This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels

October 9, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based design studio  Knowhow Shop  has unveiled Lighthouse — a digitally-crafted micro-pod on wheels meant to revolutionize the world of low-impact, urban design. The name refers to the light weight of the 150-square-foot structure. The work studio’s unique, asymmetrical volume was put together with everything from boat building materials to film industry hardware through prefabrication techniques. The design was the brainchild of architects Kagan Taylor and Justin Rice, who built the micro-structure right in their own backyard. Built like a piece of furniture rather than a building, the inspiration for Lighthouse came from the idea to create a new form of architecture that would provide a better, more practical solution for office design with minimal site impact . Related: The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer’s studio built with reclaimed wood To give the structure mobility, the pod is built on industrial casters such as those on roll-off dumpsters. As a result, the office can be moved easily to be used as an individual structure or combined with other structures to create a nest of pods. Its small stature is perfect to fit into forgotten urban areas where new construction isn’t possible. Instead of a regular cube or rectangular form, Lighthouse features a futuristic, geometric volume painted all white. The facade is made out of various SIPs ( Structural Insulated Panels ) that are joined together with film industry hardware. The glass front door, as well as the structure as a whole, has no right angles. Inside, the aesthetic is quite minimalist, with long, thin desks attached to the length of the walls and a shelving unit at the back. A large skylight and horizontal window flood the interior with natural light. The minimal design, height and abundance of natural light enhance the interior, making it seem much larger than it really is. “We were surprised by the difference in perceived space from the outside vs. the inside,” the architects said. “From within our office feels much larger than it looks from outside, and it is something that most visitors comment on immediately.” + Knowhow Shop Via Wallpaper Photography by Stephen Schauer . His work can be viewed at his Instagram page . Aerial shot by Nephew LA .

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This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels

Mecanoo unveils winning designs for a solar-powered velodrome in Luxembourg

October 4, 2018 by  
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Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo and Luxembourg-based design practice Metaform Architects have placed first in an international design competition for the Mondorf-les-Bains Velodrome and Sports Complex in southeastern Luxembourg. The winning design was created to look like a natural extension of the landscape thanks to its engineered timber structure and sprawling, sloped green roof onto which a rounded velodrome is placed. Sustainable and passive solar principles also guided the design of the 24,500-square-meter complex, which optimizes natural light and is powered with solar energy. The Mondorf-les-Bains Velodrome and Sports Complex will be built among the rolling hills in the countryside of Luxembourg in a region known for its thermal baths. The 65 million-euro project will serve as a major sporting hub for the community and comprise a velodrome, aquatics center with indoor and outdoor facilities, two cafes, a multisports hall, a climbing wall and offices for the Luxembourgish Cycling Federation (FSCL). The pools and sports hall are designed to be embedded into the sloped landscape and topped with a green roof to visually reduce the size of the development and simultaneously draw attention to the elevated velodrome that will serve as a landmark structure visible from the neighboring highway. “The Velodrome, Multi-Sports and Swimming Pool Complex project is inspired by its surroundings, a subtly undulating topography,” the architects explained. “The main challenge was to integrate all three functions under one roof while paying respect to the context and at the same time to create the architectural landmark for the city of Mondorf-les-Bains.” Related: Mecanoo designs gorgeous green-roofed train station for Kaohsiung In addition to the massive green roof , wood and concrete finishes will be applied to further tie the building to the landscape. Strategically placed skylights and glazing will let in ample natural light while framing outdoor views. The dates for construction and completion have yet to be announced. + Mecanoo + Metaform Architects Images via Mecanoo

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Mecanoo unveils winning designs for a solar-powered velodrome in Luxembourg

This staggered, residential tower is draped with greenery in Quito

October 4, 2018 by  
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Acclaimed architecture firm Safdie Architects has been tapped to design a new residential tower that’s expected to be one of the tallest in Quito , Ecuador. Rising to 24 stories, the eye-catching project — dubbed Qorner — features a staggered tower with large garden terraces on every floor. Created in collaboration with local construction firm Uribe & Schwarzkopf, the striking high-rise will also feature operable glass walls for residents to embrace indoor-outdoor living and take advantage of Quito’s year-round temperate temperatures. Oriented to face the city’s central park, La Carolina, at the corner of the popular shopping street Avenida Portugal, Qorner mirrors the neighboring park’s lush environment in its design. In addition to the double-height garden terraces on each floor, the north facade of the building is partly covered with a dramatic living wall planted with native vegetation. A tree-lined infinity-edge swimming pool and garden top the roof. The projecting terraces on the east and west faces of the tower help shield full-height glazed openings from the sun and create a variety of double-height corner terraces that boast views in multiple directions. Perimeter concrete walls and columns as well as a central stabilization core were used to create a column-free interior with maximum flexibility. Related: Nature-inspired housing mimics the curvature of the landscape in Chongqing “We pride ourselves on developing projects unique to the place and program, and at the same time, incorporating principles that have long guided our work,” Moshe Safdie said. “While our projects around the world are diverse, our principles remain steadfast for each one: access to green space , the maximization of daylight and views in each dwelling, and fostering a sense of a ‘vertical neighborhood’ wherein each apartment forms part of a greater whole.” The Qorner is slated for completion in 2020. + Safdie Architects Images via Safdie Architects

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This staggered, residential tower is draped with greenery in Quito

The Clifftop House is dramatically perched atop a challenging cliff edge

September 27, 2018 by  
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When Brisbane design studio Joe Adsett Architects was asked to redevelop a “poorly constructed ‘character house’” in Teneriffe into a modern abode for a family of seven, the team faced several challenges. One was the existing property, which could not be raised or lifted, meaning that the only buildable land left was a small sliver that lay between the existing home and clifftop. Fortunately, the clients were amenable to the idea of building a three-story cliff-edge extension on the challenging site, which led to the creation of the Clifftop House, an energy-efficient home with dramatic views of the river to the northeast. In spite of a landslide that occurred during the design process, the architects said the clients held fast to the idea of a clifftop home, “recognizing the advantages outweighed the risks.” To accommodate the family of seven, the architects began with the floor plan of the existing home and divided it into quadrants — the rear quadrant connects to the extension — and split the bedrooms between the original house and the extension while placing the main communal areas on the ground floor. An additional family room and accessible green roof are located on the third floor. The extension was mainly built of concrete and set on a very thin slab — a feat accomplished thanks to close collaboration with the engineer and 3D modeling software. The concrete facade was deliberately exposed with a weathered finish, while timber window frames and cladding help soften the Brutalist expression. The use of thick concrete also has the advantage of thermal mass. “Clifftop House makes a meaningful contribution to innovation and excellence in environmental sustainability through the concrete structure being used in a manner similar to ‘reverse brick veneer construction’,” the architects said. Related: Modscape’s Cliff House hangs perilously over a cliff’s edge in Australia To minimize unwanted external heat gain, the cladding is isolated from the walls with timber battens and wall wrap. Recessed windows are fitted with low-E glass and solid timber louvers are also shaded with deep concrete eaves. Natural light penetrates deep into the home thanks to central voids, which also allow for cross ventilation. A 22-meter-long swimming pool placed along the cliff edge also promotes cooling breezes. + Joe Adsett Architects Images by Scott Burrows

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The Clifftop House is dramatically perched atop a challenging cliff edge

A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture

September 13, 2018 by  
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When Singaporean architecture firm Park + Associates was tapped to design an extension for Nanyang Girls’ High School in Singapore, the team knew that it would have to think creatively. The brief called for two large four-story blocks that would house a variety of programs, including classrooms, a large performing arts center and a multipurpose indoor sports hall. To meet these requirements without overshadowing the school’s existing architecture, the firm built the spaces below ground — an unconventional move and considered the first of its kind for an academic extension in Singapore  — and topped the new buildings with artificial turf that can be used for sports and outdoor recreation. Founded in 1917, the Nanyang Girls’ High School is one of the top public schools in Singapore. The school changed campuses several times and has been established at its present location along Dunearn and Bukit Timah Roads in the heart of Singapore since 1999. The school’s original colonial-inspired architecture comprises a clock tower flanked by two brick wings and has become an iconic landmark for the area. As a result, Park + Associates wanted to preserve the appearance of the building without necessarily emulating the existing school complex in the new design. Therefore, the firm decided to set the two new extension blocks partly below ground and top the volumes with curved green roofs that slope to touch the ground. By lining the roofs with artificial turf, the architects could also replace the school field. Careful consideration was taken to create bright and airy interior spaces within the partially underground extension, which enjoys access to plenty of natural light, views and natural ventilation. Related: New images show greenery engulfing Singapore’s tropical skyscraper The architects explained, “This Nanyang Girls’ High School extension, as the first secondary education institution in Singapore that has spaces below ground, is symbolic, as it allows students to see that rethinking assumption and rules, followed up with constructive discussions, can result in an outcome more successful and creative than otherwise imaginable.” + Park + Associates Images by Edward Hendricks and Frank Pinckers

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A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture

Eco-friendly AgriNesture buildings promote agriculture and job growth in Vietnam

September 10, 2018 by  
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Although the majority of Vietnam’s population relies on agriculture , rapid industrialization and a skyrocketing population in recent years has led to urban sprawl and the decimation of fertile agricultural land. To combat these trends, local architecture firm H&P Architects has made mending the relationship between people and nature one of the main guiding principles throughout its work. In its latest example of eco-friendly architecture, the firm created AgriNesture, a green housing prototype that can be clustered together in vulnerable rural areas to revitalize the local population. In M?o Khê, a town a few hours from Hanoi in northern Vietnam, sits one of the first prototypes of AgriNesture. Likened to a “cube of earth cut out from a field,” the boxy building is clad in locally sourced materials including plant fibers, rammed earth and bricks. The two-story structure is also built with a reinforced concrete frame — which cost VND 150 million (equivalent to USD 6,500) — and topped with a green roof , where agriculture can be practiced. The structure is also integrated with a rainwater collection system for irrigation. A light well brings natural light and ventilation deep into the home. The AgriNesture structures can be clustered in blocks of four around a central courtyard. These building clusters lend themselves to multipurpose uses, such as multigenerational housing, education, health or community centers. Because the cost-effective architecture only relies on two main parts — the reinforced concrete ‘Frame’ and the locally sourced ‘Cover’ materials — owners will not only be able to select their own surface materials best suited to their local conditions, but also customize the interior to their liking and add additional floors if desired. This hands-on and site-specific building process will help create jobs and bring economic stability, according to the architects. Related: This stunning brick “cave house” in Vietnam is open to the elements “AgriNesture will be, therefore, a place of convergence, interaction and adaptation of various local contrasts (natural vs. man-made, residence vs. agriculture, individuals vs. communities , etc.),” the firm said, “thus enabling it to be not only a Physical space but also a truly Human place.” + H&P Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Nguyen TienThanh

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Eco-friendly AgriNesture buildings promote agriculture and job growth in Vietnam

The Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy

September 6, 2018 by  
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When Cheryl and Ken Serdar saw one of the homes belonging to Micropolis®, a collection of sustainable and contemporary house plans designed by architect Arielle Condoret Schechter , they knew they wanted a custom home based on the original 950-square-foot “Happy Family” plan. Taking into account the couple’s needs for extra space, Schechter designed a 2,222-square-foot dwelling that also offered all of the sustainable and modern design features defined in her Micropolis® line. Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, the custom net-zero home is the most energy-efficient residence that the architect has designed to date. The clients were very clear with their expectations of their new three-bedroom house and asked for an abode that was “very modern, extremely green [and] almost industrial.” The modified Micropolis® meets all three targets with its predominate use of concrete for durability and sustainability measures as well as through passive solar principles. The home is oriented toward the south for maximum solar gain, while all the aluminum-framed windows and doors were sourced from Awilux and certified for Passive House construction. Ample glazing opens the home up to natural light, natural ventilation and a connection to the outdoors. To minimize unwanted solar gain, Schechter designed deep roof overhangs built with cypress soffit to visually soften the prefab concrete sandwich panels with built-in insulation. The home is also outfitted with space-saving solutions such as sliding interior barn doors, built-in closets, cabinets and shelving. An industrial feel is achieved with exposed ductwork, concrete elements, minimalist cabinetry and a large factory fan. A wall of glazed folding doors opens the home up to the outdoors to create a greater illusion of spaciousness. Related: The net-zero Lightbox 23 boasts sustainable features and stunning views The net-zero energy house is powered by a small 6 kW solar array . An energy recovery ventilator paired with seals on all air gaps makes for an airtight envelope. Under-slab insulation was installed beneath the polished concrete floors, and the home has achieved a HERS rating of -13. + Arielle Condoret Schechter Images via Kim Weiss / Arielle Condoret Schechter

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The Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy

Energy-savvy art museum is anchored atop a historic Dutch dike

September 4, 2018 by  
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Rising out of a historic dike, the new Lisser Art Museum pays homage to the landscape’s context while offering a new contemporary cultural destination in Lisse, The Netherlands. Dutch architecture firm KVDK architecten headed the recently completed project and embraced smart, sustainable solutions from the optimization of natural daylighting to gray water collection systems. Wrapped in earth-colored Petersen bricks, the modest, light-filled building feels like an extension of the forest, and ample glazing provides connection with nature on all sides. Commissioned by the VandenBroek Foundation, the small-scale museum is located in the Keukenhof, a former country estate dating from the 17th century that had featured a terraced garden with an artificial dike — unique in the Netherlands at the time. The estate was later redesigned in 1860 by landscape architects J.D. and L.P. Zocher, who transformed it into a cultural park that has since achieved national heritage status. The recently completed museum was an addition in the Keukenhof cultural park masterplan drafted in 2010. “One ingenious but also complicated strategy involved placing the foundations in the historical dike core, thereby making the museum the pivot point between a landscaped approach, the historical terraced landscape, the open sandy area and the wooded dune ridge,” the architects explained. “Intensive consultation and careful dimensioning ensured that the plan for a museum on this sensitive spot was wholeheartedly embraced by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, the government body that oversees the register of national monuments.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde uses light art to breathe new life into an iconic Dutch dike The museum comprises two main volumes, the lower of which is set into the dike — glass curtain walls emphasize and embrace the land form — and supports the upper, cantilevered volume enclosed in brick . The interior is flexible with multipurpose spaces and follow the Guggenheim principle in which visitors experience all the exhibition spaces by winding down from the highest point. In addition to natural lighting, the museum is equipped with thermal energy storage, a green roof and a gray water system for toilets. The museum depot is located inside of the dike to take advantage of the earth’s natural cooling properties. + KVDK architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Sjaak Henselmans and Ronald Tilleman

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Energy-savvy art museum is anchored atop a historic Dutch dike

Beautiful, light-filled home slots into a skinny lot in Vancouver

September 3, 2018 by  
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Faced with a unique lot size of 20 by 200 feet, Canadian design studio Randy Bens Architect was challenged to create a home with a sense of expansiveness despite the property’s back lane-like dimensions. Tapped by boutique builder Moosehead Contracting, the architects teamed up with Falken Reynolds Interiors to complete the Saint George House, a project that proves that beautiful and innovative design is possible even on challenging sites. Interested buyers and design lovers will get the chance to tour the modern home next month during Vancouver’s Interior Design Show. Spanning an area of 2,200 square feet, the Saint George House is split into two volumes, both of which are clad in standing-seam metal and topped with a slanted roof. The lower level houses an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen and also spills out to a sunny deck with ample entertaining space through massive sliding glass doors. The larger upper volume cantilevers over the deck and contains the private areas, including three bedrooms. Bringing natural light indoors was key to making the home feel spacious, as was the minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired palette of white walls and light-colored timber. Boasting a style that Falken Reynolds Interiors calls “Canadian Nordic,” the bright and airy home is furnished with Bocci lighting, Corian Solid Surface and Quartz, and Bensen furniture with exclusive Raf Simons fabrics. Pops of color, warm textures and connection with the outdoors help establish the home’s cozy character. Related: Couple builds dream solar-powered home on an awkward lot in Rotterdam “The unique site of the 2,200-square-foot (204-square-meter) Saint George Street house inspired us to get creative with our design process and visually create more space,” said Chad Falkenberg, principal of Falken Reynolds. “For example, natural light was a big focus, so we strategically placed 11 skylights to wash walls with natural light and draw the eye into the room, amplifying spaciousness using the technique of Atmospheric Perspective.” + Randy Bens Architect Images by Ema Peters

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Beautiful, light-filled home slots into a skinny lot in Vancouver

Lume Traveler offers panoramic sky views from an open roof

August 23, 2018 by  
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Just when you thought campers couldn’t offer any more incredible features, along comes Lume Traveler , an inconspicuous aluminum trailer with a simple 6-foot-long retractable roof that lets you gaze at the sky while lying in bed. It’s the icing on the cake for a camper that already offers many modern amenities, including an outdoor kitchen and solar panels . Imagine lying on your back in a comfy double bed and simply retracting a 6-foot by 3.6-foot fabric panel that covers most of the camper’s roof, revealing a sweeping view of the sky, day or night. Gaze at constellations, count falling stars or soak up some rays as you get lost in the reverberating orchestra of nature’s sounds. It even has a built-in screen to keep out bugs and other unwanted creatures. When you’re ready to come down to earth, Lume Traveler is just as comfortable and stimulating. The enhanced interior boasts a leather wall, teak floors and a place specially designed to house an optional audio system and 32-inch flat screen TV. Upscale trims include oak, linen, convenient roll-up curtains and gray wool felt wall coverings that repel dirt. Related to: Sleep beneath the Milky Way in these amazing Bubble Domes in Ireland Cooking al fresco is another feature that adds an adventurous aspect to Lume Traveler’s charm. Just open the trailer’s rear hatch to reveal two gas burners perched atop a stainless steel counter. For larger meals, fire up the grill with the extra gas connection. Under the kitchen counter is a 40-liter fridge that slides out for easy access. Meal preparation is a snap with a sink and cutting board combo, and there is ample lower and upper cabinet space for dishes, pots, pans and dry goods. All indoor power is generated by a 100-watt solar panel . All in all, the Lume Traveler combines the joy of the great outdoors, the security of a sound shelter and the basic amenities of home. This innovative trailer is a development inspired by campers who long to convene with nature while still enjoying some modern conveniences. + Lume Traveler Via Curbed Images via Lume Traveler

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Lume Traveler offers panoramic sky views from an open roof

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