Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

October 19, 2017 by  
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Water scarcity doesn’t just affect those in arid climates—areas in humid tropics also lack access to freshwater sources. National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) students in Taiwan tackle these water issues with AQUAIR, a portable fog-harvesting device that pulls potable water out of the air. Designed for use in remote mountainous areas in tropical latitudes, AQUAIR can be easily assembled with the addition of locally sourced materials with future aims of open source production. Though AQUAIR’s water collection system has widespread uses, NCKU design students Wei-Yee Ong, Hsin-Ju Lin, Shih-Min Chang, and Marco Villa created the workable prototype in response to Honduras’ water crisis. As the second poorest nation in Central America, Honduras is home to a large number of subsistence farmers and rural communities that lack access to clean water due to drought and groundwater contamination—issues also felt in rural mountainous Taiwan. Like most fog harvesting systems, AQUAIR collects water with a mesh waterproof fabric stretched across a bamboo structure to maximize airflow. The key to AQUAIR’s design is the fan and small centrifuge that use gravity—a 30-kilogram weight is attached to the structure—to draw collected water vapor down a tube and into a bucket. The collapsible structure can be assembled by hand, while locally sourced rocks and bamboo can be used for the weight and tensile structure, respectively. Related: Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments The design students plan to take their working prototype to Honduras in February where they’ll work together with the local community. “We also want the project to be easy to build and assemble, so the local people can easily access the parts or create their own versions of AQUAIR,” said Marco Villela. “We do not want the parts to be 3D printed, because the material is not strong enough, so the best and cheapest option would be to create a mold and use plastic or ABS injection techniques. In regards to the gears, we want to get more sturdy and durable gears, so while the cheaper parts of the system can be replaced, the gear box can last for as long as possible. The project is designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble, also if any part is defective, it is easy and cheap to replace.” AQUAIR recently received a Design Mark for innovation in environmental and humanitarian issues as part of the 2017 Golden Pin Concept Design Award . + Golden Pin Concept Design Award

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Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

Go way off-grid in this beautiful bamboo hut in tucked into Bali’s lush mountains

September 25, 2017 by  
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Adventurous travelers looking to go way, way off grid will love this beautiful bamboo haven located deep in Bali’s mountainous region of Gunung Agung. The Hideout Bali Hut , designed by Jarmil Lhoták and Alena Fibichová, sits adjacent to a peaceful riverbank and is just steps away from picturesque rice fields, letting guests experience the Balinese countryside. The Hideout Bali Hut is made completely out of locally-sourced bamboo. Jarmil Lhoták and Alena Fibichová used this sustainable material to create an incredibly durable structure with a low construction footprint. The bamboo used in Hideout’s construction is from the nearby Karangasem Mountains and it’s considered to be one of the best types of bamboo for building. Thanks to its growing height – usually about 800 meters above sea level – the flesh of the bamboo stalks have lower sugar levels, which results in a greater density and durability. Before construction, the stalks were treated with smoke and non-toxic products to increase their longevity. Related: Beautiful bamboo building withstands floods and storms in Vietnam The A-frame hut is supported by six pillars and topped with a thatched roof . The triangular shape of the house led the architects to install large triangular windows on the upper level, which provide stellar views while flooding the interior with natural light . The rest of the house is closely connected to its natural surroundings, and the garden features an outdoor shower surrounded by overhanging trees. + Hideout Bali Via Archdaily

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Go way off-grid in this beautiful bamboo hut in tucked into Bali’s lush mountains

Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

August 7, 2017 by  
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Windows are much more than just panes of glass in Anders Berensson Architects’ latest project in the Stockholm archipelago. The architects recently completed Look Out Lodge, a house extension built of locally sourced materials that functions like a standalone cabin. Custom-made prefabricated windows were added in the second phase of the project and define the areas for sleeping and working, all the while immersing the owner in nature. Clad in timber inside and out, Look Out Lodge was built on-site using local materials and building techniques. The two window additions—a Sky Tower and desk window—were prefabricated on site and slotted into place after the primary structure was completed. The small house extension is just large enough to accommodate a sleeping area and workspace. “Another goal with the design was to redefine the idea of a window as a flat readymade glass piece into an architectural element that creates its own space with a clear focus towards the outside,” wrote the architects. “This goal led to the design of a sky tower one can crawl into when being in bed totally dedicated to the sky and one corner window with a desk inserted to it that creates a work space on the inside and table for flowers on the outside with a clear focus and direction to the outside field.” The architects designed the Sky Tower to give the homeowners the countryside luxury of falling asleep beneath a starry sky. Topped with a round skylight and lined with spruce , the Sky Tower wraps around a custom-built bed and provides the perfect space to read during the day and for stargazing at night. The exterior draws on the local tradition of jigsaw facades and is punctuated by a pattern of native fauna and flora including large animals, amphibians, birds, flowers, and fish. Related: Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse The Desk Window prefabricated element is a corner unit that frames views of a wildflower meadow, one of the most beloved features of the Stockholm archipelago. The desk unit features a solar shade and a red terra-cotta concrete slab with holes for flower plants on the outside of the window, while a curved birch plywood tabletop with a round cut-out for sitting is located on the interior. Holes drilled into the desk are made for different purposes, including ventilation, cables, lamps, pencils, and even for pencil sharpening. + Anders Berensson Architects

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Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

UK man builds highly sustainable Passivhaus-standard home for his elderly parents

July 17, 2017 by  
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A UK man has built his parents the ultimate gift: a highly sustainable home where they can comfortably live out their lives in one of their favorite places on Earth—and it’s also a house that’s won numerous awards to boot. The loving son is Richard Pender, who began the self-built project, called Shawm , as a master’s student studying renewable energy at Newcastle University. Richard worked in collaboration with Dan Kerr of MawsonKerr Architects to create a beautiful airtight home in rural Northumberland that’s built to Passivhaus standards. Richard’s retired parents, Tony and Anne Pender, previously resided in a traditional farmhouse but needed a more modern home where they could comfortably age in place. To allow his parents to continue living in the beautiful yet wild landscapes of rural Northumberland, Richard lived and worked onsite to design and build a custom home with minimal environmental impact. Though Richard isn’t an architect, he drew on his experience with conventional property development projects and dedicated three years to research to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and detailing. Related: Colorado man builds state’s most energy efficient house The new Shawm home is located within a former farmyard behind the existing farmhouse. The timber-frame new-build is attached to an existing stone wall and features a traditional barn-like silhouette with a clean and contemporary appearance. Materials were sourced locally, such as the larch cladding from Borders and the bespoke furnishings built from trees felled onsite. Richard also manufactured the entire timber frame with a specially designed jig in an old hay shed. Since Shawm was built with Passivhaus principles, the low-impact and low-energy home features highly insulated fabric with airtight construction, thus doing away with any need for a space heating system. The house also includes mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, ‘passive’ solar gain through the south, and use of local and low-carbon materials wherever possible. However, because the site on which Shawm is built is oriented to the north, the home was unable to attain Passivhaus certification. A small biomass pellet boiler provides space heating and domestic hot water in the winter. A solar array powers the house year-round, while rainwater is stored and pumped around the home for non-potable uses. Shawm is also disability friendly and includes ramps, electric blinds, and intercom front door control. The Shawm house won four Regional RIBA Awards, a National RIBA Award, and is long-listed for the RIBA House of the Year 2017 . + Shawm House Via Dezeen Images via Shawm House , by Renderloft

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UK man builds highly sustainable Passivhaus-standard home for his elderly parents

Biomimetic Eye_Beacon mimics deep-sea creatures in a hypnotic light show

July 17, 2017 by  
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UNStudio and MDT-tex have tapped into the ocean’s murky depths for their design of the Eye_Beacon, a sculptural pavilion for the Amsterdam Light Festival. Illuminated with LEDs to create a hypnotic pulsating light show, the colorful art installation draws inspiration from the bioluminescence of deep-sea creatures. The pavilion was created as the festival’s ticketing and information booth, and follows this year’s theme of biomimicry . Installed on the western side of the ‘Blauwburg’ next to the river Amstel , Eye_Beacon is an eye-catching pavilion that serves as the first stop for visitors to the festival. The structure also connects the ‘Watercolour’ canal route with the ‘Illuminade’ land route. The sculptural pavilion comprises two interconnected cube forms that are twisted to create a dynamic shape with 316 uneven panels. The designers used parametric optimization to determine the pavilion’s openings and complex, curved shape. MDT-tex developed the 2D and 3D tensile textile modules that make up the pavilion. Focused LED projections on the inside of the tensile structure turn the pavilion into constantly morphing composition of light and color ranging from orange sunset hues to neon greens and blues. Related: Amsterdam’s Light Festival Sets the City Aglow With Magical LED Installations “Similar to deep sea creatures that use bioluminescence to signal, attract and inform, the Eye_Beacon uses choreographed light sequences to alert visitors to its dual function as both a sculpture and an information point for the festival,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. “Along with the effect of the pavilion partially overhanging the Amstel River, the twist that connects the two halves of the structure emphasises the crossing point between the land and water routes of the festival.” + UNStudio + MDT-tex Photo credit: Janus van den Eijnden

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Biomimetic Eye_Beacon mimics deep-sea creatures in a hypnotic light show

Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home

July 12, 2017 by  
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A shipping container brings a sense of drama to this beautiful modern home on the tropical island of Lombok east of Bali. Indonesian architect Budi Pradono designed the Clay House, a luxury residence elevated on concrete stilts with views overlooking the Indian Ocean, paddy fields, and tropical forest. The building, which was conceived as a landmark for the island, is topped with a large shipping container placed at a sharp angle to appear as if it were slipping off. Located on a hill in Selong Belanak, the Clay House (nicknamed Seven Havens) comprises two elevated structures built with locally sourced materials . The 2.2-meter-tall shipping container, for instance, was sourced from the port of a nearby island and was placed at an angle of 60 degrees, creating a tall ceiling for the master bedroom to bring extra natural light indoors. The architect also built the 30-centimeter-thick walls from clay collected 20 kilometers from the site that was mixed by local craftsmen with sand, cement, straw, and cow dung. The board-marked clay walls help keep the interior naturally cool. Related: Modern recycled container house in South Africa operates 100% off grid The contemporary interior is grounded by the use of a natural materials palette that also helps complement the heavy building materials. Flattened bamboo lines the interior, while stone tiling is used throughout. The home is organized with open layouts and positioned to optimize views of the outdoors. + Budi Pradono Via Dezeen Images via Budi Pradono

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Shipping container delivers heightened drama to a modern island home

Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

June 23, 2017 by  
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French rustic charms and modern luxuries come together in this beautiful tiny home on wheels. France’s tiny house company Baluchon has outdone themselves again in their latest build called the Ostara, a tiny home built on a six-meter trailer. Currently located near a horse farm in Toulouse, the light-filled timber abode looks surprisingly spacious despite its small size and sleeps two in a loft bedroom. Custom built for clients Nathalie and Sebastien, Ostara was named after the stable close to the tiny home’s location. Although charming and rustic on the outside, the spruce -clad Ostara makes a grand impression with its large French doors flanked with curtains that open up to a light-filled living room. A large 1.8-meter-long sofa forms the living room’s focal point and can also comfortably lodge an overnight guest. A small bookcase, wood-burning stove , and a small dining table that accommodates three people is located to the left. To the right of the living room is the kitchen with a full-size sink, pantry, two-burner stovetop, fridge/freezer, and a gorgeous extendable wooden countertop. The bathroom with a full-size shower and composting toilet are tucked into the end of the home. Related: Fully-furnished tiny house from France easily fits a family of three A corner staircase with built-in storage leads up to the mezzanine with a large loft bed . Multiple double-glazed openings, including a broad bay window and one-meter-wide circular window, punctuate the home and provide views of the horses and rural surroundings. Sheep wool, cotton, linen, hemp, and wood fibers were used for insulation. The home is made from locally sourced materials. Baluchon’s beautiful homes are only delivered in France due to the company’s desire to limit carbon emissions. + Baluchon Via Tiny House Talk

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Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

Dreamy treehouse hidden by Woodstock offers magnificent Catskills views

June 15, 2017 by  
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A perfect getaway surrounded by nature is hidden away near the town of Woodstock. UK-based Antony Gibbon Designs crafted this blissful retreat, called Inhabit Treehouse, that’s nestled within dense forest less than a two-hour drive from New York City. Built from locally and sustainably sourced reclaimed timber , Inhabit treehouse offers beautiful and cozy digs with stunning views of a lake and the Catskills mountain range beyond. Built for a family with plans of opening the treehouse up to rentals, Inhabit Treehouse is a small and efficiently designed space with all the comforts of home. FSC-certified reclaimed cedar sourced from the Catskills valley clads the treehouse , while FSC-certified reclaimed pine lines the interior. The timber facade will develop an attractive patina over time to help the building blend into the landscape. Large windows open the treehouse up to natural light and views of the outdoors. Guests can also reconnect with nature from the two balconies on either side of the building. The treehouse interior comprises an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room with a wood-burning stove ; a spacious loft bedroom; shower and bathroom; and a second bedroom in the rear that could easily be transformed into an office. A large terrace beneath the treehouse leads down to the lake and a hot tub. Related: Incredible teepee-shaped ORKA house is made from 24 interlacing beams “Inhabit Treehouse contrasts geometric forms against the organic forms of the forest but still blends into the surroundings with its timber materials,” Antony Gibbons told Inhabitat. “New trees were also planted close to the structure to help strengthen the idea that the building cuts through the forest and is semi-camouflaged into its surroundings. The sharp geometric angles of the Interior also created an interesting layout that pushed away from 90 degree corners as much as possible.” + Antony Gibbons Design Images via Antony Gibbons Design

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Dreamy treehouse hidden by Woodstock offers magnificent Catskills views

Elegant Australian home shows the beauty and toughness of rammed earth

June 14, 2017 by  
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Rammed earth may be an ancient building material, but the modern homes that use compact earth are anything but old-fashioned. One such example is Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers’ recently completed Layer House, a robust and elegant home in Victoria, Australia that keeps naturally cool with rammed earth walls. Made from local materials by local artisans, the rammed earth is paired with timber to create a beautiful palette that will last the test of time. Built to last generations, the large 470-square-meter Layer House was designed with an eye for detail and quality. The home derives its name from the intersecting zones and private vistas created from an asymmetrical layout that wraps around a series of courtyards . Rammed earth and timber are the two main building materials in the Layer House. The architects write: “The sand component of the rammed earth is locally sourced and built by local artisans. Rammed earth is a sustainable, honest, and efficient building material that requires no maintenance and ages gracefully. The timber will be allowed to grey off and age with time.” A few vibrant pops of color, such as the green tiled island bench and blue sofa, provide contrast to the pale color palette. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The low-maintenance rammed earth walls provide a thermal mass for passive cooling in summer and heating in winter. Energy efficiency is further improved with double glazed and thermally broken aluminum doors and windows. Louvers control the flow of cross ventilation, while hydronic heating is embedded into the concrete floors. + Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers Via ArchDaily Images © Shannon McGrath

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Elegant Australian home shows the beauty and toughness of rammed earth

This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

June 5, 2017 by  
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This underground holiday home in Greece is topped with a green roof that offers panoramic views of the Peloponnese peninsula. The owners commissioned LASSA Architects to design a house that would activate the periphery of the plot and provide a vantage point from which to observe the surroundings. The 1614-square-foot Villa Ypsilon is located in an olive grove in southern Peloponnese. A three-pronged concrete shell forms the roof and establishes three courtyards with different exposures to the sun. An eye-shaped swimming pool and sun deck are partially sheltered underneath a concrete lip that defines the green roof. Two other curved facades frame a sunken seating area and the main entrance to the building. Related: Take a Peek at a Stunning Secret Swiss Villa Hidden Into a Mountainside! “The design of the concrete shell and the courtyards’ orientation is such that it produces shadows at specific times of the day,” said the architects. “We are interested in the idea of form integration. That is, that form can be the result of overlapping and precise design decisions . . . in this case the vaulting concrete shell is structural, its bisecting axes frames specific views, its sloping [form] makes it walkable and its extent is a result of environmental optimization.” Related: Beautiful Underground Aloni House Blends in With The Earth Most of the structure is prefabricated, which significantly reduced assembly costs and construction time. The architects used a CNC machine to fabricate prototypes of the concrete shell and develop the final shape of the house. The use of locally sourced materials – such as concrete, terrazzo and marble – root the design in its cultural and geographic context. + LASSA Architects Via Dezeen Photos by NAARO

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This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

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