Anderson Architecture revamps a dim heritage home into a modern sun-soaked abode

December 7, 2018 by  
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When Sydney-based design studio Anderson Architecture was asked to improve the livability of an old heritage home in the inner western Sydney suburb of Lewisham, the house suffered from a cold and dark indoor environment. Drawing on their experience on sustainable design, the architects rearranged the home in accordance to passive solar design in a light-filled transformation that earned the project its name, Suntrap. The contemporary renovation has even doubled the thermal efficiency of the living quarters from 3.2 to 6.4 stars. With a growing family and a dog, the clients not only sought more living space, but also improved comfort and a stronger connection with the backyard. To bring much-needed natural light and an indoor/ outdoor living experience to the home, the architects tore down an existing old addition and replaced it with a new extension optimized to meet the clients’ requests. Located on a long and skinny lot, the house is mainly organized along a central corridor that connects to three bedrooms, while the open-plan living spaces are located in the rear where they connect seamlessly with the backyard. The new extension also features an expansive master bedroom suite on the upper floor. “But our key move was to introduce an internal courtyard ,” say the architects. “We opened the heart of the home to the sun, where strategically placed eco-friendly concrete walls and hydronic heated flooring brought much-needed heat gain to cold zones. New awnings let in winter sun and we specified heavily insulated prefabricated wall and roof panels, and double-glazed windows, to help maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.” Related: 76-year-old Funkis home in Norway gets a Passive House makeover To keep costs low and reduce waste, the architects repurposed the spotted gum flooring reclaimed from the old addition into cupboard faces and the timber-lined ceiling above the kitchen. The bricks from the old kitchen were also repurposed into a strategic thermal mass wall in the backyard that doubles as a screen for a 1,400-liter rainwater tank used to irrigate the native landscaping. + Anderson Architecture Via ArchDaily Images by Nic Bower

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Anderson Architecture revamps a dim heritage home into a modern sun-soaked abode

Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

November 21, 2018 by  
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When Melbourne-based firm  Merrylees Architecture was tasked with giving on old Victorian home a modern makeover , they wanted to retain the home’s original features as much as possible. After stripping layers and layers of exterior paint off the home, the architects discovered that the original red bricks underneath were in excellent condition, leading the way for the Unbricked House’s rebirth, which included a number of restored and new materials. When the homeowners of the 2,637 -square-foot home first contacted the architects, they requested that their beloved Victorian home be restored , but with a focus on maintaining the home’s charming character. Additionally, they wanted a new layout that would cater to their personal lifestyle and one that would be thermally-sound year round. Related: A Seattle midcentury home is restored to its original brilliance with a modern twist Beginning on the exterior, the architects stripped the old paint completely off the red brick walls. Once they discovered the brick facade was in excellent condition, they decided to use it to establish a distinct connection between the old home and a new red brick addition, which would add more space and light to the family home. The second request from the client was to add as much natural light into the home as possible. With this in mind, the home’s new addition was made out of multiple black steel framed windows. According to the architects, “Early discussions about materiality lead to a combination of recycled red brick, black steel framed windows, blackened blackbutt and black metal trims. Contemporary yet sustainable materials; solid and everlasting just like the original home.” To create a family-friendly layout, the living space was reconfigured to include large proportions on the areas that serve as communal spaces, the living room, kitchen, etc. These spaces are flooded with natural light thanks to not only the large glazed walls, but the strategically-placed skylights throughout the home. The interior design throughout the home is fresh and modern, with white walls, hints of a soothing light blue and light timber features. + Merrylees Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Merrylees Architecture

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Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

A traditional log cabin in Colorado is the perfect winter wonderland retreat

November 21, 2018 by  
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The cold winter months are almost upon us and what better way to enjoy a snowy vacation than staying in a beautiful log cabin tucked into a winter wonderland? Located in Durango, Colorado, Bear Hollow Cabin is a traditional log cabin that offers guests a cold weather getaway including a roaring fireplace and private outdoor hot tub. The beautiful cabin has everything needed to provide a serene winter escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Secluded deep into the Rockies, the log cabin is surrounded by a dense forest, but it is just three miles from the nearest ski resort. Related: Super-insulated modern log cabin withstands frigid Finnish winters in style The two-story structure, made out of thick log walls, has been recently updated, but it still retains a traditional mountain getaway vibe. Built into a sloped landscape, the cabin offers stunning views of the evergreen forest and aspen trees, which can be best appreciated from the private hot tub located on the large deck. The interior is homey and spacious with two living areas, three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The main living space is an open layout that includes a fully-equipped kitchen and dining area. There is another small living area downstairs designed for quiet reading time or game night. A wood-burning stove warms the interior on chilly nights. To take advantage of the incredible surroundings, the large wrap-around deck is perfect for dining al fresco. For activities, the area around Durango is full of options. Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the many hiking trails, and nearby Electra Lake has excellent fishing. For wintertime fun, there is a nearby ski resort, which offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Of course, after a long day of activities, guests to the cabin can enjoy a glass of wine in the hot tub or beside a toasty fire. + Bear Hollow Cabin Images via Vacasa

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A traditional log cabin in Colorado is the perfect winter wonderland retreat

Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

November 19, 2018 by  
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Located in the mountainous area of Filefjell, Norway, a stunning, solitary cabin peeks out over the snow-covered landscape. Designed by Oslo-based firm  Helen & Hard Architects , the beautiful Gubrandslie Cabin, which is made out of prefabricated solid wood panels, is designed to provide a low-impact shelter that can withstand the extreme climate characterized by harsh wind and snow. Located on the border of Jotunheimen National Park, the private, 1,184-square-foot home is sturdy enough to withstand the weather while simultaneously leaving  minimal impact on the pristine landscape. Large snow falls can wreck havoc on structures in this area, so the architects built the cabin to be inherently sheltered from the elements. Related: Contemporary ski chalet boasts gorgeous panoramic views and a low-energy footprint The first step in creating the  resilient design was to research the local climate and geography. Using extensive wind studies as a guide, the architects formed the home’s volume into an L-shape to mimic the slope of the landscape. Additionally, the cabin is integrated deep into the terrain to protect it from the elements. The roofs are slightly slanted in order to make it easier for the wind and snow to blow over the structure, avoiding heavy snow loads. Using the same climate to the home’s advantage, the architects were focused on creating a serene living space that took full advantage of the stunning, wintry landscape. The volume of the cabin is divided into three levels that follow the topography. The ground floor, which is embedded into the landscape, houses a sauna as well as the garage and plenty of storage. On the first floor, an all-glass facade makes up the entryway, which leads into a spacious, open-plan living area. The living, kitchen and dining space was orientated to face another wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels , providing breathtaking views of the exterior landscape. On the back side of the cabin, which houses the bedrooms, clerestory windows follow the length of the structure, allowing natural light to flow into the spaces without sacrificing privacy. + Helen & Hard Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Rasmus Norlander and Ragnar Hartvig via Helen & Hard Architects

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Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

November 1, 2018 by  
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Tapped to design a home for a master gardener in Portland, Oregon, Olson Kundig crafted the Country Garden House, a light-filled home that frames garden views from every room. Designed for indoor-outdoor living, the home features walls of glass that overlook stunning vistas and spans 5,300 square feet to accommodate the needs of a multigenerational family. Clad in reclaimed barnwood, the home’s simple gabled form and ample glazing are evocative of traditional farm architecture. Completed in 2013, the Country Garden House is designed to harmonize with its lush landscape. Timber is used throughout, from the exterior siding and soffits to the interior surfaces and furnishings. Large grid windows with black metal framing help to break up the timber palette while also brightening the interior with natural light. American plantsman and garden writer Dan Hinkley was brought on to collaborate on the design of the gardens, which are visible from every room in the home. A green roof further ties the house into its surroundings, as do the easily accessible outdoor living spaces designed for family gatherings. “The entry sequence brings visitors underneath leafy trellises to a front door that opens to a long vista through the living room, opening to views of the verdant hillside beyond,” the architects explained in a project statement. “A long gallery corridor separates the private bedroom spaces from the more ‘public’ living spaces, and showcases the owners’ artworks. Their art extends into the main living areas with custom casework designed to display a rich collection of Asian porcelain, as well as a hand-painted mural by Leo Adams in the dining room.” Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials Enclosed by cedar walls and grid glazing, the living areas are anchored by a stone fireplace that separates the den from the living room. Exposed timber ceilings create “a sense of rustic refinement” and give the home another rustic counterpoint to the mix of contemporary and antique furnishings used throughout. + Olson Kundig Photography by  Jeremy Bittermann Photography via Olson Kundig

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This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

October 23, 2018 by  
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Urban farming can be tough, especially when it’s in the middle of the densely packed Belgian city of Mechelen. But thanks to the determination of a client “with green fingers” and the clever design thinking of Belgian architecture firm dmvA , a solution was conceived in House TP, a renovation project with a new greenhouse in the rear. In addition to space for growing greens, the transformed property also enjoys greater access to natural light and views of the outdoors. Located next to a church, the compact, 90-square-meter home is sandwiched between two buildings with a north-oriented rear side. To improve access to sunlight, the architects removed the back of the building save for a single steel beam that inspired the firm to insert extra beams to create a base for a “floating” greenhouse , which allows natural light to pass through to the patio space below. In contrast to the mostly closed front facade, large glazed openings were also added to the back of the building to frame views of the greenhouse from the second and third floors. Since the top floor enjoys the greatest access to natural light , the architects decided to place the primary living areas on the third floor while placing the bedroom downstairs. The ground floor houses an additional living space that can be converted into a bedroom. The removal of walls and an open-plan layout make the compact home feel larger than its footprint lets on. The stairs were also strategically placed to the side of the building to avoid blocking sight lines. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion In contrast to its redbrick neighbors, the building exterior is painted a bright white. Another major exterior change includes the addition of a gate with steel blinds installed at an angle of 45 degrees. “This kind of gate provides sufficient privacy but still gives an open, light impression,” reads the firm’s project statement. “Previously, the dark corner at the gate was a problematic spot in the street, but with the intervention of dmvA, it has become a fresh corner that revives the street. dmvA not only created a house that met the wishes of the owner, but the refurbishment also led to a revival of the street.” + dmvA Via ArchDaily Images by Bart Gosselin

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

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

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