Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

October 19, 2017 by  
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The LEED Platinum -certified Noe Hill Smart Ecohome marries state-of-the-art green technology and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that urban dwellers dream about. The house, designed by EAG Studio , creates a healthy living environment with plenty of natural light, native plant gardens, rain catchment, solar power and a bevy of smart features to optimize power use. The house occupies a coveted site near the crest of the Collingwood hill in San Francisco . It spans three levels and comprises 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths (with 3 bedrooms ensuite on the upper floor), media room, gym, flexible use 2-room guest suite, an open main level floor plan, 4 distinct outdoor living areas and 2-car independent parking. Related: Sunset’s Green Dream Home in San Francisco The dramatic vistas open up from the main living room and dining area connected to a sunny deck and a landscaped garden. The garden features drought-tolerant , native plantings. Retractable glass doors in the kitchen open directly to the deck and enhances the experience of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. A sculptural staircase leads to the upper level and receives natural light from the skylight above. The bedrooms occupy the upper floor, with the luxurious master suite openning to its own view deck ideal for a morning cup of coffee or casual lounging. The staircase leads further up toward the roof deck with multiple dining and lounging areas perfect for entertaining guests. Related: San Francisco’s Solar “Mission: House” is a High-Tech Marvel A rainwater harvesting system captures most of the roof/surface water for landscaping irrigation. All exterior walls are insulated and optimized for energy efficiency, while a solar array provides renewable energy for the building. These systems, along with LED lighting , occupancy sensors and the use of reclaimed building materials make this building a modern and truly eco-friendly home. + Noe Hill Leed Home + EAG Studio

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Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

Net-zero Genesee Park residence in Seattle is built out of recycled materials

October 9, 2017 by  
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This high-performance home in Columbia City, Washington is a perfect example of sustainable design. It features responsibly-harvested and recycled materials, solar power on the roof and a well-insulated, air-tight envelope – all surrounded by native plants in the garden. The Genesee Park residence, designed by First Lamp Architecture and built by Seattle-based contractor Dwell Development , is net zero energy and achieved 5-Star Built Green certification. The 3,700-square-foot home is located across from Genesee Park in Seattle , near the shores of Lake Washington and a broad open meadow that stretches five blocks north to Stan Sayres Memorial Park on Lake Washington Boulevard. The building sits on a large 8,000-square-foot lot and is surrounded by native plants and ample space for gardening. Related: Dwell Development’s net-zero home in Seattle is packed with sustainable goodness It offers an open-plan living room bathed in natural light , four bedrooms and bathrooms, guest rooms and indoor-outdoor entertainment areas, including a spacious rooftop terrace that offers expansive views of Lake Washington. Related: NBBJ Unveils Striking Biosphere Greenhouses for Amazon’s Seattle HQ The architects layered materials to create a dynamic exterior. Concrete, oak, metal and fiber cement are combined with an array of reclaimed , locally sourced and recycled materials . A large rooftop solar array , airtight envelope, energy-efficient windows and thick, well-insulated walls all contribute to the high performance of the building. + First Lamp Architecture + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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Net-zero Genesee Park residence in Seattle is built out of recycled materials

Floating Olson Kundig home makes way for Washington wildlife

October 5, 2017 by  
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Seattle-based firm, Olson Kundig Architects  unveiled a brilliant T-shaped home called Rimrock whose elongated design ‘floats’ over a local wildlife trail. Located deep in the forest of Spokane, Washington, the 5,200-square-foot structure is supported by a platform that hovers over the path so local wildlife can easily make their way from the high woodland plateau on one side of the home to the Spokane River below. The home’s elongated form – which is clad in untreated steel – is partially supported by stilts embedded into a platform. This platform spans over a natural  animal trail , allowing for an unobstructed passage from the high forest plateau on the back side of the home to the river some 300 feet below. Entirely clad in floor-to-ceiling glass panels, the first floor living area is perfect for watching the animals make their way to the water. Related: Olson Kundig Architects’ Transforming Micro Cabin Folds Up to Protect Against the Elements Creating a strong connection between the house and its natural surroundings was central to the design. Not only was the layout carefully crafted with the local wildlife in mind, but also the area’s natural landscape. Located cliffside, the structure is only partially embedded into the landscape. Adding more volume to the top level allowed the architects to alleviate some of its ecological footprint . The glass-enclosed lower level, which includes the living room, kitchen, and dining area, lets in optimal natural light and provides 180 degree views of the spectacular surroundings, including the adjacent forest, the valley below, and even the city of Spokane in the distance. Equally as stunning is enjoying the views from the home’s open-air deck with reflecting pool. The bedrooms and personal spaces are found on the second floor, and were intentionally shielded from the outside elements in order to provide the occupants a cozy, interior space to spend time during inclement weather. + Olson Kundig Architects Via Yatzer Photography by Benjamin Benschneider and Kevin Scott

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Floating Olson Kundig home makes way for Washington wildlife

Donkey-drawn mobile libraries bring books to people in Zimbabwe

October 5, 2017 by  
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It’s not always easy for people in rural Zimbabwe to visit a library , so Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program (RLRDP) brings the library to them. Donkeys power their mobile libraries that can carry around 1,200 books . Out of the organization’s 15 donkey cart libraries, three are outfitted with solar panels that can power a computer. RLRDP founder Obadiah Moyo designed the donkey cart libraries and began trotting them out in 1995. The two-wheeled, roofed carts can carry up to three riders, and are separated into compartments that can lock up. Three donkey libraries have electricity from solar power for charging phones, printing, and accessing the Internet on a computer. The carts serve more than 1,600 people apiece, stopping at schools or community sites. 12 of the mobile libraries are devoted to children’s books . The organization has also facilitated 120 book delivery bicycles . Related: One-woman traveling bicycle library delivers free books in San Francisco Moyo said school pass rates have greatly improved since mobile libraries started bringing the books to rural areas. In a blog post for Book Aid International, he said O-Level pass rates at Inyathi Secondary School, that RLRDP supports, were six percent in 2009, but last year were 75 percent. Moyo said in the blog post, “We believe that to pull these rural communities out of poverty we need to surround children with books and knowledge, and give them the tools they need to improve their lives.” Financial contributions are often most helpful for RLRDP – Moyo says it costs around $150,000 a year to operate the organization. Books mainly come from charity Book Aid International , and RLRDP can get discounts from publishers. The organization would like to stock their donkey-powered libraries with more books written by Zimbabwean authors, especially ones in the languages of Ndebele or Shona. + Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program Via Literary Hub and Book Aid International Images via Book Aid International and Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program

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Donkey-drawn mobile libraries bring books to people in Zimbabwe

This house for sale in New York has two waterfalls and a luscious forest

September 22, 2017 by  
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If you’re on the market for a beautiful home that allows you to get up close with nature, then you might want to check out this piece of property  on the market in upstate New York. Delphi Falls, located near Cazenovia, NY, features more than 60 acres of land that include two waterfalls, a creek and luscious woodlands. It’s basically your own slice of paradise in New York. The rustic wooden home was built in 1945 and is 3,500 square feet with four bedrooms and three baths. The master bedroom suite on the first floor holds a jacuzzi and fireplace, to keep warm during those lake effect winters upstate New York is known for, and two additional bedrooms share another full bath. Because one master bedroom just isn’t enough for a property of this magnitude, there’s another one on the second floor. The living room also has a fireplace as well as a wall of glass and outdoor decking both facing the onsite waterfalls. The open layout kitchen also faces the waterfalls so you can get in touch with the great outdoors while preparing your meals. The spectacular waterfalls are 65-feet and 52-feet high. A 2,500-square-foot barn and cottage in the woods are included in the 66.27 acres along with a mile of creek. To take advantage of all that water running through the property, a hydro power system that can generate 35 to 75 KW has been installed. Related: Singapore’s jaw-dropping new airport has the world’s largest indoor waterfall So what’s the asking price for this slice of heaven? Oh, just a mere $925k for the entire property. It’s a nice chunk of change, but as the listing states, it’s “like owning your own state park.” To view the entire listing as well as photos of the exterior, interior, aerial shots and historical images, visit waterfallsforsale.com . Via Apartment Therapy Images by Michael DeRosa Exchange, LLC

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Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi set to open in November

September 15, 2017 by  
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Jean Nouvel ‘s Louvre Abu Dhabi – the first universal museum in the Arab world – will open its doors to the public on November 11th. Nestled underneath a huge porous dome, the museum galleries will house an extensive collection of artworks, artifacts and loans from France’s top museums, with a particular focus on shared human stories across civilizations and cultures. The project is part of a 2007 intergovernmental agreement between France and the United Arab Emirates . Its 8,000 square feet of exhibition space will house permanent collections and temporary exhibits, combining artifacts and artworks from France’s top museums. Related: Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is a museum that is its own work of art The museum’s most distinctive feature is its vast dome comprised of almost 8,000 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. This porous structure filters sunlight and creates a ‘rain of light’ effect reminiscent of overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases. Two prestigious events coproduced under the French-Emirati Cultural Program will mark the inauguration week. These events were initiated over a year ago by the two countries and supported by the creative momentum generated by the Louvre Abu Dhabi. + Jean Nouvel + Louvre Abu Dhabi Images by Muhamed Somji

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Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi set to open in November

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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Monumental inverted pyramid home in Spain will blow your mind

September 4, 2017 by  
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Just when you thought you’ve seen it all when it comes to home architecture, along comes one of the most imaginative homes yet. This inverted pyramid cutting into a hill in rural Spain is a mind-bending villa that offers epic views of the surrounding forest and the swimming pool below, in a shape that you wouldn’t expect.  The residence was designed as a thought-provoking way to reinvent how homes interact with their environment. Tokyo-based Makoto Takei + Chie Nabeshima /TNA designed the home to contrast the landscape, and to surprise and delight. Part of the Solo Houses project, which included design proposals from twelve architects, the pyramid volume houses a variety of spaces defined by several mezzanines and platforms that provide visual connections throughout the interior. A stairway leads to an outdoor swimming pool that was conceived as a huge volume embedded into the terrain. Related: Juan Carlos Ramos Unveils Amazing Pyramid House Worthy of a Pharaoh Large windows draw natural light into the interior and provide views of the forest. Three bedrooms occupy the top floor. These private quarters are connected to the main living areas via a lounge. Different heights and sloping exterior walls make the space feel more spacious and airy. This layout also allows the light from the windows to reach the furthers corners of the interior. + Makoto Takei + Chie Nabeshima TNA Via Fubiz

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Monumental inverted pyramid home in Spain will blow your mind

Tesla begins production of solar roof tiles in Buffalo, New York

September 4, 2017 by  
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It’s official! Tesla has started producing solar roof tiles at its factory in Buffalo, New York. Several hundred employees and machines have been installed in the 1.2 million-square-foot factory, and they are now creating  tiles that can harness the sun’s energy without compromising the appearance of a roof. The company is already installing solar roofs but has been making them on a small scale near its vehicle factory in Fremont, California. Now that the factory in Buffalo is running, production is expected to increase substantially. Reportedly, traditional solar panels will also be produced in the factory. AP News reports that Tesla’s partner, Panasonic Corp ., will produce the photovoltaic cells while Tesla workers combine them into modules that fit into the solar tiles. Said JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer, “By the end of this year we will have the ramp-up of solar roof modules started in a substantial way. This is an interim milestone that we’re pretty proud of.” SolarCity was acquired by Tesla last year for around $2 billion. It was run by cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk , who sat on the company’s board. Straubel said, “This factory, and the opportunity to build solar modules and cells in the U.S., was part of why this project made sense.” Related: Tesla and SolarCity power an entire island with nearly 100% solar According to Straubel, Tesla’s goal is to reach two gigawatts of cell production annually at the Buffalo plant — more than the initial target of one gigawatt by 2019. As The Washington Post reports, one gigawatt is equal to the annual output of a large nuclear or coal-fired power plant . “So it’s like we’re eliminating one of those every single year,” Straubel said. Tesla has not revealed how many customers have ordered the solar roof tiles. However, Straubel said demand is strong and that orders will keep the company occupied until the end of next year. Both he and Musk have the solar tiles installed on their roofs. Via AP News, The Washington Post Images via Tesla

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Tesla begins production of solar roof tiles in Buffalo, New York

Modular shed-like addition turns a 1930s bungalow into an open, light-filled home

August 25, 2017 by  
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A 1930s California Bungalow in Sydney received a modern shed-like addition that maximizes the usability of the original structure, adding plenty open-concept space and natural light. Architect Prineas designed the affordable addition as a modular structure that’s easy to build and alter for optimal flexibility, while honoring the original design of the home. The Allen Key House comprises an original 1930s bungalow and an modern, modular addition conceived as a shed-like structure. The latter emphasizes the kitchen and entertaining areas and acts as the true heart of the home. Related: A translucent room fills this beautifully renovated brick house with daylight The design team made sure that the existing bungalow is kept in its original state. They connected the original structure and the addition with a glazed link which creates two internal courtyards and introduces more natural light into the en suite and study. Related: Timber-clad Cut-away Roof House in Sydney puts a modern spin on traditional pitched roofs Built on an extremely tight budget, the rear addition relies on a grid system that forms double-height spaces through modular design. This system of modules allows simple reconfiguration of courtyards, light wells and stairs. + Architect Prineas Via Architizer Photos by Chris Warnes

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