place and using a simple pulley and winch system to hoist them into place. Since they are modular , various packs can also be combined to increase the floor area, add bedrooms, etc. + Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

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Affordable flat-pack Surf Shack shelter operates completely off the grid

Thomas Heatherwick unveils massive museum carved out of a historic grain silo

September 18, 2017 by  
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Prolific architect Thomas Heatherwick just finished transforming an old grain silo in Cape Town into South Africa’s largest art museum – the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The team spent years carefully renovating the silo’s 42 massive cylindrical concrete tubes into 6,000 square feet of gallery space, which will hold the world’s premier collection of African art. The grain silo has held court over Cape Town’s Table Bay harbor since 1924. Some of the building’s rough concrete walls were kept intact, while others were carved into shapes and finished with polished concrete. An 88-foot-high cathedral-like atrium sits at the heart of the museum and leads to the expansive network of 80 individual galleries. The design team preserved the silo’s bold concrete exterior while updating it with bulging glass windows that flood the interior with natural light . The renovation of the historic building was quite complicated, considering the tubular shape of the silos . Heatherwick told Dezeen, “It became like archaeology, like excavating out gallery spaces, but not wanting to obliterate the tubularity completely. We realized we needed to do something that your eye couldn’t instantly predict,” he explained. “Our role was destructing rather than constructing, but trying to destruct with a confidence and an energy, and not treating the building as a shrine.” The Zeitz Museum is just one part of the large waterfront complex that will eventually include bars and restaurants. The swanky Royal Portfolio Hotel , which was built into the silo’s grain elevators, opened earlier this year. + Thomas Heatherwick Studio Via Dezeen

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Thomas Heatherwick unveils massive museum carved out of a historic grain silo

Elevated glass-bottomed pool hovers over a second pool in the hip Wall House

September 15, 2017 by  
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An outdoor swimming pool with a glass bottom hovers above the second pool of this gorgeous residence in the Portuguese Riviera. Guedes Cruz Arquitectos designed the entire Wall House as a sprawling, open-plan house that embodies the principles of indoor-outdoor living, with so many gorgeous elements that it’s surreal. On one of its side, the residence features an expansive glass wall that can be opened to create a direct connection between the interior space, the garden and golf course. Wood slat coverings cover the concrete exterior walls and can be shut to provide complete privacy when needed. Related: Glass-bottomed sky pool will be suspended 115 feet in the air The most striking feature are the two outdoor swimming pools . The first is located on the ground level, while the second one hovers above the patio and has a glass bottom. The surreal visual effect of this bridge-like structure create unlikely visual connections between different levels of the house. + Guedes Cruz Arquitectos Via Dwell Photos by Ricardo Oliveira Alves

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Elevated glass-bottomed pool hovers over a second pool in the hip Wall House

Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home

September 14, 2017 by  
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A 1924 barge in London has been transformed into an amazing floating home . The historic Humber Keel cargo boat now functions as a comfortable two-bedroom home with two baths, open living space and terrace views. The restored houseboat maintains the original woodwork and custom midcentury furnishings. The barge, originally used for transporting steel and coal and working in shallow waters, sits in the Poplar Dock Marina of London . It offers 812 square feet of living space which includes two bedrooms, a large open-plan reception/dining area, modern galley kitchen, and a desk area. Related: Solar-Powered Bauhaus Barge Offers Luxurious Living with a Low Carbon Footprint Much of the original woodwork has been retained throughout the house, including the original Goodin wood burner in the living room. Some of the additions to the interior include a dipped terra cotta pendant light by Hand and Eye Studio London, a Saikai Kaico Japanese enamel kettle, hand-thrown dishes by David Green Ceramics, and the 1960s Greaves and Thomas Egg chair. The house is currently for sale through The Modern House. + The Modern House Via Dwell

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Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home

Greenhouse-like ‘cabin in the woods’ features lush vertical gardens inside

September 1, 2017 by  
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If greenery is essential for creating a healthy home design , the family that moves into this green-filled home will be in really great shape. Designed by Kartick Reddy , the sophisticated design integrates multiple pockets of vibrant greenery inside and outside of the home, including multiple vertical gardens within the living space. The contemporary home design , which was created for a family in Poland, is oozing greenery at every corner. Sitting on a large lot of verdant green forestscape, the home is located next to a calming stream. Wood panels cover the rear facade of the modern A-frame home while the front facade is almost entirely comprised of large glass panels, giving the home a greenhouse-like appearance. Related: Create a vertical garden on your window or wall in minutes with these adorable Livi planters On the interior, two living walls were used to bring a boost of nature into the home environment. Visitors are greeted with a large living wall through the back entrance and another vertical green wall rises up almost two floors in the middle of the home. The greenery, along with the abundance of glass walls blends this modern homeinto its idyllic surroundings. + Kartik Reddy Via Yanko Designs Images by Kartik Reddy

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Greenhouse-like ‘cabin in the woods’ features lush vertical gardens inside

Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites

August 25, 2017 by  
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The Donald Trump administration seems to be plugging its ears against the mention of any health risks of residing near coal mines. His Department of the Interior (DOI) recently shut down a study on potential health impacts for such people in Central Appalachia, reportedly citing a changing budget. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign representative Bill Price told The Washington Post, “It’s infuriating that Trump would halt this study…that people in Appalachia have been demanding for years.” The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine were conducting a study on health risks for people living near surface coal mining sites when they were told to stop by the DOI as the agency reviewed projects needing more than $100,000. The National Academies was still allowed to hold scheduled meetings in Kentucky earlier this week. But they’ve been told to cease all other work on the project. Related: Montana judge stops massive coal mine expansion, citing climate impact Central Appalachia coal mining sometimes employs mountaintop removal , a practice scientists say is particularly destructive . Price told The Washington Post, “Everyone knows there are major health risks living near mountaintop removal coal mining sites, but communities living with daily health threats were counting on finally getting the full story from the professionals at the National Academies of Science.” The National Mining Association seemed to stand behind the Trump administration’s move, pointing to an analysis from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences examining multiple reports which said the studies usually didn’t account for lifestyle and extraneous health effects. The association also pointed to a United States Energy Information Administration analysis saying mountaintop mining only comprises under one percent of coal production and a study of health impacts may be unnecessary. The National Academies said they believe the study is important and they stand ready to continue the work, hoping they’ll be allowed to continue. But they don’t know the end date of the DOI’s review. Via The Washington Post Lead image via Pixabay , others via iLoveMountains.org on Flickr and Pixabay

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Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites

Timber cabin on wheels lets you hit the open road in luxurious comfort

August 25, 2017 by  
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Seek adventure on the open road without leaving the comforts of home—that’s the charm of ESCAPE , a Wisconsin-based company that designs and builds RVs that look like tiny towable cabins. We’re always impressed by ESCAPE’s line of tiny homes on wheels and their latest addition, Escape ONE XL, is no exception. Clad in charred wood siding, the ONE XL was launched this month and comfortably sleeps up to eight inside a surprisingly lavish modern interior. We’ve seen many tiny homes on Inhabitat but few pull out all the stops like the Escape ONE XL. Designed as the larger version of the Escape ONE , this tiny mobile home measures 30 feet in length (35 feet with the hitch), 8.5 feet in width, and nearly 14 feet in height. The 388-square-foot cabin is wrapped in unique Shou Sugi Ban siding and punctuated with low-e windows and a glazed door that lets in ample natural light. It includes two sleeping lofts on opposite sides, one accessible via a staircase with hidden storage and the other via ladder, that fit a queen bed, full, or twin beds. The interior is handsomely lined in timber, including Raw Lodgepodge Pine center match with pine trim, laminate flooring with an oak hardwood option, a pine solid core bathroom door, and handcrafted wood details. The first floor features a spacious living room that’s separated from the bathroom by a large kitchen. A ceiling fan hangs above the kitchen. Closed cell foam insulation made with recycled materials boasts an average of R30. Related: Escape Traveler is a tiny cabin on wheels that can be moved anywhere In addition to its beautiful timber craftsmanship, the ONE XL includes luxury amenities, particularly for a tiny mobile home. The kitchen features maple cabinetry, a deep sink, a fridge and freezer, solid butcher block tops, microwave, and full-size range with four burners. The living room is multipurpose with built-in LED lighting , storage, and large windows. The bathroom has a 60” tub and shower with a large vanity, Toto toilet, towel bars, vent fan, and option to change the tub into a soaking or jet tub. Additional options, such as a flatscreen TV with Blu-ray and inhabitat.com/tag/off-grid/ off-grid capability are available. The Escape ONE XL , which is over 100 square foot larger than its predecessor Escape ONE, starts at $69,800. + Escape ONE XL Via Dezeen Images via Escape

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Timber cabin on wheels lets you hit the open road in luxurious comfort

Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

August 16, 2017 by  
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Design and engineering firm  Carve  breathed new life into one of Amsterdam’s oldest parks with a playful new blob-like  playground design. The eye-catching structure is a gigantic white and lilac abstract shape that just begs for children to climb aboard its weirdness and explore its many fun features. The firm was charged with creating a new playground area in the park’s existing basketball court, which is surrounded by an abundance of greenery. In addition to creating a fun play area for local children aged 0-6, the new structure also needed to be a vibrant meeting place for park goers. So the designers created an eye-catching “organically shaped sculpture that incorporates various play functions.’’ Related: Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei The unique structure is a large voluminous form whose curious shape invites children to explore the interior where they’ll find plenty of places to run, climb, slide, and swing. The large blob, which is painted a bright lilac on the interior, was designed with plenty of dynamic areas such as a web of climbing nets, a metal slide, and a tube swing hanging from one end. On the exterior, the structure has a mirrored wall on one side, which reflects a distorted view of the surrounding greenery. On the other side, kids will find a soccer goal painted on the wall, begging for a strong penalty shot. A sunken trampoline adjacent to the structure further encourages a fun, energetic environment around the park’s new landmark. + Carve Photography by Marleen Beek via Carve  

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Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

Airy Costa Rica home enjoys incredible views of the ocean and jungle

August 15, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous Costa Rican residence occupies a unique location near Santa Teresa Beach, where the jungle meets the Pacific Ocean. Architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe designed the Ocean Eye House to provide stunning views of its natural surroundings while supporting an outdoor lifestyle. The house, listed for the WAN House of the Year 2017, rests against the back of a steep hill in order to help stabilize the soil. It combines closed, private spaces and light , open areas that allow the owners to enjoy the surrounding landscape. Related: Striking Off-Grid House on the Osa Penninsula in Costa Rica This design approach resulted in a series of interwoven terraces that create different levels which blur the line between the interior and the exterior spaces. This spatial ambiguity allows the occupants to truly appreciate the dual nature of the building’s location. + Benjamin Garcia Saxe Via World Architecture News Photos by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Airy Costa Rica home enjoys incredible views of the ocean and jungle

Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

August 8, 2017 by  
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Melbourne-based Branch Studio Architects crafted this dark and handsome number hidden away among the trees in Victoria. Built as a house extension with a master suite, the Pavilion Between Trees features rammed-charcoal walls, clean and crisp lines, and a dark earthy palette of complementary materials. Full height glazing opens the interior up to the outdoors and frames view of the forested surroundings. Connected to the main house via a corridor, Pavilion Between Trees is a semi-detached structure that appears to standalone in the landscape. The 85-square-meter compact extension is simply but tastefully furnished and includes a master bedroom, en-suite bathroom, and extra storage space arranged in a linear plan. The rooms are delineated by subtle changes in floor level rather than walls. Natural light plays a key role in the design and is let in through clerestory windows and full-height glazing. The lighting brings out the texture of the earthy material palette, from the grainy rammed-charcoal walls to the smooth naturally finished timber and steel joinery, that are left exposed to develop a patina over time. Related: Rustic Off-Grid Pump House is a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway in Australia The home addition was built on a clearing between existing mature trees to reduce site impact. Full-height glazing, which wraps around the western end and that also punctuates the north and south sides, frame views and strengthens connection to the outdoors. The clerestory windows also offer glimpses of the tree canopy. An outdoor washing area also allows the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors in a private space protected by a mesh screen. + Branch Studio Architects Via Dezeen Images via Branch Studio Architects

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Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

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