Naturally cooled funicular offers spectacular views of the French Alps

June 8, 2020 by  
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In 2019, French design agency Atelier 360 gave the iconic Les Arcs – Bourg Saint Maurice funicular a dramatic makeover by developing two new funicular cars with wide panoramic windows to frame spectacular views of the French Alps. As with its predecessor, the newly completed funicular traverses 800 meters of vertical distance in a 7-minute climb to connect the village of Bourg Saint Maurice to the Arcs 1600 resort, an area near Mont Blanc renowned for skiing and mid-century architecture by French modernist architect Charlotte Perriand. The interior of the funicular was also designed to take advantage of natural ventilation to avoid installation of an electric air conditioning system. Originally built in 1989, the Les Arcs – Bourg Saint Maurice funicular was renovated and relaunched in 2019 in commemoration of the Les Arcs ski resort’s 50th anniversary. The refreshed funicular comprises two trains, each capable of accommodating 270 passengers, with all-new equipment manufactured entirely in France. The funicular allows visitors — approximately 600,000 people are estimated to use the transport system annually — to reach slopes at 1,600 meters above sea level. The design and construction process took about a year to complete; Atelier 360 collaborated with the Poma / Sigma teams for the interior design. Related: Canada’s newest funicular makes one of North America’s largest urban parklands more accessible “The new version imagined by Atelier 360 is not just a simple transport tool that should offer a large capacity, it is a real immersion experience in the landscape that we discover at as the ascent,” the designers explained. “The original funicular did not offer a view of the outside landscape because of its massive structure, the opaque roof and the ends reserved for the conductors prevented this. Today the roof of the vehicle is fully glazed and an intermediate relief creates a new panorama of the mountains.” The trains have been specially designed to optimize views of the breathtaking scenery from both ends. A system of operable windows and air vents, also located at the end of the trains, promote natural cooling . + Atelier 360 Photography by sylvain THIOLLIER via Atelier 360

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Naturally cooled funicular offers spectacular views of the French Alps

UNStudio to transform Gyeongdo Island into a sustainable tourism destination

May 28, 2020 by  
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UNStudio has unveiled a masterplan to transform South Korea’s Gyeongdo Island into a new, 470,000-square-meter leisure destination that puts the spotlight on nature. The design celebrates the island’s natural beauty by orienting development around carefully framed landscape views — a design approach borrowed from ancient Korean garden design. The high-density development, which ranges from an affordable family resort to private villas, will follow passive solar and bio-design principles to minimize energy use. Commissioned by client YKDevelopment, the redevelopment of Gyeongdo is part of a plan to turn the island into “Asia’s number one marine and coastal tourism destination”. Located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, Gyeongdo sits 2 kilometers southeast of the city of Yeosu, the main tourist hub in the Namhae region that is renowned for beautiful, green islands and ocean views. UNStudio’s masterplan aims to highlight the island’s rich biodiversity by creating three developments along the island, each informed by a distinct garden concept with different trees, flowers and other vegetation. Related: UNStudio installs new energy-generating facade for solar producer Hanwha’s HQ Built on either side of a “green backbone” for conservation, the three developments will be nestled within areas of reconstructed forest. The three neighborhoods include the Gyeongdo Gateway at the island’s main entrance; the Sunrise Waterfront on the east side of the island; and Sea Breeze Coast at the island’s southern point. Gyeongdo Gateway will house the main port, a cable car station, marina and bridge, an entertainment center, shopping mall and a waterside boardwalk. The quieter Sunrise Waterfront will serve as the island’s “leisure heart” and will include a four-star hotel and condos. The Sea Breeze Coast neighborhood is located in the most secluded part of the island and will offer a five-star hotel and a series of private villas. All of the buildings will be thoughtfully embedded into the landscape to follow the natural terrain and passive solar principles. Visitors and residents will have access to a seamless public transportation system to easily and sustainably move about the island. + UNStudio Images by Plomp (NL) and Flying Architecture (CZ) via UNStudio

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UNStudio to transform Gyeongdo Island into a sustainable tourism destination

Whimsical, off-grid earthship is made out of reclaimed tires and bottles

May 13, 2020 by  
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It’s not everyday that you get to stay in an earthship, but if you’re able to travel to Ironbank, South Australia in the future, make sure to check out the amazing Earthship Ironbank . Made out of reclaimed tires that were pounded into a curved shape, this unique, off-grid Airbnb property is located on about four acres of native bush land and surrounded by native wildlife. The beautiful property, which is the first council-approved earthship in Australia, is made out of various reclaimed materials , such as discarded tires and old glass bottles, and is completely self-sufficient. Created by Martin and Zoe Freney, the design was inspired by the work of Michael Reynolds, who is known for starting the earthship movement years ago. Related: Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K With the help of about 60 volunteers, Earthship Ironbank took shape using, by definition, many reclaimed materials. To start, the frame of the 750-square-foot structure was built primarily from stacked discarded tires. Filled with earth and coated in cement, the tires were pounded into a curved shape. From there, Martin created a strategy to take the earthship off of the grid . According to Martin, a tight thermal shell was key in reducing the need for high-tech energy and water systems. The residence relies primarily on solar power . There is also a solar hot water system. Various windows and skylights allow for natural light and air ventilation, which further reduces the need for electricity. The south side of the structure is tucked into the ground to add thermal mass. This earth-bermed section is covered with natural plantings and gravel for optimal thermal stability. Another bonus to embedding the house into the landscape is the added resilience to bushfires. An expansive rooftop conceals the home’s integral gray water system, which includes various filters that lead to underground water tanks. The off-grid home has a gorgeous design, too. A path made of natural stones leads to an arched doorway with ornate patterns of colorful glass bottles. Inside, a warm hallway leads to the greenhouse , which was planted with lush banana trees as well as other edible plants. The garden is irrigated through the built-in graywater system. The unique Airbnb accommodation has one bedroom for up to two guests, who can enjoy a lovely round lounge area with an open kitchen. The kitchen is equipped with standard amenities, including a wood-burning stove. When they aren’t taking it easy inside the tranquil earthship, guests can enjoy wandering around the grounds, exploring the local landscape and observing wildlife. For anyone interested in spending time in this lovely earthship, check out its availability by visiting its Airbnb posting . + Earthship Ironbank Via Tiny House Talk Photography by James Field via Earthship Ironbank

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Whimsical, off-grid earthship is made out of reclaimed tires and bottles

Distinctly modern net-zero home sits in harmony with its woodland surroundings

May 5, 2020 by  
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Chapel Hill-based firm Arielle Condoret Schechter is known for its commitment to building sustainable homes that don’t sacrifice elegance or comfort. The company’s latest work includes the spacious Haw River House, which was built with several efficient features to create a net-zero energy home that is seamlessly linked with its natural surroundings. Tucked into a pristine woodland overlooking the Haw River, which runs through central North Carolina, the beautiful Haw River House sits in harmony with the landscape. Using this natural setting as inspiration, the 2,600-square-foot house is outfitted with several energy-efficient features that make it completely energy-neutral. Related: Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape According to the architects, the thick forest of towering deciduous and evergreen trees that soar out of the rocky landscape inspired the unique volume of the home . To mimic the dreamy, natural silhouettes, the home has a butterfly roof and various outdoor spaces. First, a cantilevered screen porch that nearly stretches the length of the home allows the family to enjoy a seamless connection to the outdoors. There is another deck off of the main volume and a private outdoor deck cantilevered off of the master bedroom. To achieve its net-zero energy status, the home includes many sustainable features, such as a 13 KW solar panel system and a geothermal heating and cooling system. To maintain comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, Haw River House has an air-tight envelope and triple-glazed windows and doors, including a 20-foot-wide sliding glass door that looks out over the beautiful river rapids. The abundance of glazing provides the entire living space with optimal natural light, air circulation and, of course, views. Despite all of that glass, the extended roof overhangs shelter the interiors from harsh sunlight. Additionally, the roof has an integral water collection system . The strategically designed gutter system leads to downspouts on each end of the home, funneling all rainwater into two 5,000-gallon above-ground cisterns. The water is then processed into clean drinking water via a triple-filtering system that includes a state-of-the-art UV method that kills 99.9% of bacteria. + Arielle Condoret Schechter Photography by Tzu Chen via Arielle Condoret Schechter

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Distinctly modern net-zero home sits in harmony with its woodland surroundings

Research center sits lightly near turtle nesting grounds in Australia

April 27, 2020 by  
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When architect Richard Kirk was tapped to lead the design for the Mon Repos Turtle Centre, he knew that his team at the international architecture firm KIRK would need to tread lightly. The project’s coastal site, located in Bargara, Queensland, is home to one of the most significant seasonal nesting grounds for the loggerhead turtle. To minimize landscape impact, the architects designed the center with a prefabricated glulam timber frame that is wrapped in low-maintenance copper and wood to visually blend the building into the surroundings. As one of Australia’s most important turtle nesting grounds, the Mon Repos beach and environs have been used as a key turtle research center for over 40 years. Starting in 2017, KIRK masterplanned the entire beachside in addition to the redevelopment of the Mon Repos Turtle Centre to fulfill the center’s two main roles: an interpretative center during the day and a briefing center at night during the turtle nesting season. As a result, the landscape needed to be reconfigured with a set of pathways and boardwalks to provide safe and non-intrusive access to the beach after dark. Related: Sea turtle rescue center mimics the natural ecosystems in Turkey The structure was also designed for minimal site impact . The center is constructed from prefabricated and locally sourced glulam timber. The external folded copper cladding was selected for its ability to withstand the corrosive sea air and seasonal cyclones for a lifespan of over 40 years. The copper as well as recycled tallowwood cladding and screens will develop a patina over time to blend in with the dune landscape. The building houses a large gathering area, an interpretative space with an immersive theater and research office spaces that all have access to natural ventilation and daylighting. “The superstructure is a 9.6m x 9.6m diagrid,” the architects explained. “This was found to be the most efficient structural design to reduce the overall material use and increase spans between glulam ‘tree’ columns. The diagrid also informed the plan shape, creating a multifaceted series of triangular folds for protected openings to limit light spill while enhancing the mystery of the arrival experience. The diagrid pattern is celebrated throughout the interior and implies the intricate patterns of the turtle carapace.” + KIRK Photography by Scott Burrows via KIRK

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Research center sits lightly near turtle nesting grounds in Australia

Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days

April 21, 2020 by  
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Set into the lush green landscape of Denmark’s Fyn island, Villa Korup is a large home designed for a family of six. A collaboration between Danish architect Jan Henrik Jansen and Australian architect Marshall Blecher , Villa Korup, which features three elongated “wings”, was prefabricated offsite using weathered steel and CLT panels. The project is unique in a number of ways. The home is one of the first private dwellings in Denmark to be constructed out of CLT . Prefabrication enabled the architects to build the home in just three days, reducing construction time and causing minimal disruption to the landscape and wildlife . To add durability, the timber panels were treated in a traditional manner using soap and lye to give the cladding a resilient finish. Related: Cross-laminated timber makes this Scottish home climate-resistant In addition to the CLT cladding, the home’s exterior also features weathered steel panels. This industrial material will change color over time, taking on a patina that will gently camouflage the home into its incredible woodland surroundings. Adding to the exceptional design is the unusual layout. Villa Korup is spread out across three elongated wings to create enough space to fit the needs of a family of six. These three sections house the bedrooms and bathrooms, along with other private areas, such as an office. The layout also allows for each wing to enjoy a series of small, individual courtyards. The main social areas are found where the wings converge. Inspired by Scandinavian design principles, the interior design is light and airy. Minimal furnishings and neutral colors were chosen to keep the spaces open and clutter-free. Throughout the design, swaths of glass, including sliding glass doors, open the interior living spaces to the outdoors, making nature one with Villa Korup. + Jan Henrik Jansen + Marshall Blecher Via Wallpaper* Photography by Gabrielle Gualdi , Hampus Berndtson  and Marshall Blecher

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Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days

Futuristic, off-grid home features a luxurious interior design

April 16, 2020 by  
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Sleek, modern, flexible and off-grid — this new, futuristic housing concept from Stockholm-based IO House has just about everything you would wish for in a small home. The Space is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining home that provides homeowners with “the most advanced conveniences of modern life with the smallest ecological footprint.” According to the IO House team, The Space was designed to be the ultimate abode when it comes to futuristic living. The innovative design is completely self-sustaining , meaning that it does not require outside sewage, electrical or water systems. Related: Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials All of the residence’s necessary systems, such as electricity ( solar power ), heating and ventilation, have been directly installed into the structure and are controllable via mobile phones or tablets. Everything, from the state-of-the-art appliances to the oxygen level control systems, is controlled with an app. Because of this, the off-grid home can be transported and installed in just about any location. At just 645 square feet, The Space is a compact home that is covered in rooftop solar panels. The prefab home is built off-site and delivered to the homeowners’ desired location. Once it is delivered, the off-grid home is installed on the landscape using the utmost care to cause as little impact as possible. The exterior is clad in a dark facade that lets it blend in with any location, from waterfront to woodland. From the open-air deck, sliding glass doors lead into the interior. Here, the ultra-contemporary design really sets the house apart. Sleek and functional, the setting is inspired by the living spaces found inside luxury yachts. Large, floor-to-ceiling glass doors and panels bring in an abundance of natural light and astounding views to boot. The home comes completely furnished with high-end products, but it can be customized to individual tastes. You can learn more about The Space’s futuristic design and technology over on the IO House Facebook and Instagram pages. + IO House Images via IO HOUSE

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Futuristic, off-grid home features a luxurious interior design

Serpentine roof tops a solar-powered community center in Western Sydney

April 16, 2020 by  
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Sydney-based architectural firm Carter Williamson Architects has completed the Woodcroft Neighborhood Center, a civic building that unites the culturally diverse Western Sydney community. Designed to replace the former municipal building that was burned down in 2015, the new fireproof structure is an inspiring landmark for the neighborhood. Crafted with sustainability in mind, the multipurpose building follows passive solar principles and includes a north-facing photovoltaic array and a rainwater harvesting system with 50,000-liter underground tanks. Commissioned by the Blacktown City Council, the Woodcroft Neighborhood Center was created to usher in a new type of civic architecture that promotes inclusivity and resilience while catering to a wide range of ages and a diverse set of community groups. The building comprises four sections — office space, smaller community rooms, a courtyard and a main hall for 200 people with a commercial-scale kitchen — organized around a tall central foyer and through-site link. The building will also serve as a backdrop and facilities hub for the annual Woodcroft Festival. Related: CLT gives a sustainable community center in Copenhagen a welcoming feel Carter Williamson Architects drew inspiration from the landscape and the site’s history as a former brick factory. The community center is constructed from a robust palette of brick, timber and steel. Expanses of glazing strengthen the building’s connections to Woodcroft Lake and Parklands. An eye-catching serpentine roof infilled with white opalescent polycarbonate tops the building. The roofline undulates in response to the interior spaces; the roof rises above the center hall for lofty ceilings and dips downward in the private areas to create a sense of intimacy.  “Creating a magnetic, gregarious space that can be embraced by all, the centre is designed to be kind to neighbours, with storage facilities positioned as acoustic baffles along the walls closest to nearby homes,” the architects explained. “This allows Woodcroft Community Centre to maintain its bold design and stature, which aids in its goal to galvanise and bring together local communities, whilst not negatively impacting surrounding residents. It’s clear Woodcroft Neighbourhood Centre has succeeded, already embraced by the local community, a contemporary icon of Woodcroft, loved by all.” + Carter Williamson Architects Images via Carter Williamson Architects

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Serpentine roof tops a solar-powered community center in Western Sydney

Gomi portable chargers repurpose plastic waste and batteries

April 16, 2020 by  
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Not all plastic is recyclable. In the UK, flexible plastic consisting of plastic bags, bubble wrap and pallet wrap are not accepted by local councils for recycling. Each year, the world produces 150 billion kilos of flexible plastics with the potential to pollute the environment (about 1.2 billion comes from the UK where Gomi is based). The company goes even further to raise awareness for a different type of  pollution : batteries. There are over three billion batteries produced every year, and the global demand is only growing. While both single-use and rechargeable batteries, such as lithium and button batteries, are recyclable, not all areas have access to recycling. Gomi works directly with food wholesalers, businesses and individuals around the Brighton area “intercepting” unrecyclable plastic waste before it’s sent to landfills.  Battery  cells are gathered from local manufacturers and battery suppliers who are unable to use the batteries due to misprints or cosmetic irregularities. The Gomi portable chargers are powered by repurposed batteries and made of 100% non-recyclable  plastic . Chargers measure 12 cm x 8 cm x 2.5 cm and weigh just under 10 ounces. Related: These marbled Bluetooth speakers are made from non-recyclable plastic waste The lightweight, pocket-sized 12,000mAh portable charger can charge two separate devices at a time, with the capacity for three to six full charges to your smartphone (depending on type). The manufacturing process leaves a colorful marbling style that is unique to each charger. Gomi doesn’t stop there when it comes to recycling; all of the device’s parts are designed to be modular and easily removed to melt into new components for other products. The return service is free for customers to ensure that each charger comes back to the company at the end of its life to be recycled without losing any material value. The company hopes to work with jewelers in the future to extract metals from the circuit boards of its products as well. The project’s  Kickstarter , which went live on March 31, 2020, raised nearly $30,000 as of April 13 — more than four times its original goal. + Gomi

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Gomi portable chargers repurpose plastic waste and batteries

Tiny timber cabin opens up to the French countryside

April 7, 2020 by  
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Kyoto-based architecture 2m26 used locally sourced materials to build a peaceful tiny timber cabin tucked into the French countryside. At just 376 square feet, La Petite Maison is compact, but floor-to-ceiling glass panels, multiple sliding glass doors and an open courtyard strategically connect the home’s interior to its quaint surroundings, making it feel vast. Located in the picturesque countryside of Guitinières in southwestern France, the tiny cabin was built onsite. From the onset, the architects were inspired to create a small, minimalist living space that blended seamlessly into its natural surroundings. Related: Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps La Petit Maison boasts a strategic design that makes it feel much more open and spacious than its square footage would lead one to believe. Made out of locally sourced materials , the square frame is crafted from light Douglas fir. The frame is elevated off the landscape with small concrete piles to reduce its site impact as much as possible. In order to open up the tiny home, which is designed to be a guest house, the architects decided to use multiple massive panels of glass to usher in views of the idyllic countryside. Several sliding glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows flood the interior with natural light and blur the line between the indoors and outdoors. Additionally, guests can enjoy spending time in the open-air courtyard that sits between the living space and the exterior. The minimalist interiors feature sparse furnishings. Made out of the same locally sourced wood as the structure, the furniture inside the tiny timber cabin is completely utilitarian, with just enough pieces for seating, dining and sleeping. Although the interior design is completely free of any sort of frivolous amenities, the guest house provides visitors with a relaxing, no-frills place to disconnect from stress while reconnecting with nature. + 2m26 Images via 2m26

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Tiny timber cabin opens up to the French countryside

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