A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode

November 9, 2018 by  
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Formerly cold, dim and damp, a terrace house in Northcote, Victoria has been reborn into a vibrant and welcoming dwelling with an emphasis on gardening. Designed by Green Sheep Collective for a client named Jill, the compact project, named Jill’s House, saw a modest expansion of just 22 square meters of space yet gained its bright and spacious feel thanks to a thorough renovation. Created to meet the client’s aspirations for a “very healthy home,” Jill’s House embraces recycled materials, low VOC finishes and passive solar principles for a minimal energy footprint. Having developed deep ties with her local community, the homeowner wanted the renovated house to be suitable for long-term living and retirement. As a result, the redesign prioritized accessibility, low maintenance and durability. Tapping into its extensive experience in eco-friendly retrofits, Green Sheep Collective opened the home to greater amounts of natural light while improving energy efficiency with the reorientation of the living areas to the north and the installation of high-performance materials, such as improved insulation and low-e double glazing. The open-plan living area also enjoys a seamless connection with the outdoors to support the client’s hobby of gardening. “The comfort, energy efficiency and longevity of the house have been improved immeasurably,” the designers noted. “Despite an existing north wall along the boundary, sunlight is brought deep into the house via a raked ceiling paired with electric-operated clerestory windows that soar above the kitchen and dining areas, doubling to encourage the ‘stack effect’ for ventilation and distinguish the extension from the original Victorian home.” Related: Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia Adding to the overall sense of vibrancy, bright pops of color woven throughout were inspired by the client’s favorite Derwent pencils from childhood. A natural materials palette  — including plantation timber flooring and recycled red bricks — lend additional warmth and complement the restored furnishings that include the dining table, dining chairs and lounge suite. + Green Sheep Collective Photography by Emma Cross via Green Sheep Collective

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A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode

Delhi High Courts new expansion taps into green building principles

November 1, 2018 by  
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New Delhi-based architecture practice Design Forum International has completed the New Courts Complex, a modern extension to the Delhi High Court. The new project was completed as part of the Delhi High Court’s ambitious expansion plan to increase capacity by 60 percent by the year 2020. Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the building was informed by passive solar principles to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures, while smart water management is practiced using sensor-operated fixtures and recycled water systems. Located in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi, the New Courts Complex mimics its predecessor with grand steps that lead to a high podium fronted with a large fountain  focal point. The complex includes 15 courtrooms across four floors as well as nine registrars’ courts on the ground level. Moreover, there are 16 new chambers for judges, nine new chambers for junior registrars and additional work spaces for judicial officials. Discussion and sitting rooms for members of the bar, as well as a women-only sitting room, were also integrated into the plan. Since security was also a paramount concern, open sight lines and transparency were stressed throughout. “The task was to somehow create a visual vocabulary that could bridge 500 years of discordance with a harmonious note,” Design Forum International said. “The principles of green building design have been employed with a tilt toward passive techniques that require the basic design starting from the envelope and massing to be correct. In the overall analysis, the New Courts Block is a fine example of how to build a green building that is both energy-efficient , functional and aesthetic.” Related: Architects transform a derelict lot into an urban oasis in New Delhi The outer walls of the building are built from A.E.C. blocks chosen for their thermal properties, and the roof was built with heat reflective tiles. In addition, high-performance coated glass and solar panels help reduce dependence on air conditioning. As a result, the total energy demand has been reduced by approximately 20 to 25 percent. Natural light is optimized in the entire building, even in the basement, thanks to carefully placed skylights. + Design Forum International Images via Design Forum International

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This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes

October 25, 2018 by  
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In sunny Santa Monica, local studio Minarc has unveiled one of its latest projects built from mnmMOD panels , its award-winning and patented prefabricated building system that yields net-zero energy efficiency. Dubbed the Dawnsknoll project, the 2,500-square-foot dwelling champions sustainability beyond just building materials. Positioned for optimal passive solar conditions, the single-family home also boasts repurposed and recycled materials throughout, high-performance energy systems and a healthy living environment. Inspired by the volcanic landscapes of Iceland , Dawnsknoll features a color palette evocative of the country’s dramatic vistas, from the bright, lava-like orange used in the multi-gathering space in the heart of the home to the swimming pool that echoes the color of blue lagoons. Iceland’s rocky landscape is further mimicked with translucent, glacier-inspired light fixtures, the abundance of concrete for the floors and walls and the dark-colored cabinets and shelving. “On the Dawnsknoll project, Minarc focuses on a couple of main concepts: sustainability, color and space,” the designers said in the project statement. “Our green practices and selection of sustainable products do not raise the cost of a house. We believe that building repurposed with recycled and reclaimed material should not be more expensive for our clients. Throughout this house, we recycled, repurposed and reused to its extent.” Related: These prefabricated mnmMOD wall panels could revolutionize the way we build In addition to the prefabricated mnmMOD panels — which are recyclable and resistant to fire and termites — the Dawnsknoll house features 90 percent reused furnishings. The designers aimed to “only use materials in their most organic form,” which meant no paint, tile or carpet. One of many recycled materials used was rubber, seen in the bathroom sinks as well as in the kitchen and juice bar cabinetry, where recycled rubber tires were used. Indoor-outdoor living was emphasized through operable glazed doors that also let in natural ventilation. Radiant floor heating and domestic water heating were installed as well. + Minarc Images by Art Gray

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This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes

War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon

October 11, 2018 by  
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Having survived the Lebanese Civil War as a torture and detention center for militia forces, The House With Two Lives has a colorful past to say the least. So when Lebanese design practice Nabil Gholam Architects was asked to renovate the structure — originally built as a resort building in the 1930s — the firm took its time to sensitively pick apart the site’s history and breathe new and positive life into the property. Described as a “difficult exorcism,” the design process saw the reuse of the historic ruins and the insertion of a brand new home celebrating nature and sustainable design, from rainwater harvesting systems to passive cooling strategies. Located near the Lebanese mountain village of Bois de Boulogne and surrounded by beautiful pine forests, the House With Two Lives was designed to blend in with its idyllic surroundings. To “cleanse the house of its troubled history,” the architects introduced new plant growth to camouflage the building into the landscape, from vines that climb over the ruins to more than 1,000 pine trees planted in the garden, including umbrella pines, oak trees, cork trees, Lebanese cedars and more. The site has also gained a new rose garden. The theme of regrowth and revival has also been applied to the architecture of the house, which comprises a three-story main house of 2,000 square meters as well as an annex and guard house of 850 square meters. The new additions to the existing 1,500-square-meter stone ruins of the main house were articulated as a series of Corten steel -clad boxes that will develop a patina over time and are perforated with tree-shaped patterns. Sustainability guided the design of the renovated structure, which is built with high-performance insulation and follows passive solar strategies. The home also harvests solar energy for winter heating and uses rainwater collection systems. Related: Modern alpine home is built on the ruins of an old rustic structure “The case of this house is as dreadful as it is beautiful,” said the architects, who spent months stripping the existing structure of leftover torture devices, black ashes and graffiti. “The story behind it and the testimonials backing it makes it stand as a powerful message. The House With Two Lives restores faith in man’s will to fight and is with no doubt an example of an architectural work of high precision.” + Nabil Gholam Architects Photography by Geraldine Bruneel, Nabil Gholam, Joe Kesrouani and Richard Saad via Nabil Gholam Architects

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Sculptural Haus B uses passive solar principles to surpass Germanys energy standards

October 4, 2018 by  
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Completed over the span of four years, Haus B is a passive solar home that is a contemporary departure from the housing norm of the 1960s suburban neighborhood in which it resides. Located in Dreieich, Germany, the 320-square-meter house was designed by Düsseldorf-based design studio One Fine Day (Office for Architectural Design) in collaboration with Ulrike Thies, who acted as the construction supervisor. Most impressively, the single-family residence was designed and built to surpass the requirements of the latest German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) with its strict adherence to passive solar principles along with highly energy-efficient materials and renewable energy systems. Since the property is surrounded by a mix of traditional, small-scale housing types and a “somewhat reckless” style of architecture that has emerged since the 1990s, the architects wanted to be careful to create a sensitive, site-specific design. “Haus B finds itself in an apparently homogeneous, yet, at least architecturally, also quite ambiguous neighborhood,” the design firm noted. “Here it has to balance the needs of contemporary living and aesthetics with the cultural and formal implications of a grown context that is typical for many suburban settlements throughout the region.” To that end, the architects let the site inform the design of the home’s elongated volume, from its low-slung form that complements the low heights of the neighboring houses to its muted exterior color palette of off-whites and dark grays. But the firm was unafraid to introduce more modern and sculptural elements to the home, which can be seen in the slightly deformed roofline and the interior, which features an open-plan layout with curved walls and double height spaces. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Following passive solar principles, Haus B has been oriented toward the south and southwest to maximize solar exposure during wintertime, while roof overhangs and adjustable canvas blinds block unwanted solar gain during summer. All the exterior wall and roof surfaces feature up to 20-centimeter-thick insulation layers and windows are double-glazed. Heating and hot water are powered by a solar-powered heat pump. + One Fine Day Images via Roland Borgmann

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Sculptural Haus B uses passive solar principles to surpass Germanys energy standards

LEED Gold home celebrates Utah’s brilliant light and beauty

September 28, 2018 by  
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Designed to “celebrate Utah’s brilliant light and raw beauty,” this LEED Gold -certified family home in Utah embraces indoor-outdoor living. Salt Lake City-based Sparano + Mooney Architecture crafted the home for clients who sought the perfect mountain home in Park City, Utah. Working in step with interior designer Julie Chahine of J Squared interior design and clients who had a clear idea of what they wanted, the architects pulled together a sustainable and contemporary dwelling that works in concert with the landscape inside and out. Perched at a high elevation overlooking views of Park City and the Utah Winter Olympic Park, the two-story Park City Modern Residence was designed with a sensitive approach to the landscape. The site-specific design and division of the public areas from the private zones were informed by the existing topography. Outdoor terraces offer a seamless connection to the outdoors with immediate access from the master suite and living room; an accessible green roof planted with native flora also offers stellar views of a nearby golf course. To relate the home to the mountain environment punctuated by highly textured scrub oak, the architects employed a nature-inspired material palette mainly comprising cedar wood, glass and board-formed concrete. “These were inspired through a study of transparency, minimalism and serenity,” the architecture firm noted in a project statement. “The architecture and interiors are speaking the same language — the details, color schemes and artwork — all worked so perfectly with the architecture. Julie’s palette came from nature, and our materiality did too.” Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof Certified LEED Gold, the 5,500-square-foot abode draws renewable energy from a ground-source heat pump and keeps its energy demands low with high performance, energy-efficient building systems. Passive solar orientation also helps the home keep comfortably cool in the summer months and retains heat and access to natural light in winter. + Sparano + Mooney Architecture Images by Derek Israelsen

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LEED Gold home celebrates Utah’s brilliant light and beauty

A terracotta home keeps naturally cool in one of Thailands hottest regions

July 30, 2018 by  
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The Thai province of Kanchanaburi is one of the country’s hottest regions, with a tropical savanna climate and annual temperature averages of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So when Bangkok-based design practice Anghin Architecture set out to create a new addition to a riverside house it designed years ago, the team prioritized passive cooling throughout. Taking advantage of the site’s topography, the terracotta home is positioned for optimal air circulation and cross ventilation to maximize comfort while minimizing energy consumption. Named the Kanchanaburi House Phase II, the structure spans a little more than 2,300 square feet and is covered in red terracotta cladding to match the appearance of the original home. The annex, set near a river, provides elevated views of the water and also offers leisure facilities for the homeowner and her guests. Raised off the ground, the building includes the parking pad and storage space on the lower level. The upper floor consists of a guest room, bathroom and spacious Pilates room flanked with balconies on the north end; an open-plan living space, play area and bar area in the middle; and an expansive outdoor entertaining terrace on the south end that looks out over the river. Related: Brilliant zero-energy air conditioner in India is beautiful and functional “Tackling energy consumption was our main focus,” Anghin Architecture said. “The house was designed to maximize comfort through a passive cooling system. We make use of the site’s topography by elevating the house to allow for better air circulation. In addition to cross ventilation at the main level, the air shaft was designed to help further ventilate the ceiling by allowing the cooler air from underneath the house to move up and disperse the heat collected under the roof. The northern opening ensures thorough illumination without the direct sunlight penetration, while the extended wall fins and retractable awning keep the house properly shaded.” + Anghin Architecture Via ArchDaily Images by Gregoire Glachant

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A terracotta home keeps naturally cool in one of Thailands hottest regions

Crimson Bluffs Home uses passive solar and cooling to weather the extreme Montana seasons

March 5, 2018 by  
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  The environmentally friendly Crimson Bluffs House in Montana offers stunning 360 views of the Missouri River and the surrounding mountain ranges. Conceived by Greenovision , the house stays naturally warm in the harsh winters and cool in the sweltering summers thanks to its passive solar and passive cooling design. The house combines heating approach of passive solar and radiant hydronic floor heating – a strategy Greenovision calls Sun Smart Radiant Heating. Other green strategies include passive cooling design, ample amounts of natural light , high insulation values, and advanced framing. This home was constructed using locally sourced and recycled materials which are durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance . Large façade openings offer amazing views of the surrounding landscape. Related: Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700 The Sun Smart Radiant Heating captures the sun’s energy on sunny days and has two added benefits. The radiant system distributes the sun’s heat uniformly throughout the home and also produces heat during long stretches of cloudy days or extreme cold. This dual heating method is not only incredibly energy efficient , it relieves any worries homeowners may have about living in a home that is heated with passive solar alone. + Greenovision

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Blackened timber cottage with solar replaces a decayed brick home

November 27, 2017 by  
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An old and decayed brick house north of Amsterdam has transformed into a modern solar-powered dwelling that stands out from its neighbors, while respecting the local vernacular. Dutch firm Chris Collaris Architects completed the renovated home, cladding the facade and asymmetric gabled roof entirely with blackened pinewood to achieve a minimalist look. Passive solar principles guided the redesign, called House MM, which features black solar panels, high-density insulation, recycled materials, double-sealed windows, and an emphasis on natural lighting. House MM offers a rather limited floor area of 60 square meters, but the redesign of the interior gives it a much more spacious feeling than its brick predecessor. Tall ceilings, white walls, and an abundance of natural light create the illusion of space. Materials salvaged from the old house punctuate the interior, like the repurposed roof tiles and timber flooring seen in the garden and the brick walls found throughout the new home. Related: Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home Despite its two-story appearance, the home includes three floors thanks to the addition of a mezzanine . “The roof lines were bound to restricted heights. By cantilevering the lower parts outside the main building volume, the upper level of the house increases,” wrote the architects. “A house with a high ceiling on every floor level and an extra attic is the result of this design feature. The extra win is a dry walk along the North facade while walking underneath the cantilevering roof part towards the entrance.” + Chris Collaris Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Tim van de Velde

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Blackened timber cottage with solar replaces a decayed brick home

Gorgeous solar-powered Colorado home produces almost all its own energy

May 16, 2017 by  
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Sustainability and a love for nature inspired Colorado-based CCY Architects’ design of the gorgeous Starwood Residence. Set on a ridge line, this luxury mountain home with floor-to-ceiling glazing overlooks the Roaring Fork Valley and Elk Mountains. Solar energy powers the energy-efficient Starwood Residence, which is capable of producing 70% of the energy that it consumes. The Starwood Residence lies low on the landscape with a series of sloping rooflines that appear to echo the surrounding mountain landscape. Weathered steel wraps the home to blend the building into the natural backdrop, while exterior sunshades maximize access to natural light and minimize solar heat gain in summer. In contrast to the steel-clad facade, the interior is richly layered with warm textures, from stone accent walls to Clear Vertical Grain (CVG) Douglas Fir siding. Large panoramic windows appear to extend the living areas outdoors. Related: Black Magic home sits lightly in a mountain oasis In addition to daylighting , the architects improved the home’s energy efficiency with exposed concrete floors—used almost exclusively throughout the home—that provide thermal mass to absorb and release passive solar heat in cold months. The nearly energy-sufficient home draws power from a 7-kw solar array , 12 evacuated tubes for solar thermal, and a ground source heat pump for radiant cooling and heating. The weathered steel siding contains a high percentage of recycled material and all the concrete used includes a minimum of 20 percent fly ash. + CCY Architects

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