Green-roofed beachfront home fully embraces its coastal surroundings

June 17, 2019 by  
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Topped with green roofs and surrounded by walls of glass, the Beach Front Gardens homes in Costa Rica were designed by Tamarindo-based architectural firm Laboratory Sustaining Design (LSD) to embrace the coastal landscape. The complex, which spans a little over 8,000 square feet, comprises two homes — Casa Sare and Casa Caracali — on beachfront property in an exclusive area of the Nicoya Peninsula facing the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 65 percent of the roof surfaces are covered with vegetation to blend the building into the surroundings and to help reduce energy demands for cooling. To minimize maintenance and ensure structural longevity, the architects designed Casa Sare and Casa Caracali with durable materials and finishes to withstand the corrosive powers of the ocean air and harsh tropical elements. The flat, turf-topped roofs also include long overhangs to protect the interiors from unwanted solar gain . The desire to blend both homes into the environment drove the design of simple architectural shapes, a minimalist material palette and walls of operable glass that open up to completely blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. “Each house was designed for users to experience the tropical weather and beautiful nature, and every single space of both houses has a great relation with the exterior, bringing in the natural light to all the interior areas and looking for cross ventilation using the sea breeze year-round,” the architects explained. “Around 65 percent of the interior areas are covered by green roofs , reducing the footprint of the project in this protected environment.” Related: This Costa Rican treehouse is built entirely out of locally sourced teak wood Organized into a V-shaped layout, Casa Sare was placed closest to the beach on the flattest part of the property. The private areas are separated from the communal areas with an exterior terrace accessible from all rooms. In contrast, Casa Caracali was placed on higher elevation and is segmented to step down on the slightly sloped terrain. The social areas are located near the rear at the higher elevations to take advantage of ocean views, while the bedrooms are placed closer to the beach. + LSD Photography by Fernando Alda via LSD

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Green-roofed beachfront home fully embraces its coastal surroundings

A chic, nature-filled office building in Tokyo boldly brings the outdoors in

May 27, 2019 by  
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In Tokyo, a new office tower stands out from the concrete jungle with its embrace of nature. Designed by prolific Japanese design studio nendo in the centrally located Kojimachi neighborhood, the Kojimachi Terrace is an 11-story high-rise wrapped in a grid-like, timber-faced facade that’s complemented with a bright interior dressed in a warm palette of wood, raw stone and bronze-colored stainless steel. A “Sky Forest” — a three-story, open-air garden — punctuates the building’s top floors and provides employees with a “nature-like hideaway” in the heart of Tokyo . Sheathed in a glass skin, the Kojimachi Terrace still manages to achieve a human scale thanks to its second covering, a grid of timber-clad elements that continues from the exterior to the interior. The grid’s seemingly sporadic pattern helps hide the safety rails and pillars that are required to support window construction and are disguised with wooden finishes to blend in with the grid. Further softening the building’s appearance are the plant-filled balconies placed on six out of the building’s 11 floors. These outdoor terraces can also be turned into private meeting spaces, while the three-story “Sky Forest” at the top of the building offers a more immersive nature escape open to the sky. “Typical office buildings are usually built as closed-off blocks with artificial climate control that do not share any real physical connection with their exterior environments. Therefore, in the ‘Kojimachi Terrace’ design, the external elements were taken into account to allow for a more physical experience of the outdoors, like witnessing the changing weather and yearly seasons,” explained the architects, adding that some of the glass panels that clad the facade are operable to allow for natural ventilation . Related: Cleverly layered compact dirt walls mimic ice cream cakes in this Tokyo patisserie The interior design also references the natural landscape. In addition to the inclusion of raw stone and bronze-colored stainless steel materials, the interiors feature a hand-applied plaster finish on the floors and walls that create a textured and uneven appearance. The woven grid elements from the exterior are also continued into the interior, where they are transformed into lighting fixtures and echoed in the design of the furnishings and carpet patterns. + nendo Photography by Takumi Ota via nendo

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A chic, nature-filled office building in Tokyo boldly brings the outdoors in

Local, natural materials make up this eco-friendly jungle refuge in Tulum

March 28, 2019 by  
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Mexican architectural firm Jaquestudio recently completed a new boutique hotel nestled in a leafy paradise within Tulum, Mexico. Carefully sited to preserve nearly three-quarters of the existing jungle vegetation, the Jungle Keva is an environmentally friendly retreat that minimizes site impact and the use of plastics. Moreover, the hotel is built of locally sourced, natural materials that tie the building to the landscape. Designed to mirror the Tulum environment, Jungle Keva features five beautiful lodges with expansive walls of glass that pull views of the trees into the interiors. Each lodge includes double-height , open-plan spaces flooded with natural light. The communal areas and shared amenities are located in a building at the north of the property. The hotel draws water from an on-site well and includes a newly built, state-of-the-art septic treatment system. The five lodges vary in size, from 505 square feet to 600 square feet, and accommodate three to four guests. All accommodations include a private terrace with a hammock overlooking the jungle and an indoor-outdoor bathroom as well as Wi-Fi, natural bamboo sheets and organic toiletries. Guests also have access to on-site yoga classes, a pool, a restaurant and excursion activities. Related: This breathtaking Tulum art gallery was created by Peggy Guggenheim’s great-grandson The structures are built with low-maintenance and natural finishes that lend the buildings a sense of warmth. The distinctive earthy color found throughout the hotel is achieved with the “chum” finish, a Mayan stucco local to the region that’s made from tree resin. “The objective was to use materials that age with dignity, so that with the passing of time, the architecture acquires character and a deeper sense of belonging,” the architects explained. “The different volumes of the complex are scattered along the lot, between the trees and stone paths, which provide a sensation of being in a small village in the Mayan jungle.” + Jaquestudio Via ArchDaily Photography by César Béjar via Jaquestudio

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A green veil of plants protects this home from Ho Chi Minh City’s heat

February 20, 2019 by  
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In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s concrete jungle, a compact family home has been infused with greenery thanks to the work of Vietnamese architecture firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects . Dubbed the Breathing House, the property is located in an extremely dense neighborhood on a plot measuring just 12.8 feet in width and 58.4 feet in length. To provide a connection to nature despite the constrained urban conditions, the architects wrapped three sides of the home in a “green veil” made of creeper plants that grow on steel mesh. Edged in by buildings and accessible only via a tiny alleyway, the Breathing House makes the most of its small footprint with a staggered floor plan arranged around light wells that let natural light and ventilation deep inside the home. To open three sides of the house to the outdoors without compromising privacy, the architects wrapped the facade in a vertical green screen that not only protects against prying views, but also helps mitigate solar heat gain and improve air quality. This “green veil” was constructed using a modularized galvanized steel mesh and planter boxes installed at every floor. “Inside the ‘green veil’, the building consists of five tower-like volumes that are staggered and connected to each other, arranged in between the two boundary walls,” the architects said of the interior layout. “The external spaces created by the staggered arrangement of the volumes, which we call ‘micro voids’, play a role in providing myriad indirect lighting and ventilation routes throughout the building. In the narrow and deep plot shuttered by neighbors on both sides, it is more environmentally effective to promote ventilation for each corner of the house, by multiple ‘micro voids’, rather than having a singular large courtyard.” Related: Fruit trees grow on the roofs of this rammed earth home in Hanoi The “porous” arrangement of spaces helps create a sense of spaciousness in the home while reducing dependence on air conditioning . The “green veil”, which is visible to passersby, continues up to the roof terrace, creating what the architects said is a much-needed green space in a city that’s been losing green spaces at an alarming rate. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Images by Hiroyuki Oki via Vo Trong Nghia Architects

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A green veil of plants protects this home from Ho Chi Minh City’s heat

Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home

December 27, 2018 by  
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When a client approached Vietnamese architecture firm Duc Vien LE for the design of their house in Da Nang, Vietnam, the architects knew early on that the region’s intense summers would prove a major challenge. Rather than rely on energy-intensive air conditioning, the architects mitigated the region’s extreme solar radiation with the addition of a west-facing solar screen that not only brings in cooling breezes, but also adds visual interest to the front of the house. Named the Filtered Wall House after the decorative screen, the dwelling also follows passive solar principles to optimize thermal comfort. Located in the central Vietnamese city of Hòa Quý, the Filtered Wall House spans a footprint of 125 square meters on a long and narrow site stretching east to west. Due to the limitations of the shape of the site, the architects made access to natural light and ventilation—particularly in the middle of the house—a design priority. To this end, the firm inserted a skylight above the stairwell, as well as a small atrium in the front of the house behind the west-facing “filtered wall”. “Creating a buffer space on the west side of the house is the main means of the design,” explains Duc Vien LE. “The west facade of the building is a wall with filtering function. It can block most of the sunlight while allowing cool wind to enter the inner space. The existence of the filtered wall and the buffer space greatly reduces the influence of solar radiation on the main space. In the facade design, the change from densely to sparely was designed according to different shading requirements. Different brick types, colors and compound mode are integrated to create a transitional and presentable architectural appearance.”   Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade Inside, the contemporary home features crisp white walls and an open-plan floor plan to maximize sight lines and a sense of spaciousness. The communal living areas are located on the ground floor, which comprises a living room in the front of the house that transitions to a reading room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and a rear garden. Two bedrooms, a family room and a prayer room are located upstairs. + Duc Vien LE Via ArchDaily Images via Duc Vien LE

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Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home

12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas

December 27, 2018 by  
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Believe it or not, you don’t need eggs or bacon to put together an amazing brunch. If you follow a plant-based diet and are looking for some delicious brunch entrees for a late-morning get-together this weekend, there are plenty of vegan brunch ideas that you can easily make and customize to your tastes. Here are some of our favorite vegan brunch recipes. Pancakes Yes, you can make pancakes from scratch without milk and eggs. Just ask Alex at Delish Knowledge. Her recipe for vegan chia pancakes with peanut syrup capitalizes on the amazing taste combination of peanut butter and bananas. When you add maple syrup to the mix, the flavor combo goes to the next level. The chia seeds in the recipe hold the pancakes together while giving them some texture and crunch. If you don’t want to get that fancy with your vegan pancakes, there are several other recipes you can find online, and many of them are super easy yet delicious. Tofu scramble When you crumble firm tofu , it has the same look and texture of scrambled eggs. The downside is that it doesn’t taste the same. But  this recipe from Abby Langer Nutrition has fixed that problem with the addition of Himalayan black salt. This type of salt has a sulfuric smell and taste. That sulfur smell and taste equals an egg-like smell and taste. This tiny little ingredient will boost the flavor of your tofu once you add it to the pan with veggies and other spices. You might not be able to find black salt in your grocery store, but you can easily find it online. Vegan donuts If you have some serious kitchen skills , you can try making these grain-free vegan blueberry lime cake donuts from Gretchen at Kumquat. These sweet, light and delicious treats are made with flax meal, almond flour, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, blueberries and lime juice and rinds. If you aren’t into fruity donuts or would like to have a variety at your brunch, there are also recipes for other options like baked apple cider, baked chocolate and maple bacon donuts. Avocado toast No matter if you are vegan or not, avocado toast is a must at any brunch. It’s been popping up on menus all over the country. Luckily, you don’t have to pay 10 bucks for it a restaurant, because you can easily put it together at home for much less. Waffles There are so many vegan waffle options to choose from, and they each have a different flavor. You can try vegan French toast waffles, banana bread waffles, mashed potato waffles or maybe even chili cornbread waffles. The possibilities are endless, but no matter which one you choose, waffles will be a hit at your vegan brunch. Fruit buffet This idea is pretty obvious, but at a vegan brunch, you will want to have plenty of fruit options available. You can’t go wrong with berries, bananas and citrus. Stick with local, seasonal produce for the freshest flavors. Baked goods The options are endless when it comes to vegan baked goods at your brunch. Some recipes to consider are strawberries and cream scones , banana gingerbread muffins , zucchini bread  or morning glory breakfast cookies . French toast You don’t have to pass on French toast when you are vegan. All you need is some chickpea flour and non-dairy milk to make the vegan version of the dish. When you stuff it with a delicious filling like caramelized apples tossed in date-based caramel sauce, this option is even more amazing. Breakfast tacos Breakfast tacos are a warm and savory addition to your brunch. We especially enjoy these sweet potato and tofu tacos from Veganosity. The best part about serving vegan tacos at brunch is that each guest can customize the tacos to their liking with whatever veggies and other fillings are available. Breakfast sandwiches You don’t have to make your biscuits from scratch (unless you really want to!). Instead, you can get ready-made organic options at the grocery store, and then make breakfast sandwiches with whatever ingredients you desire. You can have a lot of fun with this recipe for vegan biscuit and gravy sandwiches from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen, or you can choose English muffins for your sandwich like Sam at It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. Quiche Recipes for vegan quiche are extremely flexible , and they make good use of vegan bacon. It’s easy to add a variety of organic veggies to this dish, and it pairs well with a side of leafy greens. No matter which recipe you decide to use, this dish will be a popular one at your brunch. Omelettes Can you make an omelette without eggs ? The answer is yes. Chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, olive oil and a few spices will help you make a delicious vegan omelette. Plus, you can fill it up with whatever veggies you like — we recommend mushrooms and spinach. Images via Ina Burkardt , Bart Everson , Vegan Baking , Anna Pelzer , Lindsay Moe , Silvia , Pexels , Joseph Gonzalez , Stephanie , Miroro , Melissa Walker Horn , Igor Miske and Shutterstock

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Modscape installs a prefab school building that stays comfortable year-round

December 27, 2018 by  
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Cheap trailers and portable classrooms can be a quick fix for schools strapped for space, but the trade-off often comes at the expense of student comfort. Aware of the “crazy hot in summer and freezing cold in winter” conditions of these temporary trailers, Australian custom home builder Modscape wanted to create a more pleasant solution to the Keilor Primary School’s need for additional space without compromising on speed and efficiency. The result is a new permanent modular building that was constructed off-site, installed in just a day and built with high-performing paneling to ensure comfortable classroom conditions year-round. Created in collaboration with Victorian project management firm Sensum Group, the new prefabricated building for Keilor Primary School in Melbourne consists of four teaching spaces, a library, an arts space and associated amenities for students and the staff. Modscape designed and constructed the structure as part of the Victorian Government’s Permanent Modular School Buildings Program, an integral part of a multibillion school construction process to precede the government’s Victorian School Asbestos Removal Program that will oversee the largest ever removal of asbestos from Victorian schools. “The new permanent modular building offered a fast and efficient solution for the school,” the firm said. “With less time needed for planning and construction, the replacement of the older buildings containing asbestos could occur quickly — reducing disruption to students, staff and teaching programs. … Gone are the days of the crazy-hot-in-summer/freezing-cold-in-winter ‘portables’ of previous generations. … High-performing acoustic paneling and double-glazed windows are used in forward-thinking volumetric modules, creating a comfortable learning environment for the students of today and for generations to come.” Related: This highly insulated modular home is completely self-sustaining The building was constructed offsite in Modscape’s modular construction hub in Brooklyn in just 10 weeks — approximately half the time required when compared to a traditional build process. The modules were then installed in a day over the weekend, after which onsite and landscaping was carried out. + Modscape Photography by John Madden via Modscape

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Modscape installs a prefab school building that stays comfortable year-round

Danish home champions wood over concrete for lower carbon emissions

December 21, 2018 by  
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Danish architecture firm Tegnestuen LOKAL recently completed TK-33, a modern and energy-efficient home that promotes building materials considered more sustainable than those typically used in Danish residential construction. To reduce the carbon footprint of the project, the architects designed the home with a timber structure rather than the more commonly used load-bearing concrete walls. Triple-glazed windows and a flexible floor plan also add to the home’s environmentally friendly cachet. Designed for an older couple, the TK-33 home is located on the outskirts of a small town north of Copenhagen . The single-story home spans 130 square meters with two bedrooms and a centrally located, open-plan living area that connects to a spacious L-shaped deck. The flexible layout allows the homeowners to easily adapt rooms to new uses without the need for renovation. Full-height glazing pulls the outdoors in while a natural materials palette ties the home to the rural landscape. Driven by a desire to reduce carbon emissions in Denmark, the architects focused on replacing the most emission-heavy elements of typical Danish construction with more eco-friendly alternatives. In place of brick-clad concrete — commonly used for outer walls that the firm said account for nearly 30 percent of the total emissions associated with the construction of a typical home — the architects used a wooden frame clad in a thin layer of brick shingling. The slim brick facade is Cradle-to-Cradle certified and highly durable to ensure longevity. Related: Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmark’s most energy-efficient laboratories “Eliminating emissions during construction, allowing for flexibility in the use of the house and facilitating reuse of the entire envelope makes for a house and a building technique that could decrease the emissions from the single-family house industry in Denmark greatly,” the architects said. “The house can be naturally ventilated and installations are pragmatically limited to the central core containing two bathrooms and a laundry room, lowering overall costs during construction.” + Tegnestuen LOKAL Photography by Jan Ove Christensen and Peter Jørgensen via Tegnestuen LOKAL

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MVRDV completes massive, mountain-like vertical village for 5,000 residents in India

December 10, 2018 by  
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A mountain-like residential development has risen in Pune  — India’s eighth largest city and one of the fastest-growing cities in the country — and brought with it 1,068 apartments to house approximately 5,000 people in a single building. Completed as MVRDV’s first project in India, the Future Towers bucks the local standard for cookie-cutter freestanding buildings in favor of a singular mountainous structure with peaks and valleys. The mixture of unit types is meant to encourage interaction among the diverse residents who come from different backgrounds and income levels while keeping housing prices competitively low. Created as part of Amanora Park Town on the outskirts of Pune, Future Towers consists of apartments that range from 45 square meters to 450 square meters. Despite its striking mountain-like appearance, the design of the enormous building was mainly informed by research into Indian housing standards and cultural expectations. For instance, the building floor plans incorporate the principles of Vastu Shastra, a traditional system of architecture that has been likened to Feng Shui. The natural ventilation system that helps extract air from kitchens and aids in natural cooling found in typical housing developments has also been used in Future Towers. “In Asia, cities are growing so fast, and uniform repetitive residential towers are the norm,” said Jacob van Rijs, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “With our design, we are making an effort to offer more variety and bring people from more different backgrounds together. In the original master plan, 16 separate towers were planned, all of which would have more or less the same type of apartments. The MVRDV team thoroughly researched modern Indian housing and came up with a system to create a mix of different types of apartment inside one building. This project will attract residents with a variety of incomes, something that will benefit the diversity of Amanora Park Town. Thanks to the client’s willingness to try something new, the efficiency needed for mass housing has been achieved without cutting back on residents’ comfort.” Related: Striking Heritage School with stone walls and curved roofs mimics the rolling green hills of India Since construction costs are low in India, but elevators are comparatively expensive, Future Towers comprises just four circulation cores around which the nine wings — each ranging from 17 to 30 stories — are clustered. Large social spaces, known as ‘scoops,’ are scattered throughout the building and are designed for different activities or purposes, such as mini golf or child care. Each one is brightly painted to create a sense of a “neighborhood identity” in different parts of the building. Outdoor courtyards accessed via four-story-tall triangular gates provide additional gathering space. + MVRDV Photography by © Ossip van Duivenbode via MVRDV

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Zaha Hadid Architects completes highly complex Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre

December 6, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects  completed the Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre, a striking mixed-use facility that blends the firm’s iconic sinuous architecture with elements from traditional Chinese culture. Billed as China’s first completely top-down/ bottom-up tower construction, the entire center was constructed in just 34 months and is the largest glass-reinforced concrete development in the country. Sustainability is woven into the highly complex design from the optimization of natural ventilation and lighting to the use of a self-cleaning facade system. With gross floor area totaling over five million square feet, the Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre boasts two tapering towers—Zaha Hadid Architects’ tallest completed towers to date—linked by a five-story mixed-use podium that contains the Cultural Centre. At 315 meters in height, the taller tower houses offices and the new Jumeirah Nanjing Hotel, while the shorter 255-meter tower includes a four-star hotel. The Cultural Center is divided into four main programs: a 2,100-seat Conference Hall, a 500-seat Auditorium, a Multifunctional Hall and Guest Zone; the independent volumes are organized around a central courtyard. Optimized for riverfront views, the development is located along the river in Hexi New Town as part of Nanjing’s new central business district. “The Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre harnessed the energy of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games to create a project with a lasting legacy that has enhanced and also regenerated its setting—acting as both an anchor and a catalyst for future investment in Nanjing’s Hexi New Town,” says Zaha Hadid Architects in a press release. “The cultural centre’s design is a three dimensional calligraphic composition that resonates with Nanjing’s 1,600-year-old tradition of Yunjin— the name given to the intricate brocade threading used by local craftsmen to weave the region’s acclaimed gold and silver fabrics. Like Yunjin thread, a continuous line interweaves throughout the cultural centre connecting it with its earthquake-resistant towers and beyond to the new central business district, riverside park and Jiangxinzhou Island.” Related: Zaha Hadid unveils futuristic designs for “New Moscow” To reduce the development’s energy footprint, the architects optimized the layout to funnel natural light deep into the buildings. Passive design strategies were used, as were efficient cooling and heating systems and a flexible floor plan to maximize the project’s design life. + Zaha Hadid Architects Photography by © Hufton+Crow via Zaha Hadid Architects

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