Green-roofed vacation home embraces old-growth trees in the San Juan Islands

June 20, 2018 by  
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When Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects was asked to design a vacation home on the San Juan Islands of Washington state, the Seattle-based design firm didn’t take the easy way out. The site, which overlooks stunning views of Griffin Bay, includes three beautiful old-growth trees that the architects wanted to preserve — a different approach to that of the client’s previous architect, who suggested chopping down the trees. With the existing trees kept intact, the North Bay house celebrates the beauty of the landscape while complementing the surroundings with a natural materials palette. The North Bay house serves as a family’s holiday retreat with plenty of space for entertaining yet feels like an intimate home when the couple vacations there alone. The 2,505-square-foot contemporary home embraces the outdoors with its abundance of glazing, an expansive green roof  and the predominate use of timber and stone. To meet the brief for a low-maintenance home that could withstand periods of non-use when the clients were off the island, Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects used hardy materials like concrete panels for the chimneys and steel-framed windows sheathed in powder-coated steel. Siting the home proved to be one of the project’s most difficult challenges. In addition to preserving the old-growth trees, the architects faced property setbacks and needed to establish privacy from a relatively busy nearby road. The solution came in the form of a stone wall that serves as an organizing element of the vacation home and a shield that blocks unwanted views and noise pollution. The stone wall is offset by the glazed pavilion that overlooks views of the water. Related: Pine Forest Cabin achieves beautiful modern design on a budget “The delineated concept is a stone wall that sweeps from the parking to the entry, through the house and out the other side, terminating in a hook that nestles the master shower,” the architects said. “This is the symbolic and functional shield between the public road and the private living spaces of the home owners. All the primary living spaces and the master suite are on the water side; the remaining rooms are tucked into the hill on the road side of the wall.” + Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects Images by Jay Goodrich

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Green-roofed vacation home embraces old-growth trees in the San Juan Islands

Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

June 13, 2018 by  
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Located just outside Kawarau Falls near Queenstown, New Zealand, a tiny, off-grid  cabin conceals a truly luxurious and light-filled interior with a striking, jet-black facade. Designed by local architect Anna-Marie Chin, Tom’s Cabin, which can be rented through Airbnb , is strategically built to provide amazing views of the idyllic landscape while fitting in with the local vernacular. The 1,291-square-foot off-grid  cabin , which was voted New Zealand’s best small home in 2016, offers a serene retreat tucked into the natural landscape around Kawarau Falls. The low-lying volume with a “tilted” sloped roof mimics the landscape of the rolling hills, and the jet black exterior gives the cabin a contemporary, sophisticated feel. The simple gable form of the rooftop also provides an ultra-tall entryway, which is clad almost entirely in glass to provide stunning views from the small wooden deck. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The interior space is surprisingly well-lit by natural light . Using a simple color and material palette, the interior walls of the cabin are clad in plywood paneling, punctuated with large windows. Concrete floors and black accents create a seamless cohesion with the exterior. Various space-saving features and custom-made furniture provide the interior with plenty of storage . The cabin has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to six adults, with additional bedding available for small children. A large fireplace and underfloor heating keep the interior temperatures warm and cozy year round. For additional amenities, guests can enjoy the outdoor cedar hot tub after a long day of hiking or biking. In case of inclement weather, the cabin comes equipped with high-speed internet and a projector for movie night. + Tom’s Cabin Airbnb + Anna-Marie Chin Via Dwell Photography by David Straight

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Find your zen in this tiny cabin tucked into New Zealand’s idyllic landscape

The Little House clad in black cedar is nestled among Washington’s evergreens

June 5, 2018 by  
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Seattle-based mw|works architecture + design has completed a modern cabin that offers big views with a small footprint. Aptly named the Little House, the 1,140-square-foot dwelling was built atop an existing concrete foundation. Set within a lush second growth forest that overlooks Hood Canal in Washington, the house is clad in black cedar and blackened cement infill panels to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. The Little House was commissioned by clients who live full time in Houston, Texas and sought a holiday retreat in Seabeck, Washington. After spending many summers with family at a nearby property, the clients fell in love with the wilderness of the southern Canal and desired a compact cabin with a simple and modern aesthetic. They found a 1.7-acre wooded lot with an existing foundation that they wanted to repurpose. “Early design discussions focused on creating a compact, modern structure that was simple and efficient to build,” said mw|works architecture + design. “Intentionally restrained on an existing footprint, the concept grew from this premise — a simple box with large carved openings in both the roof and walls that selectively embrace the views and natural light . The small footprint ultimately served as an efficient tool to govern the design process.” Related: Beautiful Modern Retreat is a Tranquil Oasis on the Puget Sound in Washington The house is clad in taut oxidized black cedar and blackened cement infill panels. Large windows punctuate the north and west sides to frame views of the Canal below and Dabob Bay beyond. In contrast to the dark exterior, the interior features lightly painted panels and soft pine plywood . To further embrace the outdoors, the architects added a spacious patio on the sunny western corner of the home. The streamlined form is free of extraneous detail. The architects said, “The resulting project hopes to capture the essence of the modern cabin — small in size but much larger than its boundaries.” + mw|works architecture + design Images by Andrew Pogue

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The Little House clad in black cedar is nestled among Washington’s evergreens

This luxury Miami home brings the tropical landscape indoors

May 30, 2018 by  
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Cape Town-based architecture firm SAOTA has completed a luxury waterfront home in Miami that boasts envious views toward the Atlantic Ocean and Miami Beach. Sandwiched between the Indian Creek Canal and Pine Tree Drive in the city’s historic Collins Waterfront district, the expansive home—called the Pine Tree Residence—prioritizes an indoor-outdoor living environment. The home also derives inspiration from the firm’s South African roots with its emphasis on the outdoors and “easy-living.” Completed as SAOTA’s first project in Miami, the Pine Tree family home is punctuated with palm trees and continuous views of water throughout. To take advantage of the site’s strong linear proportions, the architects installed large windows that allow for views straight through the home. The porosity of the home and the layout allow homeowners to enjoy views of the outdoors from almost any vantage point in the home. The Pine Tree home also overlooks the activity of the canal ; however, punched anodized aluminum screens can be used to ensure privacy when needed. “The design is as much about containment as it is about the views through the many living spaces, towards the Atlantic Ocean and world-renowned Miami Beach,” says SAOTA director, Philip Olmesdahl. “While the overall contemporary architectural design is a key focus of the SAOTA design team, the use and connectivity of the spaces is the primary driver – how the house lives.” The pool dominates the home’s footprint and the amount of water on the site is about half of the six-bedroom house. The large pool courtyard offers a buffet of entertaining options and includes a hot tub, barbecue area, bar, and even a two-story waterslide that serves as a focal point at the pool pavilion. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami The interior is awash in natural light and the spaces were designed in collaboration with Nils Sanderson. The contemporary and harmonious finishes and furnishings establish the home as a calm retreat from stressful city life. Warm tones are achieved through a mixture of timber and other materials such as callacatta and limestone.  Raymond Jungles designed the landscape. + SAOTA Images via SAOTA

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This luxury Miami home brings the tropical landscape indoors

Get away from it all in gorgeous solar-powered glamping tents in Australia

May 29, 2018 by  
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Those wanting to go way off grid to get away from the hustle and bustle can find respite in the unbelievably idyllic setting of Australia’s Sierra Escape . Tucked into the rolling hills of the Mudgee countryside, the eco-friendly lodge just unveiled two new solar-powered glamping tents  that include extra large windows, guaranteeing spectacular panoramic views of sunrises, sunsets and starry nights. Of course, if you’d prefer, you can also “soak in” the stunning scenery from the large outdoor bathtubs. Located just northwest of Sydney, the Mudgee countryside is known for its immense natural beauty, as well as its award-winning wineries. Surrounded by rolling hills, the Sierra Escape lodge offers a perfect off-grid experience. Along with enjoying the peace and quiet that surrounds the property, guests can also enjoy some of the region’s delicious wines. Related: Rainforest Retreat is a nature lover’s escape with minimal building impact Guests at the Sierra Escape eco lodge can choose from two tents located discreetly, even from each other, to offer the utmost privacy. Both tents run completely on solar power and have enough energy to charge phones and power a small fridge, indoor and outdoor lighting, a small gas cook-top and the tents’ gas hot water systems. The Duliti tent (meaning ‘together’ in the local Aboriginal dialect) sleeps up to seven guests and is designed to help families and friends bond over the area’s incredible beauty. The family-sized tent comes with a total of five beds. A designer kitchen is perfect for enjoying large, family-style meals in the indoor or outdoor dining spaces. Inside, there is a wood-burning fireplace for chilly nights. There is also a fire pit to throw a few shrimps on the barbie if the mood strikes. Those looking for a more secluded romantic getaway can enjoy the Uralla tent (meaning ‘home on the hill’). The tent, also equipped with an abundance of extra large windows, brings even more luxury and comfort to the glamping experience . There is a designer kitchen, king-sized bed, fireplace and outdoor freestanding tub to enjoy spectacular views while soaking in a warm bath. According to the owners, the lodge has plans to add a few more features in the future. For starters, they are hoping to build a swimming pool out of a shipping container . The area will be used as a common social space, and include space for barbecues, yoga, wine tastings and more. + Sierra Escape Images via Sierra Escape

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Get away from it all in gorgeous solar-powered glamping tents in Australia

We could avoid 3.3 million cases of dengue fever each year if we limit global warming

May 29, 2018 by  
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Climate change: it’s not just about rising oceans. According to new research from the  University of East Anglia (UEA), action on climate change could help avoid millions of cases of dengue fever . If we limited global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius — a Paris Agreement target — we might be able to avoid around 3.3 million cases annually of the tropical disease  in the Caribbean and Latin America alone. There are around 54 million cases of dengue fever, caused by a mosquito -spread virus, in the Caribbean and Latin America every year, and approximately 390 million people are infected worldwide. But by around 2050, in a 3.7 degrees Celsius warming scenario, this number could increase by 7.5 million additional cases a year. While dengue fever is only fatal in rare cases, a specific treatment does not exist, and symptoms include headaches, muscle and joint pain, and fever. Related: Climate change could reverse all reductions in child mortality over the last 25 years But if we take action against global warming , we might be able to prevent millions of cases, according to UEA’s research, which drew on computer models and clinical and laboratory-confirmed reports of dengue fever in Latin America. Keeping warming to two degrees Celsius could lower cases by as many as 2.8 million per year by 2100, and keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could see an extra drop of half a million cases a year. Lead researcher Felipe Colón-González of UEA said, “While it is recognized that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would have benefits for human health , the magnitude of these benefits remains mostly unquantified. This is the first study to show that reductions in warming from two degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius could have important health benefits.” Co-author Carlos Peres of UEA said, “Our economic projections of the regional health costs of climate change show that developing nations will bear the brunt of expanding arbovirus infections, so a preventative strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions sooner rather than later is the most cost-effective policy.” The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the research this week; researchers from Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso in Brazil contributed. + University of East Anglia Image via Depositphotos

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St. Louis to transform abandoned landscape into a vibrant new greenway

May 21, 2018 by  
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Stoss Landscape Urbanism has won a design competition for the Chouteau Greenway , with a proposal that will soon transform an uninhabited stretch of land into a thriving, nature-filled space connecting St. Louis ’ Foster Park and the Gateway Arch. The winning proposal, titled “The Loop + The Stitch,” envisions an “east-west Loop” that traverses the city’s downtown and connects to a “north-south Stitch” uniting Fairgrounds Park and Tower Grove Park. The greenway will be part of an overall network of greenways commissioned by the non-profit Great Rivers Greenway and partners. Nearly 20 years in the making, the Chouteau Greenway project recently concluded a 10-month competition process, with invited submissions from top firms that included the likes of James Corner Field Operations , W Architecture & Landscape Architecture  and TLS Landscape Architecture . A nine-person jury unanimously selected Stoss Landscape Urbanism’s vision, praising the team members for their clear framework and consideration of different stakeholder needs. “Our concept begins with a recognition of the multiple narratives of St. Louis that shape its identity, both good and not so good,” explained Stoss. “An iconic landmark, a beloved park , nationally recognized universities, biotech and innovation – these identities are present and strong. But there are others – hidden stories, a neighborhood erasure, histories of racial tensions. This proposal acknowledges these icons and lost histories, gives voice to the myriad of amazing voices and places that make St. Louis what it is and assembles and reconciles them into the Chouteau Greenway.” Related: Winding “boulevard in the sky” to snake through Shenzhen The Loop + The Stitch will be open to a variety of non-motorized activities. In the next phase, Stoss Landscape Urbanism will work together with project partners to fine-tune the greenway , a process that could wrap up as soon as mid-July. + Stoss Landscape Urbanism Via ArchDaily Images via Stoss Landscape Urbanism

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Experts believe climate change could be the cause of recent deadly dust storms in India

May 15, 2018 by  
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India is experiencing a powerful and deadly dust storm season this year. Over the weekend, 71 people were killed as a result of dust storms and related thunderstorms . The affected area stretches from the eastern state of West Bengal to Uttar Pradesh in the north. The storms are expected to continue through this week. Though dust storms are common during India’s dry season (from April to June), this year has been particularly intense and destructive. As the 67-miles-per-hour dust whips across the landscape, it tears down trees, destroys homes, disrupts transportation and, worst of all, ends lives. Earlier this month, a separate outbreak of storms killed more than 100 people. Indian state officials are working to assess the damage. Early estimates indicate that more than 120 million people were impacted by the recent dust storms. “Thunderstorms like these are a normal part of spring climate in India,” writer and meteorologist Bob Henson told Earther . “What’s unusual this year is the strength of the downdraft winds.” The hot, arid air rises into thunderstorms, where it is rapidly cooled. This cool air then returns toward the ground as strong winds . Related: For the first time ever, all villages in India have electricity Scientists believe that this year’s intense dust storm season may be fueled by the record heat that South Asia has experienced lately. Earlier in May, Nawabshah, Pakistan  set the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth, 50.2 degrees Celsius (122.3 degrees Fahrenheit). Under current conditions, the all-time heat record may not last long. This heat and the related dust storms are exactly the type of extreme weather events that scientists predicted would occur with greater frequency and intensity because of  climate change . Via Earther Images via Alan Stark/Flickr and Umer Malik/Flickr

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Experts believe climate change could be the cause of recent deadly dust storms in India

Daylit studio and courtyard breathe new life into a 1940s house in Seattle

April 30, 2018 by  
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A new studio and  courtyard inspired by ancient Chinese housing design maximize the potential of this 1940s residence in Seattle . Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard, designed by Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape , encourages flexibility, and exhibits a beautiful outdoor space filled with greenery. The project sits on a rectangular lot with an existing house, which was built in the 1940s. The design includes a multi-functional studio space toward the back of the lot, and a sunken courtyard that provides privacy and a strong connection to nature. The architects wanted to redefine traditional single-family housing and create a space that offers an alternative to the boxy structures taking over the city. Related: Exquisite Japanese house wraps around a generations-old tree “Normative new housing demolishes existing small buildings and replaces them with Seattle Modern Boxes that maximize building size and density within zoning setbacks,” the firm said. “Grasshopper Studio and Courtyard offers an alternative density called courtyard urbanism.” The 360-square-foot  open-plan studio features a glass wall on the side facing the house. The façade that faces an alley is clad in corrugated metal sheets. An overhang extends beyond the south wall and forms a carport. The studio opens onto a sunken patio inspired by ancient Chinese courtyards. Here, the family can dine, relax and entertain guests. In the center of the courtyard, a silk tree provides shade during hot summers. + Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape Via Dezeen Photos by Nic Lehoux

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Daylit studio and courtyard breathe new life into a 1940s house in Seattle

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"

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