Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally-sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world

November 5, 2019 by  
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UK architecture firm  Invisible Studio has become known for its ground-breaking low-impact designs , but this time the innovative architects have just unveiled a beautiful structure that manages to combine sustainability with elegant minimalism. To put it simply, “Room in a Productive Garden” is a small hotel gymnasium made out of natural stone with a large window that looks out over a vegetable garden. However, even though it may just appear to be a big window, it is, in fact, one of the largest glass panels in the world! The new project is part of an expansion of a hotel in Somerset. Located on  the grounds of Hadspen House, the single-story 1,600-square-feet room is a bright and airy gymnasium where guests can enjoy a nice workout while taking in the serene view of the vegetable garden out front. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The small gym was strategically designed to blend into its natural surroundings. It’s minimalist volume was intentional to reduce the project’s impact on the landscape. Additionally, the designers used natural stone sourced on site to create the exterior cladding. The stone was crushed and rammed into the walls to add an earthy tone to the facade. According to the architectural studio, the eco-friendly building was “conceived in a manner as ‘no building’ – more, a window on to a mature productive garden with as few distractions from the garden as possible,” they explain. “The garden provides food for the hotel, and is an important part of the arrival experience into the gymnasium. At the heart of the design is the massive glass window , which not only lets in optimal light into the workout space, but also provides serene views of the surrounding nature. At 50 feet wide and 10 foot tall, the continous glass panel is one of the largest in the world. The interior of the building is also an example of sophisticated minimalism . The gym walls are lined entirely in beech wood, with slats concealing the lighting and ventilation systems. At the base of the glass panel, there is a long continuous bench for those who would like to take in the unobstructed views calmly versus running on the treadmill. + Invisible Studio Via World Architecture Images via Invisible Studio

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Minimalist hotel gym made out of locally-sourced stone features one of the largest glass panels in the world

Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

May 6, 2019 by  
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Delft-based architectural firm cepezed has completed the Netherlands’ first self-sufficient bus station in the southern city of Tilburg. Designed to generate all of its own energy, the new transit facility features a massive solar panel -topped awning that provides shade and gives the bus station its modern and sculptural appearance. The Tilburg bus station was completed as part of the large-scale revitalization of the city’s public transit hub and offers easy access to the neighboring train station and bicycle parking in the railway zone. The new bus station at the west side of the Tilburg train station was designed to prioritize user comfort and safety. To that end, the architects topped the structure with a spacious awning that not only fully covers the bus platforms but also part of the buses, so travelers can be protected from the rain while boarding and deboarding. The steel-framed awning is fitted with lights and covered with ETFE-foil so as to let in filtered sunlight during the day and illuminate the space at night. For inclusivity, the station is equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps and handrails with braille signing. As a symbol of smart development, the station adopts a contemporary and minimalist design with highly efficient detailing. Built of steel plates and strips, the thin columns that support the large awning also contain water drainage and electric cabling. The S.O.S. button and intercom have also been integrated into one of the columns. In addition to the raised black concrete sitting edges, the architects included backed seating made with strip steel with heating. Related: Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments Solar panels spanning 2,691 square feet top the awning and power all of the bus station’s needs, from the lighting and digital information signs to the staff canteen and public transport service point. Certain solar-powered lights are triggered by energy-saving motion sensors integrated into the steel edge of the awning. For greater sustainability, the architects ensured the longevity of the structure with a low-maintenance material palette and minimized the edges and corners to reduce costs and resources for cleaning. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

Architects revamp a 100-year-old warehouse into a dreamy off-grid refuge in Ibiza

May 6, 2019 by  
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Dutch design firm  The Nieuw has just given a breathtaking makeover to an abandoned warehouse sitting among the natural hills overlooking northern Ibiza. Working in collaboration with Ibiza Interiors , the architects gutted the interior of the 100-year-old warehouse before converting it into a solar-powered,  off-grid refuge with a vibrant contemporary design — complete with a yoga platform on the roof. Located in a remote hillside overlooking the island’s beautiful views, the 861-square-foot Campo Loft guesthouse was designed to blend in with the its picturesque Mediterranean setting. Using the landscape as inspiration for the design, the architects set out to create an “industrial open living space on the field,” which would take shape as a stunning two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow that runs completely on solar power. Related: Serene off-grid tiny home sits tucked away in a Hawaiian rainforest Despite the desire to turn the old workshop and storage warehouse into a modern guest home, the design team worked hard to retain any of the building’s original features. The original walls and parts of the roof were kept, while the large steel-framed windows and openings are new. Throughout the compact structure, traditional Ibizan building styles and materials were incorporated: concrete floors, mud-plastered stone walls and “sabina beams” made out of trees that grow on the island. From the outside, the home is a humble structure with an all-white facade that pays homage to the traditional, local style; however, the exterior conceals a stunningly contemporary interior design . At the heart of the home is a stone fireplace surrounded by glazed openings on either side. Modern furnishings were used sparsely, enhanced by large pieces of artwork. While the two bedrooms are tucked into the north side of the home, separated by a massive bathroom with a large soaking tub, the home’s social area is on the private terrace, which provides stunning views. Surrounded by fruit trees and a vegetable garden, the house even has a yoga platform on its roof for residents to get bendy while soaking up the sun. The design is also 100 percent self-sustaining. The main functions such as hot water, floor heating and electricity are all generated by solar power . Water from a private well is used for drinking and bathing. Additionally, the house has multiple passive features such as natural air ventilation and natural light to create a stable temperature year-round. + The Nieuw + Ibiza Interiors Via Dwell Photography by On A Hazy Morning via The Nieuw

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Architects revamp a 100-year-old warehouse into a dreamy off-grid refuge in Ibiza

Hidden in the Vinhedo rainforests of Brazil, this glass house was built for a scholar

March 29, 2019 by  
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The architects at Atelier Branco Arquitetura were asked to build a glass house that could accommodate the owner’s need to think, read and escape from the bustling cities of Brazil . The owner, a famous political scholar, dreamed of a structure that was neither a permanent residence nor a vacation home, but a lush and peaceful retreat. Coming from the main road, you’re first met with a vast wooden deck atop the concrete roof of the building, which gives one the sensation of floating among the dense rainforest plants that surround the property. Instead of using a parapet (a protective barrier or wall along the edge), the architects installed a water bed around the perimeter of the deck. This way, the roof is not only a sitting deck, but it is also somewhat of an island. Related: Minimalist tiny cabin is a secluded retreat in a Brazilian rainforest Continuing down the stairs, you’ll find the entrance to the main structure of the house. This volume was built entirely out of reinforced concrete, and the floors were made from long Garapeira wood boards. Because of the sloping and uneven terrain upon which the home is built, the architects created a descending series of steps that open into different parts of the home. Floor-to-ceiling windows encompass the entire house, allowing for natural light to penetrate the interior and give one the sensation of being inside the jungle foliage on the other side of the glass. The house is designed so that the location of each space takes into account the lighting and level of privacy allotted. Because of this, the sleeping areas are located on the top level with the least amount of natural light, and the owner’s studio is situated in the central part of the home. The studio level has the greatest vantages for enjoying the surrounding landscape, which is why the owner chose this spot in the first place. On the bottom level is the living and dining area, the brightest and most exposed section of the house. Contrarily, the two bathrooms were built with cast concrete and are lit from above only by skylights , providing very limited natural lighting, but ultimate privacy, compared to the rest of the house. + Atelier Branco Arquitetura Via ArchDaily Images via Atelier Branco Arquitectura

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Hidden in the Vinhedo rainforests of Brazil, this glass house was built for a scholar

Top 5 Green Gadgets That Will Save You Energy and Money

March 26, 2018 by  
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One of the biggest myths of sustainable design is that you have to spend lots of green in order to go green. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of great gadgets out there that stand to cut down your bills while reducing the amount of electricity you consume. From active solar solutions and energy monitoring systems to ultra-efficient appliances, read on for our top 5 green gadgets that save energy and money. LED Lighting Over the past year energy efficient lighting has proven to be one of the most exciting fields in green consumer tech, and we’ve seen some remarkable advancements in LED technology that stand to save significant amounts of energy while cutting down on your electricity bill. LED lights also last much longer than incandescents and even compact fluorescents – new bulbs by Pharox and Panasonic have life-spans rated for 19-25 years . Although these next-generation bulbs tend to cost a bit more, you can count on technological advances and economies of scale making them cheaper and more plentiful in the years to come. Household Energy Monitors Studies show that if households are able to measure and track energy use, then residents tend to automatically take steps to cut down on electricity use and increase energy bill savings. Of course, our favorite energy monitor for the always-connected web 2.0 set is the Tweet-A-Watt , a household power meter that automatically tweets your home’s energy use. The system is sure to spark a bit of friendly competition among neighboring households, and there’s nothing like a little public accountability to jump-start home energy savings. Portable Solar Chargers Gadget geeks on the go know that keeping charged can be a challenge with today’s energy-draining smart phones and mp3 players. Fortunately we’ve seen a slew of great portable solar chargers that enable you to skip the grid altogether and charge anywhere the sun is shining. The K3 Wind and Solar Charger , the Suntrica Solar-Powered Badge , and the Solio Charger are three of our favorites, and for the fashion-forward set there are even several solar-powered satchels and backpacks out there – our top marks go to Voltaic and Noon Solar . Fuel-Saving Car Systems Anyone who’s ever driven a Prius knows how fun and addictive it can be to save fuel by easing off the gas and watching your milage go up. For those who don’t have a heads-up display handy, Kiwi makes a great fuel-saving system that plugs right into your car’s on-board diagnostic port to gather driving data, analyze it, and offer steps to increase your mileage. The device is compatible with all vehicles made after 1996 and can increase your fuel economy by up to 20%. Energy-Star Rated Appliances TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, and other household appliances make up for a huge amount of your monthly electricity bill, so by selecting more efficient electronics you’ll be saving both energy and money. An easy way to do this is to keep an eye out for the Energy Star label when purchasing new appliances – the certification mandates strict energy efficiency standards and covers practically every area of household technology. Last year alone Energy Star appliances avoided 29 million cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions while saving Americans $19 billion on their utility bills.

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Top 5 Green Gadgets That Will Save You Energy and Money

Speed breeding technique inspired by NASA grows three times the wheat with less land

January 3, 2018 by  
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Scientists inspired by NASA have found a way to grow wheat at incredible speeds using intense lighting regimes. The method, called “speed breeding”, produces wheat that is not only healthier, but grows in half the time, meaning you could feed more people with less land. The rapid-growing technique not only works on wheat but sunflowers, lentils, peanuts, amaranth, pepper, and radish, which could signal a major breakthrough for feeding the planet’s growing population. By 2050, the planet could host an additional two billion people, but the space for growing and raising food isn’t increasing. So scientists have been looking for ways to tackle the problem of feeding a large population with less space. Scientists at the University of Sydney , the University of Queensland  and the John Innes Center took a look at technology developed years ago by NASA to grow crops in space. Building on this base, they developed their speed breeding technique. Related: Urban Produce vertical farm grows 16 acres of food in just 1/8 acre of space The technique involves growing plants under LEDs with a continuous, specific wavelength to boost photosynthesis. Using this lighting regime, the researchers grew wheat, barley, and chickpeas in half the time of traditional plants – six generations in one year to the two or three that can traditionally be grown. That’s from “seed to seed” in just six weeks. And the plants are actually better quality than traditional plants. This is likely the first time scientists have grown crops this quickly while also improving quality. “In the glasshouse we currently use high pressure sodium vapor lamps and these are quite expensive in terms of the electricity demand,” study co-author and UQ Senior Research Fellow Lee Hickey told New Atlas . “In our paper we demonstrate that wheat and barley populations can be grown at a density of about 900 plants per square meter, thus in combination with LED light systems, this presents an exciting opportunity to scale up the operation for industry use.” The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Plants . Via New Atlas

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Speed breeding technique inspired by NASA grows three times the wheat with less land

Vietnam’s longest cable-stayed bridge lights up with 16.7 million colors

July 18, 2017 by  
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A prism of colors bathes the recently completed Nhat Tan Bridge in Hanoi , transforming it into an illuminated work of art. Philips Lighting partnered with Vietnamese construction company the Sun Group to install their cloud-based ActiveSite lighting management system, which can create a staggering 16.7 million different colors. The new Nhat Tan Bridge is Vietnam’s longest cable-stayed bridge . It crosses the Red River in Hanoi , connecting the city to its main airport. Its five colorful spans symbolize the five ancient gates to this capital city. This symbolic quality is further enhanced by Philips’ new lighting system, which can illuminate the bridge in special colors to commemorate events and holidays. Related: Choreographed lights to illuminate New York City bridges and tunnels The new lighting system is for more than just looks, however. Compared to conventional lighting, the new long-life LEDs can deliver up to 75 percent energy savings, significantly cutting operation and maintenance costs. + Nhat Tan Bridge + Philips + Sun Group

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Vietnam’s longest cable-stayed bridge lights up with 16.7 million colors

These incredible lights look exactly like giant soap bubbles

March 28, 2017 by  
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Dutch designers Martens & Visser created a collection of mesmerizing kinetic objects that rotate and reflect light and color like massive soap bubbles floating through the air. The ‘Reflecting HOLONS’  may look like fragile bubbles that could pop at any moment, but they are made from razor-thin iridescent plastic strips attached to an axis. As the axis rotates they change shape, revealing all the colors of the rainbow in a constantly-evolving light show. https://vimeo.com/145396389#at=5 Jetske Visser and Michiel Martens aimed to investigate the refracting and reflecting properties of light and color through their unique Holons. As they reflect the light around them, the Holons glow, while the refracted light spreads out in different wavelengths, revealing all seven colors of the rainbow on the walls, ceiling and floor around them. The spheres were carefully crafted from thin strips of transparent iridescent plastic attached to a metallic rotating axis suspended from the ceiling. Watch the video below to see them in action. Related: Eindhoven’s annual Glow Festival set the city aglow with hundreds of LED installations Jetske Visser and Michiel Martens  aimed to investigate the refracting and reflecting properties of light and color through their unique Holons. As they reflect the light around them, the Holons glow, while the  refracted light spreads out in different wavelengths, revealing all seven colors of the rainbow on the walls, ceiling and floor around them. The spheres were carefully crafted from thin strips of transparent iridescent plastic attached to a metallic rotating axis suspended from the ceiling. Watch the video below to see them in action. The rotating axis is powered by a spinning electronic motor that makes the Holons look like soap bubbles as they float and dance in the air. The kinetic pieces were first commissioned by Eindhoven art space MU  and displayed during last year’s Glow festival of light. More recently they were shown at a converted Philips factory, creating an immersive landscape during last year’s  Dutch Design Week . Visser and Martens say the Holons look so real, visitors are constantly wanting to blow them through the air and pop them. + Martens & Visser Photos by Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat and  Boudewijn Bollmann

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These incredible lights look exactly like giant soap bubbles

Daniel Libeskind unveils twisted, tree-covered skyscraper for Toulouse

March 28, 2017 by  
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Studio Libeskind has been tapped to design Toulouse’s first skyscraper , the Occitanie Tower, a twisting modern building draped in vertical gardens. Created in collaboration with Paris-based landscape architect Nicolas Gilsoul, the 40-storey mixed-use skyscraper will serve as an economic catalyst for the French city’s central business district and comprise offices, a hotel, a restaurant, and residences. The tree-covered areas of the tower will give the building its iconic appearance and a portion of that green space will be open to public use. Unlike architect Daniel Libeskind’s more jagged and geometric designs, the 150-meter-tall Occitanie Tower stands out from his usual style with its sinuous lines. The curved and twisted shape draws inspiration from the waterways of the Canal du Midi that snake through the city. The eye-catching skyscraper will consist of 11,000 square meters of office space, a Hilton hotel, 120 apartments, retail space, and a restaurant with panoramic views . Related: Libeskind unveils zero-emissions university building designed in collaboration with students “The tower becomes a unique object in a vast urban space – the tower will not only become a destination, but also a defining public space,” said Libeskind. “With its suspended gardens that change colour during the seasons, the slight silvertine of the glazing of the facade will reflect the pink tones of Toulouse and the brightness of this material will change perception of the space, according to the variation of light.” The Occitanie Tower is slated to start construction in 2018 with an expected completion date in 2022. + Studio Libeskind Via Dezeen

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Daniel Libeskind unveils twisted, tree-covered skyscraper for Toulouse

These mesmerizing kinetic objects float like giant soap bubbles

February 16, 2017 by  
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Dutch designers Martens & Visser created a collection of mesmerizing kinetic objects that rotate and reflect light and color like massive soap bubbles floating through the air. The ‘Reflecting HOLONS’  may look like fragile bubbles that could pop at any moment, but they are made from razor-thin iridescent plastic strips attached to an axis. As the axis rotates they change shape, revealing all colors of the rainbow in a constantly-evolving light show.

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These mesmerizing kinetic objects float like giant soap bubbles

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