This ultra-sustainable home has moveable walls for endless reconfigurability

October 12, 2017 by  
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Students from Northwestern University have created a sophisticated, energy-efficient home that is strategically designed to address the many challenges that come with aging. The solar-powered Enable House was built with various responsive design features – such as movable interior walls that create adaptable spaces through the years. The home’s deck features a beautiful greenhouse-like structure that opens up to the outdoors with sliding walls. Students from the Northwestern team conducted extensive research within local Chicago communities before creating their responsive home design. In talking with various baby boomers, the team realized that although sustainability is certainly a priority when it comes to living space, people over the age of 55 are increasingly concerned with aging comfortably in their own home. Related:Light-filled Danish home with flexible interiors welcomes the forest indoors Inspired to meet the needs of the aging population, the team worked to create a structure that would be incredibly energy efficient, but also functional and adaptable, all in one beautiful package. Team chose to use renewable building materials such as wood and fiber cement cladding to create a sophisticated, but welcoming home. The glazed sections of the beautiful attached sunroom easily slide open and shut to control air circulation. As an added health benefit, the deck’s glazed walls are treated with a special coating that purifies the air. The Enable House takes advantage of various sustainable features such as rooftop solar panels and thick structural insulated panels (SIPs), which help insulate the home during Chicago’s frigid winter months. Energy-efficient appliances installed throughout the home help reduce energy use and cost. The design also incorporates air filtering technologies, a living wall, and an innovative system that monitors the home’s VOCs, CO2, dust, and humidity to provide an extremely healthy environment year-round. The home’s modular interior walls enable a huge variety of layouts, so the home can be reconfigured based on the occupants’ changing needs through the years. For accessibility, the home is equipped with various universal design aspects such as zero-step entrances, single-floor living, wide hallways and doorways, wheelchair-accessible switches, and lever-style door handles and faucets. + Enable House Northwestern + Solar Decathlon Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

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This ultra-sustainable home has moveable walls for endless reconfigurability

Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

October 10, 2017 by  
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Wish you could expand the size of your home without breaking the bank? A group of architecture students from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver created RISE, an affordable and sustainable housing solution that lets you do just that. Conceived for urban infill lots, the adaptable and scalable solar-powered home stacks together like children’s blocks and can expand up to three stories with up to five units of multifamily living. RISE—which stands for Residential, Inviting, Stackable, Efficient—was designed specifically for Richmond, California, a coastal city struggling with a shortage of affordable, sustainable housing. Flexibility is key to the RISE design, which boasts customizable floor plans with moveable walls and windows to meet the needs of diverse occupants. The moveable walls, installed on a track system, can roll to the sides to transform three-quarters of the interior into an open-plan area or can be used to delineate multiple rooms. Transforming furniture and modular cabinetry support this versatile floor plan. Modular, prefabricated construction makes the home scalable and stackable, and gives homeowners the ability to transform their home from a single-story family unit into a multigenerational dwelling. The house can be constructed efficiently without specialized labor. Sustainability is also an important factor to RISE, which is designed to achieve net-zero energy consumption and is powered by solar energy. Daylighting and access to natural ventilation is optimized throughout the home, while wool insulation helps lock in stable and comfortable indoor temperatures. A green wall of moss covers the north facade. RISE was completed as University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver’s entry to the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition, after which the home will be donated to the Denver Habitat for Humanity, which will install it on a permanent lot and sell it to a family in need. Related: Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably “At $200,000, a single RISE unit is less expensive than 72% of homes in the city,” wrote the students . “Whereas this fact is significant, what really increases the affordability of RISE is that five units can fit onto a single lot that traditionally would host just one home. The RISE home’s stacked design and large open roof-deck spaces allows greater density and a lower price point per unit while preserving the open feel of a neighborhood home, which residents both need and desire to build community. Though designed specifically for Richmond, this approach would translate well to other urban centers that currently face a shortage of affordable housing.” + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

Innovative retractable sliding glass enclosure extends over pool for year-round fun in Maine

July 18, 2017 by  
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The coastal northeast isn’t exactly known for its pool weather, but that doesn’t mean taking a dip year-round has to be out of the question. Turkish company Libart has installed an innovative retractable wall system for a family with an outdoor pool in Brunswick, Maine. The sliding aluminum and glass structure can be extended out over the pool in inclement weather or completely open to enjoy sunny days. The flexible architectural system lets the owners not only enjoy their large pool and hot tub in cooler weather, but the glass enclosure allows for beautiful views through the trees leading out to Casco Bay. The large glass panels also flood the interior with natural light , making a dip in the covered pool in cold weather all that much sweeter. Related: Sliding Walls Transform This Tokyo House Into an Office The retractable pool enclosure’s black frame gives the structure a clean, minimalist feel that keeps the focus on the stunning natural surroundings. The pool’s Evolution Freestanding system is referred to as “ modern architecture in motion” by the company thanks to its dynamic ability to create a multi-functional cover for the homeowners. + Libart

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Innovative retractable sliding glass enclosure extends over pool for year-round fun in Maine

Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home

June 21, 2017 by  
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Slovenian firm Styria Arhitektura worked pure architectural magic by transforming a 150-year-old hay barn into a gorgeous contemporary home. After carefully gutting the old barn, the architects salvaged as many materials as they could to create an amazing residence that preserves the building’s traditional vernacular. Although the existing structure was almost completely dilapidated on the inside, the architects decided to retain as much as the barn’s original materials as possible to “preserve the cultural heritage of the Slovene countryside”. They began the ambitious process by organizing the structural details, such as wooden beams and oak nails, to be repurposed in the finished design, now reborn as the Vrhe House. Related: Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home To rebuild the structure as a home, the architects decided to shift the location to a more appropriate “landscape coordinated base” that would give the home more stability. The new home, which retains the original barn shape , is situated on the same expansive meadow, but with an improved orientation. A large, bright living space now sits over a half basement, nestled into the landscape. Although the exterior pays homage to the rural vernacular of the area, the interior of the home is thoroughly modern. A minimalist interior design theme runs throughout the home, which is enhanced by the exposed ceiling beams and other wooden features. The architects clad the interior of the home’s wooden frame with glass panels and installed a large skylight in the ceiling to let in as much natural light as possible throughout the home. + Styria Arhitektura Via Ambienti TV Photography by Miran Kambi?

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Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home

Volkswagen confirms it’s bringing back the Microbus

June 21, 2017 by  
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Volkswagen has been teasing Microbus fans for years about the idea of introducing a new Microbus. Back in 2001 the first Microbus concept brought back nostalgic memories of the 1960s and then more recently VW teased us again with the Bulli concept and this year with the I.D. Buzz concept . Even though the earlier concepts never lead to production models, the I.D. Buzz concept is now definitely headed to the production line – reportedly. Auto Express spoke with VW CEO Herbert Diess, who confirmed that the new Microbus is in VW’s future production plans. While the new Microbus will recall memories of the iconic Microbus from the 1960’s, it will differ from the original by having an electric powertrain — like the concept. Related: Volkswagen previews I.D. Crozz, its 2020 electric SUV “Emotional cars are very important for the brand,” Herbert Diess revealed. “We are selling loads of Beetles still, particularly in US markets. But we will also have the Microbus that we showed, which we have recently decided we will build.” It’s expected that the Microbus will be based on the new MEB platform that will be the basis for all of VW’s new electric models. The final design will be tweaked a bit, but it will draw cues from the I.D. Buzz concept that debuted earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show . VW’s Design Boss Oliver Stefani also hinted at the idea of the new Microbus, “With the MEB platform this is the chance now to get the proportions back. But you can also get much more interior space, almost one class higher.” Even though we have confirmation that the Microbus is coming back, we still don’t know when. The first model from the new MEB platform isn’t expected to arrive until 2020, so we can expect the Microbus to arrive sometime after the new electric hatchback . When it does arrive, expect the new electric Microbus to have a driving range around 300 miles. Via Auto Express + VW Images @VW

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Volkswagen confirms it’s bringing back the Microbus

Glowing see-through garden house lets plants soak up the sun

May 31, 2017 by  
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Sometimes less really is more. This beautiful glowing home by H.a Architects was inspired by just one thing – lush greenery. Located in Ho Chi Minh City , the Less Home is clad in perforated white metal that lets in optimal natural light for the abundant vegetation that weaves throughout the interior. The home’s two-story tower design had to be strategic to make the most out of the small plot of land where the building stands. The compact space, which currently houses a family of seven, led the architects to create a flexible interior layout. Composed of various moveable partition s, the system allows the family to customize different layouts throughout the lifetime of the home. Related: Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads On the interior, the design is minimalist in terms of furniture and decoration, instead using lush vegetation as the foremost design feature. Inspired by the surrounding tropical environment, the designers wanted to pull the exterior inside as much as possible. As a result, various trees and garden pockets are distributed throughout the home, creating a healthy, vibrant greenhouse feel. The home’s perforated white cladding helps feed the vegetation, which in return, provides clean breathing environment for the family, something especially important in a city known for its urban pollution . Via Archdaily Photography by Quang Dam  

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Glowing see-through garden house lets plants soak up the sun

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