This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Chilean city of Pucón, Santiago architect Alejandro Soffia has recently completed a prefab home that visually pops against its wooded surroundings. Fittingly named the Yellow House after its bright yellow facade, the modular residence is elevated off the ground for reduced site impact and to create a treehouse-like feel. The home’s modules were strategically connected with wooden joints and punctuated by full-height glazing to frame views of Lake Villarrica on one side and the Villarrica volcano on the other. Built from a series of SIP modules that Soffia designed himself, the prefabricated Yellow House spans just under 1,100 square feet and consists of a long hallway that connects an open-plan living room, kitchen, library and dining area on one end of the house to the two bedrooms on the other side. The house also opens up to an outdoor terrace built from wood. “The hypothesis is, that if you create a prefabricated system which has a good architectural design, then you can reproduce this quality as much as you need it, within the laws of short/long production series,” explains Soffia, who adds that he prefers prefabrication due to its reduced site impact and speed of construction without compromising quality. “And if in the serial industrial production of buildings you get bored, you can also customize form and function through the system. More benefits when you fasten the building process and have more control over quality and cost.” Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Full-height glazing fills the interior with light and creates an indoor/ outdoor living experience that immerses the owner in the forest. In contrast to the bright yellow corrugated facade, the interiors are lined in wood, with some sections left unpainted and others painted black. Minimalist decor keeps the focus on the outdoors. + Alejandro Soffia Via ArchDaily Images by Juan Durán Sierralta, Mathias Jacobs

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This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views

Solar-powered home stays naturally cool in Keralas tropical heat

April 2, 2019 by  
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In the South Indian city of Kochi, local architectural practice Meister Varma Architects recently completed Maison Kochi, a contemporary home for a family of four that mitigates the region’s intense tropical heat with energy-efficient and cost-effective techniques. Inspired by the concept of chiaroscuro, a Renaissance artistic technique named after the strong contrasts between light and dark, Maison Kochi features a solid white exterior and a dark interior finished in polished concrete to create a cool indoor environment. The interior layout is also arranged to buffer the heat, while the roof is equipped with solar panels and a rainwater collection system. Slotted on a tight, 1,830-square-foot lot, Maison Kochi was commissioned for a family of four who also sought a studio and office space in the home. As a result, the west-facing building is split into two volumes — the volume on the south side is slightly taller to provide shade on the second volume throughout the day — for a clear division of space between the work areas and the primary living spaces. An open-plan layout and large windows allow for cross ventilation, while a vent in the roof access hatch lets hot air escape for natural cooling. On the ground floor, the work areas (a studio, tool shed and flex meeting room that can be used as a guest bedroom) are located on the south side of the house, while an open-plan living and dining room are located opposite; the two volumes are joined by the entry foyer and a compact kitchen. The master bedroom with a terrace, a children’s bedroom, a TV room and a study are upstairs. To soften the polished concrete walls and black oxide floors, the interior is dressed with Kerala sari-inspired fabrics and multicolored baskets that mimic traditional urban crafts. Almost all of the interior furnishings are custom-made. Related: This rammed earth home in India uses recycled materials throughout “ Rainwater channels are integrated in the roof design as are solar panels,” the architects added. “Collected water is used to recharge the groundwater through an injection system. Flat roofs are insulated with hollow clay blocks and sloping roofs with polyurethane sandwich panels.” + Meister Varma Architects Photography by Praveen Mohandas and Govind Nair (drone photography) via Meister Varma Architects

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Solar-powered home stays naturally cool in Keralas tropical heat

LEED Platinum home generates net-positive energy in Oregon

March 15, 2019 by  
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Built for clients who wanted a home with minimal site impact, the Live Edge residence is an environmentally friendly beacon that boasts not only LEED Platinum certification, but also generates  net-positive energy, as it produces more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. Nestled into a bluff among rock outcroppings and juniper trees in Oregon’s Deschutes County, the luxury dwelling is the work of Salem-based firm Nathan Good Architects . Drawing inspiration from the rugged landscape, the architects fitted the contemporary house with a natural materials palette and an earth-toned color selection that tie the architecture to its surroundings. Spanning an area of 4,200 square feet, Live Edge features an L-shaped layout informed by its environment. The northern wing houses the sleeping areas, including the spacious master suite, and two offices that are connected with the south-facing open-plan living areas by a long entrance hall. Floor-to-ceiling glazing floods the interior with light and views of the outdoors, while exterior terraces extend the living spaces to the outdoors. As an energy-positive home, the building is all-electric and is equipped with a 22-kW solar array that powers everything from the all-LED lighting to the 15 kW Tesla “Power Wall” battery back-up system. In 2018, the house was recorded to have generated 21,765 kWh of electricity, yet only used 17,287 kWh. Self-sufficiency is also secured with a 1,800-gallon potable water cistern, attached greenhouse for growing vegetables, an amateur radio tower, and a wood-burning fireplace. The project’s embodied energy was lowered with the repurposing of reclaimed shipping crates as interior flooring. Related: Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco To give the clients the ability to comfortably age in place in the home, Live Edge follows Universal Design principles. Every bathroom includes zero-threshold showers, grab bars, 36-inch door openings, and wash-let toilets. The home is also equipped with an elevator as well as ergonomic door and cabinet hardware. + Nathan Good Architects Images by Rick Keating

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LEED Platinum home generates net-positive energy in Oregon

This light-filled home and office in Portugal blurs indoors and out

February 5, 2019 by  
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On the outskirts of Ílhavo, Portugal, architect Maria Fradinho of the firm FRARI – architecture network recently designed and built her own industrial-inspired home and office using a modern and playful house-within-a-house concept. Sandwiched between two red-shingled homes, the contemporary abode stands in stark contrast to its more traditional neighbors. Dubbed the Arch House, the dwelling was named after the “theatricality” of its facade, a simple gabled shape with strong geometric lines and massive walls of glass. The Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory, one of the region’s most important industries, inspired the Arch House design. As a result, the home features a sleek, black, metal-clad exterior. In contrast, the interior is dominated by white surfaces and filled with natural light and strategic views that give the rooms a sense of expansiveness without sacrificing privacy. Full-height glazing also pulls the outdoors in, while indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with a covered patio that spills out to the backyard. A house-within-a-house concept is explored with the insertion of shipping container-inspired stacked volumes, each faced with windows, which overlook the indoor living room on the ground floor. “It was important for the architect to guarantee this process of transition from the public to the private, as well as ensuring adequate privacy in the interior, because of the maximum exposure desired,” according to the a project statement. “Inspired by ship containers , the volume set with which the interior is developed, creates a total height in some areas, recreating the great industrial environment of a main ship. This set of different roof heights widens the spaces and makes them more comprehensive, providing a visual relation between the various places in the house.” Related: A house within a house in Slovakia unfolds in layers Spanning an area of 300 square meters, the Arch House occupies a little less than a third of its long and narrow lot. The home is spread out across three floors and includes a basement. The open-plan ground floor houses the primary communal spaces, including the living room, kitchen and dining space, while the private areas are located above. + FRARI – architecture network Via ArchDaily Images by ITS – Ivo Tavares Studio via FRARI – architecture network

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This light-filled home and office in Portugal blurs indoors and out

The geometric Black House captures light and views from multiple angles

February 1, 2019 by  
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When architect Benjamin Heller of Radolfzell-based architectural practice Freier Architekt designed the Black House, he took design inspiration from the project’s location near the boundary of Germany and Switzerland . Created to mimic a boundary stone cut by hand, the Black House is an angular, multifaceted building that appears to conspicuously mark the edge of the small village in which it resides on the German border. More than just an exercise to emulate a distinctive stone, the home’s geometric form is optimized to take in panoramic views of the landscape and natural light as part of the project’s embrace of nature. Located in the charming health resort Öhningen located close to Lake Constance, Germany, the Black House expresses the client’s love of nature in not only its location and framed landscape views, but also with its solid timber construction and energy-efficient technical equipment. For example, the house is sustainably heated with a system that uses a ground collector and heat pump . Spanning an area of 325 square meters, the Black House features two floors with a mix of public, semi-public and private spaces throughout as requested by the client. The home is entered from the east side, where a door opens up to a long hallway that branches off to a variety of rooms that includes sitting rooms, bathrooms and the ground-floor bedroom. Upstairs, an open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area dominate the majority of the floor plan and connect to a south-facing outdoor patio . On the east side is the master bedroom. Related: Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva “The ‘Black House’ is explicitly oriented toward the landscape and the water,” the architect explained of the massing and the large expanses of glass. “The spacious areas and rooms inside the building are extended in southern direction. The clear and restrained interior design directs one’s eye instinctively to the outstanding panoramic view with the beautiful landscape. The light, polished screed and the parquet flooring of dark oak result in a harmonic but also contrasting interaction.” + Benjamin Heller Via ArchDaily Images via Benjamin Heller

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The geometric Black House captures light and views from multiple angles

Green-roofed home is built of waste bricks and wood in Poland

January 23, 2019 by  
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Environmentally friendly with a beautifully textured facade, this brick house built of recycled materials in Poland has been nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019. Polish architecture firm Biuro Toprojekt designed the dwelling — fittingly named the Red House — that pays homage to the Cistercian landscape and history of Rudy Wielkie, a region in the Upper Silesia known for its brick architecture, with its walls built from hand-sorted waste bricks sourced from nearby brickworks. Environmentally friendly principles guided the design of the Red House, which was built mainly from locally accessible timber and bricks. The spacious, 364-square-meter building was constructed on a clearing at the edge of the forest. Views of the forest are embraced through full-height glazing that pull the outdoors in. A green roof was also installed and will blend the building into the landscape as the roof grows increasingly lush and the brick walls develop a patina. Unlike traditional brick construction, Red House adopts a more textural approach to its brick walls inspired by chiaroscuro, an art term describing the contrast between light and dark. The architects explained how they achieved this effect: “A variation of cross-linking was used, in which two bricks next to each other with heads on top of each other are pushed out on one side and pressed on the other side in relation to the face of the wall. This simple treatment significantly enriched the work of chiaroscuro on the façade. By completely removing the same pair of bricks , an openwork wall was created, concealing the window openings that could break the clean structure of the façade.” Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade Roughly square in plan, the Red House is accessed through an outdoor brick courtyard that takes up approximately a quarter of the home’s footprint. The entry foyer opens up to a stairway leading up to a small upper floor as well as the L-shaped, open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen. The master bedroom is located to the south of the living areas. A large outdoor patio on the west side of the house connects seamlessly to the living spaces and the master bedroom through sliding glass doors. + Biuro Toprojekt Photography by Juliusz Soko?owski via Biuro Toprojekt

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Green-roofed home is built of waste bricks and wood in Poland

California teen finds golf balls are a major source of plastic waste in our oceans

January 23, 2019 by  
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The plastic waste in our oceans is a major environmental problem thanks to humans tossing out single-use items like take-out containers, plastic straws, water bottles and plastic bags. But there is also an unexpected source of plastic waste that a teenage diver recently discovered — golf balls. When 16-year-old Alex Weber was swimming in a small cove near Carmel, California two years ago, she looked down and discovered there were so many white golf balls in the water that she couldn’t see the sand. Weber immediately decided to pick up as many as she could. Over the next few months, she and her father hauled hundreds of pounds of golf balls out of the water and stored them in the garage. But with five coastal golf courses nearby, golfers continued to hit the balls into the ocean. Eventually, Weber discovered Matt Savoca, a Stanford University scientist who studies plastic waste in the oceans . The teen emailed Savoca and invited him to look at her stash, which featured thousands of golf balls. Weber’s haul impressed Savoca, and he told her that she should write a scientific paper, but Weber didn’t know how to do that. So the two ended up working together, and he started diving with her. They also brought kayaks so they could take the golf balls back to land. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world After grabbing the golf balls, Savoca said they would put them on the kayak, and Weber explained that the kayaks were “so filled with plastic ” that they had to tow them by swimming them to shore. The biggest threat to the pair while they were recovering the golf balls wasn’t the sharks in the water. Instead, it was golf balls flying from the nearby courses right into the spot where they were collecting. Golf balls are coated with a thin polyurethane shell, and overtime as the shells degrade, they emit  toxic chemicals . The balls also degrade into microplastic pieces that marine animals eat. Since the first discovery, Weber continues to collect golf balls and manages The Plastic Pick-Up to encourage eliminating ocean pollution. Weber said, “If a person could see what we see underwater, it would not be acceptable.” + The Plastic Pick-Up Via NPR Images via Alex Weber

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Affordable low-maintenance home embraces the Brazilian landscape in style

December 18, 2018 by  
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Simple and low-cost materials combine in the Itaipu House, a contemporary family home that doesn’t compromise on looks despite its relatively modest construction budget. Architect Samuel Lamas, of the Brasilia-based architecture firm Equipe Lamas, designed the four-bedroom home within a condominium complex near Lago Sul, Brazil. Completed this year for a construction cost of approximately $189,000, the modern dwelling minimizes its energy bills through solar water heaters and passive solar design. Spanning an area of nearly 3,800 square feet, the spacious single-story home is centered on an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen that open up to a large, south-facing covered terrace that looks towards the pool. The master bedroom and two secondary bedrooms are located to the east of the living spaces while the flex guest bedroom, service areas, storage and garage are to the west. Existing site conditions as well as the desire to preserve native trees informed the orientation of the house and the interior layout, which are also optimized for natural light and ventilation thanks to full-height operable glazing that promote indoor/outdoor living. The landscape also inspired the neutral color palette for the furnishings, from reddish suede upholstering referencing the local earth to the grass-inspired selection of the green Santa Helena rug. Architect Samuel Lamas designed many pieces, such as the iron-framed sofas and armchairs, to create a sense of continuity throughout the home. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The furnishings are set against a neutral material palette of low-cost materials elegantly fitted together for an aesthetically pleasing appearance. The floors throughout are polished concrete while the masonry walls have been painted white to serve as a clean backdrop for the colorful, contemporary artworks that punctuate the home. Plywood paneling was installed for the ceiling and the cabinetry to lend a sense of warmth. + Equipe Lamas Via ArchDaily Images by Haruo Mikami

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Affordable low-maintenance home embraces the Brazilian landscape in style

Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva

December 4, 2018 by  
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In the centrally located town of Lancy in Geneva, Switzerland, a compact and experimental timber home bucks the local archetype for concrete-based housing in favor of a more eco-friendly alternative. Swiss architect Leopold Banchini collaborated with engineer Marc Walgenwitz to design the light-filled abode — dubbed the Casa CCFF — using a prefabrication system that minimizes construction costs as well as waste. The small urban home was built for energy efficiency and assembled in just a few days by local carpenters.   Built overlooking Geneva’s industrial train station, Casa CCFF references its surrounding industrial environment with a sawtooth shed roof that floods the interior with natural light . Connections to nature, however, dominate the majority of the design, which boasts two interior gardens on the upper level and carefully framed views of the landscape for indoor-outdoor living. The primary living spaces are located on the open-plan upper floor while the ground level features a much smaller built footprint and is mainly used as a covered outdoor space for living and parking. The prefabricated home can be understood as a series of square modules laid out in a square four-by-four module plan. The compact ground floor, for instance, is made up of three modules: a single outdoor living space and a double-width interior space that connects to the upper floor via a spiral staircase. Upstairs, an open-plan layout with a kitchen, living room and dining area takes up roughly three-quarters of the area while the remaining space is dedicated to the two interior gardens, bedroom and bathroom. Related: Yves Béhar designs compact, prefab homes to tackle the housing crisis Casa CCFF is a domestic factory floating above an untouched garden. The house is built almost entirely in wood, pushing the structural capacities of this natural and sustainable material to its limits. The use of wood for the home also helps reduce the use of concrete to a bare minimum. By incorporating high insulation values and maximizing solar gain , a small heat pump allows the modern home to avoid the use of fossil fuels. + Leopold Banchini Images by Dylan Perrenoud

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Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva

Robotically fabricated Wander Wood Pavilion pops up in just over three days

December 4, 2018 by  
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Traditional materials and futuristic technologies have come together in the Wander Wood Pavilion, a large-scale robotically fabricated structure completed by students at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Installed as a temporary addition to the campus grounds, the experimental pavilion was fabricated and assembled in just over three days using a state-of-the-art eight-axis industrial robot at the UBC Center for Advanced Wood Processing . Constructed with built-in seating, the sculptural installation was built mainly of wood, a renewable material selected for its sustainable features and ability to store carbon. Completed in October 2018, the Wander Wood Pavilion is the result of the Robot Made: Large-Scale Robotic Timber Fabrication in Architecture workshop led by David Correa of the University of Waterloo, Oliver David Krieg of LWPAC, and SALA professor AnnaLisa Meyboom. A large team of students, staff, faculty and external partners worked on the project as part of the university’s SEEDS Sustainability Program , an initiative that aims to advance campus sustainability through multidisciplinary projects. Forestry Industry Innovation provided the funding. “Starting with computational tools for parametric design, structural principles for wood construction, robotic CNC milling and digital workflow management, participants were provided with a unique insight into the new opportunities and challenges of advanced design to fabrication processes for timber structures,” explains the team in their project statement. “Parametric design and robotic fabrication are disruptive new technologies in architecture that allow us to build high performance structures of unprecedented formal complexity.” Related: Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown The sinuous and latticed form of the sculptural Wander Wood Pavilion not only helps activate the surrounding public area, but its curved shape also creates a cocoon-like environment for visitors using the built-in bench seating. The research workshop installation was installed next to the university fountain in the Martha Piper Plaza. + UBC Center for Advanced Wood Processing Images by David Correa

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Robotically fabricated Wander Wood Pavilion pops up in just over three days

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