A native meadow green roof camouflages a low-impact Hamptons home

August 5, 2019 by  
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When a husband and wife purchased five acres of bluff top property overlooking the Peconic Bay in the Hamptons, they knew from the beginning that landscape preservation would be a major focus of their future home. To bring their vision of an environmentally sensitive residence to life, the couple turned to Mapos , a New York-based architectural studio that they had worked with previously. By treading lightly on the site, the architects crafted a modernist multigenerational family retreat—the Peconic House—that blends into its meadow setting with a lush green roof, Corten steel exterior and timber interior. Designed in part as a reaction against the “insensitive residential development…and reputation for showing off” that has characterized recent real estate development in the Hamptons , the Peconic House is a callback to the modernist legacy of Long Island’s South Fork. Featuring simple and low-slung proportions, the rectangular 4,000-square-foot shuns ostentatious displays and instead uses a roof of native meadow grasses to camouflage its appearance and minimize its impact on the watershed. The residence also embraces indoor/outdoor living with a 2,000-square-foot terrace that faces the Peconic Bay and culminates in a 75-foot-long infinity-edge lap pool. In positioning the building, the architects were careful to preserve the property’s existing vegetation—particularly a 70-foot-tall sycamore located at the center of the meadow. To relate the architecture to the old-growth forest, the architects relied on a predominately timber palette that includes cedar and reclaimed ipe wood that are complemented by concrete and Corten steel. All materials are left unfinished and will develop a natural patina over time. Related: The Beach Box is the First Hamptons Home Built With Recycled Shipping Containers! Inside the open-plan living area “further abstracts the bluff-top landscape, with unfinished cedar and reclaimed white oak,” note the architects. The blurring of indoors and out are also achieved with 100-foot-long walls of glass that slide open and seamlessly unite the indoor living spaces with the outdoor terrace. The cantilevered roof helps block unwanted solar gain and supports a thriving green roof of native grasses that promote biodiversity. + Studio Mapos Via ArchDaily Images by Michael Moran

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A native meadow green roof camouflages a low-impact Hamptons home

An eco-friendly island resort immerses guests in the wild beauty of northern Norway

July 23, 2019 by  
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On a remote island above the Arctic Circle, Norwegian architecture firm Stinessen Arkitektur has created the Manshausen Island Resort, an eco-friendly getaway with spectacular views that has also been recently expanded with a new extension. Located on the Steigen Archipelago off the coast of northern Norway, the resort comprises a series of contemporary cabins carefully sited and elevated off the ground to minimize site impact while maximizing individual panoramic views. The new addition, which was completed three years after the resort’s opening in June 2015, includes new cabins and a sauna that was constructed from materials leftover from the first stage of construction. Sandwiched between mountains and sea, Manshausen Island features a dramatic landscape and a harsh climate with long winters and temperamental weather conditions. Despite the short building season, remote location and disagreeable weather conditions, the architects succeeded in developing a low-maintenance and sustainably minded resort with cabins designed in the image of the island’s two main existing structures: the old farm-house and stone quays. Each compact cabin was crafted for minimum impact on the landscape; the resort team plans to make the island self-sufficient by 2020 and all waste is already treated on the island. Related: A cluster of wooden cabins create a serene weekend retreat in Norway As with the original cabins at the resort, the new cabins in the extension — dubbed Manshausen 2.0 — have been built from cross-laminated timber , aluminum sheet cladding and custom, full-height glazing that allows for unobstructed views of the landscape. Prefabricated elements were used for “plug and play” installation of the shelters. Each 30-square-meter cabin was designed to be as compact as possible yet can comfortably accommodate up to four to five people and includes a kitchen and plenty of storage space. “Although [the new cabins] enjoy much of the same undisturbed sea views, the positioning in the landscape offers a unique approach to the design,” the architects explained. “Wave heights, extreme weather conditions and also future raise in sea level were studied to determine the exact positions of the cabins.” + Stinessen Arkitektur Images by Adrien Giret, Snorre Stinessen, Kjell Ove Storvik

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An eco-friendly island resort immerses guests in the wild beauty of northern Norway

Endangered California condors are making a comeback with the birth of 1,000th chick

July 23, 2019 by  
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The largest bird in North America is making a comeback after reaching an alarming population size of about 20 birds . The California condor was highly endangered during the late 20th century but holds spiritual importance to indigenous tribes and nature-lovers. Last week, conservationists announced that the 1,000th chick hatched and successfully survived, giving new hope that the birds’ population will continue to grow. The condor population plummeted in the 20th century because of hunting , habitat loss and lead poisoning from eating the carcasses of animals that had been shot with lead bullets. When the population was nearing just 20 birds, conservationists began breeding them in captivity. Related: 10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration According to Tim Hauch, manager of the Peregrine Fund’s condor program, more than 300 wild California condors exist today. There is a total of more than 500 when those in captivity are included. The newest chick was born in Zion National Park, located in southwestern Utah. Condors lay only one egg at a time , and female condors do not nest every year. Conservationists are incredibly hopeful every time one is born. “We’re seeing more chicks born in the wild than we ever have before,” Hauck told NPR. “And that’s just a step toward success for the condor and achieving a sustainable population.” Although the chick was born in May, it was not considered to be a survivor until July, given the typical mortality of young condors within the first two months. The chick will be able to leave the nest and begin flying around November. California condors are unique birds that can live up to 60 years in the right conditions. That makes condors not only the largest bird in North America, with a wingspan of 10 feet, but also one of the longest living birds in the world. Those who study California condors also believe that the birds are capable of having distinct personalities, which separates them from many other avian species. Via NPR Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Endangered California condors are making a comeback with the birth of 1,000th chick

Zaha Hadid Architects break ground on an eco-sensitive multimodal bridge in Taiwan

March 27, 2019 by  
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The world’s longest single-mast, asymmetric cable-stayed bridge has broken ground in northern Taiwan . Not only engineered for minimal visual impact, the bridge is also designed to host a wide range of transit options. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects , the world record-breaking Danjiang Bridge will span approximately 3,000 feet across the mouth of the Tamsui River. The structure’s single-mast design is also meant to minimize site impact to the riverbed as part of an effort to protect the estuary’s ecosystem and nature reserve. Supported by a single 656-foot-tall concrete pylon, the Danjiang Bridge will connect Bali district and Tamsui district in New Taipei City while improving accessibility between Taipei and Taoyuan International Airport, and will also help reduce traffic in the area by an estimated 30 percent. Along with Sinotech Engineering Consultants and Leonhardt, Andrä and Partner Beratende Ingenieure, Zaha Hadid Architects was approached to design the project after winning an international design competition in 2015 with their proposal for a sleek and minimalist bridge . The proposed bridge includes dedicated lanes for high-occupancy vehicles, motorized vehicles, scooters, bicycles and pedestrians. Bicycle racks and benches will also be installed at intervals across the bridge. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects completes highly complex Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre Since the estuary has long drawn locals and tourists alike who flock to the coast every day to watch the sun setting over the Taiwan Strait, it was imperative that the slender bridge minimize its visual impact so as not to obstruct views from popular viewing points along the river bank. The bridge is also designed to minimize environmental impact and to accommodate a potential future expansion of the Danhai Light Rail network across the Tamsui River. The Danjiang Bridge has a construction schedule of 68 months and a budget of NT $12.49 billion (U.S. $405.2 million). The project is slated to open in 2024. + Zaha Hadid Architects Renderings by VA and MIR

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Zaha Hadid Architects break ground on an eco-sensitive multimodal bridge in Taiwan

Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou

March 20, 2019 by  
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In China’s southwest province of Guizhou, Shanghai-based architectural practice ZJJZ has completed the Woodhouse Hotel, a government-backed agricultural tourism project that consists of 10 single-story timber cabins embedded into the hillside in the remote village of Tuanjie. As one of the first projects carried out under the government’s policy to help alleviate rural poverty through environmentally sensitive tourism, the Woodhouse Hotel was designed and constructed with as little site impact as possible. Because the village of Tuanjie had little traditional architecture to draw inspiration from, the architects took cues from the surrounding landscape instead. Free from pollution and blessed with striking views, the village’s surroundings prompted the architects to divide the hotel up into a series of simple timber volumes so as to minimize the development’s visual presence. Each cabin, clad in charred timber , was carefully placed on the rocky terrain to minimize site damage and to capture the best views. “The design of the wood houses aims to harmonize with the landscape and the rustic atmosphere while forming a contrast to the existing village buildings,” the architects explained in their project statement. “Therefore, we avoided complex or exaggerated designs and selected three basic geometric forms. Each house serves as a separate room. The volumes of the rooms are minimized to reduce the sense of presence in the environment while ensuring indoor comfort. For interior space, various windows are cut out in each house according to their form and orientation, introducing rich layers of surrounding landscapes into the pure volumes.” Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills Given the complex terrain and desire to minimize damage to the original rock formations, site surveys were carried out to map the optimal locations for the buildings while all construction materials were manually transported up the mountain. The architects applied a combined structural system for each cabin, built with a wooden frame atop an elevated steel platform. The timber facade was charred on-site to reduce costs. + ZJJZ Photography by  Laurian Ghinitoiu  via ZJJZ

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Site-sensitive Woodhouse Hotel promotes agricultural tourism in Guizhou

Son builds modern dream cabin from recycled materials for his aging father

November 17, 2017 by  
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Retiring to a cozy cabin in the woods is a dream of many, and one that Josh Wynne helped his father fulfill when he built and designed Mike’s Hammock, a compact dwelling located on his property in Nokomis, Florida. Designed for handicap accessibility, the modern one-room was crafted for aging in place and prioritizes sustainability in its use of recycled materials and low-energy footprint. Stylish and sustainable, the 604-square-meter cabin was constructed with mostly local and recycled materials , including the Southern yellow pine salvaged from a nearby construction site. The careful use of resources resulted in less than one dumpster of waste for the project. To minimize site impact , Josh cantilevered the home above its foundation and planted three trees in place of the one he needed to remove. A custom-made central cooling and heating system helps reduce energy costs to an average of only $25 per month, even in summer, Wynne told New Atlas. Related: This cozy off-grid cabin shows beauty on a budget in upstate New York The facade is clad in vertically oriented corrugated metal siding to match the neighboring barn, while the interior is lined with Southern Yellow Pine that runs horizontally through the structure. The timber’s seamless lines, coupled with the large glazed sliding doors that frame outdoor views, gives the illusion of spaciousness. The small size of the home, as well as the layout and wheel-chair accessible features, cater to his father’s limited mobility without compromising aesthetics. + Josh Wynne Construction Via New Atlas

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Son builds modern dream cabin from recycled materials for his aging father

100% recyclable materials make up these low-impact monastery huts in Italy

June 16, 2017 by  
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Edoardo Milesi & Archos designed a series of minimalist monastery guesthouses that reflect the monastics’ ascetic lifestyle in the Siloe community. Located in the province of Grosseto in central Italy, these huts are built entirely of recyclable materials and are elevated off the ground to ensure low impact on the beautiful rural landscape. The Monastery Complex of Siloe comprises five guesthouse units set outside monastery grounds against a hilly backdrop crisscrossed with trails. Each guesthouse was carefully sited on the landscape to minimize site disturbance . The buildings are elevated on stilts to mitigate uneven terrain. Only recyclable materials were used in construction, including timber used for the roofs, lofts, and walls, to the ventilated covering made of zinc and titanium. External cladding, floors, doors, and window trim are built of naturally oxidized larch. Related: Plastic waste pop-up pavilion rethinks recycling in the Netherlands Approximately 33 square meters in size, each guesthouse comprises a bedroom; bathroom; open-plan living room with a dining area and kitchenette; a north-facing balcony; and a south-facing loggia . The windows are located on the north and west sides to create diffused lighting indoors, while the south side is mostly closed off and equipped with eaves to protect against solar heat gain. + Edoardo Milesi & Archos Via domus Images by Aurelio Candido

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100% recyclable materials make up these low-impact monastery huts in Italy

Award-winning Boulder Cabin minimizes energy use and material waste

February 24, 2017 by  
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Boulder’s reputation as an environmental leader is upheld in this eco-friendly home overlooking views of the metropolitan Denver valley. Jackson-based firm Dynia Architects completed Boulder Cabin, a contemporary home with an emphasis on sustainability. Clad in weathering steel and lined with timber, the modern cabin sits lightly on the land to minimize site impact. Winner of a 2011 AIA Wyoming Merit Award, the 2,500-square-foot Boulder Cabin is modern and minimalist to match the “disciplined lifestyle of the owners.” The site-specific design is optimized for solar and panoramic views. To the east, clerestory windows let in early morning light, while the west facade is punctuated with nearly full-height windows to frame the best views of the iconic Flatiron peaks. The roof extends over the west wall to protect against solar heat gain and glare. The home opens up on the south side to a shaded outdoor terrace. Related: Affordable Boulder is a tiny mobile home that’s big on contemporary style To minimize site impact , the Boulder cabin was built with a size well below the allowable area. Any landscape that was disturbed during excavation and construction was quickly revegetated. The limited materials palette of timber, concrete, and weathered steel cladding minimize material waste and help the home blend in with its surroundings. + Dynia Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Ron Johnson

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Award-winning Boulder Cabin minimizes energy use and material waste

Beautiful lakeside cabin puts a fresh spin on the traditional Finnish log cabin

August 12, 2016 by  
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Nestled within a high latitude pine forest, Cabin K blends into its surroundings with a timber facade. Following the example of traditional Finnish cabins, the architects built the gabled Cabin K using pine logs and treated the exterior with iron oxide to accelerate the natural graying of the wood. Vertical strips of pine clad the exterior to protect the logs from the elements. A small pine deck is set above a rocky ledge to overlook views of the lake and extend the cabin’s interior into the landscape. Related: Green-roofed cabin is a stunning cantilevered retreat accessible only by boat Despite the cabin’s traditional outward appearance, the interior is surprisingly spacious and light-filled. Large windows on the north and south sides pull natural light into the building to illuminate a double-height living room and a treehouse-like loft. Untreated pine logs are used for the walls, floors, and bare roof rafters. “The design combines old ways with new technologies,” write the architects. “The gable roof form and log walls are common in Finnish cabins, while the details, volume, and quality of light are unexpected.” + Studio Kamppari Via Dezeen Images via Studio Kamppari

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Beautiful lakeside cabin puts a fresh spin on the traditional Finnish log cabin

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