Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

August 21, 2020 by  
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Located in the tourist-friendly Spanish village of Santa Maria de Palautordera, the Drop Box N-240 is a transportable, modular suite that is ready to “drop” into practically any location via crane. The models, designed by In-Tenta, are manufactured offsite, transported and quickly assembled. Along with wood as a renewable and sustainable building material for the frame, suites come with either natural wood cladding or composite panels made of cement and wood particles as exterior finish. The hotel property provides views of the Montseny Massif mountain range in Montseny Natural Park, included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This park is located in the Catalan pre-coastal mountain range, 25 kilometers from the stunning Mediterranean Sea and 50 kilometers from bustling Barcelona. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days In a project designed to increase in size without interfering with the natural environment, the prefab suite is suspended in the middle of the forest with a panoramic view over the trees. The floor plan includes a living room, a fully equipped bathroom and a platform with space for a queen-sized bed. The pod-like suite and attached terrace is installed like a treehouse , elevated over a metal structure to adhere to the sloped terrain while minimizing impact upon the site. The entire layout is designed for minimal occupation of land, giving the rooms a small, yet comfortable, ambiance. The cement-wood combination panels are low-maintenance, non-toxic, impermeable to water and aren’t susceptible to damage from living organisms. There are also several colors to choose from to customize the suite. The design company can also customize the floor plan depending on a client’s needs. In the case of the Santa Maria de Palautordera property, the entrance door is made of the same cement and wood mixture that makes up the rest of the facade, rather than the default transparent glass. The standard Drop Box N-240 layout includes a kitchen and a shower, but this particular suite ditched the kitchen and swapped a shower for a bathtub to save space. + In-Tenta Photography by estudibasic via In-Tenta

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Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

Hello Wood launches flat-pack kits for DIY tiny cabins

August 18, 2020 by  
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In one of its latest timber-centric projects, Budapest-based design studio Hello Wood has created the Kabinka, a prefab cabin inspired by the tiny house movement . Developed with affordability in mind, the modular structure comes in four sizes — ranging between 12 to 20 square meters — and comes flat-packed for easy transportation. Each cabin kit can be assembled by hand in just one to three days. Crafted under the slogan “design cabin at a reasonable price,” Hello Wood’s Kabinka is a minimalist, gable-roofed tiny cabin that is inspired by the rural vernacular of Hungary. Each Kabinka is designed and manufactured in Hungary and comfortably fits a tea kitchen, a bathroom, a couch and a stove. The four base sizes include the small at 12 square meters; the medium at 14.9 square meters; the large at 17.3 square meters; and the extra-large that includes 20 square meters of indoor living space along with a 9.6-square-meter outdoor patio. The cabin rises to an exterior height of 4.06 meters with an interior floor-to-ceiling height that is tall enough to accommodate a loft level. Related: Hello Wood unveils a tiny cabin that sleeps up to 8 people Flexibility was key in the design of Kabinka, which can be used as a weekend retreat, private work space or even as an extra meeting room or community space for a company. “The compact coolable and heatable interior can be turned into a tiny home that you can enjoy all year-round,” Hello Wood explained. “Then there’s its environmental footprint; thanks to its low energy consumption and environmental focus, the cabin is also greener than a house built of non-renewable materials with conventional technologies.” The prefabricated timber elements of the Kabinka tiny cabin are constructed with a CNC machine. The base model construction is estimated to take between six to eight weeks; customization and extra features such as additional windows are available. Hello Wood developed the Kabinka as a DIY project that can be assembled without the need for skilled labor. The retail price, which is available upon request, does not include shipping, groundwork or assembly, but it does include technical documents and an assembly manual. + Hello Wood Images via Hello Wood

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Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

August 18, 2020 by  
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A vertical “secret garden”, green-roofed terraces and mountain-shaped massing define B+H Architects’ winning entry for the new Children’s Hospital and Science & Education Building in Shenzhen. Designed in collaboration with East China Architectural Design & Research Institute (ECADI), the proposed facility celebrates the local landscape by integrating lush plantings around and inside the urban campus. The hospital’s nature-filled interiors, ground-floor “urban living room” and vibrant color palette also aims to inspire awe and wonder in both the building occupants and the surrounding community. Selected as the unanimous first place winner in an international design competition held by the Shenzhen municipal government, the proposal takes inspiration from the mountains in the distance for its terraced massing with upper floors stepped back to form sky gardens. The new facility will be located to the west of the existing Shenzhen Children’s Hospital, which has been a landmark in the city’s Futian area since it was founded in 1998. Coined as a “once-in-a-lifetime” healthcare facility, the new campus will not only provide top-quality care for children but will also house facilities for advanced research and learning in pediatric medicine. Related: Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden “Children live very much in the present and can experience each moment very intensely — sights, sounds, scale, touch, colors and patterns hold delights and surprises that we as adults often overlook,” said Stephanie Costelloe, principal and director of Healthcare, Asia for B+H Architects. “We wanted to instill a sense of wonder in every corner which would celebrate their unique and joyful view of the world — whilst also encouraging adults to interact with the environment in a similarly social, playful and collaborative way.” The extensive use of greenery ties the hospital interiors to the adjacent Lianhuashan Park and is part of the architects’ vision to create a “unique micro-landscape” that helps building occupants engage with the surrounding landscape while providing therapeutic benefits. + B+H Architects Images via B+H Architects

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Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

Meet eBussy, the new modular, electric truck-to-van

August 12, 2020 by  
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The eBussy has a look and name like no other electric vehicle you’ve seen before. German company Electric Brands’s eBussy, short for electric bus system, proves that even larger vehicles can perform well without a trail of  carbon emissions pouring out the back. This 100% electric vehicle integrates  solar panels  to generate enough power for treks up to 200 km (124 miles) without a recharge. Thanks to reliable German innovation, the system regenerates energy from the braking system to add to the power supply too. With a full charge and power from the solar panels, the eBussy can roll up to 600 km (373 miles). Plus, the charge time is only a short three hours.  Related: Volkswagen reveals plans for mobile electric car charging robot Versatile, modular design makes the eBussy stand out. The vehicle features 10 interchangeable body parts that can turn it into a convertible, an offroad vehicle, a box body, station wagon, pickup, box van or camping bus in a few simple steps. The flatbed truck option even has a dumping feature to easily offload cargo. In addition to the remarkable body design options, the interior offers seating options and space configurations to haul either more passengers or more cargo. Even with all the configuration options, the eBussy remains light, weighing in at only 450-600 kg (around 1,100 pounds) in a stripped-down model. Adding function to the already fabulous vehicle, the eBussy can pack and carry up to 1,000 kg (around 2,200 lbs). That’s a lot of camping gear! With the option to recharge using your home outlet, a conventional charging station or solar power alone, eBussy speaks to sustainability. German locals can even swing by an exchange center to swap out drained batteries for fresh ones. Perhaps best of all, the eBussy is up to 98% recyclable , a huge advancement in the world of electric vehicles and green design.  + Electric Brands Images via Electric Brands

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The Lookout House celebrates site’s volcanic history

August 12, 2020 by  
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When  Faulkner Architects  was asked to design a house on a spectacular site in Truckee, California, the Placer County-based design practice allowed the beautiful landscape to dictate the design. The contemporary home, aptly named Lookout House for its views, emphasizes indoor/outdoor living with its full-height glazing and natural material palette. The home design also focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency, as seen in its mass-heavy concrete walls, radiant heated stone floors, R80 insulated roof and high-efficiency mechanical and lighting equipment.  Located at the base of a 3-million-year-old  volcano , the Lookout House is set on a north-facing 20-degree slope perched 6,300 feet above sea level, on a clearing surrounded by second-growth Jeffrey Pine and White Fir trees. In addition to contributing to the forest’s growth, the region’s volcanic history further defines the land with volcanic sediment and boulders as large as 15 feet in diameter.  To center views of the landscape, the architects partially inserted the building into the slope — a narrow slot in the home’s massing mirrors a cleared ski access near the site — and wrapped the home with insulated 20-inch  concrete  walls made from local sand and aggregate. Full-height openings and glazed sliding doors that open up the house to prevailing southwesterly winds punctuate the thick fire-resistant and low-maintenance steel-and-concrete facade. The minimalist palette continues inside, with parts of the entry and central staircase bathed in warm light from red-orange glass symbolic of cooling magma. Related: Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home “Produced by layer upon layer of sketches and study that first seek to discover the existing attributes and characteristics of the place, this architecture does not reflect a singular concept or idea,” the architects explained. “The built place, including its appearance, is the product of the making of a series of experiences that together set the stage for life to unfold. The process is about an approach to problem-solving on a difficult but epic  alpine  site. The completed place envelopes the continuous space of the slope up to the south sun and mountain top that has existed for millions of years.” + Faulkner Architects Images via Joe Fletcher

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Modular, affordable housing project opens in Portland

July 8, 2020 by  
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Argyle Gardens, a newly-opened modular co-housing development, is providing affordable housing for individuals who formerly experienced homelessness and are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Portland, Oregon. Opened at the beginning of April 2020, the project houses 72 residents in studio and SRO-style units. Because of the offsite modular construction, development costs for the units were 31% lower than typical affordable housing projects and the construction schedule was shortened by four months. Argyle Gardens is located in the Kenton area of north Portland and features a modular design brought to the area by Transition Projects specifically to address the current times of hardship for those who need the most support. Related: Passive House-certified development offers affordable housing in South Bronx There are four buildings in total, the largest of which contains 36 apartments. The buildings are positioned around a large, central community space that includes laundry facilities and support service offices. In addition to the main apartment building, there are three co-housing structures, which each contain two six-bedroom pods, two shared bathrooms and a kitchen. Argyle Gardens is near the light rail, a public park, bus lines and the downtown and commercial shopping areas. By June 1, over half of the units have already been filled by low-income residents and people who formerly experienced homelessness. Going a step further, community-building programming and supportive services have already been implemented on the property. Residential activities such as a gardening club and cooking demonstrations have started as well. The project was designed by Portland firm Holst Architecture and features gable roof trusses and translucent polycarbonate panels. The modules can adapt to any area that allows duplexes while still working within the existing zoning codes for Portland. Despite the site’s steep and vegetated topography, the design team accomplished balance in the environmental considerations required for modular construction. The high-efficiency housing model can be replicated and modified by other modular builders around the country. + Holst Architecture Photography by Josh Partee and Portlandrone via Holst Architecture

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Arrivals zero-emissions buses are designed for social distancing

June 23, 2020 by  
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U.K. startup Arrival has unveiled the Arrival Bus, an eye-catching electric bus crafted to not only improve public perception of public transportation but to also respond to health concerns in the coronavirus era. Engineered for flexibility and worldwide adoption, the Arrival Bus features wraparound digital screens for easy identification and flexible seating so that passenger capacity can be controlled to follow social distancing rules. The sleek design concept also allows for the installation of plexiglass dividers between passengers and no-touch stop requests via a smartphone app. Founded in 2015, Arrival champions itself as a producer of electric commercial vehicles designed to help cities meet their net-zero emissions targets worldwide. In addition to the new Arrival Bus design, the startup recently unveiled designs for its electric delivery vans. Although there are no Arrival products currently on the road yet, the company plans to deploy 1,000 Microfactories — low-footprint automotive production facilities with Arrival assembly technology — around the world by 2026 to build all of the electric vehicles in its portfolio.  Related: Designers propose sustainable housing in response to COVID-19 lifestyle changes “We are very excited to bring the Arrival Bus to markets around the world and make the passenger experience of bus travel a positive one,” said Ben Jardine, chief of product for Arrival Bus. “By working in partnership with businesses to develop the entire ecosystem around our vehicles, we are supporting their goals of making public transport appealing whilst achieving carbon neutrality.” Arrival plans to create an integrated public transportation ecosystem that not only includes buses but also cars for sharing, taxis, delivery robots and charging infrastructure. Arrival expects to deploy the Arrival Bus in upcoming months. The electric vehicles will be built in local Microfactories using modular construction for flexibility. The use of an aluminum chassis with integrated mechanical parts will also streamline the production process, while the minimalist interior design will make the vehicle easy to clean. + Arrival Images via Arrival

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Research facility minimizes its carbon footprint to attract international talent

June 16, 2020 by  
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Spain’s coastal city of Badalona has recently welcomed the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image, a new research facility designed to meet high standards of energy efficiency and sustainability. Pilar Calderon and Marc Folch of Barcelona-based architecture firm Calderon-Folch Studio teamed up with Pol Sarsanedas and landscape designer Lluís Corbella to create a site-specific building that would offer the highest levels of comfort as a means to attract and retain both local and international talent. Embedded into the landscape, the compact facility was constructed with a prefabricated wooden framework and clad in larch to blend in with the nearby forest. Because the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image is located on sloped terrain, the architects placed the portion of the building containing the research floors partly underground to take advantage of thermal mass for stable climatic conditions year-round. Building into the landscape has also allowed the architects to create two access levels: one used as a general entrance for the administrative area, and the other for logistic purposes for the scientific-technical area. The separation of areas by levels optimizes building operations and adheres to the strict requirements of biological containment. Related: Green-roofed Honey Bee Research Centre targets LEED Gold “The new Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bio-Image holds a research center of the first order,” the designers explained in a project statement. “A research facility based on ethical research criteria, technical and functional complexity, and comfort features that have been resolved in an efficient and sustainable way that strongly considers its relationship with the environment.” Natural materials, large glazed openings and naturalized exterior spaces visually tie the research facility to the environment. Eco-friendly considerations were also taken with the use of a modular , lightweight wooden framework with loose-fill cellulose and structural insulated panels that minimize material waste. Moreover, the building follows passive solar principles. The research facility is equipped with high-performance energy and air-flow recycling technologies as well as a 250-square-meter rainwater collection tank for sanitary and irrigation purposes. + Calderon-Folch Studio Photography by José Hevia via Calderon-Folch Studio

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Research facility minimizes its carbon footprint to attract international talent

These modular plywood sanctuaries are completely customizable

June 16, 2020 by  
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As more and more people around the world adjust to remote employment and socially distanced hobbies, Equals Architecture is offering a way to add sustainability to a customizable personal space suitable for work or play. Enter the Equals Sanctuary, a modular, prefabricated space that customers can tailor to their exact work or life requirements. Multifunctional and installed onsite, each Equals Sanctuary is made-to-order. The design calls for multiple core elements called “loops,” each fabricated using five sheets of plywood via a machine that leaves only about 2% waste. The loops can then be fitted into eight different options. To add another element of customization, the sanctuaries can be left without insulation, or insulation can be added between the plywood ribs using sustainable materials such as expanded cork, hemp batts or recycled denim. The exterior finishes are made of rubber, reused waterproof canvas and corrugated steel. Customers can choose between a number of face options as well, depending on the use, site and function. Window options range from standard size to full-height. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment No matter the type of layout, Equals Architecture will only use FSC-certified, sustainable and recycled materials . Necessary structural plates and ground anchors are used in place of invasive concrete foundations whenever possible. According to the architects, the main goal is to make each structure entirely reconstructable to maintain longevity. Each sanctuary will be easy to move, adapt and reconfigure throughout its lifespan. Equals Sanctuaries can be viewed, customized and purchased on the architects’ website in the form of flat-pack DIY kits delivered straight to the chosen site. If customers don’t want to build it themselves, they can opt for an onsite team to build it for them. There are four presets to start with — Vitae, Officium, Studio and Tabernam — each designed to appeal to a distinct target audience. + Equals Architecture Images via Equals Architecture

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Healthcare skyscraper wins 2020 eVolo Skyscraper Competition

May 8, 2020 by  
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After receiving nearly 500 submissions from around the world, eVolo Magazine has announced the winners of the 2020 Skyscraper Competition. Established in 2006, the annual award recognizes visionary vertical architecture ideas that push the limits of design and technology. First place was awarded to a Chinese team that designed Epidemic Babel, a rapid-deployment healthcare skyscraper concept for mitigating epidemic outbreaks. Designed by D Lee, Gavin Shen, Weiyuan You and Xinhao Yuan, Epidemic Babel was created in response to the fast spread of COVID-19 that originated in Wuhan, China. Using prefabricated architecture, the steel-framed building can be erected very quickly — the team estimates five days — to create a temporary hospital to bolster a city’s healthcare infrastructure. The modular design allows for flexibility to meet different needs. Related: eVolo announces winners of the 2019 Skyscraper Competition In second place is Egalitarian Nature, a skyscraper by Yutian Tang and Yuntao Xu that reinterprets a high-rise tower as a mountain range. Built around a vertical green space, the skyscraper would serve as a “vertical mountain in the center of a city” that people can hike or climb up; there would be no elevators in the building. Terraces cut into the sides of the building would frame views of the city. The third place winner is Coast Breakwater, designed by Taiwan-based Charles Tzu Wei Chiang and Alejandro Moreno Guerrero. Created in response to rising sea levels, the skyscraper would serve as a “vertical community” for the northwest city of St. Louis in Senegal, near the mouth of the Senegal River. The building would be based on the wooden breakwater system and would comprise modular units that can be easily replicated for a variety of uses, from workspaces for drying fish to a maritime port. The scalability and adaptability of the system would allow the community to largely stay in place and preserve their fishermen lifestyles. + eVolo 2020 Skyscraper Competition Images via eVolo Magazine

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