Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

April 16, 2018 by  
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An hour north of Oslo, Danish studio Norm Architects have designed a family home they describe as the “epitome of hygge ,” a Scandinavian term for a mood of coziness and wellbeing. Set into a hillside, the Gjøvik House comprises a cluster of six interconnected timber volumes positioned to take in views of Mjøsa lake and the Norwegian woods. The overlapping areas of the timber volumes give rise to private pockets and cozy nooks, elements that the architects say are integral to the hygge concept. The 1,668-square-foot Gjøvik House was envisioned by the architects as a place “where you can truly hibernate while taking shelter from the frigid days of Nordic winter.” To blend the cluster-style home into the landscape, the architects clad the facade in vertical strips of timber that will eventually develop a silvery patina over time. Large glazed openings frame selected views of the landscape and bring in copious amounts of natural light. Related: 6 ways to make your life more “Hygge” – the Danish secret to happiness The interior features a similarly restrained materials palette of white walls, concrete , and wood paired with minimalist and modern furnishings. “The Gjøvik house, consisting of overlapping cubes of different sizes, makes for an intimate and dynamic family home with materials, levels and inbuilt, tailor-made furniture creating a minimal yet warm and secluded feeling,” wrote the architects. The spacious kitchen, located at the heart of the house, is awash in natural light and provides a contrast to the narrow nooks spread out across the home. + Norm Architects Images via Norm Architects

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Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

Green-roofed Argentinian home boasts a thermally efficient envelope

April 12, 2018 by  
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Buenos Aires-based IR arquitectura crafted a home that feels as if it grew out of the landscape. Set in a clearing in Tortuguitas, Argentina, the timber-clad AA House embraces nature with its green roof, inner courtyard with a polycarbonate roof, and large openings framing the outdoors. Thermal efficiency was a guiding design principle that informed everything from site orientation to material decisions. Built of locally sourced wood , AA House appears as a cluster of pitched timber boxes framed on each side by forest. The main living areas and bedrooms are laid out linearly on an east-west axis and face north to “guarantee the best solar incidence range,” wrote the architects. The common areas and greenhouse-like courtyard occupy the heart of the home and separate the master bedroom on the east side from the children’s bedrooms on the west end. Related: Award-winning renovation slashes mid-century home’s carbon footprint by 80% Earth walls finished with clay fill the spaces between wall studs and lend the advantage of high thermal mass by absorbing heat during the day and dissipating it at night. Vertical strips of timber clad the facade with matching vertical timber louvers installed over most of the glazed openings save for the large glazed wall on the north side of the living room that’s shielded by a deep overhang and left open for uninterrupted views. + IR arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images © Federico Cairoli

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Green-roofed Argentinian home boasts a thermally efficient envelope

Are electric bikes the future of transportation? We tested one to find out

April 10, 2018 by  
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At first glance, it might seem like the standard bicycle doesn’t have much you could improve on. It gets you to your destination faster, provides a great workout, and doesn’t pollute the air. And, of course, once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. However, in sprawling modern day cities—Los Angeles, we’re looking at you—bikes are sometimes less than ideal as a form of transportation. Cyclists can certainly brave the crowded streets and longer commutes, but they’re far more likely to be exhausted, or at least uncomfortable, at the end of their ride. That’s where the electric bike comes in. Electric bikes, or e-bikes, have been around for a few years, but a recent increase in popularity has thrust them into the spotlight—and for good reason. As more and more people move to urban areas, we’ll have to find new ways of creating urban mobility if we want to stop problems of traffic congestion and air pollution from becoming worse. The electric bikes provides an excellent solution to this problem: by making commutes less intensive, it serves as a viable alternative to cars and lets riders enjoy their time outside and explore their city. Related: Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars Here at Inhabitat, we decided to test out an e-bike for ourselves to see just how different it was from a standard bicycle. On a typically sunny SoCal day, I headed down to Electric Bikes LA in El Segundo, a small suburb south of LAX, and picked up a Porteur Faraday bike . The bike itself was gorgeous, painted bright white and mint green, with sleek bamboo fenders above the wheels. The battery, which can last 25 miles when fully charged, was cleverly integrated into the frame of the bike. At the very least, I thought as I wheeled the bike out the shop’s front door, I would be riding in style, and nobody would know the bike was electric. I took the e-bike to a nearby park, then started out on a rutted dirt path. At first, I found I had to pedal a little harder than usual. Electric bikes weigh more than standard bikes, though, at 40 lbs, the Faraday models are much lighter than other brands. Once steady, I reached down with my thumb and switched the motor to full speed. And even though I had read about electric bikes and what they could do, I was not at all prepared for what happened next. Imagine flooring it in a car—the way the vehicle leaps forward, the landscape on either side turning to a blur. It was a little like that, except all I had to do was pedal, and instead of going from zero to sixty, I felt the bike comfortably pull me forward as I went from zero to twenty. Even so, I let out a whoop as I shot effortlessly through the park, then slowed down with ease and turned onto the street. Once I joined traffic, I dropped the motor speed down a notch, but that didn’t stop me from outpacing the cars beside me. I even spotted a few of the drivers giving me incredulous glances as I sped past. Granted, I was on residential streets, but I could understand—it’s not often that you see a cyclist pass a car without even breaking a sweat. As I navigated around El Segundo, I toggled between speeds, testing out various combinations. The motor essentially functions as a gear shift, allowing you to pair each setting with gears one through eight. The bike itself uses a Gates carbon drive belt that not only means less long-term maintenance, but also no greasy pant legs and a quieter ride. I found that the bike shifted seamlessly based on whatever speed I desired, which allowed me to pedal less while maintaining momentum. But I knew there needed to be one more test: the hill. El Segundo’s elevation changes aren’t exactly staggering, but still, I figured getting a 40-pound electric bike up a hill might take some effort. I tried it twice, only turning on the motor the second time. The first time, I have to admit that I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top. The next time around, I flipped on the motor and went up two gears, and I ascended the hill in about half the time, pedaling with ease. Once I got back home, charging the bike was a simple process. The adapter is about the size of a typical laptop charger and plugs straight into the battery pack. From a completely empty battery to full charge took around two and a half hours. The verdict? Faraday’s electric bike handles and rides like a dream, and it’s easy to imagine using it to commute in L.A., or any city, really. In fact, Los Angeles is just one among many cities where it can be faster to ride a bike than drive . An electric bike isn’t exactly cheap—the average retail price in 2016 was $3,000, and Faraday’s two models go for $3,499 and $2,499—but, as an alternative to other forms of transportation, it makes sense. Faraday itself offers a 24-month financing plan that knocks the price down to $104 a month, which is about the same price as a bus or metro pass in most major cities, and far less expensive than paying for gas and insurance. Plus, you have the added benefit of appreciating and experiencing your city rather than seeing it through a car window. While the concept is still relatively new, I don’t doubt that electric bikes could be on the rise as a transportation alternative —one that’s greener, faster, and much, much more pleasant than sitting in traffic. + Faraday Bikes Photos by Angela Molina and Kimberly Keller Additional images via  Faraday Bikes

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Are electric bikes the future of transportation? We tested one to find out

Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

April 10, 2018 by  
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Over half of products in supermarkets contain palm oil , according to United Kingdom (UK) grocery store chain Iceland , and demand is contributing to deforestation . Iceland plans to do something about it by becoming the “first major UK supermarket” to eliminate palm oil from its own label products by the close of 2018. BREAKING NEWS: We're the UK's first supermarket to commit to removing #palmoil from our own label products by the end of this year! Watch here to find out why… #PalmOilAlarmCall pic.twitter.com/hfGvH2QRDW — Iceland Foods ?? (@IcelandFoods) April 10, 2018 Palm oil is one of the largest causes of deforestation in the world, according to Iceland , which specializes in frozen foods. So they plan to remove it from their own brand products. “By the end of 2018, Iceland will stop using palm oil as an ingredient in 100 percent of its own brand food production, reducing demand for palm oil by more than 500 tonnes per year,” head chef Neil Nugent said in Iceland’s video above. Iceland said Nugent is working to replace palm oil with fats and oils that aren’t destroying rainforests — The Guardian said this includes oils like vegetable or rapeseed oils. Related: UK researchers are developing an orangutan-safe alternative to palm oil Iceland quoted their managing director Richard Walker on their website as saying, “Until Iceland can guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction, we are simply saying ‘no to palm oil.’ We don’t believe this is such a thing as sustainable palm oil available to retailers, so we are giving consumers a choice about what they buy.” Deforestation is threatening many species, including the critically endangered orangutan — their population “has more than halved in the last 15 years,” according to Iceland. The World Wildlife Fund describes the animals as gardeners of the forest, “playing a vital role in seed dispersal.” They’re vulnerable in part due to their low reproductive rate — since females only give birth to one infant around every three to five years, it can take a while for the species to recover from declines in population. + Iceland Foods on Twitter + Iceland Environment Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Major supermarket chain is the first in the UK to remove palm oil from all its food

Stunning home in California wine country seamlessly opens up to the outdoors

April 9, 2018 by  
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Feldman Architecture completed the beautiful House in Healdsburg, a contemporary home that embraces the outdoors with large pivoting walls that blur the boundaries between inside and out. Created in collaboration with Arterra Landscape Architecture , the House in Healdsburg comprises a 2,100-square-foot main home and an 850-square-foot guesthouse. Created to feel like an open-air pavilion in the middle of Sonoma wine country, the House in Healdsburg was built for a couple with a love of the outdoors and entertaining. Thus, custom garage-style glass walls were installed around the open-plan common area, which comprises the living area, dining room, and kitchen. The operable glazed walls can also be found in the media room and master bedroom in the perpendicular wing. Related: Stunning solar Butterfly House masters resource conservation in California The modern home’s concrete flooring and black steel components give it an industrial feel that’s tempered by dark-stained cedar siding and low stone landscape walls. The guesthouse, located a short walk away, is a smaller interpretation of the main house. + Feldman Architecture Via ArchDaily Images © Joe Fletcher

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Stunning home in California wine country seamlessly opens up to the outdoors

Studio Gang unveils plans to renovate and expand the Arkansas Arts Center

March 14, 2018 by  
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Studio Gang just unveiled plans for a new project that will strengthen the connections between different spaces at the Arkansas Arts Center . The plan comprises a series of glazed pavilions with pleated roofs, and it will refurbish the existing exhibition , education and performance facilities. Studio Gang collaborated with landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE Landscape Architecture to deliver a design will increase visitor services by 81 percent, exhibitions and collections management by 25 percent, and education, public programs and the Museum School by 50 percent. The scheme will give a highly visible architectural identity to the Arts Center and reorganize the current program and architectural envelope. Related: Studio Gang is Transforming a Dirty Coal Power Plant Into a Green Arts College Studio Gang designed a pleated, organic building that connects the new north-facing city entrance with a glass pavilion and south-facing park entrance. An open axis public gallery runs through the building, connecting the various components of the AAC. “Starting from the inside out, the design clarifies the organization of the building and extends its presence into MacArthur Park and out to Crescent Lawn,” said Gang. “By doing so, the Center becomes a vibrant place for social interaction, education, and appreciation for the arts.” New public plazas and gardens at the north and south entrances of the center will foster stronger connections with the park. Planted groves along the west side of the building will create a forested edge that blends into the park. A framework of new trees will, over time, merge with the existing canopy to form a forest park. + Studio Gang + SCAPE Landscape Architecture

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Studio Gang unveils plans to renovate and expand the Arkansas Arts Center

Beloved physicist Stephen Hawking passes away at 76

March 14, 2018 by  
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Stephen Hawking , the brilliant and iconic British scientist who inspired countless millions with his intellect and humanity, has died at 76. After being diagnosed with a degenerative motor neuron disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at age 21, which left him nearly completely paralyzed, Hawking found strength in humor and the boundless exploration of science. “My goal is simple,” he famously said. “It is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” His achievements as an astrophysicist include his theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, (sometimes referred to as Hawking radiation), his work on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and his 30-year tenure as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton. Throughout his life, Hawking traveled the world, inspiring and teaching others, and worked to make science accessible. His 1989 classic A Brief History of Time was written for a mainstream audience on a subject with which few were familiar, emphasizing Hawking’s drive to bring science to the people. Hawking also wrote a series of children’s books with his daughter Lucy to help young people discover their love for science. Hawking’s approach to accessibility was framed by his own physical disability , which left him unable to physically speak. Using a vocal synthesizer controlled by finger movements, and later his cheek muscle, Hawking found his voice again and used it. When asked why he did not update his voice as artificial speech technology had advanced, he replied , “My old system worked well and I wrote five books with it, including ‘A Brief History of Time’. It has become my trademark and I wouldn’t change it for a more natural voice with a British accent. I am told that children who need a computer voice want one like mine.” Related: Stephen Hawking reveals what existed before the Big Bang Hawking wielded his sense of humor to connect with others and to motivate himself in trying times. “Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has maintaining a sense of humor ,” Hawking observed in a 2013 documentary . “I am probably better known for my appearances on The Simpsons and on The Big Bang Theory than I am for my scientific discoveries.” In his guest appearance on the former television series, Hawking found scientific inspiration from Homer Simpson. “Your theory of a doughnut shaped universe is intriguing, Homer,” Hawkings said in a 1999 episode. “I may have to steal it.” As one of the longest surviving people with ALS, Hawking credited humor with his longevity. “When I turned 21, my expectations were reduced to zero,” he said in 2016 . “It was important that I came to appreciate what I did have . . . It’s also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can lose all hope if you can’t laugh at yourself and at life in general.” Via Washington Post Images via Wikimedia

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Beloved physicist Stephen Hawking passes away at 76

Solar-powered home slides open to the Australian bush and ocean

February 23, 2018 by  
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This lovely family home isn’t just minimalist in appearance—it also emphasizes minimal landscape impact. Australian firm teeland architects designed Tinbeerwah House as a glass pavilion wrapped in sliding hardwood screens to give homeowners control over access to daylight, breezes, privacy, and views. The site-sensitive dwelling also harnesses solar energy for power, collects rainwater for potable use, and even recycles wastewater for irrigation and bush regeneration. Located in the Noosa hinterland, Tinbeerwah House features a rectangular footprint stretching north to south across 2,800 square feet. The architects chose a long and thin footprint to maximize access to ocean views and cross ventilation in every room. A spacious open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area occupy the north end of the home while the master bedroom en suite placed at south side bookends the three bedrooms, the bathrooms, and laundry room in the middle. Related: Renovated 1970s brick beach house in Australia gets new life with an elegant timber screen Set atop black concrete retaining walls , the home’s low-lying timber-clad form blends into the landscape. Floor-to-ceiling glass blurs the boundary between inside and outside, and solar gain can be controlled with sliding screens. A small orchard and terraced vegetable garden are also on site. + teeland architects Via ArchDaily Images via teeland architects , © Jared Fowler

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Solar-powered home slides open to the Australian bush and ocean

LEED Gold lab by the ocean can withstand flooding and hurricane-force winds

February 20, 2018 by  
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GLUCK+’s new research facility for Duke University boasts beautiful coastal views as well as impressive eco-friendly credentials. Recently crowned LEED Gold , the Dr. Orrin H. Pilkey Research Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina features a slew of sustainable elements from use of recycled materials and reduced water use to energy-efficient heating and cooling technologies designed to cut energy costs by 30 percent. The state-of-the-art facility’s most salient sustainability feature, however, is the engineering behind the building’s ability to weather storm surges and hurricane-force winds. Located on the southern tip of Pivers Island, Pilkey Research Laboratory is the first new research building constructed at Duke University Marine Laboratory since the 1970s. In response to current concerns of sea level rise and other extreme weather, GLUCK+ made weatherproofing the 12,000-square-foot lab a priority. To protect against storm surges, the building is made up of a series of boxy volumes of varying sizes arranged in a pinwheel formation. In a nod to the waterfront campus’ existing buildings, the lower volumes are clad in cypress, whereas white cement board covers the upper volume. Related: GLUCK+’s Green-Roofed Pavilion Pool House Melts Into the Landscape of Lake George, NY The asymmetrical volumes are centered on an area called the Collisional Commons, a public meeting area for informal interactions. Here, views of the coastline can be enjoyed through full-height glazing that also opens up to outdoor seating. All regularly occupied rooms also have access to surrounding views and abundant natural light and ventilation. Faculty offices, a PhD bullpen, teaching lab, a video conference room and service spaces surround the commons. The laboratories with equipment-intensive research spaces are housed in the upper level. + GLUCK+ Via Dezeen Images by Paul Warchol

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LEED Gold lab by the ocean can withstand flooding and hurricane-force winds

Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

February 9, 2018 by  
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This gorgeous visitor center in China was inspired by Mongolian yurts . Architecture firm HDD combined locally sourced stone and wooden beams to create a multi-functional space where local children can play and read. The Mulan Weichang Visitors Center also offers overnight accommodations and a great spot for astronomy enthusiasts to observe the night sky, all nestled within the stunning Mongolian grasslands. The building is located in the northeast of Hebei province, an area connected to inner Mongolia grasslands where ancient Chinese emperors used to hold autumn hunting festivals. Blending into its grassy surroundings, the building resembles the traditional Mongolian yurt. This layout creates a series of round, semi-public spaces that fit perfectly with the modern lifestyle. Related: A Firsthand Look at the Magnolia 2300 Yurt – the First Energy Star Home in British Columbia The middle of the library is a sunken living space, and the kitchen and dining area located off to the side. Large windows fill the interior with natural light and offer views of the landscape. This openness toward the exterior dominates every corner of the interior, including the bathroom, where a freestanding bathtub sits in front of another large window. Related: Trakke Transforms Ancient Yurt into a Packable Round House That Pops Up Anywhere for the Everyday Adventurer The architects used local materials including old stone and used wooden beams in order for the building to blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings. The main structure of the building is steel framing, combined with triple layered low-e glass panels, while the exterior wooden frames double as an efficient shading system. + HDD Architecture Via Contemporist Photos by Shengliang Su

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Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

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