Reclaimed wood home resembles barns in Sonoma Valley

April 3, 2020 by  
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California firm Faulkner Architects has unveiled a beautiful, modern farmhouse that pays homage to the rural vernacular in California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley. Clad in salvaged redwood and weathered steel, the Big Barn House features a stunning design that incorporates several passive features to boost its energy efficiency. Earlier this year, the team from Faulkner Architects completed another project for the same family — a converted 1950s tack barn that was used by the homeowners while awaiting completion of the larger project. Using salvaged wood on the small barn conversion set the tone for the main residence. Related: 6 barns converted into beautiful new homes From its robust wood exterior to the modern, light-filled interior, the 3,900-square-foot home boasts a breathtaking design. Wrapped in reclaimed redwood and corrugated weathered steel, the two-story dwelling stretches out over a slightly sloped landscape. From afar, the asymmetrical gabled rooftop stands out over the undulating terrain. Built into a gentle slope, the modern farmhouse extends dramatically from a flat landing to the far end of the structure, which  slightly cantilevers over the landscape. This design was strategic to reduce the project’s impact on the site . According to the architects, the home’s orientation was also determined by the path of the sun. To help reduce heat gain during the summer months, the designers ensured that the smaller side of the roof faces the west, where the sun is the most intense. Alternatively, the east side of the home takes full advantage of natural light. Here, sash windows and glazed sliding doors provide a seamless connection with the surrounding nature. The ground floor houses the central social spaces: a massive kitchen and dining space and an open-plan living space with double-height ceilings. For added time in the sun, the far end of the home includes an all-glass enclosure that looks out over the incredible landscape. Accessible via an exterior walkway or central staircase, the second story is home to the master suite and two additional bedrooms. In addition to its strategic orientation, the Big Barn House boasts a number of energy-saving features . Throughout the space, multiple openings allow for ample air ventilation to help cool the home naturally. For the chilly months, radiant floor heating keeps the living spaces nice and toasty. To maintain comfortable interior temperatures year-round, the house also has tight insulation. + Faulkner Architects Via Dezeen Photography by Joe Fletcher (exterior images) and Ken Fulk (interior images) via Faulkner Architects

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Reclaimed wood home resembles barns in Sonoma Valley

A cluster of serene bungalows is tucked into Vietnamese rice fields

April 1, 2020 by  
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When it comes to serene vacations, the hospitality sector is finally realizing that true luxury comes in different forms. For those looking to enjoy peace and quiet while being completely immersed in nature, the beautiful Ruong resort in Vietnam, designed by studio H.2 , features an intimate complex of bungalows built with natural materials  and tucked behind miles of expansive rice fields. Located near a popular beach resort in the Phuoc Thuan commune, the Ruong complex is set off the beaten path into expansive rice fields that have been harvested by generations of local families. According to the architects, the idyllic location set the tone for the project’s design, creating a tranquil “place to return, rest and escape from the smog, noisy, hustle and bustle life in the city.” Related: Solar-powered eco hotel in Portugal offers surfers ocean views from green-roofed bungalows The small-scale resort features several individual bungalows arranged around a central area. Although the bungalows vary in size, they are all crafted from natural materials, such as wood and iron truss frames covered with tile and straw roofs, that have been used in traditional Vietnamese constructions for generations. H.2 collaborated with local workers to construct the buildings. Each bungalow is positioned to provide stunning views of the surroundings. Most of them have sliding glass doors that open up to wooden decks. These outdoor areas, as well as the glass walls that line the bungalows, create a seamless connection with nature while also welcoming natural light into the guest rooms. The duplex suites, which are directly connected to the rice fields via elevated decks, feature slanted roofs that mimic the silhouettes of kites soaring over the landscape. When guests can finally manage to pull themselves away from the spectacular views and comfy rooms, they can enjoy the resort’s communal spaces. At the heart of the complex is a thatched-roof restaurant and a large swimming pool. + H.2 Images via H.2

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A cluster of serene bungalows is tucked into Vietnamese rice fields

Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

March 27, 2020 by  
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Mumbai-based firm  Sanjay Puri Architects  has just completed work on a beautiful hotel in northern India known for wine production. Built on a base of locally-sourced natural stone, the Aria Hotel is a stunning design carefully stacked onto the landscape that boasts several passive and active features to make it incredibly  energy efficient . Located in the ancient city of Nashik in the northern Indian region of Maharashtra, the  beautiful hotel  is located right on the banks of the Godavari River. The idyllic location includes the river on one side and rising hills on the other, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature. Related: Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort According to the architects, no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography. Stacked multiple levels high, the hotel is built on a base of locally-sourced natural black basalt stone . The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout the suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light  thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, further reducing the hotel’s energy usage. The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs thanks to a rooftop solar array . In addition to its clean energy generation, the hotel was installed with a rainwater collection system that provides water for irrigation. All of the luxury units boast large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and  minimize heat gain  throughout the interior spaces. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via v2com Photography by Dinesh Mehta and Sanjay Puri

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Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

March 25, 2020 by  
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Formentera-based  Marià Castelló Architecture  has become known for creating incredible homes that deftly combine contemporary design with nature-based inspiration. The firm’s latest project is the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer, a family home that was partially built deep underground into the rocky terrain to use the landscape as natural insulation to  reduce its energy usage . Local architects have used the natural beauty of Spain’s Balearic islands as inspiration in their  home designs  for years. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the island’s Mediterranean climate allows designers to use several passive features to create energy-efficient buildings that blend into the natural landscape. Related: This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year Located in the beach town of Migjorn, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer was built on a rocky landscape overlooking the expansive coastal views. Although the terrain would be normally considered a challenge for any type of construction, the team from Marià Castelló Architects used the rocky topography to their advantage, “burying” part of the home deep underground. The underground floor of the home was created by digging an elongated cavity reminiscent of a stone quarry. The shape of the tunneled space is horizontal, which was strategic in providing a base to create several transversal walkways and hovering patios on the upper floors of the design. Walking up from the underground level, the home design features several indoor/outdoor spaces lined by  natural rock  as the main walkway leads up to the home’s main courtyard. The upper levels of the home, which sit perpendicular to its underground base, are comprised of three light modules in cubical volumes. These bright white cubes with large glass facades give the home an undeniable contemporary feel, but once inside the  light-filled space , an array of natural features speak to the home’s incredible setting. Throughout the open-plan living space, there are walls of sculpted rock, locally-sourced limestone, pine and fir wooden elements, recycled cotton panels and several more  natural materials.  Even the rocky gravel was saved from the excavation process to be repurposed into the outdoor spaces around the home. Using the landscape also allowed the home’s design to take advantage of several  bioclimatic passive systems that not only insulate the home, but add substantially to its energy efficiency. Additionally, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer is equipped with an integral rainwater collection system that reroutes, collects and filters rainwater for reuse. +  Marià Castelló Architecture Images via Marià Castelló

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Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

Border wall could end jaguar recovery

March 25, 2020 by  
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The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it will waive many public health and environmental laws to fast-track border wall construction in remote, mountainous areas of California, Texas and Arizona. The new sections of the border wall will block the remaining corridors that connect jaguars from the U.S. to Sonora, Mexico. The wall will also harm more than 90 other threatened and endangered species . “The new border walls will mean the end of jaguar recovery in the United States,” Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said . “This tragedy’s all the more heartbreaking because walling off these beautiful wildlands is completely unnecessary and futile. It has nothing to do with border security and everything to do to with Trump’s racist campaign promise.” Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions Jaguars are shy animals that mostly move around at night over highland trails. Conservationists worry that blocking border access will halt the jaguars’ ability to repopulate the Peloncillo Mountains east of Douglas, Arizona and that jaguars fleeing human encroachment in northern Mexico will have nowhere to go. Other threatened, endangered and rare species that call the border region home include the lesser long-nosed bat, Sonoran pronghorn, Mexican gray wolf, ocelot and the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. The more than 650 miles of barriers currently blocking the border disrupt animal migration, cause flooding and decimate these animals’ fragile ecosystems . Jaguars are found from the southwestern U.S. down to south-central Argentina. This mammal is the most powerful and largest cat in the western hemisphere and one of four big cats of the Panthera genus. The other three are lions, leopards and tigers . “Jaguars are a key part of the stunningly diverse web of life in the borderlands that will fall apart if these walls are built,” Serraglio said. “The crisis of runaway extinction is devastating wildlife and wild places all over our planet. Trump’s border wall is pouring gas on that fire, and we’ll continue to fight it every step of the way.” The Center for Biological Diversity has helped launch a campaign to oppose the border wall. Individuals can sign the nonprofit conservation organization’s pledge to oppose the wall here . + Center for Biological Diversity Images via Center for Biological Diversity and Pixabay

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Costa Rican surf hotel gets stunning new athletic center

March 10, 2020 by  
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Costa Rica-based architectural firm Studio Saxe has just completed work on a beautiful, light-filled athletic center for a hotel located in the coastal town of Nosara. However, unlike most gymnasium designs, which are known more for functionality than aesthetic, this low-impact gym was carefully crafted to mimic a “small village amongst the trees” so that visitors would feel connected to the trees and wildlife that surround the site during their workout. Located on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, the Gilded Iguana hotel is known for its stunning beachfront location, and it offers a unique blend of wellness programs and active adventures. Specifically, the off-the-beaten-path hotel caters to flocks of amateur and professional surfers that come from around the world to enjoy the region’s beaches. The hotel reached out to local firm Studio Saxe to build an athletic center that offers guests a wider variety of activity options in addition to surfing. Related: Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world The athletic center is comprised of multiple cubed volumes with a lightweight steel frame, all connected via interior and exterior walkways. Using this system enabled the architects to slightly elevate the structures off the landscape. Within the framework, massive floor-to-ceiling glass panels were strategic in connecting the building to the ample vegetation that surrounds the center. Each rooftop juts out significantly from the core of the building to shade the interior spaces from Costa Rica’s intense sunlight and accompanying heat. The overhangs were also built with rainwater collection systems that reroute rainwater to be used for the building’s mechanical systems and landscaping irrigation. The resulting low-impact design allows visitors to feel a strong connection to nature, even while partaking in the various activities held inside. Guests to the hotel can enjoy taking a yoga, Jiu Jitsu or meditation class or rent surfboards and bikes onsite to make the most of the breathtaking coastal landscape. + Studio Saxe Photography by Andres Garcia Lachner via Studio Saxe

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Costa Rican surf hotel gets stunning new athletic center

Low-impact summer retreat boasts solar panels and a green roof

March 9, 2020 by  
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Seattle-based firm Heliotrope Architects has just completed work on a gorgeous summer home located on Orcas Island, off the coast of Washington state. Not only does the North Beach house boast a stunning aesthetic, but it is low-impact and uses several sustainable features, such as solar power and a green roof , to enable the home to be almost completely self-sustaining. The stunning, 2,400-square-foot North Beach home is located on the island’s stunning waterfront, tucked between a natural forest of fir trees on one side and an open meadow on the other. Framed in wide steel columns, the single-story house sits quietly in the landscape, clad in walls of glass that open the residence up to amazing views. Related: Green-roofed beachfront home fully embraces its coastal surroundings The house features a contemporary but cozy interior design. White walls and wooden flooring run throughout the dwelling. Walls comprised of sliding glass doors bring in natural light while also enabling the homeowners to truly feel connected with the outdoors. Several outdoor spaces, such as an open-air deck with a large dining table, further embed the home into its surroundings and promote indoor-outdoor living. Intended to be a summer home used from May through October, the design uses several sustainable features to make it self-sustaining for those months. A solar array was installed above the adjacent vegetable garden shed in order to provide energy to the home, while solar collectors on the roof are used to heat hot water and provide hydronic heating. Additionally, a lush green roof was installed with a rain harvesting system that collects rainwater to be used for irrigation. According to the architects, these systems have been designed to “zero-out” electricity use over the course of a full year. + Heliotrope Architects Photography via Sean Airhart via Heliotrope Architects

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This modern art museum was once a cheese factory in Arkansas

March 2, 2020 by  
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In Bentonville, Arkansas, a giant factory that once processed cheese for Kraft Foods has been given new life as The Momentary, a modern art museum satellite to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects led the adaptive reuse project, which has carefully preserved as much of the existing structure as possible while introducing contemporary additions. Like the building, the landscape also follows sustainable design principles and was created in collaboration with Tulsa-based Howell Vancuren Landscape Architects to purify and clean rainwater through a bioswale system. Officially opened on February 22, 2020, The Momentary was conceived as a cultural hub for contemporary international art with both indoor and outdoor areas. The oldest part of the original 63,000-square-foot decommissioned cheese factory was converted into The Galleries, an area spanning more than 24,000 square feet. The old fermentation room was converted into a 100-seat black box theater, called Fermentation Hall, while the former milk intake room has been renamed the RØDE House, which serves as a 350-seat multidisciplinary performance space that can be closed or partially open-air. The employee lunchroom has turned into a social space called The Breakroom. Related: A forgotten railway takes on new life as a new cultural destination in France New additions to the building have been differentiated with materials like steel and glass. An example of this can be seen in the museum’s 70-foot-tall vertical element, dubbed The Tower, which is the largest space in the program. It builds on multiple pre-existing intermediate mezzanines and is topped with a Tower Bar surrounded by panoramic views. Gallery space extends to the outdoors, including sculptures, courtyards like the Arvest Bank Courtyard and the 24,000-square-foot Momentary Green.  “The design centers on authenticity,” said Calli Verkamp, lead project architect at Wheeler Kearns Architects. “Embracing the history of the site, it maintains the industrial integrity of the building and preserves the connection between past and present that it represents for the community .” + Wheeler Kearns Architects Photography by Dero Sanford via The Momentary

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This modern art museum was once a cheese factory in Arkansas

Home on a sloped ravine uses natural materials to blend into the landscape

February 20, 2020 by  
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Built by Chicago-based firm Wheeler Kearns Architects , the Ravine House is a beautiful home that sits tucked into a natural forest setting just outside of Highland Park, Illinois. Working directly with the nature-loving homeowners, the architects strategically focused on blending the minimalist home, which was built with natural materials , into the idyllic surroundings while reducing its impact as much as possible. The Ravine House comes in at more than 4,500 square feet across a single-story, rectangular volume. Sitting adjacent to a deep ravine, the home’s layout was designed to include the native vegetation that covers the area.  In fact, one corner of the volume is “broken” and set apart in order to create an entrance courtyard, where the vegetation is first incorporated into the living space. The courtyard’s local stones and birch trees pay homage to the homeowners’ love of nature. Related: The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles In addition to incorporating the native plants and trees into the design, the home uses a variety of natural materials to blend into its natural forest backdrop. The exterior cladding is comprised of dark metal siding and a vertical rain screen made out of panels of American Black Locust, which was chosen for its durability. On the interior, walls of American Walnut and continuous white oak floors run throughout the living space. Large expanses of glass wrap around the Ravine House, further blending the exterior with the interior. A minimalist, yet cozy, interior design deftly puts the focus on the surrounding views while providing a comfortable living area for the family. In addition to the various uses of wood for a more sustainable design, protecting the landscape was also an essential element to the Ravine House project. During the construction process, the homeowners began to restore the adjacent ravine, which was being damaged by invasive species. They planted no-mow meadows to surround the home as well as multiple beds of vegetable gardens. + Wheeler Kearns Architects Photography by Tom Rossiter via Wheeler Kearns Architects

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Home on a sloped ravine uses natural materials to blend into the landscape

3-wheeled electric truck doubles as a sweet tiny camper

February 17, 2020 by  
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The worlds of electric vehicles and tiny campers have collided to bring us the Elektro Frosch — a tiny, three-wheeled electric pickup truck that has a fold-out camper. The cute little “Electric Frog” campers have everything you need to enjoy a minimalist outdoor excursion, including a camper that sleeps two and a large tarp that pulls out from the vehicle to cover the cooking and dining space. Designed by the German company Elektro Frosch, the electric truck comes in two sizes: the Big and the Pro. Although the designs are slightly different, each three-wheeled, fire-engine red vehicle is equipped with 2,500 watts of energy that enable the electric truck to travel up to 37 miles on one charge. Granted, that’s not much power, but for a quick weekend in the wilderness, it should do the trick. Related: Tiny TigerMoth Camper generates power while being towed The electric trucks come with custom camping modules that fit snugly in the flatbed area but can also be easily removed. Completely street-legal, these tiny trucks are incredibly lightweight at just 529 pounds, yet they are strong enough to hold up to 1,157 pounds. The camping setup has everything needed for an off-grid adventure. The bright orange tent, which sleeps two, folds up and out and is accessible by a ladder. The functional electric vehicle also includes a pull-out tarp that can be staked into the landscape for support. This space can be used as a covered kitchen and dining area or just general lounge space with some protection from the elements. The dining table comes with plenty of storage and a slide-out shelf that can be used for extra preparation space. The tiny camper also comes with several fold-out stools, creating the perfect setting for owners to enjoy the fresh air. The entire set-up, electric truck and all, is 4,900 euros (about $5,300). + Elektro Frosch Via Treehugger Images via Elektro Frosh

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3-wheeled electric truck doubles as a sweet tiny camper

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