Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

January 2, 2020 by  
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Karina Duque had a unique conundrum to overcome when it came to the design of the KDDK House. Located in Frutillar, Chile , the eco-home’s site had views of lush greenery, in the form of meadows and forests, that presumably made the property so attractive to the landowners. These green views, however, could only be found in the opposite direction of the sun’s natural course. In a region that often saw rainy weather, designing a house that could allow for high-quality indoor livability while avoiding a dark or gloomy interior in such a location was quite the challenge. First, the designer placed the home on the highest point of the property to allow for the best views while also creating the greatest potential for natural sunlight to filter indoors for the greater part of the day. Even better, the elevated building site as well as reflective windows and organically inspired colors and materials help immerse and disguise the home among its lush property. Related: An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest The architect took inspiration from the architecture of German settlers, turning to simple lines, an elongated volume, a gable roof and skylights for a contrasting yet relaxing design. This style came with another perk in the form of ample space for a loft that could store heat. The team used painted, locally manufactured zinc for much of the exterior and certified larch roofing for the access corridor. These materials contrasted and complemented the interior, which was painted bright white to make the spaces brighter on those gloomy days. Cellulose insulation (typically made from recycled paper fiber ) for the roof, walls and under the windows helps to maintain heat during cold days, and natural cross-ventilation regulates the indoor temperature during hot days. The addition of a combustion stove in the kitchen serves as a primary heat source during the coldest winter days. In the summer, the iron-and-glass screens fold open to reveal a pleasant outdoor terrace. + Karina Duque Photography by Fernanda Castro via Karina Duque

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Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

The eco-friendly wellness guide to Savannah, Georgia

January 2, 2020 by  
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Savannah is just as beautiful as it looks in pictures. Since Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — both the book and the movie — came out in the 1990s, tourism has ramped up in this Southern town known for its 22 park-like squares, sultry summers and Spanish moss dripping from trees. But Savannah also has a modern overlay, thanks in part to the Savannah College of Art & Design, or SCAD, which has renovated deteriorating buildings and attracted talented youth from around the world since its founding in 1978. Today, this Georgia city of 145,000 appeals to visitors who appreciate history, art, ghosts, romantic architecture, Southern culture and a bit of quirkiness. Here are some sustainable stops throughout the city. Savannah outdoors The pace is slow in Savannah, especially if you visit in the summer. Walking around town, reading historic plaques in the squares and on the Savannah River waterfront, wandering into shops and talking with people is probably the best way to get a feel for the town. If you like a more structured outing, Savannah has a plethora of walking tours, with history, architecture and paranormal activity topping the list. It’s no wonder — Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah was established in 1733 and endured fighting in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Related: SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration In keeping with the paranormal and historical themes, Savannah has some of the country’s most beautiful graveyards. Bonaventure Cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, has the grandest monuments. The wide paved lanes are a nice place to stroll. Those who prize cardio workouts will enjoy an early morning visit to 30-acre Forsyth Park, where you’ll encounter locals running and doing walking lunges around the shady, 1.8-mile, figure 8-shaped loop. Historic mansions and monuments ring this flat course with a lovely fountain in the middle. Great Runs has also mapped a 6-mile running tour that hits every square and Forsyth Park. If you like to see places from the water, Savannah Canoe and Kayak offers tours of Little Tybee Island, or they’ll take you inland to see the forested creeks and wildlife of Skidaway Narrows. Because Savannah is only 18 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, many people also visit Tybee Island. This barrier island has wide beaches, a lighthouse and a fort. The League of American Bicyclists deemed Tybee one of the most bike -friendly communities. Several rental shops let you explore the island on two wheels. Wellness in Savannah Savannah’s many yoga studios include friendly Dancing Dogs Yoga right on the main drag downtown. Savannah Yoga Center offers events like learning to read tarot and pendulums, as well as a full schedule of yoga classes. Those who appreciate the healing power of felines will enjoy Pounce Cat Café and Wine Bar , where you’ll find approximately 20 adoptable cats cavorting or napping on any given day. If you’re pressed for time, you can get a 10-minute pass for just $5. Roots Up Gallery is an inspiring place to delve into Southern folk art . As the gallery’s website explains, the self-taught painters, jewelers, sculptors and potters they represent “possess a soulful style that is borne from within.” Vegan restaurants in Savannah The Fox and Fig Café is Savannah’s leading plant-based restaurant. The raw lasagna is deliciously flavorful, and the shakes, made with local favorite Leopold’s coconut ice cream, are very popular. You can even get a vegan truffle flight here. Kayak Kafé on Broughton, one of the main streets downtown, has clearly marked vegetarian and vegan dishes, including vegan tacos with walnut meat. Sit outside for optimal people-watching. People come to the Sentient Bean for espresso drinks and vegan chia yogurt in the morning, and plant-based dinners and local musicians at night. Wednesday nights, the Sentient Bean hosts meetings of the Psychotronic Film Society. Getting around Savannah When your feet get tired, you can hop on the DOT, a free bus that serves 24 stops in the Historic District and the Savannah Belles Ferry. It runs until midnight every day but Sunday, when service stops at 9 p.m. The Savannah Belles Ferry connects downtown with the convention center and Hutchinson Island. If you’re going farther afield, Chatham Area Transit serves Savannah and Chatham County. A shuttle bus service runs from downtown Savannah to Tybee Island in spring and summer. Uber and Lyft both operate in Savannah. Savannah eco-hotels How you feel about spectral visitors might drive your Savannah lodging decisions, because many of the hotels claim to have resident ghosts. The Marshall House generally wins accolades for being the most haunted, while the 1960s restored retro Thunderbird Inn might be the least. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa follows a long list of sustainability practices, including irrigating with gray water, organic waste composting and salt water pool and hot tub systems. The Kimpton Brice offers guests free use of bikes and supplies a yoga mat in every room. Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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The eco-friendly wellness guide to Savannah, Georgia

Award-winning sustainable retreat offers a stylish defense against fire

September 20, 2019 by  
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Australian architectural firm Steendijk’s Bellbird Retreat is proof that designing for fire safety doesn’t have to mean compromising aesthetics. Located in pristine bushland about two hours southwest from Brisbane, the award-winning weekend escape features a striking, weathered steel roof and stellar landscape views as well as a reduced environmental footprint thanks to a rainwater harvesting system and optimized passive design elements. Located on a 141-hectare bush site in Killarney, the Bellbird Retreat is in an area at high risk of fire. To protect the house from devastating bushfires, the architects installed thick brick walls and a fire-resistant roof that uses weathered steel pleats, rather than combustible timber rafters, for the structural support of a single-span structure with unsupported cantilevered eaves. Computer modeling informed the shape and size of the roof, which fans out across the house with deep overhangs to provide protection from solar heat gain. Related: A shipping container is recycled into a chic nature retreat in Brazil “On approach, Bellbird Retreat appears fortress-like with the pleated steel roof crowning three pivoting brick blades that tie the dwelling inextricably to the site while sheltering the building from wind, sun and fire,” the architects explained. “The building sits boldly, carved into the landscape. It is positioned to maximize the mountain saddle for recreational use, enticing the occupant through sliding corner doors that peel back.” Elevated on a cantilevered concrete floor slab, the north-facing Bellbird Retreat spans 721 square feet and includes two bedrooms on the west side with a shared bathroom in between and an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen on the east end. Fronted with floor-to-ceiling glass, the light-filled interior is dressed in a minimalist palette of locally grown indigenous hoop pine used for the joinery, doors, walls and ceilings. More impressive is the endless views of the landscape that residents can enjoy from dawn until nightfall. + Steendijk Via ArchDaily Images via Steendijk

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This home gently wraps around towering 80-year-old coconut trees

November 27, 2018 by  
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Bombay-based firm  Abraham John Architects deftly crafted a beautiful home to carefully sit near 19 80-year-old coconut trees. The massive, 6,500-square-foot private residence is broken up into various fragmented volumes, taking on a small village feel that gives the home its name, Villa in the Palms. According to the architects, the unique layout was essential in ensuring that not a single tree was felled during the building process. To build the home around the trees, the architects created a unique, fragmented layout, reminiscent of a traditional Goan Village. Additionally, the team used traditional Goan building techniques and materials in the project. The exterior walls are clad in resilient laterite stone, giving the home an earthy aspect that blends it into the natural surroundings while providing a strong thermal envelope. Also climate-inspired are the pitched roofs that slope at different angles to harvest rainwater and withstand strong winds during monsoon season. Related: A modern, energy-efficient home is built around a beloved madrone tree The home is broken up into several individual spaces, which are connected by various outdoor decks, passages and bridges that wind through the trees, pools and gardens. The main living area provides stunning views of the gardens. The room is flooded with natural light through a large skylight that also provides sun for the interior garden. To blend the home further into its natural setting, the outer frame was installed with large screens made out of 100-year-old reclaimed teak wood . The living space, kitchen and dining room all look out over the pool, which is comprised of three distinct bodies of water covered with teak-wood bridges and little islands that were built to protect the existing trees .  This area also opens up to the natural gardens of lush greenery and, of course, the towering palm trees. + Abraham John Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Alan Abraham via Abraham John Architects

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This home gently wraps around towering 80-year-old coconut trees

An energy-efficient modern church references Utahs mining history

October 11, 2018 by  
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Salt Lake City-based design practice Sparano + Mooney Architecture  designed a church for West Valley City, Utah that’s strikingly modern yet sensitive to the existing site context. Located near Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, the world’s deepest open pit mine and a major employer in the area, the church pays homage to the working class community’s mining and construction past with its material palette. The award-winning, LEED Silver-targeted church — named Saint Joseph the Worker Church after the patron saint of laborers — was completed on a budget of $4.5 million and spans 23,000 square feet. In order to comfortably seat 800 people within a reasonably close distance to the altar, Sparano + Mooney Architecture designed Saint Joseph the Worker Church in a circular form with rounded and thick board-formed concrete walls. In addition to the new 800-seat church, the 10-acre site also includes an administrative building with offices and meeting rooms, indoor and outdoor community gathering and fellowship spaces, a large walled courtyard centered on a water feature and ample landscaping. After the architects salvaged parts of the original, now-demolished church that was built in 1965, they added new elements of steel, copper and handcrafted timber to reference the area’s mining and construction past. “Drawing from this lineage, a palette of materials was selected that express the transformation of the raw material by the worker, revealing the craft and method of construction,” the architects explained. Related: Historic Australian church transformed into a stunning family home for five “These materials include textural walls of board-formed concrete, constructed in the traditional method of stacking rough sawn lumber; a rainscreen of clear milled cedar; vertical grain fir boards and timbers used to create the altar reredos and interior of the Day Chapel; flat seam copper panels form the cladding for the Day Chapel and skylight structure over the altar; and glazing components requiring a highly crafted assembly of laminated glazing with color inter-layers, acid etched glazing, and clear glass insulated units with mullion-less corners,” the firm said. “The design harkens back to the mining history of the early parish, and details ordinary materials to become extraordinary.” + Sparano + Mooney Architecture Images by Dana Sohm, Jeremy Bittermann and Sparano + Mooney Architecture

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An energy-efficient modern church references Utahs mining history

This chic Moganshan resort celebrates the local Chinese landscape

July 20, 2018 by  
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Blessed with serene mountain vistas and a rich history, Moganshan also boasts a wide array of beautiful resorts including Anadu, a new rural retreat designed by local architecture firm Studio 8 . Located at the northern foot of the Mogan Mountain in Huzhou, about two hours from Shanghai , the luxury resort embraces its enticing surroundings comprised of lush bamboo forests, tea fields and ancient villas. Constructed with natural materials throughout, the hotel is undeniably connected to its rural setting while still offering a contemporary edge. Completed in 2017, Anadu covers nearly 13,000 square feet spread across three floors. Studio 8 was commissioned to oversee the architecture, interior design and visual identity of the luxury resort, which highlights  local resources from the ingredients used in the restaurant to the selection of construction materials. Following the brand’s motto of “Find yourself in nature,” every floor embraces the outdoors through large windows and stunning water features. “Water itself, and especially a very calm water surface, generates immediately a sense of relax,” explained Studio 8 in a statement. “[We] decided that this element would be the core of the hotel, a connection between the rooms that articulates the structure of the entire building. For that purpose, the roof of each floor was turned into an infinity water feature. By bringing natural elements into the architectural spaces, the design fosters a connection between the building and the outside.” Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai The resort’s various rooms are organized in four major narratives inspired by the immediate surroundings. The Tea Room, for instance, faces the white tea fields and is dressed in a material palette echoing the tea theme. To the south, the Mountain Room features a dark gray color palette and a water feature that reflects the distant mountain range. On the east side, the Bamboo Room mimics a bamboo forest with its bamboo wood furnishings and a rice-pink palette. The penthouse suite on the third floor follows the theme of Sky and is surrounded by an infinity pool to create the effect of a “floating island.” + Studio 8 Images by Sven Zhang ???

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This chic Moganshan resort celebrates the local Chinese landscape

This weekend home in Mexico blends in with the forest landscape

July 19, 2018 by  
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Mexican architecture firm AM30 Taller de Arquitectura has inserted a site-specific weekend home into a forested location in Atemajac de Brizuela, a small town southwest of Guadalajara, Mexico. Dubbed the EC House, the dwelling is split up into a series of interconnected stone-clad volumes placed around existing pine trees and oriented for the best views of the nearby mountains. In addition to a natural materials palette that blends the home into the landscape, the EC House was designed to minimize site impact . Located on the outskirts of town, the EC House combines traditional architecture styles and local materials with a contemporary design vision. The asymmetrical home is laid out along a north-south axis on the sloped site with the communal rooms located at the heart of the floor plan. The programmatic functions were separated into different volumes; the bedrooms are located on the extremities while the kitchen, living area and dining room are housed in the central volume. “Three volumes arranged around a circulation core constitute the main house,” explained AM30 Taller de Arquitectura. “Designed with spatial richness in mind, the main floor adjusts to the terrain surface and inner patios provide light and ventilation creating atmospheres with unique characteristics. A terraced courtyard functions as a central plaza linking the front and back of the plot, as well as creating a space for interaction between the main house and the guest rooms. Across the main social areas on the ground floor, a visual axis is respected to facilitate communication between spaces.” Related: Son builds modern dream cabin from recycled materials for his aging father The stone walls found on the exterior are continued into the interior and are complemented with hardwood flooring that extends to the outdoor spaces for a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience. The use of natural materials and large windows immerses the weekend home into the pine-studded landscape. + AM30 Taller de Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images by Lorena Darquea Schettini

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Soak in views of the Indian Himalayas at this bamboo-clad hotel villa

April 17, 2018 by  
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Perched high on the mountains of Uttarakhand, India sits The Kumaon , a rustic yet elegant hotel with breathtaking Himalayan views. Boasting floor-to-ceiling mountain views, the hotel designed by Zowa Architects seeks to highlight the natural landscape as much as possible with its minimized footprint and use of locally sourced materials. All hotel structures were designed to harvest rainwater that’s stored in a large holding tank at the bottom of the site, while interstitial spaces between buildings are planted with seasonal crops to be used in the kitchen. Located in the village of Kaser devi near the town of Almora, The Kumaon comprises 10 rooms housed in chalets and separates the main shared facilities—the lounge and dining room, library, reception, and spa—in the main building at the highest point of the site from the services building placed at the bottom. The rooms are embedded into the terraced sloping landscape. “We decided to design the rooms in pairs, one atop the other and scatter them across the site at different levels,” wrote the architects. “This was partly to reduce the bulk of the building and also to reduce the overall footprint of the development.” The main building consists of two floors: the ground floor houses the managers’ quarters and offices in addition to a spacious lounge and library. The floor above is dramatically cantilevered to the north to allow for spectacular views of the Indian Himalayas , which are best enjoyed in the second-floor dining room. The roof of the ground floor doubles as a terrace for outdoor dining and yoga. Related: Himalayan Village: A Charming Mountain Resort Made of Local Materials in Northern India To pay homage to the local culture, the architects enlisted the help of local craftsmen and used local materials wherever possible, such as local pinewood that’s found in the flooring, doors and windows. Furnishings were also designed and made on site. The structures, built of concrete, are clad in bamboo stringed together with copper wiring to soften the architecture. The handcrafted furnishings, natural materials palette, and emphasis on natural light give the hotel a rustic back-to-nature vibe. + Zowa Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Akshay Sharma

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Soak in views of the Indian Himalayas at this bamboo-clad hotel villa

Tower of Winds embraces impermanence with a striking kinetic facade

November 8, 2017 by  
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The Tower of Winds reimagines common water reservoirs as structures in constant evolution. Designed as a competition proposal in 2015 by architect Tram-Anh Nyugen, Markus Von Dellinghausen, Midori Hasuike, and Andreas Nordstrom, the project demonstrates how modular elements and local resources can be used to build state-of-the-art sustainable facilities with low construction costs. The project is part of an interdisciplinary design research platform founded by architect Tram-Anh Nyugen. Called Impermanent Devices , the project focuses on one the three characteristics of existence in Buddhism “Antiya”, the belief that all that exists is transient. Related: Temporary Story Tower Made With Recycled Materials Offers Free Book Exchange in Latvia The theoretical foundation of the project rests on the idea that design can be transformed to fit different contexts, scales and functions. Structures should be able to appear, disappear and evolve in order to facilitate continual change and fluidity of space. The architect’s work has been applied to several research projects, including an urban planning project in Paris on the Pe?riphe?rique, a major ring road that separates the inner city from the suburbs in Paris . Another recent live project is a commission from the BHD Star Cineplex to design a cinema in the center of Hanoi, Vietnam. This project gives the cinema a new interactive façade that references Vietnamese elements. + Impermanent Devices

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Tower of Winds embraces impermanence with a striking kinetic facade

Ice Home materials for future Mars dwellings are heading to space

October 25, 2017 by  
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Before astronauts ever venture to Mars , materials for a red planet habitat will undergo space testing. The inflatable Mars Ice Home , designed by Clouds Architecture Office (Clouds AO), Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch), and NASA’s Langley Research Center , could protect explorers from radiation in the extreme environment of Mars – and the materials that could comprise the dome will soon be assessed aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Mars Ice Home materials are to be blasted to space in November 2018, as part of the MISSE-11 mission. On the ISS, materials for the habitat’s wall assembly will be flight tested for an entire year, and material samples will even be mounted on the station’s exterior to see how they respond after a long period of time in space’s harsh environment. They’ll then return to Earth, so scientists can scrutinize how the materials performed. Related: NASA envisions ice dome home for future Mars dwellers Clouds AO said they are working with NASA’s Langley Research Center engineers on Mars Ice Home’s design , which they recently updated for a thicker ice wall. So far it appears the ice home could do a better job of shielding astronauts from radiation than aluminum ; Clouds AO said in a statement, “Using raytrace analysis based on the Badhwar-O’Neill 2014 model, an effective dose of 89 millisieverts per year was measured near the core of the latest Ice Home design. This represents a 48 to 50 percent reduction in radiation from Galactic Cosmic Rays, and a significant improvement of shielding over typical aluminum pressure vessels.” Ice can effectively protect humans from radiation, per Clouds AO’s design statement, and would also allow astronauts on Mars to live in a space with natural light , which would keep them connected to diurnal cycles. Water for Mars Ice Home would be sourced locally from the red planet, and could be repurposed as rocket fuel when it comes time to return to Earth. + Clouds AO + SEArch Images via NASA and NASA/Clouds AO/SEArch

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