Minimalist prefab home hides a sculptural light-filled interior

March 17, 2017 by  
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Berrel Berrel Kräutler Architekten designed a minimal prefabricated house with a modest appearance that belies a sculptural interior. Located in Rodersdorf, Switzerland, this single-family home has a deceptively simple design with its gabled roof and facade clad in metal and timber. The interior is divided into four levels with split-levels that maximize space and access to natural light. Constructed with a timber frame , the 172-square-meter home sits high on a slope overlooking views across the Alsatian landscape. The asymmetrical gabled roof and shape of the home, which steps down on the landscape, was designed to meet local building code specifications. To make the most of the slope change, the architects added split-levels and inserted a wooden shell mounted beneath the roof. Like a house-within-a-house concept, the wooden shell houses the two upper floors and is accessible via a set of minimalist wooden stairs. Related: Ant House hides an innovative wood interior behind a metal-clad cube in Japan The over-height space below the suspended wooden shell is the highlight of the home. Bathed in natural light from a skylight and full-height window that overlooks the outdoors, the over-height space connects to the ground floor via a slight level change . The ground floor contains the entrance, cloakroom, kitchen, dining area, living room, and lounge, all of which appear to be seamlessly connected through precise carpentry work. The fluid connections between the different spaces, from the partly sunken basement level to the topmost floor cradled in the timber shell, gives the home a sculptural quality. + Berrel Berrel Kräutler Architekten Via ArchDaily Images © Eik Frenzel

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Minimalist prefab home hides a sculptural light-filled interior

Color-changing glass bathes the interior of the new Canvas Worldwide headquarters in vibrant light

March 14, 2017 by  
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Visitors of the new west coast headquarters of global powerhouse Canvas Worldwide are treated to a surprising mix of colorful spaces that reflect the company’s dedication to creating original and inspiring work. The journey into the interior of the new building, designed by architecture firm A + I, starts with an unexpected reception area and leads through a sequence of vibrant glass-enclosed spaces that change color depending on the light. The architects designed the building for Canvas Worldwide, a joint venture between Horizon Media and global creative powerhouse INNOCEAN Worldwide. Located in Silicon Beach, Los Angeles , the new headquarters joins several tech giants and brands, including Google, Snapchat YouTube, BuzzFeed, Facebook, AOL and Hulu, who chose this location to built their offices. Related: South African office building was designed to keep its occupants healthy The reception area is defined by three floating venetian plaster planes tilted at different angles. This space forces visitors to pause and prepare to discover the interior of the building without preconceptions. From here, visitors are led into the heart of the project: ?a multi-purpose social, meeting and event space . This double-height space features vertical slab cuts that create interesting visual angles. One of the most important features is the dichroic glass that changes color depending on lighting conditions. Related: LEED Platinum-certified New Balance World Headquarters raises the bar for indoor environmental quality “We put a lot of thought into the relationship between our architecture, culture, technology, and collaboration,? and the result is a design that enables collaborative thinking amongst our employees,” said Paul Woolmington, CEO of Canvas Worldwide, about the project. “We have great people with a clear vision and purpose; and providing them with this incredible space will further promote unrestrictive creative thinking.” + A+I Photos by Michael Wells

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Color-changing glass bathes the interior of the new Canvas Worldwide headquarters in vibrant light

India triples solar power capacity in three years

March 14, 2017 by  
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India’s solar power capacity has exploded over the past three years, growing from just 3,000 megawatts in 2014 to an installed capacity of 10,000 MW in 2017. And that’s just the beginning of the country’s solar ambitions, with a renewable energy target of 175 gigawatts as soon as 2022. India’s government is working to further its ambitious goal already, with more than 14,000 MW worth of solar projects in the works, and another 6 GW set to go to auction soon. India expects to add a total of 8.8 GW of further solar capacity in 2017. As Swarahya reports, this investment in solar power is aimed at addressing a growing demand for electricity in India. Projections peg the country’s power consumption at three times its current rate by 2030. The government’s recent national electricity plan says those needs could reach as much as 360 GW of total generation by 2022. The plan says that by developing renewable technologies like solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectricity, the country can meet the growing demand while reducing environmental impacts. Related: New 2D perskovite cell could slash the cost of solar No doubt, reducing air pollution is also high in the minds of the Indian government. A report issued earlier this year showed that China and India are leading the way in deaths due to air pollution . The two countries experienced a combined 2.2 million deaths due to air pollution in 2015 . Via Swarahya Images via Pixabay and Flickr Creative Commons, jepoirrier

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India triples solar power capacity in three years

Net-zero Acacia Avenue House saves up to 90% of heating and cooling costs

March 2, 2017 by  
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This energy-efficient home in Oakland Hills features a patented steel construction technology inspired by the aerospace industry. The house, designed by BONE Structure , features state-of-the-art sustainable technologies and materials which make it not only highly ecological, but also built to last. The house has a soy-based polyurethane thermal envelope that provides optimal insulation. This technology patented by BONE Structure allows homeowners to save up to 90% of their heating and cooling energy costs . All BONE Structure homes are open-concept living spaces without load-bearing walls and have large windows that let in ample amounts of natural light . Related: Low-impact Cape Cod house is designed to provide all its energy on-site The house that is currently for sale features bay and canyon views, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bright open interior. It boasts five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a living room, home office, gourmet kitchen and a two car garage with interior access. + BONE Structure

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Net-zero Acacia Avenue House saves up to 90% of heating and cooling costs

See how the "Kiss-Kiss House" snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape

March 2, 2017 by  
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Homes built to embrace the landscape, rather than working against it, always seem to have a good story to tell. The Kiss-Kiss House, a prefabricated home that gets its name from its linear shape broken into two bars kissing at an angle to frame the existing bedrock, is no exception. Designed by Minneapolis-based Lazor Office , the cedar-clad home is perched above bedrock on the shore of the remote Rainy Lake in Ontario. Inspired by driftwood, the Kiss-Kiss House is clad in unpainted cedar panels that also help blend the home into its forested surroundings. The home’s main structure, made up of two modules set at an angle, is set atop bedrock and is thus raised with elevated pathways that also preserve and frame the rock. Views of the water were prioritized and embraced through floor-to-ceiling , full-length glass on the lakeside facades of the two modules. The home’s elevated position and uninterrupted views create the sensation of floating over water when in the home. Related: Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling “At the kiss line between two prefabricated modules, the lineal form of the house snaps like a branch held together only by bark,” writes Lazor Office. “The open break forms a V-shaped outdoor room facing the water.” The larger of the two modules contains the master suite, kitchen, and lounge, while the other module houses the playroom, mudroom, and two bedrooms. The private areas are located at the ends of the modules, whereas the communal areas are closely linked together by the breezeway . Elevated walkways connect the modular home to a walled vegetable garden, dock house, and garage. + Lazor Office Images via Lazor Office

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See how the "Kiss-Kiss House" snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape

Research reveals the Earth may have once had a solid egg-like crust

March 2, 2017 by  
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Extending the symbolism of eggs as a metaphor for life and reproduction, recent research reveals the Earth itself may have once had an egg-like structure. According to a report from the University of Maryland , the plate tectonics that now define the Earth’s geology may have begun later in the planet’s history. Before the plates began moving and colliding to define the surface we know and love today, the Earth’s crust likely consisted of a solid but deformable shell encasing a molten liquid interior. The research, a joint effort between the UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Curtin University and the Geological Survey of Western Australia , was recently published in the journal Nature, and represents the latest in a longstanding debate over the Earth’s geological history. One side of the debate says plate tectonics began right after the Earth started to cool (known as uniformitarianism), while the other proposes the planet went through a long phase with a solid shell enveloping it. This latest study clearly favors the latter view. Models for how the first continental crust formed generally fall into two groups: those that invoke modern-style plate tectonics and those that do not, says Michael Brown, a professor of geology at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the study. “Our research supports the latter ‘stagnant lid’ forming the planet’s outer shell early in Earth’?s history. Related: Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight Coming to this conclusion was no easy task. Brown and his team studied rocks collected from the East Pilabara Terrane – a large area of ancient crust located in Western Australia . As old as 3.5 billion years, these rocks are some of the oldest on the planet. The researchers looked at the granite and basalt rocks for signs of plate tectonic activity, such as subduction of one plate beneath the other. As UMD explains it: “Plate tectonics substantially affects the temperature and pressure of rocks within Earth’?s interior. When a slab of rock subducts under the Earth’s surface, the rock starts off relatively cool and takes time to gain heat. By the time it reaches a higher temperature, the rock has also reached a significant depth, which corresponds to high pressure – in the same way a diver experiences higher pressure at greater water depth.” In contrast, a stagnant lid regime would be very hot at relatively shallow depths and low pressures. Geologists refer to this as a “high thermal gradient.” According to Brown, the results showed the Pilabara granites were produced by melting rocks in a high thermal gradient environment and the composition of local basalts shows they came from an earlier generation of source rocks supporting the ‘stagnant lid’ theory of the Earth’s early formation. Images via Robert Whitehead , domdomegg

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Research reveals the Earth may have once had a solid egg-like crust

Prefab timber chapel pays homage to Chernobyl disaster victims

February 28, 2017 by  
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A chapel made almost entirely of timber has been completed in Finchley, north London in memory of the victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster . Designed by Spheron Architects , the Belarusian Memorial Chapel will serve the estimated 5,000 people in the UK’s Belarusian diaspora community. The chapel was prefabricated offsite from timber to follow Belarus’ wooden church tradition and to reference the mostly rural areas affected by Chernobyl radiation. The 75-square-meter Belarusian Memorial Chapel is the first wooden church built in London since the Great Fire of 1666. Set in a tranquil garden belonging to the Marian House, a community and cultural center for the UK Belarusian community, the church’s natural and unfinished timber facade complements the thirteen statutorily protected trees that surround the building. The chapel was prefabricated off-site with a Douglas Fir structural frame and assembled with pine cross-laminated panels manufactured in Spain. Canadian cedar shingles clad the roof and cupola. The chapel accommodates 40 people at a time within the nave and raised altar in the apse. Related: Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinki’s most multicultural districts Spheron Architects’ Tszwai So spent time in rural Belarus to research the country’s wooden architectural heritage. The final design features a domed spire and timber shingle roof common to Belarus’ traditional churches, but also includes contemporary elements like the undulating timber frill on the church’s exterior sidewalls. Strips of frosted glazing let in natural light but are positioned to limit views. Soft lighting makes the building appear to glow at night. Historic icons set into a timber screen separate the nave from the altar. + Spheron Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Joakim Borén

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Prefab timber chapel pays homage to Chernobyl disaster victims

Ship-like Hidden Pavilion uses the surrounding forest like a protective envelope

February 15, 2017 by  
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This ship-like pavilion in Spain reconciles the openness of glass architecture and the need for privacy. Penelas Architects designed the Hidden Pavilion as a quiet retreat that protects its occupants not through the use of curtains or blinds, but by treating the surrounding forest as a kind of natural envelope. The pavilion is nestled in a forest glade just northwest of Madrid, Spain . Its isolated location allowed the architects to completely open up the building toward the surroundings and draw maximum natural light into its interior. Designed to become one with nature, the building incorporates an existing 200-year-old oak tree, along with younger trees, to grow through gaps in its terraced areas. Related: Kengo Kuma unveils “blossoming” glass and timber villas for Bali With a floor space of 753 square feet spread over two floors, the pavilion includes a veranda and a rooftop terrace that overlook the surrounding forest. Natural materials , steel and glass are combined to create a kind of industrial appearance of an ocean liner that, instead of oceans, navigates the lush landscapes of central Spain. + Penelas Architects Via New Atlas Photos by Miguel de Guzmán + Rocio Romero

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Ship-like Hidden Pavilion uses the surrounding forest like a protective envelope

Flexible trailer-office tucked into an old ambulance garage in Portland

February 8, 2017 by  
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Designers are constantly coming up with new flexible solutions for urban office spaces– from multi-use backyard structures to road-ready office pods  . Exploring this concept further, Portland-based studio LOS OSOS teamed up with Coroflot , a website that connects designers with clients and peers, to design and build a mobile trailer -office which can be installed on any unoccupied urban lot. Their first Mobile Work Unit (MWU) is located inside an old ambulance garage in downtown Portland, and functions as a workspace for the retail shop Hand-Eye Supply. The team wheeled a trailer into the space and built the structure in place using a post-and-beam structural system, which limits the wall’s structural role. The designers used polycarbonate as siding in order to allow natural light to reach the interior while functioning as an acoustic barrier. Locally-sourced, custom-milled, and kiln-dried wood from Douglas fir trees was used for the walls, while modular furniture systems, specially developed for the project, define different personal spaces. The new office space can be repurposed and adjusted for different work scenarios. It can be easily adapted and expanded to accommodate a growing company. Related: Tiny workplace on wheels can make each day at the office different! “I see the next version in so many different flavors—office, retail, showroom , home,” said Laurence Sarrazin, principal of LOS OSOS. “And each has its own challenges and parameters that would determine what the skin would be, the size, how much light is let in, how much storage, all those fun design problems. It would be exciting to find manufacturers.” + LOS OSOS + Coroflot Lead photo by Josh Partee

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Flexible trailer-office tucked into an old ambulance garage in Portland

Star-shaped Schneider Electric building in South Africa aims for LEED Gold certification

February 7, 2017 by  
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The Midrand Waterfall Development in South Africa will soon receive a couple of world-class, energy-efficient additions aiming for the highest green certification in the country. The first among them, the Schneider Electric office designed by Aevitas Group is a star-shaped structure optimized for a superior energy performance, targeting a LEED Gold certification . Located on a five-sided site, the building assumes a star-shaped form. It was designed as a perimeter building with a central, enclosed, quadruple-volume atrium flooded with natural light that penetrates the interior through large skylights. The atrium features landscaped elements and planters that double as public seating. Related: BIG’s battleship-inspired LEED Gold office opens in Philadelphia The architects conducted extensive energy performance studies, analyzing thermal loads on the building. As a result, the facades are single glazed, double glazed and clad in insulated aluminium panels . Thanks to low-flow fittings, the water consumption has been reduced by 30 percent, while the efficient drip-irrigation systems reduce water consumption by 55 percent. An efficient waste management plan reduce the amount of waste generated during the construction. Renewable energy systems, lighting control, BMS, daylighting control and HVAC systems add to the sustainability of the design. + Aevitas Group Via solid GREEN

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Star-shaped Schneider Electric building in South Africa aims for LEED Gold certification

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