Elevated, green-roofed cabin minimizes impact on mountain in Norway

May 7, 2020 by  
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Designed by San Francisco- and Oslo-based firm Mork-Ulnes Architects , the Skigard Hytte Cabin in Norway features various openings on each side that allow the architects, who designed the cabin for themselves, to immerse themselves in the incredible, mountainous surroundings. The 1,500-square-foot cabin is resilient to the extreme weather and is elevated off the landscape to reduce its impact. To top it all off, the cabin is crowned with a lush green roof . Located close to the peak of the mountain, the beautiful wood cabin holds court west of Kvitfjell, a ski resort about 45 minutes north of Lillehammer. The pristine area is known for its skiing opportunities and is appreciated for its spectacular natural beauty. With a shared love of skiing and exploring the outdoors, architects Casper and Lexie Mork-Ulnes decided to build their dream cabin here. Related: Pinwheel-shaped timber cabin grows more beautiful over time Perched on a steep slope on thin CLT stilts to reduce its impact, the cabin was designed to pay homage to the area by using traditional building materials such as skigard , a cut log that is typically used for fencing by Norwegian farmers. The rough, diagonal facade gives the cabin a unique appearance throughout the year. But in the wintertime, snow falls and gathers within the log gaps, blending the Skigard Hytte Cabin into its surroundings. The cabin’s grass-covered rooftop is also a nod to the vernacular architecture , including the typical log house constructions found throughout Scandinavia in the 19th century. The sod roof moves with the wind, contrasting and complementing the cabin’s otherwise rigid exterior. The interior design is also Scandinavian in both appearance and materials. Throughout the cabin, the minimalist design features solid pine paneling. From nearly every angle, full-height glazing provides ample natural light and, of course, picturesque views. Spanning about 1,500 square feet, the cabin has three bedrooms and a spa, along with a guest annex. The main living area follows an open-plan layout housing the kitchen, dining area and lounge space. At the end of this area is the master bedroom and sauna . Walking through the other side of the home, the residents are greeted by a unique, open-air portal that leads to the guest annex. The annex offers breathtaking views of the mountain range and valleys below. + Mork-Ulnes Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Bruce Damonte, Juan Benavides and Tor Ivan Boine via Mork-Ulnes Architects

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Elevated, green-roofed cabin minimizes impact on mountain in Norway

Climate change could lead to dramatic decline in narwhals

May 6, 2020 by  
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Climate change is affecting everybody, even narwhals. These mysterious “unicorns of the sea” may decline by 25% by the end of this century, according to a new study . Narwhals are a type of Arctic-dwelling whale found only in the cold waters of Greenland, Canada, Norway and Russia. Their population currently numbers about 200,000. In winter, most narwhals spend up to 5 months beneath the sea ice. They are recognizable by a single long, spiral tusk, which is actually an enlarged tooth. Related: Arctic shipping routes could threaten “unicorns of the sea” Researchers from Denmark, Canada, Norway, Germany and the U.K. studied tissue samples from 121 narwhals, mostly collected between 1982 and 2012. Some were killed by Inuit hunters in Greenland and Canada. Other samples came from archaeological remains from digs in Russia and northern Europe. Researchers were even able to collect tiny samples from a throne chair featuring narwhal tusks in Denmark. “They had special access to be able to drill little tiny bits of tusk from that throne,” said Steven Ferguson, an Arctic marine mammal research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and one of the study’s authors. These samples helped them learn more about narwhal DNA. Through a combination of DNA information and habitat modeling, the researchers investigated the impact of previous climate shifts on narwhal distribution and estimated what the future might hold for these creatures. Scientists confirmed that the world has three narwhal populations. Most live in two different groups off Canada’s northeastern coasts. The third population of about 10,000 lives off Greenland’s east coast, extending as far as Russia. The researchers were surprised to find that narwhals show the lowest genetic diversity in any marine mammal studied. They weren’t sure why this is. As sea ice melts because of global warming , the narwhals’ habitats will shrink, and the animals will probably move northward. But as they are crowded into a smaller habitat, they’ll become more vulnerable to human encroachment, competition for food, new diseases and orca predation. Unlike other polar mammals, narwhals are only found in very limited locales. “They really seem to have this Atlantic Ocean habitat,” Ferguson said. “So there’s an open question as to what might happen as we continue to lose sea ice.” + Royal Society Publishing Via Forbes and The Narwhal

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Half-buried home in Brazil is crafted from rammed earth

May 6, 2020 by  
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On a windswept hill a three-hour drive from São Paulo, Brazilian architecture firm Arquipélago Arquitetos has completed the House in Cunha, a low-lying, contemporary home that is primarily built of locally sourced rammed earth. To protect the building from the cold, prevailing winds, the architects partly buried the structure into the earth and repurposed the excavated soil as construction material for the building walls. The thick, earthen walls and the building’s sunken position also provide the benefit of thermal mass to help maintain comfortable and stable interior temperatures year-round. The design for House in Cunha takes inspiration from the surrounding landscape and the region’s traditional culture for ceramic crafts. Set atop a hill, the building is oriented for optimal views of the Mantiqueira Mountains, while its low-lying profile and rammed earth construction help blend it into the landscape. Related: Inspiring rammed earth hospital brings affordable care to rural Nepal The main walls of the home were constructed of rammed earth via a building technique that allows for easy assembly and disassembly. “All the characteristics of hardness, thermal inertia, color, brightness and tactile quality are factors due to the physical and chemical characteristics of that specific soil,” the architects noted. In addition to rammed earth construction, architects also used a local pottery technique to create straw-colored bricks for the remaining walls. Despite its use of traditional materials and construction techniques, the House in Cunha features a minimalist and contemporary design. The main living areas face north to take advantage of winter sunlight and open up to an L-shaped outdoor deck sheltered by deep roof overhangs. Large windows bring panoramic views and ample natural light indoors, while a mix of timber surfaces and brightly colored furnishings help create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The home also includes three bedrooms and two baths; the bedrooms face the northwest and also open up to the outdoor deck. + Arquipélago Arquitetos Photography by Federico Cairoli via Arquipélago Arquitetos

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Half-buried home in Brazil is crafted from rammed earth

Self-sustaining Ugandan surgical facility provides healthcare to underserved areas

January 21, 2020 by  
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In an inspiring example of humanitarian architecture, Kliment Halsband Architects teamed up with Mount Sinai Surgery in New York to create the Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Uganda Surgical Facility, a prototype for an independent, self-sustaining ambulatory surgical facility. According to the architects, roughly 5 billion people lack any form of safe or affordable surgery, leading to millions of deaths annually worldwide. In response, the architects created a modular, easily replicable surgical facility to provide ambulatory surgical procedures for underserved populations in resource-poor regions. Located in Kyabirwa, a rural village near the equator in Uganda, the Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Uganda Surgical Facility is located on a site that originally lacked potable water, reliable electricity, internet or adequate sanitary facilities. To keep construction simple, the architects used a modular and minimally invasive design inspired by locally available materials. Taking advantage of the area’s abundance of red clay, the architects used locally sourced and fired bricks and cladding tiles for the main structure and topped it with a wavy roof reminiscent of the nearby White Nile. Related: Snøhetta designs healing forest cabins for patients at Norway’s largest hospitals Uninterrupted power is provided by 75 kWp solar panels installed atop the wavy roof, Li-Lead Acid Hybrid battery storage, an onsite generator and intermittent power from the grid. The team also installed 20 miles of underground cabling with fiberoptic service to provide critical internet connection for telemedicine links to Mount Sinai Surgery in New York, where doctors provide advanced surgical consultation and real-time operating room video conferencing. Gravity tanks with a filter and sterilization system store well water and intermittently available town water on-site, while water from a graywater system is recycled for toilet flushing and irrigation. The building relies primarily on natural ventilation and is not air conditioned with the exception of the operating rooms. “The primary reason for the limited availability of surgical treatments in underserved parts of the world is the belief that surgery is either too expensive or too complicated to be broadly available,” reads the project’s client statement. “We believe that surgical treatments are essential to building healthy communities worldwide and that surgical therapies need not be complex or expensive. This model is built around developing an independent, self-sustaining facility capable of providing surgical treatments in resource-poor areas.” + Kliment Halsband Architects Photography by Bob Ditty and Will Boase via Kliment Halsband Architects

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Self-sustaining Ugandan surgical facility provides healthcare to underserved areas

Snhetta-designed center may provide a rare look inside the worlds largest seed vault

November 7, 2019 by  
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Snøhetta has unveiled preliminary designs for The Arc, a proposed visitor center for Arctic preservation storage on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, a remote island north of the Arctic Circle. Commissioned by Arctic Memory AS, the visitor center will provide a digital glimpse inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault — the world’s largest secure seed storage — as well as a look at the contents of the Arctic World Archive, a vault for preserving the world’s digital heritage. Powered by solar energy, The Arc will not only educate visitors about the importance of resource preservation but will also inspire a call to action on global warming. Located in Longyearbyen, The Arc — named in reference to its location in the Arctic — will comprise two visually distinct volumes: an entrance building and an exhibition building. Built of cross-laminated timber and clad in charred wood and dark glass, the low-lying entrance building will house a lobby, ticketing, wardrobe and a cafe as well as facilities for the Arctic World Archive and technical rooms. The building will also be elevated off the ground to prevent heating of permafrost and snow accumulation, and it will be topped with rooftop solar panels. Related: Rising temperatures are putting the Global Seed Vault at risk In contrast to the dark entrance building, the exhibition building will be tall and conical with an all-white facade that looks as though it were formed by the forces of erosion. The exhibition building is connected to the entrance building via a glass access bridge that provides views of the towering geological formations to the south as well as a stunning landscape to the north. The vertical vault of the exhibition building houses a powerful digital archive with permanent and temporary exhibits and an environment that mimics the experience of being inside one of the real vaults. Visitors can experience the vaults’ contents via wall projections managed with touchscreens, VR experiences and other physical and digital exhibit elements. At the heart of the vault is the ceremony room, a conditioned auditorium with a large deciduous tree symbolizing the vegetation that once grew on Svalbard millions of years ago when the temperatures were 5 to 8 degrees Celsius higher. “At the current rate of carbon emissions, temperatures could rise high enough for a forest to grow again on Svalbard within only 150-200 years,” the architects said. “The tree in the ceremony room is both a symbol of the past and a call to action — a living icon for global warming and our responsibility to preserve the Arctic, and all of nature, for future generations.” + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta and Plomp

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A Tourist’s-Eye View of Norway’s Green Lifestyle

July 25, 2019 by  
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Norway has a strong environmental reputation. Oslo’s aggressive climate change … The post A Tourist’s-Eye View of Norway’s Green Lifestyle appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Pentagonal Snhetta cabin overlooks breathtaking Oslo views

July 15, 2019 by  
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Beautiful vistas aren’t the only treat awaiting hikers in Oslo’s Nordmarka forest — a Snøhetta -designed cabin has recently been added near one of the city’s most stunning viewpoints and can be booked online year-round. Dubbed Fuglemyrhytta, the small self-service cabin takes the shape of a pentagonal timber shelter punctuated by a large panoramic window to frame views of the Oslo fjord at Vettakollen. Easily accessible by foot and public transit, the charming, city-owned cabin can accommodate up to 16 people by day and 10 people overnight. Opened to the public in September 2018, Fuglemyrhytta has since welcomed over 2,000 overnight guests — a number the architects reported to be over six times the average for similar service cabins — and is usually fully booked every day of the week. The popular cabin is located on the west side of a small hill by Fuglemyra near the Vettakollen metro stop, which connects to the city center. A “gapahuk” shelter and timber benches can also be found around the cabin, and a small outhouse with a toilet and woodshed is tucked behind the building. The architects built the cabin with locally sourced and natural materials, from a structure of cross-laminated timber with two stiffened and isolated glulam frames to ore-pine cladding. Inside, cross-laminated timber also lines the interior while select walls are treated with hard wax oil to create surface variations ranging in color from light gray to burgundy to orange. Related: Snøhetta designs healing forest cabins for patients at Norway’s largest hospitals “The cabin is composed of two staggered pentagonal volumes, whose shapes and height add a sense of lightness to the different rooms,” Snøhetta noted in a project statement. “The shape of the rooms further creates clever sleeping solutions and more interesting views out on the surrounding landscape.” A large, south-facing window frames views of the outdoors and brings light into the spacious common room, which includes plenty of seating, an oven and a stove. The cabin also features a long mudroom at the entrance, a drying room and two bedrooms. + Snøhetta Photography by Ivar Kvaal and Ole Petter Steen via Snøhetta

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US stops Arctic Council joint statement over climate change language

May 8, 2019 by  
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On May 7, the Arctic Council released a statement of various priorities, but for the first time it could not publish a joint declaration, reportedly due to push-back from the U.S. over climate change language. The Arctic Council is comprised of indigenous leaders and eight nations, including the U.S., Canada, Finland, Russia, China, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland. After meetings in Rovaniemi, Finland, the group released its disjointed statement, but it could not agree on a declaration of urgent challenges and strategies for the next two years. “A majority of us regarded climate change as a fundamental challenge facing the Arctic and acknowledged the urgent need to take mitigation and adaptation actions and to strengthen resilience,” the chair of the meeting, Finnish Minister Timo Soini, said in the statement. Minister Soini refused to point fingers at which nations would not acknowledge climate change as a fundamental challenge. Related: 1 million species are at risk of extinction, says new UN report Indigenous leaders argue that climate change is indeed the most pressing issue in the Arctic and should be a primary focus. Scientists suggest that temperatures are rising twice as fast  fast in the Arctic region than in the rest of the world. Melting ice is contributing to sea level rise in low-lying countries, but it is also creating new shipping routes and opening access to undiscovered oil reserves. The Arctic contains 13 percent of the world’s untapped oil and 30 percent of natural gas reserves. This fossil fuel wealth makes it a controversial region, and development there is highly sought after, particularly by world powers like the U.S., China and Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed too many versions of the declaration as the reason the Council could not reach an consensus, and spent most of his floor time pointing fingers at Russia and China for going against previous agreements and rendering them ineffective. + Arctic Council Via Reuters Image via  Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard / U.S. Geological Survey

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Restaurant UNDERs handcrafted tableware celebrates natural materials

April 12, 2019 by  
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When Snøhetta designed the spectacular concept for UNDER, the world’s largest underwater restaurant located along a rocky Norwegian shoreline, the renowned architecture firm wanted to reference the local landscape in all aspects of design, including the tableware. That’s why the Norwegian brand MENT was chosen as the main supplier for the design and manufacturing of the tableware for the restaurant’s 18-course menu. Founded by sisters Ingvild and Sidsel Forr Hemma, the Fåberg-based design brand designed a unique series of bowls, plates, mugs and other items all crafted by hand from natural materials and Norwegian minerals. Since June 2018, MENT has worked in close collaboration with UNDER head chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard to design, research, test and produce products evocative of the restaurant’s overall concept of celebrating nature, craft and sustainable sourcing. “Getting to work with such a thought out concept — and implementing it further in our design has been incredibly inspiring!” the designers said in a press statement. “For this project, MENT have made items in porcelain, stoneware, wood and clay, and in most products the colors used are made from Norwegian minerals. All items are handmade in MENTs workshop at Fåberg.” For the 18-course menu, MENT created approximately 500 products with 17 different unique designs that include bowls, plates, water jugs, toothpick holders, coffee and tea mugs, a milk-and-sugar set and large snack bowls. Several of the designs also vary in size, material and color. The tableware gets its earthy colors from iron pigments processed from natural magnetite sourced from the area of Nordland in Norway. The color and shapes of the products take inspiration from the Norwegian coast — from the different seaweed, sand and coastal rocks — defined by beautiful textures and a color palette of browns, grays and greens. Related: Europe’s first underwater restaurant opens its doors in Norway Because all of the tableware is handmade and created with natural magnetite with techniques that “are impossible to control,” each product has its own unique features. Although UNDER has already opened to the public, MENT will continue to work in collaboration with the restaurant and the head chef. + MENT Images via MENT

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Sculptural wood cabin is an alpine retreat with magnificent views

February 15, 2019 by  
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Perched high on weather-beaten mountain is the Hooded Cabin, a sculptural wood cabin with a rugged exterior and a sleek interior. The contemporary building is the work of Arkitektværelset , a Norwegian architectural practice that embraced the many environmental and building challenges that the project posed. From the high altitude mountain conditions of Imingfjell, Norway to the strict building regulations, the limitations not only shaped the iconic form of the retreat but also encouraged “playful creativity” from the designers. Set at an altitude of 1,125 meters within an area close to, but not within, the danger zone of avalanche activity, the 73-square-meter Hooded Cabin is surrounded by a wild and windblown snow-covered landscape. The architecture team wanted to take advantage of the sublime landscape and oriented the little wood cabin to face panoramic views of the lake. A “hood” element was created to protect the glazed opening and comply with building codes, which stipulated gabled roofs angled at 22 to 27 degrees. “We kept the original idea of a ‘protecting hood’ from the initial project sketches,” head architect Grethe Løland of Norwegian studio Arkitektværelset said in a project statement. “The ore pine roof protects the ‘eyes’ of the cabin in the front and prevents rain to dribble down the main entrance in the cabin’s ‘neck’. The building becomes an understated iconic sculpture in an area that most cabins look alike, and our clients really liked its form.” Related: This Norwegian alpine cabin fits together like a 3D timber puzzle For a more striking visual effect, the cabin’s outer shell is built from angled unpainted pine paneling that contrasts with the black-painted main cabin “body.” Norway’s strict building codes also called for sectioned windows, standing wood paneling and triple bargeboards. Large windows bring nature and plenty of natural light into the sleek and modern interior, which is lined with oak floors and paneling. Built to sleep up to 12 people, the wood cabin houses a kitchen and living room at the view-facing front of the building, while the rear consists of the master bedroom, bathroom, a sauna that doubles as a guest room and an open attic that fits eight. + Arkitektværelset Images by Marte Garmann via Arkitektværelset

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