Antony Gibbon’s Ventt House is a minimalist retreat embedded into the rocky landscape

December 6, 2017 by  
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UK-based architect Antony Gibbon just unveiled his latest nature-inspired design , the Ventt House. Designed to integrate into the rocky coastal landscape, the minimalist black-roofed home is surrounded by glazed walls that offer stunning views of the surroundings. The Ventt house is a minimalist retreat for those wanting to disconnect from the world. Designed to be embedded into the landscape, the contemporary volume cuts into the rugged cliffside , mimicking its rocky surroundings. An exaggerated chimney soars dramatically out of the home’s base, creating a modern take on a lighthouse beacon. Related: Antony Gibbon’s Helix House is a twisting tiny home that towers amidst the treetops Clad in dark geometric panels with an exterior wall of glass , the focus is entirely on the home’s beautiful environment. On the interior, minimal furnishings were used to create a clutterless living space. Further fusing the home into the outdoors is the marble flooring, which runs continuously from the interior to the exterior where it forms a large deck that surrounds the home, eventually jutting out over the cliffside. + Antony Gibbon Designs + Antony Gibbon on Instagram

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Antony Gibbon’s Ventt House is a minimalist retreat embedded into the rocky landscape

Modern black house juts out like a natural extension of Quebecs forest landscape

December 1, 2017 by  
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If you haven’t tired yet of the blackened timber trend, feast your eyes on this modern retreat that’s backed up on a forested hillside in Quebec, Canada. Montreal-based studio Atelier General designed The Rock, a boxy timber home that, like its name implies, is meant to evoke a natural extension of the mountainous terrain. Full-height glazing and extensive use of wood inside and out blur the line between indoor-outdoor living. Topped with a flat roof, the two-story home avoids a monolithic appearance thanks to its main living space that, supported by slender black columns, juts out towards the landscape, shielding a carport underneath. Black-painted timber clads the 2,300-square-foot home that’s contrasted by light-toned timber used in the interior and outdoor terrace that extends into the hillside. Related: Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact The entrance is located on the smaller ground floor, which contains two bedrooms and a bathroom. A large south-facing open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen take up the majority of the L-shaped upper level. Full-height glazing wraps around the communal area that also opens up to a small triangle-shaped deck. The master ensuite is placed between the two decks. Polish concrete floors are used throughout the home. + Atelier General Via Dezeen Images via Atelier General , photos by Adrien Williams

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Modern black house juts out like a natural extension of Quebecs forest landscape

Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

November 22, 2017 by  
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Oregon-based firm FLOAT Architectural Research and Design recently built the “Outside House” for a client who wants to spend her days communing with nature at its fullest. To provide a strong connection to the surroundings, the architects created two simple wooden cabins – the Mauka house and the Makai house – on top of a three-hundred-year-old solidified lava flow high up in the Maui mountains. According to FLOAT architect Erin Moore, the design was inspired by a back-to-basics philosophy that puts the focus on enjoying nature, “The Outside House is a place to live outside. Two small pavilions shape the basics of daily life and structure an intentional relationship with the land.” Related: World’s most active volcano harbors a tiny off-grid home—and you can stay overnight The first cabin, the Mauka (Hawaiian for “inland toward the mountains” ) pavilion, is an enclosed cabin with a small bedroom. It’s equipped with just the basic necessities – a bed, built-in bench and small desk with chair – and it has a large sliding window that provides beautiful views of the landscape. The cabin is raised off the ground by four concrete blocks to reduce its impact on the ground. The Makai (Hawaiian for “seaward”) pavilion is an open-air deck with a small kitchen that offers stunning view out over the Pacific and the island of Kahoolawe in the distance. The wooden cladding and deck were are made from Juniper – a tree that is harvested for its protective qualities in the Pacific Northwest. An open shower is located on the backside of the kitchen, covered with a privacy panel made out of woven marine rope. Based on the wishes of the homeowner, the construction process took great lengths to protect the land. The architects built the cabins using prefabricated galvanized steel, which was carried to the building site by hand to anchor one of the cabins to the ground, while the other one was placed on concrete blocks. This reduced the impact of the project while also allowing the structures to be easily dismantled. + FLOAT Architectural Research and Design Via The Contemporist Photography by Olivier Koning

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Low-impact ‘Outside House’ is built on an old lava flow in the mountains of Maui

World’s largest botanical garden to bloom in the desert of Oman

November 15, 2017 by  
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Perhaps the dry desert landscape of Oman may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of lush forests, but the Arabian nation is getting a massive infusion of greenery with the world’s largest botanical garden . Showcasing the country’s rich bio-diversity, the Oman Botanic Garden – designed by Arup, Grimshaw and Haley Sharpe Design – will be a whopping 1,037 acres of land filled with native flora, with two beautiful biomes housing the country’s most unique plant species. Located in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains in the Sultanate of Oman, the botanical garden’s site is one of the few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is still visible after the landscape was elevated by tectonic activity. Working with this unique landscape, the architects designed a complex that would blend into the Mars-esque environment. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: 7 best botanical gardens from around the world Visitors to the gardens will enjoy open walkways that run through the undulating landscape, winding through the wadis, mountains and desert plains as they enjoy the impressive botanic diversity. Inside the two biomes, which house the most unique or sensitive flora, the interior environments were carefully designed to mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the plants’ native climate. Along with the visitors center, the complex will have additional spaces for education and research facilities dedicated to protecting the region’s ample bio-diversity. The garden’s buildings and the landscape architecture were all designed to meet the standards of LEED Platinum . Making the design sustainable was quite a challenge given the region’s water scarcity. Thanks to advanced systems, the entire complex will operate with a grey water irrigation system that works in collaboration with sustainably-sourced water. + Arup + Grimshaw + Haley Sharpe Design Via World Architecture News

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World’s largest botanical garden to bloom in the desert of Oman

Spectacular rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapores Marina One

November 10, 2017 by  
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Singapore’s new title “City in a Garden” is evident in Marina One, a stunning energy-efficient cluster of four high-rises centered on a spectacular “Green Heart.” Designed by ingenhoven architects in collaboration with local firm A61 and landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman , Marina One, set to open later this year, offers a mix of residences, retail, and offices, but the real draw is the publicly accessible green center that takes inspiration from Asian rice paddy terraces. Planted with over 350 types of trees and planets, the 37,000-square-meter landscaped area mimics a rainforest and provides cooling microclimates and increased biodiversity. Located in Singapore’s Marina Bay Central Business District, Marina One consists of four buildings: a pair of LEED Platinum pre-certified office towers totaling 175,000 square meters and two 34-story residential towers with 1,042 apartments set atop a retail podium. “While the outer face of the four towers strictly follows the city grid, the maximised inner space is a free-formed three-dimensional biodiversity garden,” wrote ingenhoven architects, who say the “Green Heart” garden is the largest public plaza in the CBD. The shape and placement of the garden and buildings optimize natural ventilation and a comfortable microclimate year-round. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark The sustainability-minded development uses energy-saving systems such as solar shading and high-performance glazing, while solar panels draw renewable energy. Rainwater harvesting and NEWater for toilet flushing reduce water consumption. Marina One will offer direct connections to four out of the six Singaporean MRT lines and bus stations. The “Green Heart” will include 700 trees and is shaped by the undulating terraces that surround it. Wooden walkways traverse the landscape. + ingenhoven architects Via Dezeen Images via ingenhoven architects

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Spectacular rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapores Marina One

This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

November 9, 2017 by  
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This stunning modernist guest home bears little similarity to its previous form: an old concrete barn for horses. Design-build firm The Construction Zone led the adaptive reuse project, the Barn Guest House, transforming the old horse stalls into room dividers. Full-height north-facing glass gives the guesthouse an indoor-outdoor character that embraces a desert garden In Phoenix. Topped with a flat overhanging roof, the 750-square-foot guest home contains a master suite, kitchen, and living area separated by concrete walls. Timber, seen in the Douglas fir -clad roof and furnishings and cabinetry, imbue the home with much needed warmth in a predominately cool-toned palette of concrete, glass, and black steel. Related: Atelier Data Transforms an Old Horse Stable into a Simple but Stunning Home in Portugal The interior decor is kept minimal to maintain the home’s sense of lightness in the landscape, while a few pops of red hues and natural timber tones break up the gray color scheme. The Barn Guest House looks out over an outdoor entertaining patio , bocce ball court, jacuzzi, and cacti-studded gardens. + The Construction Zone Via Dezeen Images by Bill Timmerman

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This swanky desert guesthouse was fashioned out of a former horse barn

Foster + Partners London playground is built of natural and sustainable materials

November 7, 2017 by  
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A new urban oasis for school children in London combines sustainable design with holistic learning. Foster + Partners completed the Ashburnham School Playground in partnership with The Bryan Adams Foundation and playground designers Made From Scratch . The playground brings nature into the city with a variety of natural environments, from the beach sandpit to a bamboo grove, and also integrates rainwater collection. Providing environments for play is especially important in cities, where concrete tends to dominate the landscape. In place of Ashburnham School Playground’s existing asphalt play areas, Foster + Partners added a mix of hard and soft natural surfaces, emphasizing multi-sensory stimulation through a varied environment with landscaping that is low maintenance but provides seasonal variety throughout the year. The plantings were also selected to counteract air and noise pollution. Related: Seattle man wants the whole community to enjoy his recycled backyard playground Among the highlights of the new playground is a handcrafted timber treehouse built into the school’s largest tree, and the main climbing structure, over four meters tall, that takes inspiration from a dense jungle landscape with its tangle of logs, balance beams, rope bridges, nets, and green climbing vines. The refurbished playground also includes a beach sandpit flanked by boulders and untreated timber, custom-built steel and timber troughs that hold collected rainwater, a nest swing nestled in a bamboo grove, a living willow pod, sports pitches and a landscaped amphitheater. + Foster + Partners Images via Aaron Hargreaves / Foster + Partners and Ashburnham Community School

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Foster + Partners London playground is built of natural and sustainable materials

Trump administration wants to end uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon

November 3, 2017 by  
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The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most beloved national parks , attracting over four million visitors annually — but President Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t seem to care about that. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed lifting a ban on new uranium mining near the national park, as part of a broader effort, according to Reuters, to do away with regulations hindering development after a March executive order from the president. The Forest Service , which is under the USDA and manages the land that could be re-opened to uranium mining , prepared a report in response to Trump’s Executive Order 13783 titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” They proposed lifting the mining ban, put in place in 2012 to protect the watershed around the Grand Canyon. Related: Big Oil celebrates Trump’s goal to open up drilling in national parks Uranium mining pollutes water, and impacts animals and plants as it removes water sources, according to Earthjustice . The Center for Biological Diversity reports past uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area “has polluted soils, washes, aquifers, and drinking water.” They said that according to nonpartisan polls, 80 percent of Americans and 80 percent of Arizona voters back permanent protection in the Grand Canyon region from new uranium mining. According to Reuters, global demand and prices for uranium are weak. The new report even says uranium mining doesn’t generate revenue for America, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Havasupai Tribal Chairman Don Watahomigie said in a statement, “This is a dangerous industry that is motivated by profit and greed with a long history of significantly damaging lands and waters. They are now seeking new mines when this industry has yet to clean up the hundreds of existing mines all over the landscape that continue to damage our home. We should learn from the past, not ignore it.” Via Reuters , the Associated Press , Earthjustice , and the Center for Biological Diversity Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Trump administration wants to end uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon

Charred wood-clad Sleeve House is a home within a home

November 2, 2017 by  
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The traditional barn gets a brilliant reinterpretation in the modern charred wood-clad Sleeve House. Two elongated volumes – a smaller one sleeved into a larger – comprise this timber house located on an open rolling hillside in New York state. Architecture firm actual / office  used Shou Sugi Ban to give the home a sustainable, low-maintenance exterior that complements the surrounding landscape. The Sleeve House sits on a sloping terrain around two hours north of New York City in a rural area of the Hudson Valley. Its two volumes–one sleeved into the other– create three different types of spaces both on the inside and the outside of the house. The space between the inner and outdoor volumes accommodates common areas, including an entry gallery, a narrow vertical slot for the stairs, and a spacious living space with a sloping glass wall . Walking into the smaller volume from the main one creates an experience of entering a different universe. Related: This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways The smaller volume contains private areas and a study. These spaces feature warm, soft finishes which contrast the rough materials– exposed concrete and charred wood – that dominate the rest of the interior as well as the exterior. The house is clad in Shou Sugi Ban (charred wood) that makes the house stand out while complementing its surroundings and gives it depth, pattern and texture. Large glass surfaces offer expansive views of the landscape. + actual / office Via Contemporist Photos by Michael Moran , lead image via  Deborah DeGraffenreid

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Charred wood-clad Sleeve House is a home within a home

Angular cedar-clad home in New Zealand is designed to go completely off-grid

October 17, 2017 by  
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New Zealand firm Herriot Melhuish Oneill has created a beautiful eco-friendly home deep in the rolling farmland just outside of Wellington. The Peka Peka House is comprised of three cedar boxes with glazed walls that provide views of the breathtaking landscape – and it’s set to be 100% off-grid. The home’s volume is comprised of three connected boxes. The living and dining area are located in the larger box and the bedrooms are in the second cube. These two structures are both clad in a beautiful black-stained cedar with large windows that connect the living spaces with the exterior environment. The third box, which houses the garage and workshop, was built out of profiled-polycarbonate, and “glows” from within at night. Related:See how the “Kiss-Kiss House” snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape The home’s orientation was strategic to benefit from the area’s harsh climate. Thanks to the home’s many openings, the interior is naturally ventilated by the afternoon sea breezes. Additionally, the interior courtyard faces north in order protect the space from any strong winds. The home is surrounded by a timber deck that connects the home to its natural surroundings and lets the homeowners enjoy the outdoors comfortably. The Peka Peka house was designed to eventually go 100% off grid . Installed with PV and solar hot water panels, the home produces a lot of its own energy. To conserve that energy, the insulation in the home is above-code insulation, and an exposed, insulated concrete slab under the home helps retain heat. LED lighting is also used throughout the space. + Herriot Melhuish Oneill Via Archdaily Photography by Jason Mann

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