HW-Studio transforms a warehouse into a food market in Mexico

August 9, 2018 by  
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When local architecture practice HW-Studio was tapped to redevelop an abandoned warehouse into a food market in the Mexican city of Morelia, the firm looked to the site’s extant conditions and the surroundings for inspiration. HW-Studio founder and lead project architect Rogelio Vallejo Bores was born and raised in the city and loved the site’s sense of solitude — a quality that he says is uncommon in the downtown of any Mexican city. As a result, he and his team used a minimalist design and material palette to create a food market, named the Mercado ‘Cantera’ (also known as the Morelia Market), that would defer to its surroundings. Completed this year on a budget of approximately $80,000 USD, the new food market in Morelia spans an area of 3,444 square feet. Before the architects began work on the design, they studied the perimeter and found it was located two blocks from one of the country’s most important music schools — a former convent of XCI Century Dominican nuns of Santa Catalina de Siena — as well as one of the most beloved and popular city squares, Las Rosas. Then the architects mapped out the most popular food spots in the area and found that people congregated in the public squares to eat. As a result, the guiding principles of the food market are borrowed from the design of public squares, from the use of natural materials, axial routes and sense of openness and connection with nature. “We thought that the place had lost its soul,” said the architects of the warehouse due to its numerous renovations. “Everything antique with architectural value would be rescued, and the new would formally and materially have a different nature: a white and defined nature that would demonstrate its own presence and its own historical and conceptual moment. With this, we would try to achieve a balance between the new and the old.” Related: Grain silo transformed into a community food hall in the Netherlands In contrast to the stone walls and other antique details that were preserved, the architects inserted minimalist and modern white volumes to house the food vendors. They also added a new tree-lined central corridor between the new volumes to emphasize the open-air market’s connection with the outdoors. The eating areas are located on the top of the stalls. The architects noted, “Its most important function is to frame, without exclusion, the different layers of architectural history left over the centuries.” + HW-Studio Via Dezeen Images by Bruno Gómez de la Cueva

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HW-Studio transforms a warehouse into a food market in Mexico

The Goldtree House is designed for sustainable family living

August 3, 2018 by  
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When kids hit their teens, your house suddenly feels smaller. The atmosphere is hectic, groups of friends traipse in and out, and parents often retreat to a bedroom for peace and quiet. However, one clever family with teenage twins got ahead of the curve, asking Hartree and Associates Architects to remodel their home to accommodate these changes and create a private apartment for the parents down the road. The owners of the Goldtree House, a 1950s home in East Fremantle, Australia, wanted the renovation to include ample space for their children to entertain guests, as well as help the house withstand frequently inclement weather. They also needed a revamp that adhered to their firm budget while providing the best views of nearby Fremantle Harbor. The first step was removing the existing roof and constructing a new top story. The added level includes a new master bedroom, plenty of living space, and a kitchen with sweeping views all around. The owners envision this level as their private “apartment” many years in the future. The ground level is devoted to the needs and tastes of teenagers and their friends. The internal spaces were simplified and revamped to include ample views of the surrounding landscape as well as optimum sunlight and a current of internal breezes. The floor plan easily flows from the entryway to the great room for adolescent games and socializing. It also provides easy access to the terrace, thriving garden and pool, the latter of which was designed to eliminate the need for a privacy fence. Related: A 1950s house receives a bioclimatic renovation in Mexico Besides a photovoltaic solar panel array , the home also includes eco-friendly water and energy management through natural air ventilation, energy-efficient fixtures and equipment, and native garden plants that require minimum watering. Two wind turbines and storage batteries for power are also part of the home’s green technology. The twins were involved in the renovation from inception through completion, which gave them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. They proudly share the outcome with their friends. + Hartree and Associates Architects Images via Robert Frith

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The Goldtree House is designed for sustainable family living

A 1950s house receives a bioclimatic renovation in Mexico

July 23, 2018 by  
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When Mexican architecture practice Hector Delmar Arquitectura was tapped to renovate a dark and dated 1950s house in the city of Naucalpan, it did more than just update the dwelling to modern standards. The architects dramatically opened the existing structure up to light and the outdoors, expanded the footprint to a site area of 8,288 square feet and applied bioclimatic and sustainable strategies such as radiant floors and solar photovoltaic panels. The breezy home — called the C260 House — erases boundaries between the light-filled interiors and the lushly-planted landscape. Set on an old garden with large trees, the original 1950s flat-roofed house suffered from a lack of ventilation . In renovating the building, the architects began by tearing back layers of materials applied to the building after numerous alterations to reveal 21-centimeter-thick brick walls and concrete slabs that the architects retained as their starting point. The team also knocked down some walls to expose the home to cross breezes and installed thin protruding roofs to offer shelter from the elements and to give the residence an airy  pavilion -like feel throughout. The team also focused on using reclaimed and recycled materials in renovating the old home. “Carpentry and wooden features were reclaimed from demolition, also timber beams were reclaimed from a demolished restaurant nearby and used for shading the terrace and other additions,” the architects said. Related: This sustainable bioclimatic home is made of volcanic ash and prickly pear fibers The primary rooms of the home were moved to the new addition, while the old structure is now used for secondary functions including a gymnasium, three bathrooms, a dressing room, pool and service areas. Outdoor areas were carved from the garden to further emphasize the home’s connection with the landscape, and the concrete slab slopes were modified to capture storm water and to optimize thermal mass. The house is also equipped with solar hot water heaters, water pumps, radiant floors and a solar array. + Hector Delmar Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Luis Gordoa

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A 1950s house receives a bioclimatic renovation in Mexico

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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Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

July 16, 2018 by  
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Renowned Mexican architect Alberto Kalach has designed a series of idyllic timber cabins along the Pacific Ocean in Oaxaca , Mexico. Available to rent on Airbnb, these cabins were developed as part of the Punta Pájaros, an ecological development located approximately 25 minutes from Puerto Escondido, a port town with stunning surf, pristine beaches and a buzzing nightlife. The cabins, which are strategically placed away from the hustle and bustle and are oriented to face the ocean, offer a blissful opportunity to reconnect with nature in all directions. The Alberto Kalach-designed cabins include Casa Mar and Casa Arena as well as eight other cabins with private pools and gardens. These holiday getaways are built almost entirely of timber and are raised approximately a meter above the ground to minimize site impact. Each dwelling is fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and al fresco shower. Sliding doors built of palm wood completely open the interior up to the landscape, let in cooling cross breezes and provide panoramic views of the stunning landscape. “Each cabin was designed based on a simple wooden structure, reticulated in modules of 3 x 3m, concentrating the wet core at the center of the house, to leave a bedroom and common area at opposite ends with views of the landscape and a wide perimeter covered terrace,” explained Kalach’s firm. “Using the same modulation, other rooms were allocated to kitchen and dining services. The houses are camouflaged in the local landscape, being identifiable only by their twisted water covers, which look like bird profiles.” Related: Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico The cabins face a long, nearly private beach with rock climbing and fishing opportunities on one end and the Manialtepec Lagoon on the other. The cabins are also very close to Casa Wabi , a multicultural and multidisciplinary community artists’ retreat designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando . The cabins start at around $200 USD a night. + Alberto Kalach Images via Alberto Kalach

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Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

Translucent concrete walls dramatically light up Jordans Capital Bank

May 23, 2018 by  
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Translucent concrete walls add drama and beauty to a recently completed Capital Bank in Amman, Jordan. Located on ritzy Cairo Street in Abdoun, the new Capital Bank VIP branch marks the first worldwide use of LUCEM Lichtbeton , a type of concrete with translucent properties. When backlit with LEDs or sunlight, the LUCEM translucent concrete panels create a stunning display of light and shadow for an elegant effect befitting the bank’s “boutique” character. Architect Saja Nahashibi , founding partner of PARADIGM DH, Amman, collaborated with German company LUCEM to develop the Capital Bank VIP branch. Taking inspiration from the surrounding architecture, the building sports a contemporary design and is clad in Taffouh stone. The architect minimized openings in the facade to preserve the privacy of the neighbors as well as the bank employees and customers. Transparent concrete panels were applied to the 46-foot-tall stairwell, which is made up of 30-millimeter-thick LUCEM light concrete panels mounted on a steel structure above undercut anchors. “The design was based on the idea that nature flows through the staircase in the form of light and shadow plays,” says LUCEM. “With the use of translucent light concrete, the architects and lighting planners are setting a striking example of how external walls can dissolve the contradiction between massiveness and lightness through translucency .” Related: Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico The concrete’s translucent feature comes from the integration of millions of embedded optical fibers, which transmit light through the material. When sunlight or LEDs shine on the material, the light that passes through makes the concrete appear translucent, creating a dramatic play of light and shadow. The silhouettes of people in the building are also projected through the panels. When not backlit, the LUCEM translucent panels look like light concrete or natural stone to match the color of the bank facade. The translucent LUCEM light concrete panels were also paired with LUCEM PURE concrete panels without optical fibers in order to maintain a consistent appearance. + PARADIGM DH + LUCEM Images via LUCEM

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Translucent concrete walls dramatically light up Jordans Capital Bank

These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

May 23, 2018 by  
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New York-based Fiedler Marciano Architecture has unveiled a pair of gorgeous artist studios set on 450 acres of idyllic forested landscape. Created for students of the I-Park Foundation ‘s in-residence art program, the design concept is a modern take on the local New England vernacular of pitched roofs and wood siding. The studios emit a strong sense of serenity and privacy and are strategically crafted for contemplation and creation. Located just outside of East Haddam, Connecticut, the cabins host students who are enrolled in the I-Park Foundation’s live-in residential program. The architects worked with the foundation’s organizers to design a private, tranquil work environment for young artists . According to the program description, “From May through November, artists of every stripe come for a month to live, work and commune with colleagues — and all in a much cherished, serene and ‘distraction free’ environment. The place affects the work, and the work most certainly affects the place, with the ephemeral art that populates the woods, fields, trails and pond creating a perpetual sense of discovery and delight.” Related: 6 Brilliant Studios Perfect For The Eco Artist Each artist studio is approximately 1,000 square feet. The exterior is clad in dark cedar siding and topped with galvanized metal roofs that slant to pay homage to the pitched roofs traditionally found in the area. Both studios have wide front porches, which offer residents a quiet place for contemplation. They are also steps away from a network of walking paths that lead through the forest. Inside, an expansive north-facing glass wall creates a strong connection with the bucolic surroundings. Both studios take advantage of  natural light , which fills the interior from early morning until late afternoon. The designers intentionally left the walls blank, so the students could display their works of art. + Fiedler Marciano Architecture + I-Park Foundation Photography by Chris Cooper via Fiedler Marciano Architecture

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These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

An old 1930s home gets a modern makeover into a cozy beach cabin

May 23, 2018 by  
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Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig is no stranger to cabin design, having completed many beautiful retreats across the Pacific Northwest. So, when Alan Maskin, principal and owner of Olson Kundig, decided to a renovate and expand an original 1938 beach cabin on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the results were nothing short of spectacular. In keeping with Maskin’s love for “the various uses of history,” the Agate Pass Cabin deftly combines the spirit of the 1930s with a modern refresh. Located on the shore overlooking Agate Pass, the Agate Pass Cabin came about when Maskin began searching for a home located between his “work life and love life,” formerly separated by a three-hour commute. It was then that he found a rundown 1930s cabin that won him over with its nice proportions, stained wood interiors and potential. The original structure was only one-story with low ceilings and an attic. Maskin expanded the property to 1,100 square feet and added a second story fronted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that frame views of the water and Agate Pass. The second floor also opens up to a small terrace built atop the original screened-in porch, which was converted into a dining room and office. The existing interior was clad in wide planks of Douglas Fir  — a plentiful and popular material choice in the area 100 years ago. Whenever those panels were removed or altered, Maskin repurposed them into everything from cabinetry to ceilings. Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials “Throughout the design, Maskin worked to make the different construction periods legible,” Olson Kundig said. “Modern additions are demarcated with different wood types from the original planks, making it clear to see what was ‘then’ and what is ‘now.’” To develop a spacious feel, Maskin removed the attic and the living room’s low ceiling to create a cathedral ceiling that soars to 17 feet tall at the gable. The design team added new foundations and made seismic upgrades. Maskin also designed most of the built-in furniture and cabinets, much of it made with glulam plywood . + Olson Kundig Images by Aaron Leitz and Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig

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An old 1930s home gets a modern makeover into a cozy beach cabin

Bio-inspired membrane captures 90% of CO2 in power plant emissions

May 8, 2018 by  
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Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a new biologically inspired membrane that can capture carbon dioxide from power plant smoke. Sandia fellow and University of New Mexico regents’ professor Jeff Brinker said, “Our inexpensive method follows nature’s lead in our use of a water-based membrane only 18 nanometers thick that incorporates natural enzymes to capture 90 percent of carbon dioxide released. This is almost 70 percent better than current commercial methods, and it’s done at a fraction of the cost.” Brinker said that, in the past, it has been prohibitively expensive to remove CO2 from coal smoke with available polymer membranes. However, his team’s membrane boasts a “relatively low cost of $40 per ton.” The researchers call the membrane a ‘memzyme’ because it operates like a filter but is near-saturated with carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme “developed by living cells over millions of years to help rid themselves of carbon dioxide efficiently and rapidly.” University of New Mexico professor Ying-Bing Jiang came up with the concept of employing watery membranes, inspired by processes in the human body that separate out CO2. Brinker said the arrangement of the membrane inside the flue of a generating station would be similar to a catalytic converter in a car. Related: 18-year-old invents cheaper CO2 capture tech to fight climate change The work is patented and energy companies have shown interest. In addition, the membranes have worked efficiently for months in laboratory settings. Nature Communications published the work online earlier this month; researchers from other institutions in the United States contributed. + Sandia National Laboratories + Nature Communications Images via Randy Montoya and courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories

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Cows could one day be the largest land mammals left because of human activity

April 24, 2018 by  
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The world’s biggest land mammal is the African bush elephant , which can be up to 13 feet tall and 24 feet long. But this elephant — and giraffes, hippos and other large animals — could go extinct because of human activity, leaving the domestic cow as the biggest terrestrial mammal in a couple centuries. In a recent study, researchers scrutinized large mammal extinction as humans spread, and their study is, according to the University of New Mexico , “the first to quantitatively show … that size selective extinction is a hallmark of human activities and not the norm in mammal evolution.” Thousands of years ago, the spread of archaic humans from Africa coincided with extinction of megafauna, or large mammals, like sabre-toothed tigers and mammoths, The Guardian reported. “One of the most surprising finds was that 125,000 years ago, the average body size of mammals on Africa was already 50 percent smaller than on other continents,” said Felisa Smith, professor at the University of New Mexico and lead author of the study. “We suspect this means that archaic humans and other hominins had already influenced mammal diversity and body size in the late-Pleistocene.” Related: The world’s last male northern white rhino has died in Kenya The researchers compiled extensive data around mammal body size, geographic location, climate and extinction status in the past 125,000 years and modeled diversity and body size distributions for the next 200 years. The study also found that in 65 million years, climate changes didn’t lead to more extinctions. “We suspect that in the past, shifts in climate led to adaptation and movement of animals, not extinction,” said co-author Jonathan Payne of Stanford University . “Of course, today ongoing climate change may result in extinction since most megafauna are limited in how far they can move.” Smith said we’re really just starting to appreciate megafauna’s crucial roles in ecosystems. “For example, as they walk, their massive size compacts the soil, which can lead to changes in gas exchange or water tables. … We are not entirely sure what the potential loss of these ‘ecosystem engineers’ could lead to,” he said. “I hope we never find out.” The journal Science published the research this month. Scientists from the University of California, San Diego and University of Nebraska-Lincoln also contributed. + University of New Mexico + Science Via The Guardian Images via Michael Pujals on Unsplash and the University of New Mexico

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