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

Floating treehouse inside Mexican forest is a dreamy escape from city noise

May 7, 2019 by  
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In the heart of Mexico City, local architectural firm Talleresque has completed Casa Flotante (Floating House), a treehouse-like oasis in the forest. Elevated on nine stilts, the three-story home and work studio stands tall and narrow, mimicking the surrounding trees. As a celebration of indoor-outdoor living , the house is built of locally sourced materials and large glazed windows that pulls the outdoors in. Raised above sloped terrain, Casa Flotante floating house is anchored into the forest floor and spans a total area of 936 square feet. The base, which consists of nine pillars organized in a grid layout, supports a large timber platform above and has space for storage and a water cistern below. A short flight of stairs leads to the first floor, where nearly half the area is used as an outdoor living room edged in with planters. Inside is a compact living space with a workspace that faces the outdoors, a kitchenette and dedicated area for the drum set. An outdoor staircase wraps around the slender home to the second floor where the bathroom and shower is located, and then winds up once more to the final floor where the bedroom is found. Timber is the predominate material used in the project, from the exterior cladding and stair treads to the interior walls, floors, ceilings and furnishings. Floor-to-ceiling windows , large glazed openings and skylights illuminate every the floating house like a lantern, creating a constant connection with the outdoors. Related: This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views “Casa Flotante is much more than all its spaces,” says Juan De La Rosa of Talleresque. “It’s a bridge between nature and shelter, which invites all trees and plants inside. The behavior is not to dominate but to reflect. To give into the landscape… like a mirror. Made of light and reflections, the atmosphere multiplies its views and sensations. Size and proportion lets one ascend in a spiral, through the house between the studio and the bedroom: Between pleasure and creation; through thoughts and dreams.” + Talleresque Images by Studio Chirika

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A welcoming healthcare center in New Delhi follows passive design principles

May 1, 2019 by  
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New Delhi-based architecture and interior design firm VYOM has completed the Dental Care Centre, a recently opened healthcare facility in New Delhi that offers much more than a teeth cleaning. Designed to follow passive solar principles, the light-filled facility immerses patients in a spa-inspired environment with views of nature from every room. A natural materials palette also helps tie the bright and airy building to the landscape. Built to embrace nature, the Dental Care Centre was carefully laid out on a linear site so as to avoid removing any mature trees. The thoughtful design not only reduced site impact , but also helped maximize access to shade while reducing heat load on the structure. The shaded areas also informed the team’s decision to add an outdoor deck and outdoor seating for patients and visitors, while bamboo screens provide privacy to the staff quarters. Views of the preserved canopy are swept indoors through large glazed openings and include clerestory windows , walls of glass and skylights. The most dramatic opening can be found at the heart of the Dental Care Centre, where an open-air courtyard is punctuated by a square fishpond enclosed in glass on four sides. A raised wooden roof with deep overhangs helps mitigate glare from southern sunshine while allowing natural daylight to flood the interior. Related: Light-filled dentist clinic shows how good design can calm patient fears “Addressing the functional, medical requirements while always keeping the focus on positive patient care has resulted in a scheme where the colors and materiality harmoniously enhance the spatial quality,” the architects explained of the healthcare facility, which is dressed in off-white walls and timber accents. “The Dental Care Centre is a singular and exclusive design that enhances the levels of patient care, while mitigating patient stress levels by giving them an environment which is close to nature, dynamic, cheerful and full of natural light .” + VYOM Photography by Yatinder Kumar via VYOM

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A welcoming healthcare center in New Delhi follows passive design principles

This beekeepers workshop uses sustainable design to minimize its footprint

April 22, 2019 by  
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In a bid to save northern Brazil’s rainforests from deforestation and land exploitation, São Paulo-based architecture firm Estudio Flume has recently completed Casa do Mel, a beekeepers workshop that serves as a self-sustainable business alternative to logging operations. Located in the Canaã dos Carajás in the Pará Estate of Brazil, the workshop serves a co-operative of beekeepers formed by 53 rural producers. To reduce site impact, the building follows passive solar principles and incorporates a variety of sustainable strategies such as a bio-digester and a rainwater harvesting system. Set on a steeply sloped site, Casa do Mel deftly navigates the 23-foot height difference with a concrete slab suspended on piers, a more cost-effective solution to the more conventional ground works approach. Elevating the building also helps to naturally ventilate the interior; the raised double-layered roof (slab and corrugated metal sheeting) and perforated walls made of concrete blocks backed with insect mesh also bring cooling cross-breezes into the workspace. The long roof overhang provides shade and protection from the harsh Brazilian sun. “The orientation of the Casa do Mel was designed with consideration to the local climate, prioritizing the thermal comfort and natural lighting of the workspace,” the architects explain of the 2,583-square-foot building. “The most permanent premises, such as the container and process rooms for honey, were located facing East to get the early morning sunlight.” Related: Flow Hive lets beekeepers harvest honey without disturbing the bees To responsibly handle gray water , the architects planted a circle of banana trees (Circulo de bananeiras) that uses the root system to treat the water and prevent soil contamination. Organic waste is treated in a bio-digester where it is turned into fertilizer and organic compost. The butterfly roof helps facilitate the collection of rainwater, which is used for non-potable uses such as flushing toilets. + Estudio Flume Images via Estudio Flume

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This beekeepers workshop uses sustainable design to minimize its footprint

A beautiful brick home is embedded into the Brazilian countryside

March 25, 2019 by  
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Brazilian firm  Estúdio Penha has tucked a brick-clad home into the sloped landscapes of an expansive forest outside of São Paulo. Partially embedded into a grassy hill, the gorgeous Quinta da Baroneza House blends quietly into its natural setting thanks to an expansive green roof and muted brick cladding that matches the same color of the local soil. Located in an open patch of the Atlantic Forest, the nearly 7,000-square-foot home was designed to blend in with its surroundings while providing a relaxing retreat for the homeowners. According to the architects, they created the exterior cladding by using mainly broken bricks and brick residues in order to symbolically create “a direct connection to the large and small pieces that compose life.” Related: Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory The brick home is comprised of three main volumes that are separated by a smooth, concrete, L-shaped wall. This large wall crosses through the main volumes, creating a corridor that traverses the length of the building to an inner courtyard that connects the interior with the exterior. Further enhancing this connection to the natural surroundings is a large metal staircase that leads up to an expansive green roof  planted with native vegetation. Although underground, the living space in the first volume is illuminated with natural light thanks to a strategically placed skylight. Much of the interior features walls with rough cast plaster finish, concrete touches and exposed plumbing and electrical wiring, all of which give the living space a cool, industrial aesthetic. Flooring found throughout the home was made out of reforested wood. The largest area in the home is the main living room with a front facade comprised of massive sliding glass doors, which open out to the Hijau stone pool surrounded by a wooden deck. The pool was created with tiles in differing shades of green to create the sensation of being in a lake. Definitely the heart of the home, this area blends in nicely with the terrain with a rustic vine veranda that provides shade from the harsh summer sun. + Estúdio Penha Via ArchDaily Images via Estúdio Penha

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A beautiful brick home is embedded into the Brazilian countryside

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