Remote holiday home champions raw materials and minimal environmental impact

March 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Built to embrace the outdoors and radiate a sense of warmth, the Aculco project is an idyllic holiday home set in a pristine and remote landscape in Aculco, Mexico. Mexico City-based architectural firm PPAA designed the dwelling for two outdoors-loving brothers who had discovered the site on a rock climbing trip. Given the property’s isolated location and natural beauty, the project challenged the architects to use locally sourced materials and to minimize the visual and physical impact of the home on the surroundings. After the two brothers discovered the site years ago, they first purchased the plot and reforested the lands before reaching out to PPAA to design a holiday home where they could recharge and rest from the stresses of modern living. Not only did the property enjoy close proximity to impressive cliffs for rock climbing, but it was also blessed with untouched panoramic views. As a result, the clients and architects turned to nature as the primary source of inspiration and settled on a simple, low-maintenance design that would complement and pay deference to the landscape. “The architectural project was mainly guided by the qualities of the environment, so we sought to establish a reciprocal dialogue between the construction and its natural surrounding,” the architects explained of the house, which sports a rectangular floor plan and a simple one-pitch roof. Occupying an area of 969 square feet, the light-filled interior is centered on an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchenette. A bedroom on one end and a bathroom on the other flank the living spaces; a lofted bedroom is located above the bathroom unit. Related: This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof The property’s remote location also posed a major challenge in the construction phase, when the architects grappled with finding locally available labor and materials. As a result, the simple and low-maintenance design of the building was also born largely out of necessity. Locally quarried stone makes up the block walls of the house, while the clay for the floors, the timber and the glass were also procured locally . “We left every material in its raw state without covering it,” the architects noted. “The construction’s clear spaces become almost solely a container of views.” + PPAA Photography by Rafael Gamo via PPAA

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Remote holiday home champions raw materials and minimal environmental impact

Energy-efficient ‘tiny tower’ home is organized like a full-scale skyscraper

March 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Philadelphia-based firm ISA Architects has unveiled a stunning, 1,250-square-foot home that spans over a six-level steel tower. Located in the booming neighborhood of Brewerytown, the tiny tower, which is built to EnergyStar performance standards, is just 38 feet high but designed to operate like a full-scale skyscraper. The innovative, energy-efficient home was designed to demonstrate that going vertical could be the solution to the many urban design issues that are plaguing growing cities around the world. According to the architects, the tiny tower is a concept that could serve as a prototype for flexible-use buildings on underused urban lots with minimal building space. Built on a very compact 12’ by 29’ lot, the six-floor structure is a wooden frame covered in recycled steel paneling. Related: This staggered, residential tower is draped with greenery in Quito Going vertical enables each floor to define its own use. The interior living spaces are linked by a vertical circulation, the staircase, providing the design with optimal flexibility. Although the tower design could be used as retail or office space, this layout also works perfectly for any family  home . The lower levels of the tiny tower are dedicated to social areas, such as a window garden and open-air terrace, while the remaining upper levels are free to be used for individual purposes according to the family’s lifestyle. Connected to the main living volume is the staircase, which was strategically designed to be an integral part of the home. It provides a light-filled center that offers views of the exterior from every floor. According to the architects, the tower home could just be the next new thing for modern couples looking to live in urban areas. “Urban dwellers are increasingly willing to trade quantity of space for quality,” the firm said. “Living in a small unit in a vibrant, walkable neighborhood is more desirable than a larger home in a far-flung location. Tiny Tower demonstrates how small in scale can feel large in amenity and experience.” In addition to its potential to provide a viable solution for affordable urban housing, the home was also designed to be incredibly energy-efficient . Built to EnergyStar performance standards, the tiny tower uses a number of passive and active techniques to insulate the home. For starters, the white roof membrane significantly reduces summer heat gain. Ductless mini-split units on each level create individually controlled micro-zones throughout the interior; this also reduces energy use. + ISA Architects Via World Architecture Photography by Sam Oberter Photography via ISA Architects

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Energy-efficient ‘tiny tower’ home is organized like a full-scale skyscraper

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