A Mumbai industrial complex becomes a modern, mixed-use campus

May 29, 2019 by  
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In the Mumbai suburb of Vikhroli, Indian architectural firm Studio Lotus and GPL Design Studio have given a disused industrial complex new life as a modern, mixed-use center. Dubbed the Imagine Studio, the project serves as an experience center for ‘The Trees,’ a flagship adaptive reuse project for Godrej Properties Ltd. Imagine Studio provides new public and private functions while celebrating the site’s industrial heritage. Located on a one-acre site, the Imagine Studio complex spans 10,763 square feet and comprises a small cluster of renovated industrial buildings. The programming includes a marketing office, sample showcase flats for ‘The Trees,’ meeting spaces, an all-day cafe located within a repurposed Boiler Plant, a multipurpose gallery for cultural events and several outdoor spaces to market the client’s upcoming residential and commercial development properties. The public is also invited to experience the multifunctional space. “The intent was to illustrate an invigorated public realm as a microcosm of the [Trees’] master plan while preserving the essence of the site’s industrial heritage,” the architects said. “Existing buildings and its elements were recycled not only to underline their relevance in the bygone eras but also add meaning as important design punctuations in the narrative. The buzzing public spaces will eventually extend the edge of the gated development to include the community and city in its activities. Buildings of the Imagine Studio will ultimately get absorbed into the commercial hub of the development; continuing to stay on as key markers celebrating the rich traditions of the historic company while taking it strategically forward into its future.” Related: Architects to transform two old railway yards into eco parks in Milan The Imagine Studio is defined with an industrially inspired palette that includes concrete, Corten steel , brass and timber combined to follow the Japanese principles of “wabi sabi,” or a view of beauty in imperfection. The materials are deliberately left unfinished so as to develop a patina over time. Elements from the old buildings were also salvaged and reused, such as the old louvers of the primary industrial plant that were repurposed, coated in Corten steel and perforated with patterns. + Studio Lotus Images via Edmund Sumner, Dilip Bhatia, Studio Lotus, GPL Design Studio

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Modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling in Melbourne is largely self-sufficient

March 29, 2019 by  
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Desirous of a “low-tech, country life,” a couple reached out to Brunswick-based architectural firm MRTN Architects for the design of the Trentham Long House, a contemporary home inspired by the traditional farming structures that once inhabited the Australian countryside. Located north of Melbourne, the dwelling consists of an elongated structure topped with a gable roof. To meet the client’s brief for a largely self-sufficient home, the architects optimized the thermal performance of the build, taking advantage of passive solar principles and installing a high-efficiency fireplace for supplementary heating in winter. Built for a couple that often hosts their extended family, the single-story home spans an area of 2,787 square feet and is oriented east to west. The main living spaces are located on the west side and include four bedrooms evenly split on either side of the central open-plan living area with a dining space and kitchen. Full-height glazing with custom sliding screens open the living space to an outdoor terrace. “The building’s muted material palette subtly and effectively reflects the surrounding environment, echoing buildings of the past,” MRTN Architects explained. “The spotted gum exterior cladding is left to naturally patina , relying on its innate aptitude to develop character and camouflage over time. The owners are not extravagant or wasteful people, they live with a careful intent behind all they do and their family is very important to them. The house is largely self-sufficient, heating costs are low, cooling costs are non-existent and the extended family can be accommodated at all times.” Related: A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia The client’s son, a builder, constructed the project with finishes and materials selected on the basis of their durability, thermal performance and cost-effectiveness. To ensure energy efficiency, the architects kept glazed openings along the south facade at a minimum while roof overhangs and custom sliding screens help protect against unwanted solar gain. Stone tile set on a concrete slab provides  thermal mass . Moreover, all rainwater runoff from the roof is captured and stored in large water tanks and reused for all the home’s water needs and for irrigation. + MRTN Architects Photography by Anthony Basheer via MRTN Architects

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Solar-powered eco hotel in Portugal offers surfers ocean views from green-roofed bungalows

March 29, 2019 by  
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The surf is always up at this gorgeous eco hotel along Portugal’s Silver Coast. Just steps away from the beach, Noah Surf House  has everything you need for a rad surf getaway. The boutique hotel, which is partially made out of reclaimed materials, was designed on some serious sustainable principles , boasting solar panels, energy-efficient systems and appliances, a rainwater harvesting system and even an organic garden that provides delicious meals to guests. Located in the area of Santa Cruz in northwest Portugal, the eco hotel is tucked into a rising hill just a short stroll from the beach. The project is made up of various buildings, but the most popular part of the complex is a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. Guests can enjoy a wonderful meal of organic fruits and veggies grown in the hotel’s garden, which operates on a “closed feeding cycle” with a little help from the hotel’s 12 chickens. Related: The Truck Surf Hotel is a traveling retreat that hits the best surf spots in Europe and Africa The guests rooms are comprised of various boho-style bungalows, most offering stunning ocean views through private decks. The rooms range in size, offering everything from dorm-style with bunk beds to private luxury bungalows that boast fireplaces and private terraces with outdoor showers. Although the setting itself is quite impressive, guests can rest assured that they are also staying in a very eco-conscious retreat. The hotel’s construction used quite a bit of reclaimed materials , such as old bricks recovered from industrial coal furnaces to clad the walls. Additionally, the buildings are filled with discarded items that have been given new life as decoration for the hotel. Plumbing pipes are incorporated into lamps, lockers from an old summer camp are available for storage and an old water deposit is now a fireplace in the reception area. The construction of the hotel implemented various sustainable materials as well, such as cork as thermic insulation. The bungalows are also topped with native plants . For energy, solar panels generate almost enough energy for the all of the hotel’s hot water needs. When there is an abundance of energy, it is used to heat the pool as well as the radiant flooring in the guest rooms in winter. LED lighting throughout the hotel and energy-efficient appliances help reduce the building’s energy use. Noah Surf House also has a rain water collection system that redirects water to a well to be used in toilet flushing, garden watering and linen laundering. + Noah Surf House Via Uncrate Images via Noah Surf House

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Kengo Kuma suspends a cocoon-like timber dwelling for minimal site impact

February 27, 2019 by  
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Prolific Japanese architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates recently worked its magic in the tiny Swiss village of Montricher at the foot of the Jura Mountains. There, the architects designed a contemporary family home that’s partly suspended from an existing concrete canopy and wrapped with timber inside and out. Created for the Jan Michalski Foundation, the cocoon-like dwelling — named Suspended Forest — is meant to further the organization’s mission of fostering literary creation and the practice of reading. Set close to the forest, the 120-square-meter abode takes inspiration from its nearby surroundings with an abundant use of timber. The architects collaborated with a local craftsman for the roof and facade system, which combines traditional techniques with contemporary style. Using locally sourced oak and larch, the architects cut out rectangular shingles of varying sizes and arranged them in a checkered pattern with an organic and random appearance to create an eye-catching exterior that doubles as a screen. The wood was left untreated so as to develop a natural patina over time. “It was our intention to organically relate the different spaces of the house,” the architects explained in a project statement. “We designed a cocoon-like, gradual and continuous space containing all the functionalities. A corridor runs from the entrance to the main living space, where the floating balcony connects the interior with the surrounding environment. Then, lateral apertures let the light come into the house.” Related: This spiraling sculpture can absorb the emissions of 90,000 cars An outdoor staircase, also suspended off of the main building, leads to the entrance, which opens up to a long hallway branching off to the home office, bedroom, technical room, master bedroom and finally the living area in the rear. The cocoon-like sensation created by the exterior cladding is echoed in the interior through the use of angular larch panels covering the ceilings and walls. Large windows let in plenty of natural light and views of the outdoors. + Kengo Kuma Photography by CAPimages via Kengo Kuma

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Kengo Kuma suspends a cocoon-like timber dwelling for minimal site impact

Timber tower taps into an abandoned airfields rebirth as bird nesting ground

January 29, 2018 by  
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An abandoned airfield on a Norwegian island is being reclaimed by nature, and bird lovers are invited to partake in the fun. Norwegian architect Lars J Berge of LJB Architecture and Landscape completed a beautiful viewing platform that punctuates the landscape like a sculpture and provides sufficient cover for discrete birdwatching . Located at the tip of Askøy off Norway’s west coast, Herdla Birdwatching Tower is a timber building constructed atop existing concrete foundations that date back to the Second World War. Set in a relatively flat and sandy landscape popular with migrating and breeding birds, Herdla Birdwatching Tower commands beautiful 360-degree views of distant mountains and seaside from a circular viewing platform. Below the viewing area is a pumping station enclosed in a rectangular volume and an underground water tank. The seven-meter-tall structure is clad in vertical strips of timber, which will develop a silvery patina over time. Related: Pape Bird Observation Tower is a glorious marriage of a bird’s nest and a jewel box Visitors access the birdwatching tower via a L-shaped ramp with a slope gentle enough for a manual wheelchair user to navigate. The ramp also shelters a small amphitheater with timber steps. The ramp leads to a landing with a spiraling metal staircase that opens up to a higher viewing platform. A circular overhanging roof provides shelter from the elements and helps disguise visitors from birds. + LJB Architecture and Landscape Via Dezeen Images by Anders E Johnsson

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Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

August 8, 2017 by  
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Melbourne-based Branch Studio Architects crafted this dark and handsome number hidden away among the trees in Victoria. Built as a house extension with a master suite, the Pavilion Between Trees features rammed-charcoal walls, clean and crisp lines, and a dark earthy palette of complementary materials. Full height glazing opens the interior up to the outdoors and frames view of the forested surroundings. Connected to the main house via a corridor, Pavilion Between Trees is a semi-detached structure that appears to standalone in the landscape. The 85-square-meter compact extension is simply but tastefully furnished and includes a master bedroom, en-suite bathroom, and extra storage space arranged in a linear plan. The rooms are delineated by subtle changes in floor level rather than walls. Natural light plays a key role in the design and is let in through clerestory windows and full-height glazing. The lighting brings out the texture of the earthy material palette, from the grainy rammed-charcoal walls to the smooth naturally finished timber and steel joinery, that are left exposed to develop a patina over time. Related: Rustic Off-Grid Pump House is a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway in Australia The home addition was built on a clearing between existing mature trees to reduce site impact. Full-height glazing, which wraps around the western end and that also punctuates the north and south sides, frame views and strengthens connection to the outdoors. The clerestory windows also offer glimpses of the tree canopy. An outdoor washing area also allows the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors in a private space protected by a mesh screen. + Branch Studio Architects Via Dezeen Images via Branch Studio Architects

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Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

Gorgeous Washington barn house marries rustic elements with modern style

June 19, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous American barnhouse in Washington is the fruit of four years of collaborative architect-client labor. Seattle-based SkB Architects worked together with clients Charlie and Tracey Brown to design and build the Manson Barn, a large and modern multipurpose farmhouse built from the ground up with local materials. The gambrel structure puts a modern twist on traditional American barn vernacular and frames stunning views of the Cascade Mountain Range. Located within twelve acres of apple orchards in central Washington state, the Manson Barn combines a working barn with qualities of a luxury vacation retreat. The 10,000-square-foot barn distinguishes itself from its rural neighbors with its hybrid roof that adds dormers and gull wings to a traditional gambrel roof. The large dormers help break down the scale of the building, increase natural light to the upper levels, and provide additional floor space for guest rooms. Black-stained wood siding clads the exterior, which will develop a silvery gray patina over time, blending into the landscape. The Manson Barn’s ground floor is mostly an open-plan space for entertaining – it includes a commercial kitchen with a custom-design pizza oven, a dining area, and storage for orchard equipment. Large, sliding carriage doors open up to expansive exterior patios on both ends of the building, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. The garage doors beneath the gull wings also open up to reveal stunning landscape views. A wine cellar with sanded cobblestone flooring is on the basement level. Related: Family renovates century-old barn into stunning modern home in Washington state The upper floor houses the master bedroom, guest bedrooms, and a living area that wraps around the building in mezzanine fashion. The center of the upper floor is left open to the ground floor below. Cedar sink wood pulled from the bottom of a nearby lake was milled and reworked into sliding barn doors in the wine cellar and master bedroom. In a nod to the apple orchards, the architects added a solid wall clad in vintage apple crate panels next to the three-story steel staircase. + SkB Architects

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Gorgeous Washington barn house marries rustic elements with modern style

Norwegian cabin weathers a harsh climate for breathtaking views

March 15, 2017 by  
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Norway’s Lofoten archipelago is famous for its spectacular scenery with dramatic mountains and views of the northern lights—but its remote location up north also means a bitterly harsh climate in winter. Architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk was asked to create a summer retreat on a coastal Lofoten island that would be strong enough to withstand the harsh climate, particularly high-speed winds and rain. He and his team of architects completed the Summer House Gravråk, a renovated timber structure with a new addition and beautiful modern interior. The 25-square-meter Summer House Gravråk began with the rehabilitation of an old “Nordlandshus,” a kind of a traditional northern Norwegian home with a gabled roof and timber structure. The architects extended the building’s existing footprint with an addition towards the west that matched the original structure’s design. The exterior is clad in untreated spruce, which developed a gray patina after exposure to the elements. Standing seam zinc roofing tops the building. Related: Norwegian Mountain Cottage Stands on Stilts to Preserve Native Reindeer Moss The extension is constructed with prefabricated pine glulam and is wind-anchored to an encapsulating concrete slab that serves as a stabilizing counterweight, while the existing building is guy-wired to the ground. “The addition is a pure extension of the existing building, and re-uses the geometrical principle with asymmetrical dormer windows to let in light and give a view from the loft,” write the architects. The windows are constructed with aluminum frames on the exterior and wood on the interior to match the interior birch plywood cladding. The interior is minimally furnished and the abundance of windows keeps the focus on the landscape. The architects also constructed a small green-roofed annex separate from the main building. + Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk Images via Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk

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Solar-powered Rotterdam home wraps around an olive tree

March 15, 2017 by  
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Don’t be fooled by this Rotterdam home’s deceptively plain street-facing facade—the backside of the property reveals a strikingly sculptural home with a glazed facade that wraps around an olive tree. MVRDV designed the contemporary home, called Casa Kwantes, for a client who valued privacy and seclusion but also wanted maximum access to daylight and open living spaces. To minimize its environmental footprint, the home includes several energy-efficient systems and aims for self-sufficiency. Tucked away on the corner plot of an old hospital, the 480-square-meter Casa Kwantes is entered through an indent on its windowless, mysterious street-facing facade built with white Celosia brickwork. Upon entering the curvaceous living spaces, visitors are bathed in natural light and views of the outdoors. The full-height south-facing windows wrap around the courtyard and the focal point of the house: the olive tree . The library and the open-plan living room, dining room, and kitchen are located on the first floor, while the sleeping areas are placed on the second level. Curtains provide privacy and shade. The upper floor cantilevers slightly to provide solar shading to the living spaces. Extra storage is tucked away in a small basement and an outdoor suntrap patio at the bottom of the garden offers extra paved barbecue space. “When balancing municipality requirements for a retro style architecture, the home became a contemporary take on 1930s modernism with its long, cream, shallow brickwork, full-height glazing, and the contrasting integration of the flat and fluid, open and enclosed, flexible and defined,” wrote the architects. “As the newly built homes in the vicinity are more vernacular in their modernist approach, this variation on a more avant-garde architecture has the been subject of discussions with the municipality.” Related: MVRDV unveils futuristic Y-shaped house with a rooftop pool in Tainan In addition to ample access to natural light, Casa Kwantes minimizes its energy footprint with a ground-source heat pump , heat exchange system, and rooftop solar system. The solar panels generate enough energy for the home to run entirely on renewable energy. MVRDV expects to home to be entirely self-sufficient on energy and will monitor the home for testing over the next year. + MVRDV Images © Ossip van Duivenbode

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Solar-powered Rotterdam home wraps around an olive tree

Barn-inspired contemporary home ages beautifully over time

November 23, 2016 by  
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Topped with a steep gabled roof, House for Beth is a conspicuous landmark in the flat agricultural fields of Door County, a picturesque Wisconsin county located on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The house is mostly wrapped in natural cedar siding with a portion near the bottom of the home clad in dark-colored Richlite, a paper-based fiber-composite material that will protect the wood facade. Square windows of varying sizes punctuate the facade on three sides and are framed in white to complement the timber facade and to match the white picket fence and the light-colored standing-seam metal roof. Related: Amazing Passive Home in Freezing Wisconsin Uses Less Energy Than a Hair Dryer to Stay Warm! The interior is filled with natural light and views of the agricultural landscape and forest beyond. White-painted walls complemented by timber floors and window trim feature prominently throughout the contemporary home. A black wood-burning stove and a long black strip located above the large windows provide a visually grounding effect. The home is divided into two parts: the open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen on one side that’s surrounded by large windows and, separated by a centrally located bathroom, the bedrooms on the other with smaller windows for privacy. All furnishings in the home are from IKEA. + Salmela Architect Via Dezeen Images via Salmela Architect , by Paul Crosby

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