Porous brick walls keep this bold Vietnamese home naturally cool

July 11, 2019 by  
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In an effort to beat the tropical heat in southern Vietnam’s Long An province, Ho Chi Minh City-based architecture firm Tropical Space created a home that maximizes natural ventilation. Dubbed the Long An House, the residence takes inspiration from traditional Vietnamese architecture but uses contemporary design elements to create an energy-efficient house that follows the local vernacular yet stands out with a minimalist design. Topped with a sloped roof divided in two parts, the home features porous brick walls, an open-sky courtyard and a layout that harnesses the region’s cooling crosswinds. Spanning an area of nearly 3,230 square feet, the Long An House includes two floors arranged around a central courtyard open to the sky. A simple construction palette of brick and concrete defines the minimalist building, which is punctuated by views of greenery throughout. Brick is featured in the home in a variety of ways, not only as a structural and facade material but is also used for cooling the home. The front yard is paved with hollow clay bricks, which can absorb the rain and reduce heat on the floor, while porous brick walls let wind and light through without compromising privacy. “The Vietnam traditional house is stretched from front to back creating continuous functional spaces,” the architects noted in a project statement. “These spaces’ boundaries are estimated by light with different intensity and darkness. The layout utilizes the wind direction of the local area in different seasons.” Related: A “green veil” of plants protects this home from Ho Chi Minh City’s heat Oriented east to west, the Long An House is entered from the west-facing front yard with a vegetable garden that connects to the living area through massive glazed doors that fold open to allow cross-breezes to blow through the length of the home. The courtyard with a pool occupies the center of the home and is flanked by two corridors. The one to the north contains a galley kitchen, while a terrace is found on the south side. The rear of the home comprises a master bedroom and another courtyard (also with folding glass doors) with access to the chicken coop. Two en suite bedrooms are located on the upper floor. + Tropical Space Photography by Oki Hiroyuki via Tropical Space

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Porous brick walls keep this bold Vietnamese home naturally cool

Chic prefab home annex pops up with speed and efficiency in Mexico

July 1, 2019 by  
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When a client pressed for time approached SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos to design his home annex, the Mexico City-based architectural firm decided that prefabrication would be the best way to abide by the tight construction timeframe. Built offsite in a factory and then transported to the client’s property for final assembly, the modular abode— named Casa Molina—proves that quick construction can translate to beautiful results. Completed in 2015, the chic and contemporary two-bedroom annex embraces a minimalist aesthetic and outdoor living in Mexico. Spanning approximately 1,800 square feet, Casa Molina comprises a set of modules with dimensions— nearly 24 feet by nearly 8 feet— determined by the transport vehicle. The building was prefabricated in an off-site workshop where all the lighting, electrical, plumbing, and finishes of the floors, walls and ceilings were fitted into place before the modules were shipped to the site. A foundation was prepared at the site and the modules were assembled over several days. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days Set within a steel structural frame and elevated off the ground, the modules are arranged in a roughly L-shaped layout that consists of the larger bedroom wing on the south side and the communal spaces on the north end, housed within three modules. The private and public wings are connected with a centrally located terrace with a wide set of stairs that lead up from the grass to the elevated building. In keeping with the quick construction timeframe, a minimalist material palette was used. The black steel framing was left exposed and paired with gray floor tiles throughout while engineered timber planks add a sense of warmth into the space. The timber furnishings and soft fabrics also soften the industrial feel of the boxy annex. The communal areas are fully exposed to the outdoors, while the bedrooms are enclosed for comfort. + SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos Via Archdaily Images by Cesar Béjar

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Chic prefab home annex pops up with speed and efficiency in Mexico

Prym Fashion unveils eco-friendly clothing snaps made from plants and recycled bottles

July 1, 2019 by  
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The fashion industry is well-known for wasteful practices in manufacturing, including excessive water consumption and chemical run-off. The fast fashion trend has lead to massive amounts of clothing waste that are not worthy of donating or recycling. In many cases, sourcing materials is a matter of finding what is cheap regardless of the effect on the planet. However, Prym Fashion takes materials seriously with a laser focus on every detail, right down to the snap on your favorite shirt. While we are seeing a trend toward incorporating more sustainable fabrics into clothing, the smaller details such as snaps can have just as large of a manufacturing and waste impact as larger fashion components. But sustainable materials can sometimes be difficult to find. The Prym Fashion L.I.F.E (Low Impact Fastener Ensemble)-certified snaps offer clothing manufacturers a solution to this problem. Related: This backpack is made from locally sourced cork and recycled materials “We understand that today’s consumers expect brands to offer products that are completely sustainable, including the fabric and the trim,” said Brian Moore, chief executive officer of Prym Fashion. “These eco-friendly snaps allow our customers to consider every detail and increase the overall sustainability of their products.” The snaps, available in EcoWhite or EcoGreen, offer earth-friendly solutions for sportswear, outdoor performance apparel and children’s and babies’ wear manufacturers. The EcoWhite snaps are made from recycled water bottles to eliminate the use of crude oil used in the production of virgin products, a process that also diverts single-use plastic from the waste stream. A single water bottle can produce 13 snaps. The EcoGreen snap is green in color but also green because it is sourced from plant materials, such as potato starch. As a result, this snap is both biodegradable and recyclable. An EcoBlue snap is on the horizon, which will source recycled ocean plastic for production. “As brands and retailers in the textile industry continue to raise their sustainability goals, details like trim will become increasingly important,” added Moore. “Prym Fashion is committed to making snaps that make a difference.” + Prym Fashion Images via Prym Fashion

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Prym Fashion unveils eco-friendly clothing snaps made from plants and recycled bottles

Minimalist home in northern Spain uses geothermal energy to reduce energy consumption

May 10, 2019 by  
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There are few things we love more than a gorgeous minimalist design that boasts energy-efficiency features, and Barcelona-based firm, Pepe Gascón Arquitectura,  has managed to combine the two beautifully. Located just east of Barcelona, the Elvira&Marcos House is a minimalist, all-white rectangular volume with slender windows, surrounded by a natural landscape of overgrown grass and wildflowers. The home’s minimalist design conceals an extremely tight insulative shell and geothermal energy system to reduce the home’s energy consumption. The 2,475 square foot home was built on a lot that was slated for development years ago, before Spain’s economy was hit by the economic crisis. Today, the Elvira & Marcos home is the only residence in the area, adding a touch of mysterious solitude to the gorgeous home design. Related: Geothermal-powered Forest House showcases sustainable features in Maryland The all-white, rectangular-shaped home is surrounded by a plot made up of overgrown greenery that partially hides the home from view. According to the architects, leaving the landscape in its wild state was a strategic move to create “a house with a clear geometry but without resorting to unnecessary gestures, offering a forceful interpretation with a certain neutrality in the midst of the surrounding heterogeneity.” The exterior of the home is made out of flexible stucco finish that comes with an integral Exterior Thermal Insulation System (SATE), creating a tight insulative shell for the structure. In addition to the exterior insulation, the SATE system was also used in the roof to avoid energy-wasting thermal bridges. The end result is an extremely tight envelope, that, together with a geothermal energy system installed, drastically reduces the home’s energy consumption. The interior of the three-story home is connected by an large interior steel staircase that holds court in the middle of the kitchen. The home’s minimalist aesthetic continues throughout the home’s open layout with all-white walls and a continuous concrete floor. Natural light shines into the living area from the slender slat windows— which is made even more open and airy thanks to its double height ceilings. + Pepe Gascón Arquitectura Via Design Milk Photography by Aitor Estévez via Pepe Gascón Arquitectura  

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Minimalist home in northern Spain uses geothermal energy to reduce energy consumption

A sleek artist studio with Passive House elements projects over a cliff

September 10, 2018 by  
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Montreal-based MU Architecture recently completed a minimalist and modern artist studio that boasts dramatic landscape views of Lake Deauville and the Laurentians’ mountainous countryside in Quebec, Canada. Conceived as a multipurpose extension , the Workshop on a Cliff covers more than 5,000 square feet of space and includes two superimposed garages, a workshop, a spacious creative room as well as a mezzanine level. The building is partially elevated on thin pillars so as not to disturb the tree line. Oriented toward the north and views of the lake, the Workshop on a Cliff takes cues from the countryside vernacular with its barn-inspired gabled form. The exterior is clad is pre-aged gray wood, and the thick exterior walls were built to meet the standards of Passive House construction. Overhangs and superior insulation were a must given the harsh climate in this region of Quebec. Joined with the main residence by a cantilevered bridge, the artist studio’s connection with the surrounding forest is echoed not only in its timber material palette but also in its series of supporting inclined columns that are arranged to evoke tree trunks. A massive glazed gable end wall is partly sheltered by a roof overhang and lets plenty of natural light and views into the interior, which is mostly open-plan with minimalist detailing to keep the focus on the outdoors. Timber cladding on the interior is paired with highly reflective polished concrete flooring. A mezzanine is set in the rear of the building. Related: Solar-powered cube home in Australia hovers over the landscape “Spacious but intimate, the interior volume accommodates large formats of paintings,” the architects said. “The minimalist play of surfaces and the rigor of the alignments put the artist’s work in scene and supports his concentration. The Workshop on a Cliff is a place of expression where architecture immerses us in creative inspiration and Nature contemplation.” + MU Architecture Images by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard

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A sleek artist studio with Passive House elements projects over a cliff

A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow

July 24, 2018 by  
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Linz-based architecture practice mia2/ Architektur has completed a charming minimalist home defined by a massive gabled roof in Pyhrn-Priel Holiday Region, an alpine region in Upper Austria. Located on a sloped site, the timber home — dubbed Haus L — was designed to embrace the outdoors with full-height operable glazing that frames beautiful rural views. The dwelling also has an eco-friendly focus with its limited footprint and use of natural materials, including cellulose insulation. Split into two levels covering 1,679 square feet, Haus L was commissioned by a young family that desired “a calm, clear architecture made of wood, concrete and glass.” Its simple yet modern design harmonizes with the rural landscape and vernacular. The top-heavy home features a concrete base and is mostly clad in light-colored timber inside and out, save for the gabled portion that is clad in stained timber . The architects partly embedded the ground floor into the earth; the master bedroom, living room and entrance can be found on this lowest level. A short set of steps to the left of the entrance leads up to a slightly elevated terrace-like space housing the kitchen and dining room. Here, sliding glass doors and the double-height ceiling create a spacious, indoor-outdoor experience. The dining room also connects to an outdoor terrace . Three additional bedrooms can be found upstairs. Skylights and a large round window let daylight into the upper floor. Related: Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape “The solid timber house with its precisely chosen elements is simple and complex at once,” explained mia2/ Architektur in a project statement. “Simplicity comes from the clear structure and proportion of base, ground floor and roof. Complexity comes from spatial variety. At the high part of the slope, the ground floor is located half a meter below terrain level, which creates a living space embedded by grassland. Downward, the kitchen and living room is given enough space to unfold up to the ridge.” + mia2/ Architektur Via ArchDaily Images by Kurt Hörbst

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A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow

A prefab chapels sculptural form amplifies the landscape in Uruguay

July 23, 2018 by  
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Perched on a hilltop in a bucolic rural landscape in Uruguay, the Sacromonte Chapel is a minimalist, prefabricated structure designed to coexist with nature in harmony. Designed by Uruguay-and Brazil-based architecture firm MAPA , this sculptural place of worship is set on one of the highest peaks in the traditional Andalusian neighborhood Sacromonte and overlooks unobstructed, panoramic views of its surroundings. The building was mainly constructed from cross-laminated timber panels and steel and was assembled onsite in just one day. Crafted as a “landscape amplifier,” the Sacromonte Chapel takes cues from its surroundings — a rolling landscape of vineyards, lagoons, hills and shelters — and features a relatively simple shape that complements the environment. The chapel comprises two cross-laminated timber panels — measuring nearly 20 by 30 feet in size — angled toward one another, like a pair of hands in prayer, without actually touching. The semi-enclosed structure simultaneously creates a defined interior while remaining open to the environment. “How should the sacred spaces of the 21st century be? The chapel ponders possible interpretations of this and other questions through its ambiguous relationship with matter, space and time,” MAPA said in a project statement. “A peaceful tension reigns when in contact with it. A tension between weight and lightness, presence and disappearance, technology and nature . Enigmatic and mystifying, it leaves its visitors with more questions than answers.” Related: Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown The Sacromonte Chapel was prefabricated in a factory in Portugal and then transported to the site for assembly. The architects strived to use as few resources as possible to make a simple and austere design statement. A black metal box faced with a sheet of translucent onyx punctuates one of the timber planes and houses a statue of the Virgin of “La Carrodilla.” A slender timber cross was installed in front of the chapel. + MAPA Images by Tali Kimelman

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A prefab chapels sculptural form amplifies the landscape in Uruguay

This yurt-inspired modern cabin is a holiday getaway in Slovakia

July 17, 2018 by  
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Bratislava-based architect Peter Jurkovi? of  JRKVC has designed a contemporary cabin by the lake that takes inspiration from traditional yurts . Created for a young married couple who own a creative studio in Bratislava, the holiday retreat — called ‘Attila’ as a nod to the nomadic tribes that used yurts in Central Asia — is located in the village of Vojka nad Dunajom, approximately 12 miles away from Slovakia’s capital city. In addition to serving as a cozy getaway, Attila also includes a meeting space where the couple can get together with clients. Set on the north bank of the Voj?ian Lake, the 775-square-foot Attila was designed to take up no more than 20 percent of the site area, which was left largely in its natural condition. A circular space forms the heart of the cabin and serves as the primary living and meeting area. Like a yurt, the round tent-like room is punctuated by a large round skylight and finished in light-colored natural materials to give it a bright and airy appearance. A large rectangular volume encloses the circular space, around which two bedrooms, a bathroom, storage and a kitchen have been inserted. The cabin can comfortably accommodate up to four people. The home is oriented toward the south to face the lake and features a 161-square-foot covered terrace . The exterior is wrapped in standard black plastic film, typically used for insulation, as well as timber lattice panels that let in light while providing some shade from the sun. Related: Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings To create a modern and minimalist interior, the architects used light-colored timber for the walls, ceiling, flooring and furnishings. The small kitchen and bunk beds — on the right and left sides of the house upon entering — are hidden behind wooden folding doors. Flush with natural light, the yurt-like living space is anchored by a black wood-burning stove and a low round table surrounded by squat chairs. Built-in wall seating helps minimize visual clutter. The bedroom and the bathroom are set back from the main living space with a curved corridor, which obscures the rooms from view. + JRKVC Via Wallpaper Images via Peter Jurkovi?

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This yurt-inspired modern cabin is a holiday getaway in Slovakia

Award-winning Palm Springs home embraces the California climate in sustainable style

July 11, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based architecture firm Poon Design Inc.  has crafted a luxury residence that eschews the mid-century modern style for a more minimalist and contemporary design fitted out with sustainable technologies. Dubbed ‘Museum Modern,’ the Linea Residence G serves as a production home that the architect and developer say can be completed for a “record low construction cost,” totaling one-fourth the cost per square foot of typical high-end residences in Southern California. The all-white house was recently recognized in the American Institute of Architects’ 2018 Best in Housing. Conceived as “a new standard for the speculative tract housing industry,” Residence G takes up nearly a quarter of the site measuring approximately 20,000 square feet. The house comprises three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, a three-car garage and a detached one-bedroom guest house. To embrace California’s climate and indoor-outdoor living, the architects installed 90 feet of continuous sliding low-e glass doors that measure 10.5 feet tall for floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding desert mountains. “Our design opposes the predictable Taco-Bell-style or the cliché Mid-Century Modern tract homes prevalent in the area,” explains Poon Design Inc. “To the home buying audience, Residence G offers a production home that equals the presence of custom luxury estates. In the past few years, Residence G and parallel other sustainable home designs by this architect and developer have been built and sold, totaling over 200 completed homes in the Palm Springs area.” Related: Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs In addition to sleek, minimalist style, Residence G is also integrated with a wide array of energy-efficient features. The rooftop solar panels provide a base 6kW solar package that can be added onto if desired. Passive cooling is implemented with long roof overhangs and complemented by a reflective energy-efficient cool roof. The locally sourced material palette includes VOC-free finishes and adhesives and includes a number of recycled or rapidly renewable materials. + Poon Design Images by The Agency, Locke Pleninger and Mark Ballogg

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Award-winning Palm Springs home embraces the California climate in sustainable style

Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape

April 10, 2018 by  
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Lovers of minimalist architecture will swoon over Innauer-Matt Architekten’s Höller House, a beautiful modern home built mainly of wood in Austria’s picturesque Bregenzerwald valley. Set in a steep hillside, the dwelling combines inspiration from traditional farm buildings with a more contemporary vibe evidenced in its gabled form and restrained minimalist palette. Light timber is used throughout the home, inside and out, and is complemented by the structural framework’s exposed concrete columns. Built of timber felled from the homeowner’s forest, the 1,428-square-foot Höller House celebrates its timber construction with exposed wooden beams and surfaces left unpainted. Natural light fills the home through large openings and skylights , but privacy is also preserved by the slatted wooden facade and intentionally hidden entrance. Related: Handsome Austrian house is clad in a latticed facade made from local spruce To satisfy the client’s desire for a private outdoor space, Innauer-Matt Architekten added covered terraces that wrap around the home, a feature the architects call the “outermost shell.” The light-filled living and dining area serves as the inner “shell” and is organized around a core of exposed concrete comprising the staircase, toilet, and storage room. “This way we created a wide spectrum of translucence and transparency which we gradually and individually adapted to each room, its purpose and the level of desired intimacy, preventing unwanted insights while making beautiful outlooks part of every day life and living,” wrote the architects. + Innauer-Matt Architekten Images © Adolf Bereuter

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Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape

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