Zaha Hadid Architects designs ecological residential complex for Mexicos Riviera Maya

May 19, 2017 by  
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Mexico’s stunning Riviera Maya looks nothing short of paradise, but its beauty has also proven a burden on ecological preservation. With the Yucatan Peninsula’s booming tourism and environmental degradation in mind, Zaha Hadid Architects designed Alai, a residential complex in the Riviera Maya that embraces luxury but still maintains low environmental impact. Inspired by local Mayan culture and architecture, the nature-filled development will also contribute to restoration of native flora and fauna. Located on a site prepped by a previous owner for an unbuilt project, Alai will minimize its environmental impact by limiting the combined footprint of all its residential buildings to less than 7 percent of the site’s total area. The architects also plan to repair the previous owner’s damage to the site. Zaha Hadid Architects will collaborate with landscape architecture firm Gross Max and use replanting to repair the landscape, reverting the remainder of the site into a natural state that includes a woodland nature reserve and coastal wetland. To this end, the architects designed an onsite botanical nursery that serves as an attraction and tool for site restoration. Related: Sleep in sustainable luxury inside this eco-friendly jungle treehouse Alai’s luxury apartments as well as sport, leisure, and wellness amenities will be set on an elevated platform just above the canopy so as to not disturb local wildlife crossings. The apartments offer four different floor typologies, all of which enjoy ample amounts of natural light, natural ventilation , private balconies, and unobstructed views to the Caribbean Sea or Nichupté Lagoon. The sinuous and textured facade draws inspiration from local Mayan masonry and the rich natural environment. + Zaha Hadid Architects Via WAN Images by firms credited in titles

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Zaha Hadid Architects designs ecological residential complex for Mexicos Riviera Maya

Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin

May 3, 2017 by  
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Austin-based Andersson-Wise Architects designed a unique boathouse that blends into its surroundings and, according to the firm, “appears softly in a state of natural decomposition.” Set on the shore of Lake Austin, the Bunny Run Boat Dock is a breezy two-story building constructed from different species of wood for textured effect. Reclaimed materials hailing from different regions of the world punctuate the interior and give the boathouse an electric and worldly vibe. The 2,563-square-foot Bunny Run Boat Dock features two boat slips on the ground level and an outdoor bar and living area on the upper level. The steel frame superstructure is clad in vertically oriented cedar planks irregularly spaced to allow for views and natural light. The sense of openness and connection with the outdoors is a theme throughout the design, with only a few moveable screens dividing the living spaces from the landscape. The railing that wraps around the terrace, for instance, can be removed so the space can be used as a diving platform. Related: Gorgeous Flathead Lake Cabin is a Minimalist Home for the True Adventurer Different timber species were used in the construction, from the cedar patchwork cladding and interior cedar boards to the Douglas fir ceiling and sinker cypress flooring. The summer retreat’s fun and eclectic atmosphere comes from the selection of reclaimed materials that add texture and color. “The architectural palette is complemented by several reclaimed items: antique doors from India, a timeworn butcher block from England and a steel structure that weathers naturally,” the architects said to Dezeen . “The experience is intended to be an inviting homage to the beautiful climate and setting – a place to become connected to and surrounded by nature.” + Andersson-Wise Architects Via Dezeen Images via Andersson-Wise Architects , by Andrew Pogue

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Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin

Solar-powered safari lodge is a gorgeous green retreat in Botswana

April 12, 2017 by  
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Elevated on stilts, the sustainable and cocoon-like lodge takes its inspiration from the pangolin, an endangered scaly animal native to the African bush. The architects clad the curvaceous facade with natural and locally sourced shingles and woven saplings in a bid to minimize the building’s environmental footprint. The building is entirely concrete-free and a solar panel farm powers the electricity. Related: Photographer Zack Seckler Snaps Rare and Beautiful Aerial Photographs of Botswana Wildlife Curved shapes find their way into the interior of the lodge as well, where the 12 suites take on the appearance of suspended weaverbird nests and large timber arches evoke a cathedral-like character. The building opens up towards the river to allow for natural ventilation and lighting, as well as wildlife views. The interior has minimalist décor to keep the focus on the landscape. + Sandibe Okavango + Michaelis Boyd + Nick Plewman Via Contemporist

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Solar-powered safari lodge is a gorgeous green retreat in Botswana

Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

March 17, 2017 by  
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The Sahara Desert we know, with its rolling sand dunes and hot temperatures, used to be a verdant grassland with lakes. Scientists have traditionally attributed the dramatic change to a wobble in Earth’s orbital axis , but now archaeologist David K. Wright of Seoul National University is suggesting actually, humans may have been to blame. A 10,000-year or so wet period called the African Humid Period brought moisture to northern and eastern Africa. But around 8,000 years ago the moisture balance began to change. Today below the sand-dominated landscape can be found signs of rivers and plants, remnants of a greener history. In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science , Wright explained humans used to be thought of as passive agents in the end of the African Humid Period. But he thinks humans might actually have been active agents in the change. Related: The Mediterranean will become a desert unless global warming is limited to 1.5°C Wright said, “In East Asia there are long established theories of how Neolithic populations changed the landscape so profoundly that monsoons sopped penetrating so far inland.” He thinks a similar phenomenon could have happened in the Sahara. People growing crops and raising livestock could have changed the environment , exposing soil, and sunlight bouncing from the soil could have warmed the air, influencing atmospheric conditions enough so there wasn’t as much rainfall, which only added to the desertification of the Sahara. As yet, Wright needs more evidence for other scientists to fully get on board with his ideas. He said, “There were lakes everywhere in the Sahara at this time, and they will have the records of the changing vegetation. We need to drill down into these former lake beds to get the vegetation records, look at the archaeology , and see what people were doing there.” If Wright turns out to be right, his research could yield insights into how we can adapt to large scale climate change . Via Phys.org and ScienceAlert Images via Charly W. Karl on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

Dramatic lookout tower in Tasmania is built from repurposed shipping containers

February 11, 2017 by  
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The Devil’s Corner Cellar Door was designed as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional rural vernacular. The project comprises five timber-clad shipping containers carefully placed to form inviting spaces with thoughtfully curated views. Three distinct openings frame unique views—SKY, HORIZON, and TOWER—with the hope that they will help visitors gain a better appreciation for the landscape. Related: Gravity-defying staircase floats above Belgium’s famous “fairytale forest” “By creating a dynamic scenic lookout and providing associated facilities, visitors are drawn to a new upgraded cellar door for the Devil’s Corner wine label,” write the architects. On the opposite side of the building is the Cellar Door, made up of timber-clad volumes set around an open courtyard. The semi-protected courtyard hosts the food market and overlooks views of The Hazards’ granite peaks. + Cumulus Studio Via Dezeen Images via Cumulus Studio

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Dramatic lookout tower in Tasmania is built from repurposed shipping containers

Wonderful recipes for the weird veggies in your CSA box

February 11, 2017 by  
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Kohlrabi Sounds like something to be shouted in Klingon, doesn’t it? No need to fear: kohlrabi won’t leap up and devour your face if you lean over it. This bizarre little “turnip cabbage” has a thick skin that needs to be peeled off before you get to its juicy little heart (which tastes quite a bit like broccoli stem), and its leaves can be cooked like collard greens or kale. Great recipes to try: Kohlrabi and zucchini fritters with sriracha mayo  – You can make fritters out of just about any vegetable, but these two pair together perfectly. Kohlrabi, cardamom, and coconut curry – Warming and filling, with just the right amount of heat. Shaved kohlrabi with apple and hazelnuts – This is a beautiful way to highlight kohlrabi’s mild sweetness and crunchiness. Spicy kohlrabi-kale kimchi – If you have more kohlrabi than you know what to do with and you’d like to use it up before it goes bad, make a batch of this kimchi and enjoy it later. Celeriac Root It looks like a tumor and tastes like celery, but what can you do with it? Quite a lot, actually. Celeriac is indeed part of the celery family, but is cultivated for its large root instead of its stalks. Great recipes to try: Celery root puree with balsamic beets and pearl onions – Buhhh. If anyone ever disparages vegan cuisine, feed them this, and it’ll blow their minds. Celeriac, fennel, and pear salad with lentils – Celery root’s refreshing crunch is echoed by both the fennel and sweet pear, and complemented by creamy, nutty Puy lentils. Celery root steaks with tomatillo salsa verde – Way to incorporate 2 CSA box items in one recipe! The savory meatiness of the root steak is brightened by spicy green salsa, and is a perfect summer dinner recipe. Celeriac and roasted garlic soup with parsley oil – This is a delicious, elegant soup that’s both perfect for cooler evenings, and for when you’re aiming to impress dinner guests. Or in-laws. Same idea. Rutabagas Also known as “Swedes”, rutabagas are root vegetables that likely originated by crossing a turnip with cabbage. Sounds bizarre, I know, but these tuberous powerhouses are quite versatile. They have a nutty sweetness from the cabbage, and the firm crunch normally associated with turnips. They can be used raw or cooked, and they make a great substitute for mashed potatoes for Paleo recipes, or for folks avoiding nightshade vegetables. Great recipes to try: Rutabaga fries – They’re low carb, vegan, AIP paleo compliant, and incredibly delicious. Spiralized rutabaga noodles – You can top them with anything you like. Try them with pesto and hazelnuts. Rutabaga hash with chilies and bacon – This can easily be made vegan with veg bacon or even toasted coconut. Latkes – An all-time favorite pancake, only made with rutabaga instead of potato. Fennel It looks like something from an alien landscape with its bulbous base and frilly hair, but fennel is a wonderful vegetable that’s quite versatile with a slight licorice flavor. You can eat it raw or cooked, and the green fronds are edible as well. Great recipes to try: Braised fennel with capers and olives – Magic happens when you combine the ingredients in this recipe. Arugula, fennel, and olive salad – A great mixture of textures, flavors, sweetness, and bite. Fennel, asparagus, and artichoke empanadas – This is a perfect way to showcase summer produce. Roasted fennel and onion gratinati – It’s as scrumptious with vegan almond cheese as it is with regular Parmesan. Garlic Scapes They may look like a tangle of skinny snakes, but these vibrant greens are garlic’s flower stalks, and they’re as delicious as their root bulb, only milder. Garlic scapes can be pureed into sauce, chopped and sautéed like green beans, added to frittatas… they’re really only limited by your own culinary creativity. Great recipes to try: Garlic scape pesto – One of the easiest and most delicious recipes for scapes. You can add in foraged greens like garlic mustard, lambsquarters, or dandelion leaves to. Summer vegetable strata – A brilliant way to use random bits from your CSA box in one delicious dish. Beet, garlic scape, and leek pizza – Pizza is fabulous no matter what you put on it, but these ingredients elevate it to an art form. Grilled garlic scape and asparagus soup with caramelized shallots – A lovely summer soup that’ll impress just about anyone. Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) These adorable little knuckle-shaped roots go quite nutty when you cook them, and are woefully under-used in most people’s kitchens. Not related to globe artichokes, these tubers are part of the sunflower family, and are packed with protein, potassium, iron, and calcium. Great recipes to try: Crispy Jerusalem artichokes with aged balsamic – Roasting the sunchokes brings out their natural sweetness, and the balsamic adds depth to their flavor. Roasted Jerusalem artichoke, chestnut, and thyme soup – All of these rich flavors harmonize into a luxurious, creamy soup. Baked Jerusalem artichoke chips – Who doesn’t love chips? These are low-carb, paleo, vegan, and have a low glycemic index too. Sunchoke banana cake with maple syrup drizzle – Like any other tuber, these add richness, moisture, and texture to baked goods. Tomatillos Most people who are unfamiliar with South American cuisine may never have encountered a tomatillo, but they’re definitely worth getting to know. Relatives of tomatoes and ground cherries (physalis), these papery-coated green gems have a great tart acidity that works beautifully for salsas and other sauces, and can be sweetened for preserves and jams. Great recipes to try: Watermelon, strawberry, and tomatillo salad – If this isn’t a perfect summer salad, I don’t know what is. Tomatillo and lime salsa verde – Sharp and fresh, it’s as good on huevos rancheros as it is scooped up with tortilla chips. Green shakshuka – One of our favorite brunch dishes. Tomatillo jam – It can be made thick or thin (as a spread or as a syrup for pancakes), and is ridiculously good. Radishes Although most people can identify radishes at a glance, these poor little roots often get relegated to salads. Regardless of whether you’ve received cherrybelle, watermelon, or even daikon radish, you’d be amazed at how their flavors change when they’ve been roasted with the aforementioned garlic and olive oil (or butter). Great recipes to try: Watermelon radish tea sandwiches – These radishes are bright pink and green, and are fabulous when sliced thinly on bread. Try these tea sandwiches for a light summer meal, or make open-faced versions for bridal showers. Mulor shaak (spicy sauteed radish greens) – Don’t toss those radish greens into the compost! They’re the tastiest part of the vegetable, and are divine when sauteed with oil and spices. Quick pickled radishes – This one is ideal if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat your radishes before they go bad: just make a quick pickle of them and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Cinnamon sugar radish chips – Although this one sounds a bit weird, the result is startlingly good. The radishes retain their warming bite, which is complemented perfectly by the cinnamon sugar. If you’ve come across some other veggies , herbs, or even fruits that have been new and fun to explore, feel free to share your recipes in the comments section below. Images by Stacy Spensley , ted_major , romana klee , ilovemypit , mom2rays , Green Mountain Girls Farm , stetted , and Oregon State University via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Wonderful recipes for the weird veggies in your CSA box

Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

January 17, 2017 by  
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Bates Masi + Architects completed a stunning eco-sensitive home that offers more than just rugged good looks. Located in Amagansett, New York overlooking the ocean from which the home gets its name, the Atlantic is a contemporary beauty that celebrates the maritime, military, and architectural history of the coastal landscape. The house takes design cues from the old military stations that once lined the coast, from the exposed beams used for storage to use of natural weather-resistant materials. The 2,300-square-foot Atlantic house faces the Atlantic Ocean as well as low sand dunes and the historic Life Saving Station. The station, which was built over a century ago, holds historical significance as the place where a guard discovered Nazi invaders coming ashore during World War II. The lifesaving station’s lookout towers and elevated decks provide panoramic views for the crew members, while the use of rugged materials protects the structure from succumbing to the elements. Related: Bates Masi Architects unveil tiny, daylit Beach Hampton House The Atlantic is also built with those same materials, chosen for their ability to withstand the coastal climate. Cedar, bronze, and weathering steel clad the home and will develop beautiful patinas over time: the cedar siding will lighten; bronze bars will turn dark brown then green; and the weathering steel will gradually rust to protect itself from further corrosion. The home was raised above the flood plain to reduce risk and to minimize the building impact on the landscape. Bedrooms are located on the lower levels, while the main living areas are placed atop and overlook stunning elevated views of the ocean. + Bates Masi + Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Bates Masi + Architects

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Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

Cross-laminated timber and clay dominate this sustainable holiday home in Belgium

January 13, 2017 by  
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This sustainable holiday home , designed by m u r m u u r architecten , is nestled within a hilly landscape of the Flemish Ardennes in Belgium . Partially concealed by a grassy hill, the house, named Buikberglos, is built entirely using cross-laminated timber covered with clay panels and light green tiles. The house was carefully placed in between existing mature trees in the old garden, with facade openings placed at places that offer best views of the surroundings. The architects built the house in CLT-panels and clad the façade in black clay paneling above a light green tiled skirting board. Related: Fun chalkboard-covered passive house explores public/private space in Belgium The roof line follows the outline of the terrain and looks as if the house has been shifted in the relief of the site. This opened sight lines in the living area where bay windows offer views of the landscape. + m u r m u u r architecten Via Architizer Photos by Dennis De Smet

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Cross-laminated timber and clay dominate this sustainable holiday home in Belgium

Min2s Dune House Sustainably Blends Modern Architecture into the Dutch Landscape

January 8, 2017 by  
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Min2’s Dune House dramatically rises out of a coastal dune crest in North Holland. Designed to match the vernacular of the surrounding landscape, the three-story house and studio echoes the shape of a dune or a windswept group of trees. Fitting into an undulating landscape, the Dune House also explores a reinterpretation of the traditional Dutch farmhouse with a modern and sustainable twist. To create a seamless connection with the landscape from the interior, the architects designed large windows to frame views of the sea to the north and the rolling dune landscapes to the south. Exposed Douglas fir columns with bark, visible arched wooden joists and the warm hues of a boxy poplar staircase help bring the effect of nature indoors. On the exterior, clay roof tiles were specially designed to visually match the rough finish and color of the fir columns to complete the romantic, rustic appeal. The Dune House was also built with sustainability in mind. To generate power sustainably, the architects installed glass with superior insulation as well as an air pump and glass vacuum tube system to provide heating and cooling, rather than relying on natural gas as an energy source. The studio spaces are located on the ground floor while the living areas are situated upstairs in a two-story loft to take advantage of the “marvelous views of the sea and the dune area.” + Min2 Via Dezeen Images via Min2

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Min2s Dune House Sustainably Blends Modern Architecture into the Dutch Landscape

Rotterdam’s new Parkstad development puts urban parks on every block

December 8, 2016 by  
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The new Parkstad residential development will introduce a new city block typology to the city of Rotterdam . The project designed by DELVA Landscape Architects and Powerhouse Company will consolidate three large city blocks and form parks in the heart of each one. Real estate companies Stevast Baas & Groen and Syntrus Achmea commissioned DELVA Landscape Architects and Powerhouse Company to design a new layout for a large residential area on Rotterdam’s Laan op Zuid avenue, part of the Afrikaanderwijk neighborhood which lies in the Feijenoord district of the city. The team’s proposal won the tender for Parkstad in South Rotterdam, and will provide 250 owner-occupied and rental dwellings organized around three unique urban parks . Related: DELVA Landscape Architects created a community oasis for the city of Utrecht Undulating landscapes, vegetables gardens and play areas for kids will dominate the three parks, while warm-toned wood and brick facades will ensure harmony between the built and natural environment. The project’s construction is expected to begin in 2018 and conclude in late 2019 or early 2020. + DELVA Landscape Architects + Powerhouse Company

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Rotterdam’s new Parkstad development puts urban parks on every block

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