This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels

October 9, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based design studio  Knowhow Shop  has unveiled Lighthouse — a digitally-crafted micro-pod on wheels meant to revolutionize the world of low-impact, urban design. The name refers to the light weight of the 150-square-foot structure. The work studio’s unique, asymmetrical volume was put together with everything from boat building materials to film industry hardware through prefabrication techniques. The design was the brainchild of architects Kagan Taylor and Justin Rice, who built the micro-structure right in their own backyard. Built like a piece of furniture rather than a building, the inspiration for Lighthouse came from the idea to create a new form of architecture that would provide a better, more practical solution for office design with minimal site impact . Related: The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer’s studio built with reclaimed wood To give the structure mobility, the pod is built on industrial casters such as those on roll-off dumpsters. As a result, the office can be moved easily to be used as an individual structure or combined with other structures to create a nest of pods. Its small stature is perfect to fit into forgotten urban areas where new construction isn’t possible. Instead of a regular cube or rectangular form, Lighthouse features a futuristic, geometric volume painted all white. The facade is made out of various SIPs ( Structural Insulated Panels ) that are joined together with film industry hardware. The glass front door, as well as the structure as a whole, has no right angles. Inside, the aesthetic is quite minimalist, with long, thin desks attached to the length of the walls and a shelving unit at the back. A large skylight and horizontal window flood the interior with natural light. The minimal design, height and abundance of natural light enhance the interior, making it seem much larger than it really is. “We were surprised by the difference in perceived space from the outside vs. the inside,” the architects said. “From within our office feels much larger than it looks from outside, and it is something that most visitors comment on immediately.” + Knowhow Shop Via Wallpaper Photography by Stephen Schauer . His work can be viewed at his Instagram page . Aerial shot by Nephew LA .

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This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels

A hygrothermal-optimized house boasts thermal comfort with volcano views

October 4, 2018 by  
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Known for its hot and humid summers, the Costa Rican town of Naranjo de Alajuela can be a tricky place to build a cool and comfortable home with a small energy footprint. Yet San Rafael de Escazú-based design studio 10?84? Arquitectura shows that crafting a naturally cool home can be a breeze if you employ the right passive design strategies. One such example can be seen in the VV Residence, a 2,023-square-foot abode that features a well-ventilated environment as well as a strong connection to nature, including spectacular northern vistas of three volcanoes and the Central Valley. The key to the design of VV Residence was 10?84? Arquitectura’s approach to the home’s hygrothermal properties, an assessment that led to careful management of the building’s heat and moisture so as to prevent early degradation and homeowner discomfort. To that end, the one-bedroom home was strategically oriented to minimize excessive thermal load, and openings were maximized to capitalize on the existing views of nature and promote natural ventilation . A solar study informed the placement of sun overhangs and blinds; the north and south-facing facades, for instance, were constructed with vertical and horizontal solar shades to protect the interior from direct solar radiation. To promote natural ventilation and passive cooling, the architects designed double-height spaces and installed glass louver windows. Ample glazing also lets in plenty of natural light to help reduce energy demands. Moreover, VV Residence is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system that supplies water for home sanitation and irrigation as well as solar hot water heaters. To reduce landscape impact, the building’s steel structure was pre-cut offsite, and the surrounding landscape design incorporated existing native species. Related: Natural stone and an expansive green roof blend the stunning Gozu House into the Andes Mountains “Through the incorporation of various passive design strategies, the VV Residence reaches a high performance level in reducing its environmental impact and energy use during its life cycle,” the architects explained. “The project achieves a high hygrothermal comfort rating while taking full advantage of its surrounding environment to create optimal living spaces without sacrificing connections with nature and the surrounding landscape.” + 10?84? Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images by Adrián Aguilar González

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A hygrothermal-optimized house boasts thermal comfort with volcano views

Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun

July 12, 2018 by  
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San Antonio’s idyllic Confluence Park just became a little greener and more scenic, thanks to a collaboration between firms Lake Flato and Matsys Design with the support of landscape architect Rialto Studio . The riverfront park now boasts sweeping sculptural pavilions that provide shade from the fierce Texas sun as well as an elegant method for collecting rainwater. Confluence Park is located where the San Pedro Creek merges into the San Antonio River. Covering just over three acres, the public park now features a main pavilion , three smaller pavilions and a classroom. Flowing water and confluence served as strong influences these new structures, which imitate the sculptural atmosphere of the surrounding landscape. The team strategically designed these additions for minimal site impact . The focal point of the park is the main pavilion. This structure is constructed from 22 concrete pieces resembling petals, which were made on site and lifted into place. The pieces form giant archways that are illuminated at night with subtle accent lighting that merges seamlessly into the swooping petal formations. The main pavilion as well as the smaller pavilions are both beautiful and functional. The petal shapes help to funnel rainwater that is collected in the park’s catchment system. This system serves as the park’s main water source. In addition to collecting water, the pavilions provide a cool respite from the fierce summer heat that often plagues southern Texas . The Estella Avery Education Center stands near the main pavilion. This structure generates 100 percent of the energy it uses through solar panels while offering a space for the city’s residents to learn more about the San Antonio River watershed and surrounding environment. The green roof that tops the classroom is planted with native grasses and allows for passive heating and cooling through thermal mass. Thanks to the new classroom and pavilions, Confluence Park now offers more opportunities for park-goers to learn and explore the local environment . “Confluence Park is a living laboratory that allows visitors to gain a greater understanding of the ecotypes of the South Texas region and the function of the San Antonio River watershed,” Lake Flato architects said. “Throughout the park, visitors learn through observation, engagement and active participation.” + Lake Flato + Matsys + Rialto Studio Via Dezeen Images via Casey Dunn

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Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun

This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

July 12, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of going to outer space, prepare to swoon over this spacecraft-inspired tiny home  perched on the edge of the Columbia River in Central Washington. The holiday home — named the Lunar Lander — was designed and built by Kurt Hughes, a naval architect of Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs , who applied boat-building techniques to make the unique structure habitable, comfortable and environmentally friendly. Elevated off the ground on steel pillars, the off-grid, geometric abode measures only 250 square feet and weighs 3,000 pounds. Inspired by the image of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, Hughes sought to create a tiny house with futuristic features, both in appearance and in function. Drawing on his years-long experience with boat- and home-building, Hughes used the latest marine composite technology to construct the dwelling, which is waterproof, airtight  and resistant to vermin, mold and insects. An air-to-air heat exchanger provides comfort and ventilation. The Lunar Lander has neither roofing nor siding, and it is primarily built of plywood, epoxy and fiberglass . Related: Subterranean fridge pod: keep food cold without electricity “The Lunar Lander is not only an interesting configuration, but an homage to a time when people did new things,” explained Hughes of his desire to push the envelope. “Innovators were prized, not feared. And what’s more, the actual Apollo astronauts trained some 25 miles from where this project is sited. The Lunar Lander can rest comfortably on drastic, uneven terrain, with virtually no environmental footprint .” Related: Sail your worries away on this solar-powered floating tiny home Topped with a transparent geodesic dome that fills the tiny home with natural light, the interior features external modules for the bathroom, galley, dining space and storage. A stairway leads down to the sleeping space. Solar panels are affixed to the top of the structure, and the unit is optimized for minimal maintenance. Hughes has also expressed the possibility of making larger models of the Lunar Lander in the future. + Kurt Hughes Sailing Designs Images via Kurt Hughes

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This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world

A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

June 11, 2018 by  
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St. Petersburg-based architecture firm Rhizome group designed and built Tochka na Karte Hotel, a prefabricated structure crafted to embrace the outdoors. Located in the northern Russian town of Priozersk in Leningrad Oblast, the hotel complex is a sleek and modern getaway nestled among mature pine trees. The use of modular technology has helped reduce construction waste and minimize site impact , including the preservation of existing trees. Located just a two-hour drive north of St. Petersburg , the Tochka na Karte Hotel (Russian for ‘a point on the map’) is set on the shore of Lake Ladoga on the border of the Republic of Karelia. Due to its proximity to St. Petersburg, historical points of interest and abundance of pristine nature, the area has long served as a major tourist destination for Russians and foreigners alike. The hotel taps into the region’s natural beauty by using floor-to-ceiling glazing to frame outdoor views from every room, thus blurring the line between indoors and out. The prefabricated building comprises three two-story blocks with 32 standard rooms, detached suites (built of two modules) and a reception building (assembled from three modules and some prefabricated elements). The modules, which measure 3.5 meters by 7 meters, were constructed in a factory and then assembled on site. Stairways and terraces connect the modular blocks. The facade was built of timber and dark metal to tie the building into the wooded landscape. To further blend the hotel into its pine forest backdrop, the structures were “dispersed” among existing mature pines near where the Vuoski River meets Lake Ladoga. Related: This minimalist prefab hotel offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps “We believe we succeeded in achieving the essence of a place inherent to modern Nordic architecture,” the architects wrote. “Terrain forms, trees layout and our strive to provide a view of the shore from every room constitute the buildings’ location on the site.” + Rhizome Images by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov

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A prefab hotel with lakeside views pops up in northern Russia

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