This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power

August 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch architectural practice Studio Public has carved out a slice of eco-friendly bliss in Houten, a nearly car-free suburb in Utrecht. Dubbed the Eco Villa, the 2,000-square-foot modern home slots in perfectly with its green and environmentally minded surroundings with an emphasis on natural materials, sustainability and the use of renewable energy . Powered by solar, the abode produces all of its own energy and is even complemented by a naturally filtered pool for chlorine-free swimming. Built with an L shape to frame the outdoor garden and natural pool with a wooden walkway, Eco Villa features two bedrooms and an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen. A slim “technical zone” divides the master suite from the living areas. The exterior is clad in a combination of Corten steel panels, plaster and wood screens and is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling, triple-pane glass to bring the outdoors in. The operable walls of glass and strategically placed skylights fill the home with natural light.  Related: Energy-neutral luxury houseboat floats in Haarlem waters As with the exterior, the interior features a natural materials palette and a minimalist design. Timber is the predominate material that ties the various spaces together, from the cabinetry in the bathrooms to the flooring in the living spaces. Clean lines, simple forms and select pops of color — like the blue tile wall divider in the bathroom — make the home look contemporary and cozy without visual clutter. In addition to solar panels, the Eco Villa is equipped with a heat pump. The use of renewable energy combined with highly efficient insulation and an emphasis on natural daylighting has made the home capable of generating all of its own energy — sometimes with power left over to send back to the grid. + Studio Public Via Design Milk Photography by Marsel Loermans via Studio Public

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This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power

This gorgeous tiny home features a greenhouse and wooden pergola

July 24, 2019 by  
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From climbing walls to a baker’s kitchen , tiny homes nowadays can be outfitted with any number of bespoke features. Now, those with a green thumb can enjoy a cabin-style tiny home with a detachable greenhouse. Designed by Olive Nest Tiny Homes , the Elsa is a gorgeous, pitched-roof home with an interior that opens up to a spacious greenhouse via a breezy pergola with a porch swing. The Elsa is a tiny home on wheels with an enviable design on its own. The exterior is clad in warm cedar shiplap siding and topped with an attractive dark gray standing seam metal pitched roof. Fourteen large windows and a glass front door provide plenty of natural light for the interior living space. Related: Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds The entrance to the home is via a wooden pergola, complete with a charming porch swing. Walking into the interior, guests will find the living space to be incredibly bright with modern decor. White shiplap walls , light-hued wooden trim and recessed lighting open up the space. Measuring just 323 square feet, the home includes a quaint living room that opens up to the full-sized kitchen with a dining counter. A narrow staircase, which pulls double duty as storage, leads up to the sleeping loft . Opposed to the oppressive loft spaces often seen in tiny homes, the bedroom is made larger thanks to the vaulted ceiling. In fact, there’s not only enough space for a queen-sized bed, but there is more than enough room for residents to stand up. The loft features original artwork by MSusan. Of course, at heart of this tiny home is the fabulous greenhouse that mounts onto the tiny home, both of which are built on trailers. Connected to the residence by the pergola, the greenhouse is surprisingly spacious with enough room to grow all kinds of fruits, herbs and veggies. + Olive Nest Tiny Homes Via Good Home Design Photography by Calvin Hanson via Olive Nest Tiny Homes

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This gorgeous tiny home features a greenhouse and wooden pergola

Porous brick walls keep this bold Vietnamese home naturally cool

July 11, 2019 by  
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In an effort to beat the tropical heat in southern Vietnam’s Long An province, Ho Chi Minh City-based architecture firm Tropical Space created a home that maximizes natural ventilation. Dubbed the Long An House, the residence takes inspiration from traditional Vietnamese architecture but uses contemporary design elements to create an energy-efficient house that follows the local vernacular yet stands out with a minimalist design. Topped with a sloped roof divided in two parts, the home features porous brick walls, an open-sky courtyard and a layout that harnesses the region’s cooling crosswinds. Spanning an area of nearly 3,230 square feet, the Long An House includes two floors arranged around a central courtyard open to the sky. A simple construction palette of brick and concrete defines the minimalist building, which is punctuated by views of greenery throughout. Brick is featured in the home in a variety of ways, not only as a structural and facade material but is also used for cooling the home. The front yard is paved with hollow clay bricks, which can absorb the rain and reduce heat on the floor, while porous brick walls let wind and light through without compromising privacy. “The Vietnam traditional house is stretched from front to back creating continuous functional spaces,” the architects noted in a project statement. “These spaces’ boundaries are estimated by light with different intensity and darkness. The layout utilizes the wind direction of the local area in different seasons.” Related: A “green veil” of plants protects this home from Ho Chi Minh City’s heat Oriented east to west, the Long An House is entered from the west-facing front yard with a vegetable garden that connects to the living area through massive glazed doors that fold open to allow cross-breezes to blow through the length of the home. The courtyard with a pool occupies the center of the home and is flanked by two corridors. The one to the north contains a galley kitchen, while a terrace is found on the south side. The rear of the home comprises a master bedroom and another courtyard (also with folding glass doors) with access to the chicken coop. Two en suite bedrooms are located on the upper floor. + Tropical Space Photography by Oki Hiroyuki via Tropical Space

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Porous brick walls keep this bold Vietnamese home naturally cool

Architects envision sustainable bamboo mass housing for Malaysia

July 2, 2019 by  
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Overshadowed by steel, brick and concrete, bamboo is no longer a major material for everyday Malaysian construction. Yet Cyberjaya-based architectural firm Eleena Jamil Architect believes that the sustainable material should and can join the ranks of modern construction materials. To prove that bamboo is not only a sustainable building material but also a viable one for long-term construction projects, the architects have designed Bamboo Terrace Homes, an eco-friendly proposal for mass contemporary housing built predominately from locally harvested bamboo. Modeled after the typical 22-foot-wide terrace houses found across Malaysia, Eleena Jamil Architect proposed Bamboo Terrace Homes can be used in both urban and suburban areas. Although bamboo has historically been used in Malaysian architecture, the material fell by the wayside due to its low natural resistance to pests and rot when alternative materials, such as steel and brick, rose to prominence. However, the architects said that properly treated and preserved bamboo is strong and resilient enough to be used as a long-term building material. Related: Competition-winning Bamboo Stadium is a sustainable solution to Lagos’ former landfill In their proposal, treated bamboo forms the main structures save for the bathroom enclosures, which will be made of prefabricated lightweight concrete volumes to keep moisture away from the structural bamboo components. The structural bamboo frames would be prefabricated , mass-produced and flat-packed to reduce costs and environmental impact. Bamboo columns would be used to hold up the engineered bamboo floors and roofs, while the internal and external walls would be built from a lightweight bamboo composite board system. According to Eleena Jamil Architect, the Bamboo Terrace Homes would have lower construction costs and a small carbon footprint as compared to standard terrace homes without compromising quality of living. Each contemporary house would include an internal courtyard, balconies and an open-plan floor layout to enhance flexibility. Ample natural light and ventilation would be welcomed indoors through large glazed openings, while large overhangs and balconies reduce heat gain. The proposal is only in the conceptual phase; however, the firm hopes that the design will inspire developers and the local government to adopt bamboo as a sustainable building material. + Eleena Jamil Architect Image via Eleena Jamil Architect

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Architects envision sustainable bamboo mass housing for Malaysia

This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days

June 3, 2019 by  
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No childhood is complete without spending time in a rickety old treehouse, but when two long-time friends decided they needed an adult treehouse for relaxing in nature, they went the sophisticated and sustainable route. Designed by German design firm Baumraum , the Halden treehouse is a prefabricated structure with a gabled roof and an entire glazed front wall that provides stunning views. Located in the remote Swiss town of Halden, the 236-square-foot treehouse i s tucked into a natural setting of rolling hills looking out over an orchard. To protect the idyllic landscape and reduce construction costs and time, the treehouse was prefabricated in Germany. When it was delivered to its location, the structure was carefully elevated off the land with four wooden support beams. Thanks to the prefabricated system, the house was installed in just a few days. Related: A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites The sophisticated treehouse was built with a steel frame and black metal siding, which gives the compact structure a strong resilience against storms or severe weather. A long ladder leads up to the treehouse’s wrap-around deck, which was carefully built around an oak tree. With enough space for a small dinette or lounge chairs, this open-air space is a prime spot for dining al fresco or just taking in the amazing views. The front of the gabled structure consists of a glazed facade that frames the picturesque views of the valley and nearby orchard. The windows also allow optimal natural light to flood the compact interior. Although the living space is just over 200 square feet, the space is light and airy. Oiled oak panels were used to clad the walls, ceiling, floor and the built-in furniture. A small lounge includes a sitting area facing a wood-burning fireplace. The kitchen, which is equipped with all of the basics, is hidden behind the walls with an integrated pantry. A hidden door opens up to the wooden bathroom with a full shower and customized sink made from natural stone found in a nearby creek. Above the kitchen and bathroom is the serene sleeping loft, accessible by a rolling metal ladder. + Baumraum Halden Via Dwell Images via Baumraum

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This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days

Jakarta’s massive bus system pilots electric vehicles

June 3, 2019 by  
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Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, is piloting a program to transition from public buses to electric vehicles . Jakarta’s bus system is the largest in the world with over 200 million riders and new routes added every year. The addition of cleaner vehicles promises to have a significant impact on the city’s toxic levels of air pollution. Starting in April, the city began testing electric buses produced by Chinese and Indonesian manufacturers. After the pilot trials, the city will test the buses with passengers. The city’s governor, Anies Baswedan is determined to make Jakarta one of the greenest cities in the world and cleaner transportation is a big step towards that goal. Related: UK-based company is making home delivery as green as possible with e-cargo bikes “We see the move toward electric vehicles as a vital way to combat air pollution and transition to a greener future. The electric bus trial program will give us a good sense of the changes we need to make to the system to ultimately replace all of Jakarta’s fleet of public vehicles with electric models,” said Transjakarta Chief Executive Officer Agung Wicaksono. The United Nation’s Environment Program is providing support for the initiative as part of their effort to reduce air pollution . In Asia and the Pacific alone, air pollution kills 4 million people every year. Bert Fabian, Program Officer for the UN Environment Program’s Air Quality and Mobility Unit, said: “The transition to electric mobility can have a dramatic effect in reducing pollutants and making cities healthier and more enjoyable places to live.” For some Jakarta residents, though, the clean vehicle program cannot come soon enough. This month, 57 residents unified to sue the city for its inability to address unacceptable air pollution . The lawsuit, which will be filed on June 18, will pressure the government to do more to clean up the air in the city and argues that transportation is only partially responsible. Citizens also call on the government to crack down on coal-fired industries surrounding the city. + U.N. Environment Program Image via Shutterstock

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Jakarta’s massive bus system pilots electric vehicles

Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

June 3, 2019 by  
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Looking for a summer getaway that checks the boxes for chic and environmentally friendly style? Meet Lava Homes , a new eco resort  on Azores’ Pico Island that’s a relaxing escape for nature- and yoga-lovers alike. Tucked into a hillside with breathtaking views of the sea, the 14-villa resort was designed by Portuguese architectural firm Diogo Mega Architects to embody nature conservation and sustainable principles as evidenced by its minimized site disturbance, use of renewable energy and locally sourced materials. Completed this year, Lava Homes is located on a steep slope along the north coast of Pico Island in the tiny parish of Santo Amaro, an area with superb views and few tourist lodgings. To respect the island landscape and cultural heritage, the architects preserved elements of existing ruins on site — old houses and animal enclosures — and carefully sited the buildings to minimize site impact and to mimic the layout of a small village. “The project was designed to alter as little as possible the topography of the land, so that the integration of the houses was as harmonious as possible,” the architects explained. “Our positioning is based on the conservation of nature, environmental quality and the safeguarding of the historical-cultural heritage and local identity. All housing units are equipped with photovoltaic panels , heating is done by salamanders to pellets, cooling is done by natural ventilation, water tanks have been kept for use in the irrigation, and the drinking water served is filtered local water by an active carbon system.” Related: Azulik, an eco-paradise in Tulum, celebrates the four natural elements Lava Homes offers three types of villas that range from one to three bedrooms; a glass-walled multipurpose center with a yoga room, meeting areas and a pool; and Magma, an on-site restaurant and bar that features locally sourced fare. The contemporary architecture was built from locally sourced materials, including stone and Cryptomeria wood from the islands. For energy efficiency, all glass openings are double glazed . Renewable energy sources — from heat pumps and photovoltaic panels to pellet stoves — are used throughout. Rainwater is also recycled for irrigation in the gardens that are planted with native and endemic flora. + Diogo Mega Architects Images via Miguel Cardoso e Diogo Mega

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Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

A Dutch village inspired the design of this solar-powered home

May 16, 2019 by  
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Within a cluster of traditional Dutch homes in The Hague, local firm Global Architects  designed a single-family home that stands out from its neighbors with its contemporary design, yet relates to the surroundings with a layout that references the concept of a village. Aptly named the Hidden Village, the modern home also distinguishes itself with its use of energy efficient technologies that span passive solar principles to the use of solar panels and an air-heat pump. As a potential forever home, the all-electric home emphasizes adaptability so that the rooms can be easily changed to fit different needs over time. With an area of 1,830 square feet, the Hidden Village offers a spacious environment for a family of four— two adults and two children— across two floors. To give each family member a sense of privacy while allowing them to have direct contact with one another, the architects organized the house around a central technical core that’s surrounded by living rooms, which have access to the outdoors. The upper floor consists of three bedrooms, a bathroom and a play space; the flex room on the ground floor can be used as a bedroom for visiting grandparents. The home features views of the outdoors and carries a strong theme of indoor/ outdoor living emphasized not only with outdoor decks and large walls of glass, but also with internal windows that frame views from room to room, as well as a balcony on the mezzanine. “Hidden Village has been designed by Global Architects as a total concept in which the design of the exterior, interior and outdoor space are fully aligned and reinforce each other,” the architects explain in their press release. “The entire design is a relationship between an open space, characterized by a playful composition of skylights, and the different functional rooms that enter it.” Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Hidden Village also prioritizes energy efficiency. In addition to ample natural lighting, the house is built with passive building blocks with insulation RC values of 9. Eco-friendly spray cladding is used on the facade and combined with dark gray aluminum frames, triple glazing  and Western Red Cedar slats for a contemporary appearance. Solar rooftop panels, a heat recovery system and an air-heat pump power the home. + Global Architects Images via Global Architects

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A Dutch village inspired the design of this solar-powered home

10 shipping containers make up this modern, mixed-use structure in Shanghai

May 10, 2019 by  
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Yiduan Shanghai Interior Design has transformed 10 shipping containers into a striking mixed-use structure on Shanghai’s Chongming Island in China. Located on an open grass field, the building has been named “The Solid and Void” after the staggered arrangement of the shipping containers, which seamlessly connect to outdoor spaces framed by angular timber elements. To further tie the building to the outdoors, the architects used a predominately natural materials palette and white-painted walls to blend the structure into the landscape. Challenged by the site’s remote location and constrained by the narrow interiors of the shipping containers , Yiduan Shanghai Interior Design decided to think outside the box — literally. The designers expanded the project’s usable floor area to 19,375 square feet by adding “void boxes”: outdoor platforms framed by timber elements that extend the interiors of the containers to the outdoors. “The added boxes, framed by grilles, increased usable area, met the functional demands and formed a contrast of solidness and void with the containers ,” the designers explained. “Natural light can be filtered through grilles, generating a poetic view of light and shadows. The containers, and the new boxes generated from them, together produce staggered and overlapping architectural form, making the building look modern and futuristic.” Related: Ennead designs a striking nature preserve to protect China’s most important river The three-story building consists of a reception and display area on the first floor, a cafe and restaurant on the second floor and office space with meeting rooms on the third floor. Large windows pull the outdoors in; the thoughtfully designed indoor circulation guides users to different views of the landscape as they move through the building. The modern and minimalist appearance of the building helps keep the focus on the natural surroundings. Elements of nature also punctuate the building, from artfully placed rocks that line the walkways to the winding stream that runs through the middle of the building. + Yiduan Shanghai Interior Design Photography by Zhu Enlong via Yiduan Shanghai Interior Design

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10 shipping containers make up this modern, mixed-use structure in Shanghai

A potato field is transformed into an award-winning communal home in the Netherlands

May 8, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based architectural firm bureau SLA and Utrecht-based ZakenMaker have transformed a one-hectare potato field in the rural area of Oosterwold Almere, the Netherlands into nine connected homes for a group of pioneers seeking a sustainable communal lifestyle. Initially, Frode Bolhuis had approached the architects to construct his dream home, but the very limited budget prompted him to ask eight of his like-minded friends to join to make the project possible. The nine homes—each 1,722 square feet in size—are all located under one roof in the Oosterwold Co-living Complex, a long rectangular building with a shared porch, landscape and vegetable garden. The client’s tight budget largely drove the design decisions behind Oosterwold Co-living Complex. Not only did the project morph into a co-living complex as a result of limited funds, but the architects also decided that only the exterior would be designed and left the design of the interiors up to families. Elevated off the ground for a reduced footprint and to allow residents to choose the location of the sewage system and water pipes, the rectilinear building extends nearly 330 feet in length and appears to float above the landscape. “The façade is designed to give maximum freedom of choice within an efficient building system,” explain the architects. “Each family received a plan for seven windows and doors, which can be placed in the façade. The space between the frames is vitrified with solid parts of glass without a frame. This creates an uncluttered but diverse façade. Oosterwold Co-living Complex demonstrates that it’s possible to achieve a convincing design within a tight budget and which, most importantly, manages to meet the expectations of nine different clients.” Related: How shared space makes four micro apartments in Japan seem much larger For a cost-effective solution to insulation, the architects built the floor, roof and adjoining walls out of hollow wooden cassettes that were then filled with insulating cellulose. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to a long, communal porch that overlooks the shared landscape and vegetable garden. The windows also bring ample amounts of natural light indoors while the roof overhang helps block unwanted solar gain. The Oosterwold Co-living Complex won the Frame Awards 2019 in the category Co-living Complex of the Year. + bureau SLA + ZakenMaker Images by Filip Dujardin

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A potato field is transformed into an award-winning communal home in the Netherlands

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