Geothermal-powered home fuses high-end luxury with restraint

October 30, 2019 by  
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In central Hungary, Budapest-based architectural studio Benyei Architectural Studio has designed an elegant family home that pairs luxury with restraint to beautiful effect. Fitted with custom designs and high-end finishes, the home’s decor is deliberately pared down for a modern and minimalist look that inspired the project’s name, “Bold, rather than brash.” The result of a close collaboration between architect and client, the residence follows passive house criteria and is equipped with a geothermal system that meets the family’s energy needs. Spread out across two floors and 517 square meters, the “Bold, rather than brash” residence was completed over the course of four years and was mainly built with reinforced concrete for a monolithic appearance. Citing 1930s architecture and mid-century design as inspirations, the architect sought to create a building that would communicate strength and elegance through simplicity. The home also comes with a spacious 1,600-square-meter garden, the enjoyment of which is enhanced by the building’s connected terraces . Related: Luxury condo in Budapest will bring residents closer to nature “It was crucial for Benyei’s team to ensure there was a purity to the building and born from that was its cavernous sense of attachment to the land, as though it is a natural part of the surrounding environment as it seems to subtly emerge from it rather than exist within it,” the firm said. The interior design complements the boxy silhouette of the building yet introduces a wider variety of textures and finishes for character and warmth. The living room wall, for instance, is covered with three-dimensional tiles created by KAZA Concrete that give the room a more tactile feel. Custom-designed pieces abound in the home, from the living room textiles created by textile designer Andrea Heged?s to the spectacular Manooi crystal chandelier that hangs above the Italian volcanic rock dining table. In addition to the minimalist decor, the home’s sense of grandeur and spaciousness is emphasized with an open-floor layout and large walls of glazing. + Benyei Architectural Studio Photography by Zsolt Batár via Benyei Architectural Studio

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Round, minimalist cabins with sliding glass walls take glamping up a notch

May 14, 2019 by  
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Getting closer to nature just became a little easier — and way more luxurious — thanks to these prefab, round cabins with sliding glass walls. Inspired by the tiny cabin concept, LumiPods are contemporary cocoon-like structures with charred wood cladding and a glass facade that slides open to provide a seamless connection between the interior and outdoor spaces. The LumiPods are designed as a new concept within the world of glamping . Envisioned as “cocoons of simplicity,” the round, one-room cabins were created for stressed city dwellers looking to reconnect with nature. At 183 square feet, the tiny cabins contain just a simple bedroom and bathroom. The minimalist configuration was strategic in letting guests truly enjoy nature in a simple way without sacrificing comfort. Related: Solar-powered glass PurePod cabins provide the ultimate connection with nature According to the company, LumiPods can be completely assembled in just two days on virtually any type of landscape. The prefabricated pods are comprised of two modules that are gently set into place on four screw piles. This allows the tiny structures to cause minimal impact on the installation site. Clad in a burned wood exterior, following the shou-sugi-ban Japanese tradition, the pods are rugged enough to withstand most climates. Lined in plywood panels, the interior spaces are well-insulated and come with a minimalist interior design that adds an extra touch of luxury to the glamping experience. However, the design’s most inspired feature is the curved glass wall that slides open, providing unobstructed views from almost anywhere inside the pod . The curved LUMICENE glass panels are set in aluminum frames that slide on two rails, allowing the interior to be transformed into an outdoor space in the blink of an eye. At the moment, LumiPods must be connected to electricity, water and wastewater networks, but the company is currently exploring new technologies in order to offer a totally off-grid version as soon as 2020. + LumiPod Images via LumiPod

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Round, minimalist cabins with sliding glass walls take glamping up a notch

Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

May 6, 2019 by  
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Delft-based architectural firm cepezed has completed the Netherlands’ first self-sufficient bus station in the southern city of Tilburg. Designed to generate all of its own energy, the new transit facility features a massive solar panel -topped awning that provides shade and gives the bus station its modern and sculptural appearance. The Tilburg bus station was completed as part of the large-scale revitalization of the city’s public transit hub and offers easy access to the neighboring train station and bicycle parking in the railway zone. The new bus station at the west side of the Tilburg train station was designed to prioritize user comfort and safety. To that end, the architects topped the structure with a spacious awning that not only fully covers the bus platforms but also part of the buses, so travelers can be protected from the rain while boarding and deboarding. The steel-framed awning is fitted with lights and covered with ETFE-foil so as to let in filtered sunlight during the day and illuminate the space at night. For inclusivity, the station is equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps and handrails with braille signing. As a symbol of smart development, the station adopts a contemporary and minimalist design with highly efficient detailing. Built of steel plates and strips, the thin columns that support the large awning also contain water drainage and electric cabling. The S.O.S. button and intercom have also been integrated into one of the columns. In addition to the raised black concrete sitting edges, the architects included backed seating made with strip steel with heating. Related: Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments Solar panels spanning 2,691 square feet top the awning and power all of the bus station’s needs, from the lighting and digital information signs to the staff canteen and public transport service point. Certain solar-powered lights are triggered by energy-saving motion sensors integrated into the steel edge of the awning. For greater sustainability, the architects ensured the longevity of the structure with a low-maintenance material palette and minimized the edges and corners to reduce costs and resources for cleaning. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands

A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal

March 21, 2019 by  
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Porto-based firm  Diogo Aguiar Studio has breathed new life into a granite wine cellar by topping it with a minimalist holiday home complete with a natural green roof planted with native vegetation. Located in Guimarães, Portugal, the brilliant Pavilion House is a timber-clad micro home  with large windows that connects the residence with its bucolic surroundings. Working in collaboration with Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs , the architects placed the unique micro home on an existing granite wine cellar that sits on a small hill. Although the minimal building size certainly restricted the floor plan, the elevated structure allowed the architects to maximize the home’s stunning views, which are comprised of expansive vineyards to the front and a dense forest backdrop. Related: A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home The home is clad in thin timber panels to create a modern log cabin feel. The cube-like volume is punctuated by four large windows that look out onto the surrounding landscape. The house was also installed with a green roof planted with native vegetation to blend it into its natural setting. The architects outfitted the micro home with just the basics: a small living space, kitchenette and bath. Keeping true to its minimalist roots , the beautiful design features a living room that doubles as a sleeping area with a fold-out bed. Both the kitchen and small bathroom with a skylight can also be completely concealed behind bi-fold doors. Plenty of storage is also incorporated into the walls. According to the architects, the inspiration for the  design came from its idyllic setting . “Pavilion House is a guesthouse. The only true requirement was to emphasize the sense of recollection in the forest, a refuge from urbanity,” lead architect Diogo Aguiar told  Dezeen . “The idea of creating ??a log cabin was behind all the project decisions — it is a wooden minimal house in the mountain.” + Diogo Aguiar Studio + Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs  Via Dezeen Images via Fernando Guerra

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A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal

Two moody, tranquil cabins perch above a Quebec forest

November 14, 2018 by  
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Montreal-based firm  Nature Humaine has unveiled a beautiful pair of adjoining cabins tucked into a remote forest outside Quebec. The cube-like structures are clad in a burnt wood facade, giving the design a distinctively minimalist aesthetic. To make the most of the incredible setting, the timber cabins have two massive glass walls that provide breathtaking, panoramic views from the interior. Located in the Eastern Townships, Quebec, the two tiny cabins hold court over a steep, rocky terrain. The cabins are clad in a dark, burnt wood that, along with the pre-woven hemlock planks used for the exterior walkways and connection point, create a quiet, natural palette that easily blends into the landscape. Related: Linear Cabin is an elegant hideaway in the woods of Wisconsin To reduce the project’s footprint, the cabins were anchored into thick, but nearly invisible, raw concrete foundations. Overhanging roofs on both structures were designed to emphasize the views but also to reduce solar gains in the hot summer months. The two cabins were slanted just a bit to follow the natural slope of the ground, giving off the rather frightful sensation that they are just about to slide off into the forested abyss below. The cabins are comprised of two modules connected by an interior walkway. The first module houses the living space and kitchen, while the bedrooms are in the second cabin. In keeping with the minimalist nature of the design, the interiors were also kept simple, with just a few select pieces of furniture. From anywhere inside the cabins, sweeping views are provided by the front glass facades, establishing a strong and seamless connection with the outdoors. + Nature Humaine Via Archdaily Photography by Adrien Williams via Nature Humaine

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Two moody, tranquil cabins perch above a Quebec forest

MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a "floating roof"

November 14, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based design practice MAD Architects has broken ground on the Courtyard Kindergarten, a striking adaptive reuse project that transform a traditional siheyuan courtyard from the 1700s into the site of a creative and colorful kindergarten. Located in Beijing, the project aims to preserve the cultural heritage of the site while injecting fresh life through the addition of new structures, including a “dynamic floating roof” that surrounds the historic courtyard. As with many of the firm’s projects, the design features curvaceous elements and is evocative of a Martian landscape. “There is a saying in old Beijing when children are naughty: ‘if you go three days without being punished, the roof will cave in,’” said MAD principal Ma Yansong of one of the inspirations behind the eye-catching rooftop , a place the firm describes as “full of magic — a playful escape for the children that is a symbol of freedom and endless imagination.” Designed as the primary space for children to engage in outdoor sports and activities, the multicolored floating roof will curve around the siheyuan’s existing hipped roofs and tree canopy and will also feature an undulating landscape of several small ‘hills’ and ‘plains.’ Classrooms, a library, a small theater and a gymnasium will be located below the roof in a new building with an open-plan layout that’s surrounded by walls of glass to let in ample natural light as well as views of greenery and the historic buildings next door. The building will also wrap around three existing ancient trees, creating miniature courtyards where children can connect with nature. The Courtyard Kindergarten will accommodate 400 children between the ages of two and five. Related: A 650-foot-long running track tops this space-saving elementary school in China The design aims to reconcile new and old elements, from the existing modern building on-site that was built in the 1990s to the nearly 400-year-old courtyard. Having just broke ground this month, the Courtyard Kindergarten is expected to be completed and operational in the fall of 2019. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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A former leather tannery is transformed into an apartment trio in Lisbon

July 20, 2018 by  
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Lisbon-based architecture firm Aurora Arquitectos has breathed new life into a former leather tannery in the capital of Portugal. Five years in the making, the recently completed apartment refurbishment project turns a single floor into three independent apartments covering a total area of 3,385 square feet. To celebrate the building’s original 18th-century architectural style, the architects applied elements of Pombaline design in their renovation, including modular elements and a pared-back aesthetic. Dubbed the 3 Pombalino Apartments, the adaptive reuse project is located on the upper floor of a multi-story corner building. Inside, the floor plan wraps around a central staircase with a large light-filled void. The architects preserved the majority of the existing walls and added additional walls and doors to split the open spaces into smaller rooms. Each apartment features a unique layout and is fitted with two bedrooms and two bathrooms as well as a hall, kitchen, storage, living room and dining space. “When this space was refurbished and divided into 3 apartments, the following principles were adopted: To maintain the pre-modern logic of circulation between rooms, without any corridors or small distribution spaces, adapt the intervention to the existing partitioning , and decrease the need for demolitions, so that the integrity of the existing structure is preserved,” explain Aurora Arquitectos. Related: Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal Elements of the Pombalino Style, an 18th-century architectural style that defined buildings in Lisbon after 1755, had been scrubbed away from the space due to “aggressive” industrial use by the former leather tannery. The architects sought to restore the Pombalino interior architecture and so focused on introducing sparsely decorated spaces, modular construction and an emphasis on windows and doors as “the main elements of the architectonic characterization.” The architects add: “This way, the identity of the common space is composed by the sum of the individual parts.” + Aurora Arquitectos Images © do mal o menos

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A former leather tannery is transformed into an apartment trio in Lisbon

This mesmerizing lamp reacts to earthquakes across the globe in real time

January 19, 2018 by  
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This minimalist lamp responds in real time to earthquakes around the world. French artist Fabien Bouchard , who works under the name Parse/Error , linked the lamp to the data from IRIS ( Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology ) to which it reacts by emitting light pulses and rumble-like sounds when an earthquake occurs. The clean, simple design makes the Earthquake Lamp a beautiful object for any home, but its purpose makes it more than a beautiful light source . The artist, who lived through the great 2011 T?hoku earthquake in Japan , drew inspiration from this devastating event and created an object that would offer a tangible connection to the Earth and the power of nature. Related: 14 brilliant new lighting designs that will inspire you Its shape– a flattened planisphere that represents the axis of the longitudes– gives off light and sound pulses that change according to the location, magnitude and duration of earthquake across the globe. Linked to a sub-woofer, the Earthquake Lamp produces an impressive rumble that will stop you in your tracks and induce a sense of both fascination and anxiety. + ParseError

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This mesmerizing lamp reacts to earthquakes across the globe in real time

Nissan to start selling rooftop solar panels and batteries

January 19, 2018 by  
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Tesla’s model of selling electric cars and solar panels seems to appeal to other automakers too – now Nissan is getting in on the game with Nissan Energy Solar . The company recently launched the service to sell rooftop panels along with their battery storage product xStorage Home . Their press release says United Kingdom residents equipped with solar products could save as much as 66 percent on their power bills. Nissan describes Nissan Energy Solar as an all-in-one solution. They’re offering three different panel options: the competitively priced Value option, the most efficient Efficiency option, or the Design option, which boasts panels integrated on rooftops. Combine that with the xStorage Home battery storage product, and Nissan hopes it will be easier for UK residents to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy – although with Nissan Energy Solar homeowners can opt to buy just solar power , just storage, or both. Users can charge up a Nissan Leaf or e-NV200 with the system. Related: Nissan’s xStorage battery for the home rivals Tesla’s Powerwall Nissan makes the case for why a buyer should choose their products over another company’s on the Nissan Energy Solar website: “We have partnered with some of the world’s largest and most advanced energy companies to provide our customers with a fully integrated product range, seamless service, and genuine value. Our products are some of the most sustainable on the market, giving a second life to batteries from our electric vehicles and maximizing our use of recyclable materials .” The company will perform LiDAR remote analysis of rooftops to optimize solar panels, according to Motoring Research . A six-panel system costs £3,881, which is around $5,383, including installation. Full Solar and Storage systems start at £7,635, around $10,589. The company’s products are designed, per Motoring Research, to be more affordable than Tesla’s. The Nissan New Energy website says the systems will be on sale soon. + Nissan Energy Solar + Nissan UK Via Motoring Research Images via Nissan

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Nissan to start selling rooftop solar panels and batteries

Portuguese winery transformed into a minimalist and modern home

September 8, 2017 by  
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A 20th century winery has traded barrels of grapes for family gatherings thanks to the efforts of Extrastudio . The Lisbon-based architecture firm transformed the former winery into a light-filled home in Azeitao, a small village in southern Portugal. The architects retained the gabled structure’s original building footprint, but refreshed its look with a red-colored render that gives the building its new name—the Red House. Built in the 20th century by the client’s grandparents, the winery has been overhauled into a minimalist and modern dwelling complemented with a black-bottomed pool. Despite its contemporary interior, the home exudes rustic appeal thanks to its gabled roofline and uneven application of red-colored render. The facade’s patchy and pinkish appearance, which changes over time, echoes the look of the original weathered walls. “A natural red pigment was added to the mortar, to reinforce the building’s presence, allowing the house to age gradually and changing its tonality, without ever requiring a coat of paint,” said the Extrastudio, according to Dezeen . “Over the days and months, the colour of the house alters, lighter or darker depending on the humidity, almost black when it rains.” The render derives its color from powdered brick and heat-treated clay, a material that protects the facade against weathering damage. Related: 100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs Natural light fills the Red House, which is dominated by white-painted interiors, pale concrete floors, and tall ceilings. Mirrors line the living room to further reflect light. Full-height black glass doors stretch the width of the garden-facing facade on the ground floor and slide completely open to expand the living space to the outdoors. The ground floor comprises the communal areas, arranged in an open-plan layout, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are placed on the floor above. A small room occupies the attic. + Extrastudio Via Dezeen Images via Extrastudio

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