Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy

December 8, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of shortening your commute to mere steps, take a look at this brilliant project in the Czech Republic. Petr Stolin was commissioned to design two identical buildings using structural insulated panels (SIPs) – one for living, and one for working. The corresponding design, called Zen Houses, demonstrates a flair for spatial and material economy without compromising on style. Located in a rural landscape outside Liberec, the double-story cubes, which are just 10 meters wide, are clad in transparent acrylic sheets that reveal simple timber framing and surprisingly voluminous interiors. The two buildings, which lie side-by-side, were constructed with a variety of low-budget materials that give them something of a shabby chic aesthetic, including chipboard, plywood, wooden beams, raw metal and rubber. The cubic buildings are connected by a simple walkway and create a series of public, semi-public and private areas between them. They are carefully designed to frame views of the surrounding landscape, while ensuring plenty of natural light reaches the interiors. Related: Green live / work space is a modern update to the vernacular barn The interior of the studio half of the duplex is finished in white, while the residential building is finished in black – providing a subtle distinction between the two. Each building has a half-mezzanine, which increases the interior volume and living space. Its minimalism was inspired by Japanese design . “The experimental character of the houses was the conceptual starting point,” the architects write in their design brief. “Yet the deliberate austerity of the achieved forms definitely brings new lifestyle qualities to an environment built in this way.” + Petr Stolin Architekt

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Twin live and work cubes demonstrate superior material and spatial economy

Gorgeous net-zero energy home offers luxury living in Washington, D.C.

December 8, 2016 by  
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A leafy and sought-after neighborhood in Northwest Washington, D.C. hides a luxurious gem of a home with a net-zero energy footprint. The local architecture office of Robert M. Gurney designed the contemporary residence, named the Brandywine House, with light-filled interiors and a natural palette that includes high-end materials like zebra wood, granite, and Santos mahogany. Despite its large size, the carefully constructed home is respectful of the scale of its neighboring homes and is incredibly energy efficient. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Smithsonian National Zoo and the high-end shops of Connecticut Avenue, the three-story Brandywine House enjoys the conveniences and benefits of city living, while still preserving privacy and a tranquil environment. The architects retained the majority of mature trees on site and installed a lush planting plan that separates the home from the street. The building’s boxy exterior is composed of traditional and natural materials , like stone, wood, and stucco, to help the building recede into its green surroundings. Carefully placed windows on the street-facing facade ensure privacy. Related: Stunning energy-smart home near D.C. looks like a super swanky Tetris ensemble While the street-facing facade is mostly closed off, floor-to-ceiling glazing wraps around the other sides of the home to bring in ample amounts of natural light and views of the wooded landscape beyond. Arranged in an “L” shape, the house wraps around outdoor living spaces, a swimming pool, and the large, south-facing rear yard. The light-filled interior is modern and cozy, featuring a diverse palette of different timbers—all forest-certified or reconstituted—and stones like limestone and granites, that complement the white-painted walls. To achieve net-zero energy over a calendar year, the daylit house is equipped with computer-programmed shading devices to mitigate solar gain, a geothermal HVAC system with hydronic heating, solar hot water tubes, and photovoltaic panels. + Robert M. Gurney Architect Images © Anice Hoachlander

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Gorgeous net-zero energy home offers luxury living in Washington, D.C.

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