Cartoon-inspired prefab treehouse can grow taller and wider over time

July 11, 2019 by  
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Design practice Studio Precht teamed up with tiny-house startup Baumbau to design Bert, a tiny modular treehouse that’s expected to hit the market in spring 2020. Inspired by the Minion films, the playful periscope-like structures eschew hard angles and offer a livable and cozy environment with a minimal footprint and off-grid capabilities, including built-in solar and a water treatment facility. Designed as a reaction to Bauhaus -style buildings found in cities worldwide, Bert embraces diversity and natural materials rather than cold concrete and steel. Built with a wood structure with fabric-lined interiors, the Bert treehouse mimics the shape of a tree, from its rounded trunk-like body to its brown leaf-like shingles on the facade that help camouflage the building into the surroundings. Large glass openings immerse users in the forest. As a modular structure, all parts of Bert will be prefabricated in a factory and assembled on site to reduce landscape impact. Related: Futuristic treehouse in Arkansas is designed to inspire imagination “We are fully aware that architecture is this serious and profound craft with a long culture and tradition,” says the design team in a press statement. “You see that when we architects find reference for our projects in art, philosophy, literature or nature. For this project, we also looked at art to find reference. But not at Michelangelo or Dali. Rather we looked at cartoon characters of Sesame Street or Minions. We took a playful look at this project and wanted to create a rather unique character than a conventional building. A quirky looking character that becomes part of the wildlife of a forest. I think this quirkiness can create feelings and emotions. And maybe these are attributes in architecture that are missing these days.” Modeled after a tiny home, Bert offers all the basic necessities within four floors. The entrance and living space is located on the ground floor, a bedroom and sitting area on the second floor, the kitchen and dining area with a secondary bedroom on the third floor, and the bathroom on the top floor. As a modular structure, the Bert treehouse can be customized to the buyer’s specifications to “grow” taller and wider with new modules, making it an ideal choice for eco-hotel operators. The smallest Bert structure starts at 120.000€ ($136,313 USD) and is expected to hit the market early next year. + Studio Precht Images via Percht

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Cartoon-inspired prefab treehouse can grow taller and wider over time

Everywhere Travel Co. launches sales of A-frame cabin plans for $2K

July 10, 2019 by  
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With summer vacation coming into full swing, charming A-frame cabins are once again popping up all over Instagram. The Everywhere Travel Co. is also jumping on the A-frame bandwagon and has just begun selling A-frame construction plans for $1,950. The 1960s-inspired AYFRAYM home measures 1,574 square feet and includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Now available for sale at the temporarily discounted price of $1,950, the AYFRAYM cabin construction plans are delivered in a box that includes plans for all parts of the house, including electrical, plumbing and HVAC; dimensions, sections and elevations; a materials schedule; and a few small Everywhere Travel Co. -branded goodies. Those interested in owning an AYFRAYM but not keen on building one can hire an independent contractor or hire AYFRAYM, which will partner with licensed contractors in its Builder network. Much like AvrameUSA , the U.S. branch of the Estonia-based A-frame kit home company that made the rounds online last year, AYFRAYM plans to sell DIY A-frame kits in the future. A Finishings and Furnishings Package will also be available as a separate purchase to those who do not choose to hire AYFRAYM to manage the build of their cabin. Related: Escape to the Bavarian Alps in a charming A-frame that produces surplus energy The AYFRAYM construction plans are for a three-bedroom, two-bath cabin that sleeps up to eight and includes a first floor with 9-foot ceilings and an upper loft with lookout windows. The design also features three large wooden decks, 41 windows and plenty of storage space. The official materials list calls for cedar decks, Douglas Fir wood beams and concrete countertops, showers and sinks. Those who hire AYFRAYM to manage the build from start to finish can expect to pay between $252,000 and $277,000 on the low end in the U.S. + AYFRAYM Images via AYFRAYM

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This multigenerational smart home boasts energy savings

July 3, 2019 by  
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When a family approached international design practice ONG&ONG to design a home for accommodating multigenerational needs, the firm responded with a contemporary abode that not only caters to residents of different ages, but also boasts a reduced carbon footprint. Located in Singapore, the 37FC House is carefully laid out to make the most of its long and linear plot and to optimize exposure for its rooftop solar panels. In addition to other energy saving systems such as home automation , the multigenerational home is estimated to save 30 percent on energy costs as compared to similarly sized homes. The strikingly contemporary 37FC House stands out from its neighbors with its boxy form spread out across four levels to maximize living space on a narrow lot. Deep overhangs protect the interior from Singapore’s intense heat, while an abundance of greenery planted around the perimeter and on every floor of the house help cultivate a cooling microclimate and provide a sense of privacy for the residents. Retractable full-height glazing creates a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience, while the generous use of teak throughout the home further emphasizes the connection with nature. Related: Singapore’s energy-efficient green heart center Spanning an area of 5,800 square feet, the 37FC House includes four bedrooms across four floors, including the basement and attic. The main service areas and communal spaces are located on the ground floor that opens up to a lushly planted rear garden, where a Sukabumi-tiled lap pool is located. With approximately 1.5 times more floor space than the ground volume, the second floor cantilevers over the ground floor and contains two junior suites in the rear and the master bedroom that opens up to views of the street and garden. The attic houses a guest bedroom, while the basement includes an additional living room. A sky-lit black steel staircase and an elevator join the home’s four floors.  To reduce energy consumption, the home is powered with solar energy. Home automation that can be remotely controlled with a smartphone — such as the EIB system for controlling lighting — also helps with energy savings. + ONG&ONG Images by Derek Swalwell

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This multigenerational smart home boasts energy savings

Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

June 11, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Lisbon-based architectural practice Studio 3A for a small residential project in the seaside village of Comporta, the architects knew that a major challenge would be keeping the house naturally cool during the oppressively hot summers. In keeping with their commitment to sustainable architecture, the architects used passive solar strategies and efficient insulation to mitigate solar heat gain. The firm also teamed up with design studio Mima Housing to prefabricate the buildings, named Cabanas in Comporta, which were topped with solar panels and sheathed in charred timber for a durable and maintenance-free finish. The architecture of Cabanas in Comporta follows a modular design of three types: the “intimate module” that houses the bedroom and bathroom; the “social module” for the living spaces with room for an outdoor pool; and the “service module” that also serves as storage for items such as the client’s car collection. Together with Mima Housing, Studio 3A prefabricated the modular buildings with oriented strand board sandwich panels and wooden joints. The facades are clad in timber charred black using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban. Related: The elegant MIMA Light prefab home ‘floats’ on thin air “As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project,” explain the architects. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which were another important point of our brief. With this construction type we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.” Heat gain is further controlled with a double blind system installed in both the interior and exterior. The external blind also zips down to protect the home from mosquito invasions. Strategic placement of the buildings optimizes solar orientation and access to cooling breezes. Dark cement flooring is used to take advantage of thermal mass, while photovoltaic panels and heat pumps help heat the buildings in winter. + Studio 3A Images by Nelson Garrido

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Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

Solar-powered prefab cabins keep naturally cool in Portugal

June 11, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Lisbon-based architectural practice Studio 3A for a small residential project in the seaside village of Comporta, the architects knew that a major challenge would be keeping the house naturally cool during the oppressively hot summers. In keeping with their commitment to sustainable architecture, the architects used passive solar strategies and efficient insulation to mitigate solar heat gain. The firm also teamed up with design studio Mima Housing to prefabricate the buildings, named Cabanas in Comporta, which were topped with solar panels and sheathed in charred timber for a durable and maintenance-free finish. The architecture of Cabanas in Comporta follows a modular design of three types: the “intimate module” that houses the bedroom and bathroom; the “social module” for the living spaces with room for an outdoor pool; and the “service module” that also serves as storage for items such as the client’s car collection. Together with Mima Housing, Studio 3A prefabricated the modular buildings with oriented strand board sandwich panels and wooden joints. The facades are clad in timber charred black using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban. Related: The elegant MIMA Light prefab home ‘floats’ on thin air “As local connoisseurs, we based our construction method on the traditional fishermen huts/cabanas as an inspiration for our project,” explain the architects. These huts have been built in this area for years and are very functional and quick to build which were another important point of our brief. With this construction type we had a couple of challenges to face which was the hot-summer Mediterranean climate and the mosquitos which are well known to bug you in the area. We implemented various sustainable strategies to reduce the heat sensation such as the calculated overhangs in front of the main windows, low emissivity window panes and a tensioned solar shading system in between the cabana modules.” Heat gain is further controlled with a double blind system installed in both the interior and exterior. The external blind also zips down to protect the home from mosquito invasions. Strategic placement of the buildings optimizes solar orientation and access to cooling breezes. Dark cement flooring is used to take advantage of thermal mass, while photovoltaic panels and heat pumps help heat the buildings in winter. + Studio 3A Images by Nelson Garrido

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Imperial War Museums Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness

June 6, 2019 by  
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Britain’s Imperial War Museum has recently gained a new high-performance archive facility in Cambridgeshire, England that boasts the world record for airtightness with results of 0.03 ach (air changes per hour). U.K. architectural practice Architype designed the new storage building — called the IWM Paper Store — to house some of the world’s most important collections of artworks, photographs, letters and diaries that chronicle the history of warfare in the past two centuries. Engineered to meet Passivhaus standards, the boxy, single-story collections facility is sheathed in ground-to-roof panels of perforated oxidized steel. Having completed a Passivhaus archive before, Architype was tapped to develop a second airtight facility for the Imperial War Museum (the new repository is currently awaiting certification). Drawing on its decades of experience designing beautiful, low-carbon buildings, the practice not only crafted the building to meet stringent environmental conditions for archival needs, but also thoughtfully designed the exterior to complement the existing historic buildings on site at IWM Duxford. Completed January 2019 for an approximate cost of £2.8 million, the rectangular building spans an area of 13,326 square feet to bring together over 14,000 linear meters of IWM’s collections into a central repository. The building can provide for up to 30 years’ expansion of IWM’s unique collections. To stabilize temperature and humidity levels, the architects turned to Passivhaus as a low-energy alternative to a highly mechanized and energy-intensive building system. Related: Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York Working together with construction provider Fabrite, the architects conceived an uninterrupted facade of oxidized steel to complement the color and texture of historic brickwork onsite. “Though simple in form, the oxidized steel facade offers thoughtful detail, consisting of ground-to-roof panels that signify each year of archived collections from 1914 onward,” the architects explained. “Perforations in panels denote the 1 According to current records held by the International Passivhaus Association quantity of collected documentation, with noteworthy years around wartimes being heavily perforated in accordance with the volume collected.” + Architype Images via Richard Ash / IWM

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Imperial War Museums Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness

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