A cluster of coast forest cabins brings a nature-loving family closer together

September 9, 2019 by  
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With their grown children living in different parts of North America, Indiana-based couple John and Pat Troth sought a retreat where they could bring their nature-loving family together in one place. To that end, the couple asked Seattle-based architectural firm Wittman Estes to transform a midcentury cabin in Washington’s Hood Canal into a getaway that would immerse their family into the coastal forest. Using repurposed materials, a simple and modern aesthetic, as well as an indoor/ outdoor living approach, the architects created the Hood Cliff Retreat, a cluster of timber cabins where the family can watch birds and take in the nature of the Hood Canal .  Located on a 1.13 acre site atop a bluff, the Hood Cliff Retreat replaces an existing cedar cabin that was originally built in 1962 but was largely closed off from its surroundings. To better accommodate the family’s needs for space and desire to be connected with nature, Wittman Estes demolished the original cabin and repurposed its 20-foot-by-20-foot footprint for the new main cabin. An extension was added to the side of the main cabin and a new bunkhouse and bathroom were placed on the north side of the site.  The three single-story structures were kept deliberately simple so as to keep focus on the outdoors and to minimize the construction budget. Clad in rough-sawn cedar siding and cement panel finishes, the light-filled buildings simultaneously blend into the forest and open up to the landscape with large glass openings, sliding doors, and continuous decking. Reclaimed beams and siding from the original cabin were used for countertops and interior cladding in the new buildings. Related: Danish-inspired holiday cabin is a dreamy Pacific Northwest hideout “We sought to dissolve the barriers between the inside and out, between forest, garden, and structure,” says Wittman, who describes the sustainably minded retreat as an expression of “tactile modernism,” connecting the family to the rich sensory experiences of the Puget Sound ecosystem. + Wittman Estes Images by Andrew Pogue

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A cluster of coast forest cabins brings a nature-loving family closer together

‘The Blob’ returns: marine heatwave settles over Pacific

September 9, 2019 by  
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Rising ocean temperatures are rising in the northeast Pacific, similar to conditions presented in 2015. It is safe to say the marine heatwave known as the “Blob” has returned. This time the Blob’s 2019 return is the second largest to occur in the Pacific in at least 40 years. It encompasses 4 million square miles from Alaska to Canada and as far away as Hawaii, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s on a trajectory to be as strong as the prior event,” said Andrew Leising, a research scientist at NOAA. “Already, on its own, it is one of the most significant events that we’ve seen.” Related: Deadly heatwaves may make parts of China uninhabitable by the end of the century The Blob got its ominous name from Washington state climatologist and University of Washington scientist Nick Bond when the 2015 heatwave happened. The more recent Blob popped up in an area of high pressure stationed over the region. Such an incident forces warm surface waters to swirl around allowing cool, wholesome water from below to rise and takeover. “We learned with ‘the Blob’ and similar events worldwide that what used to be unexpected is becoming more common,” said Cisco Werner, NOAA fisheries director of Scientific Programs and chief science advisor. Without this churning process, surface heat can build up and if there are no nutrients from the cooler water below, the heatwave agitates the food chain. Overall, this creates less food for marine life and compels animals to go beyond their immediate home in search of food or simply die off. Underwater creatures aren’t the only things to suffer as humans who bank on the ocean’s physical condition are also affected. For instance, commercial fishing businesses in some places have shut down like Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, which has limited fishing rights for First Nations. Scientists also report should the Blob stick around it could be a bigger threat than it was in 2015. “There are definitely concerning implications for the ecosystem ,” added Bond. “It’s all a matter of how long it lasts and how deep it goes.” Via Gizmodo, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Image via NOAA

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‘The Blob’ returns: marine heatwave settles over Pacific

Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

August 29, 2019 by  
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The heart of Philadelphia will soon be transformed with Schuylkill Yards, a $3.5 billion masterplanned neighborhood in University City that will include two mixed-use towers, one of which will target LEED Silver certification. Developer Brandywine Realty Trust recently unveiled designs for the pair of towers — dubbed the East and West Towers — designed by global architecture firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) . The glass-enveloped buildings will combine modern design elements with historical references, from color palettes inspired by the traditional materials common in the area to the window typology of the old Pennsylvania Railroad rail cars. Set to transform 14 acres next to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Schuylkill Yards will replace parking lots with a neighborhood comprising nearly 7 million square feet of offices, residences, retail shops, hotels, green space and life science and innovation space. The PAU-designed East and West Towers will also offer a mix of programming. Related: World’s first solar-powered, indoor vertical farm sprouts in Philadelphia Designed “as cousins,” the complementary towers will have distinct personalities — the West Tower will have a more neutral exterior facade with a simple monolithic form, and the LEED Silver -seeking East Tower will have eye-catching massing that splits the building into three staggered tiers with a bold red color palette. Both buildings will be elevated on fluted pedestals to create an engaging pedestrian thoroughfare. Towering at 512 feet tall, the East Tower will offer 34 floors of office space, 7,000 square feet of retail and a dedicated amenity level on the 14th floor. Its dynamic massing is engineered to maximize its building footprint and green space while mitigating wind concerns and improving sight lines of Philadelphia . The smaller and more demure West Tower will stand at around 360 feet and offer 9,000 square feet of retail, 219,000 square feet of residential, 200,000 square feet of office space and covered parking. Its designated luxury amenity floor will be located in the ninth floor. Construction on the East and West Towers is set to begin in 2020. + Practice for Architecture and Urbanism Images via PAU and Brandywine Realty Trust

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Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

Massive green-roofed home in Brazil features a series of ramps

August 29, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based Una Arquitetos has completed a massive home in the municipality of Cotia that unites its various volumes beneath a lushly planted green roof. Named the House in Cotia, the modern home is set on a 2,600-square-meter property near the woods and takes advantage of its private setting with glass curtain walls throughout. The home is built predominately of concrete, metal and glass, yet the interiors are fitted with natural materials for a sense of warmth. Set on a challenging slope, the home covers an area of 730 square meters split into three volumes and four floors that are navigated with a series of stairs and ramps. Parts of the home are elevated on concrete pillars while others are embedded into the ground. Indoor-outdoor living is celebrated throughout the home. For starters, the 45-meter-long green roof is fully accessible. Moreover, the architects also designed several outdoor courtyards that enjoy seamless transitions to the interior with large sliding glass doors and wine-red floor tiles used in both the interior and exterior. “The construction, in section, accommodates smoothly to the geography of São Paulo’s sloped grounds. Four levels built from three parallel walls organize the landscape,” note the architects. “The development, in plan, allows an integration between interior and exterior spaces, which alternate and fold being complemented with water, fire and vegetation. In addition to the green roof and lush surroundings, the firm also added an outdoor fire pit and two main water features: a swimming pool and a river-like channel that snakes through the property. Related: This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof The home is entered from the lowest level in a shaded area beneath the elevated volume housing the bedrooms. That volume is accessible via a ramped corridor that connects to the open-plan living area, dining area and kitchen. The home also offers a music room and a lounge. + Una Arquitetos Via Dezeen Images by Nelson Kon

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Massive green-roofed home in Brazil features a series of ramps

This modular family home has its own indoor pond

August 13, 2018 by  
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When a young family shops for a home , they often want a simple floor plan and open spaces for kids to play and for parents to relax and entertain. This low-profile home, designed by Adolfo Mondejar Arquitectos and located in an outer neighborhood of Cordoba, Spain , is logically configured and easily adaptable to the ever-evolving requirements of a family over the years. The design caters to the natural sunlight and cool breezes of the area, with windows all around and a spacious yard, decks, and balconies for fun and play. The home connects to the surrounding outdoor spaces, which are are wide open and ideal for residents who want to experience the environment, whether through bike riding, picnicking or simply taking a stroll. Related: This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast The interior flows from one space to the next, with long hallways flanked with bedrooms and bathrooms. Playful colors and names on the bathroom doors add whimsy and and a personal touch to the atmosphere. Rich brown paneling in the hallways gives the interior a warm, inviting feeling. A large terrace at the top of the staircase, built from two concrete walls and topped with a rustic slab of exposed concrete , provides an ideal venue for large parties as well as small family gatherings. Walls covered with quebracho wood add warmth to bathrooms and pivotal use spaces. All the rooms are comprised of an aesthetically balanced combination of wood , concrete and glass, with smooth, finished concrete floors. The home relies on sunlight for natural heat and daily breezes to cool it down . In a unique twist, the minimalist home includes a pond in the master bedroom, which further brings the outdoors in and promotes feelings of peace and tranquility. A particularly sunny spot in the living room has vines sprawling in all directions, another feature that gives the home a feel of nature, energy, life and sustenance. + Adolfo Mondejar – Estudio de Arquitectos Images by Gonzalo Viramonte

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This modular family home has its own indoor pond

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

August 13, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects is bringing its modern, sinuous designs to Malta, a nation renowned for its historic sites. Set to become the tallest building in the country, the Mercury Tower will soar to 31 stories and a height of 112 meters in Paceville on the main island’s northeastern coast. The mixed-use tower will twist to separate the programmatic functions and optimize views of the sea. Zaha Hadid Architects’ Mercury Tower will take over a 9,405-square-meter site that had sat unoccupied for more than 20 years. The site is also home to the old Mercury House that dates back to the early 20th century. In addition to designing the strikingly modern Mercury Tower, the architects have been working with Malta’s leading conservation architect to renovate the area’s heritage structures, including the old Mercury House facades, and reuse the existing historic interiors for gathering spaces and as an entrance for the new apartments and hotel. Related: Chris Briffa Architects’ Sustainable Hanging Home Features a Green Roof in Malta The Mercury Tower’s new public amenities — such as cafes, shops and a large piazza with interactive water features — will be set alongside the refurbished Mercury House. The tower comprises nine stories of apartments below and a 19-story hotel volume above. The residences will be aligned with the street while the larger volume stacked above is rotated to position hotel rooms toward the Mediterranean Sea for better views of the water. This rotation — located at the 10th, 11th and 12th floors — also helps reduce solar gain. The insulated facade and carefully positioned glazing also improve the building’s thermal performance and ensure comfort for residents, workers and guests. Zaha Hadid Architects concluded in a statement, “Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects, by VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

Take a trip to the shire in this tiny ‘Hobbit House’ on wheels

August 13, 2018 by  
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Not only have we found the cutest hobbit tiny home on wheels , but there’s a whole gaggle of these cute dwellings at the WeeCasa Tiny House Resort set in picturesque Colorado. Guests can choose from 22 tiny homes , but the Hobbit House is by far the most adorable, complete with a circular front door, ivy-clad roof and hand-crafted wood features. The WeeCasa Resort is located in Lyons, Colorado , just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. The resort’s tiny homes, which range in size between 135-400 square feet, are set up neighborhood-style to foster a sense of community among the guests. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll around the neighborhood, a dip in the nearby river or a hiking or biking excursion through the beautiful surrounding landscape. Related: Spend the night in this magical Hobbit House tucked into the Washington shire Each tiny house in the resort is different, with its own distinctive charm and character. The 170-square-foot Hobbit House is one of the most popular choices by far. Built by Incredible Tiny Homes , this four-person guesthouse immediately gives off “shire” vibes, which are enhanced by the cedar shake siding and an ivy-covered roof. The entryway is through a large round door — of course — that opens up into a cozy, wood-clad interior. The fairytale structure has a spacious kitchen and living area punctuated with more circular windows. For sleepy hobbits, there is a queen-sized bed in the sleeping loft at the far end of the tiny home. The retreat even houses a small felt Frodo, who can often be found perched in the windows or lounging on the couch. An electric fireplace heater keeps the space nice and toasty while guests enjoy a nice warm cup of mead. + WeeCasa Tiny House Resort + Incredible Tiny Homes Via Tiny House Talk Images via WeeCasa Tiny House Resort

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Take a trip to the shire in this tiny ‘Hobbit House’ on wheels

Award-winning Hungarian home combines old-world charm with modern style

July 2, 2018 by  
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Hungarian architects András Varsányi, Péter Pozsár and Norbert Vas have given the traditional Hungarian farmstead a modern refresh with their design of the Wooden House, a contemporary country house completed for approximately 500,000 euros ($585,300 USD). Located in the small village of Algy? in the Great Hungarian Plain, the tranquil family retreat was conceived as an antidote to bustling city life. Although the new home is undoubtedly modern, it also shares the same footprint as the old farmhouse it replaced and is heavily inspired by the values of Hungarian folk lifestyles. Winner of the audience’s vote at the Media Architecture Awards , the Wooden House has tapped into the growing demand for indoor-outdoor living . Varsányi, Pozsár and Vas used the layout and classic cross-section of a traditional Hungarian farmstead as the base of their project and then adapted the structure for modern uses. The areas that would have been used for animal stalls, for instance, were redesigned as garages. Unlike the introverted nature of typical homes, the Wooden House feels bright and airy thanks to an abundance of glazing. “ Modern design can often fly in the face of the traditional values of the past,” the project statement reads. “In some cases it can aim to improve by ignoring the needs and concerns that we once had, but this architectural design in Hungary shows that — for home structures, at least — those same values are just as important now as they ever were. This modern farmstead is expressing the contemporary need for smart integration into an environment while extolling the traditional values that comes from the building’s folk inspiration.” Related: A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat The key to the design is the home’s central courtyard , which is enclosed on three sides and looks out to the surrounding acacia forest. The courtyard and a sheltered club space also connect the living areas with the bedrooms. The architects chose timber as the predominate material to relate the building with the landscape and minimize environmental impact. + András Varsányi, Péter Pozsár and Norbert Vas Images by Tamas Bujnovszky

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Award-winning Hungarian home combines old-world charm with modern style

Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

April 16, 2018 by  
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An hour north of Oslo, Danish studio Norm Architects have designed a family home they describe as the “epitome of hygge ,” a Scandinavian term for a mood of coziness and wellbeing. Set into a hillside, the Gjøvik House comprises a cluster of six interconnected timber volumes positioned to take in views of Mjøsa lake and the Norwegian woods. The overlapping areas of the timber volumes give rise to private pockets and cozy nooks, elements that the architects say are integral to the hygge concept. The 1,668-square-foot Gjøvik House was envisioned by the architects as a place “where you can truly hibernate while taking shelter from the frigid days of Nordic winter.” To blend the cluster-style home into the landscape, the architects clad the facade in vertical strips of timber that will eventually develop a silvery patina over time. Large glazed openings frame selected views of the landscape and bring in copious amounts of natural light. Related: 6 ways to make your life more “Hygge” – the Danish secret to happiness The interior features a similarly restrained materials palette of white walls, concrete , and wood paired with minimalist and modern furnishings. “The Gjøvik house, consisting of overlapping cubes of different sizes, makes for an intimate and dynamic family home with materials, levels and inbuilt, tailor-made furniture creating a minimal yet warm and secluded feeling,” wrote the architects. The spacious kitchen, located at the heart of the house, is awash in natural light and provides a contrast to the narrow nooks spread out across the home. + Norm Architects Images via Norm Architects

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Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

Antony Gibbon’s Flux House appears to float on the water’s surface

March 19, 2018 by  
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Architect Antony Gibbon  has unveiled yet another incredible structure – this one designed for a future world where homes float on water . The circular Flux House features two rings of thin timber panels , equally spaced around the frame in order to illuminate the interior with a soft diffusion of natural light. Four walkways provide access to the home, which has a large swimming pool at its center. The main house is designed to sit upon a large body of water, creating the effect of being surrounded by a modern-day moat. The timber slats in the facade not only let in natural light, but allow for light to reflect off the water and into the structure. Related: Antony Gibbon’s Lucent House is a serene minimalist retreat made of glass and stone The interior maintains the home’s  circular shape , with the living and dining areas on one side and the bedrooms on the other. The swimming pool, accessible from any room, serves as the focal point of the building. The Flux House design is conceptual at the moment, but, like most of Antony Gibbon’s designs , it could very well be used as a private home or off-grid resort. + Antony Gibbon Images via Antony Gibbons

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Antony Gibbon’s Flux House appears to float on the water’s surface

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