Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

March 27, 2020 by  
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Mumbai-based firm  Sanjay Puri Architects  has just completed work on a beautiful hotel in northern India known for wine production. Built on a base of locally-sourced natural stone, the Aria Hotel is a stunning design carefully stacked onto the landscape that boasts several passive and active features to make it incredibly  energy efficient . Located in the ancient city of Nashik in the northern Indian region of Maharashtra, the  beautiful hotel  is located right on the banks of the Godavari River. The idyllic location includes the river on one side and rising hills on the other, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature. Related: Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort According to the architects, no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography. Stacked multiple levels high, the hotel is built on a base of locally-sourced natural black basalt stone . The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout the suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light  thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, further reducing the hotel’s energy usage. The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs thanks to a rooftop solar array . In addition to its clean energy generation, the hotel was installed with a rainwater collection system that provides water for irrigation. All of the luxury units boast large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and  minimize heat gain  throughout the interior spaces. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via v2com Photography by Dinesh Mehta and Sanjay Puri

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Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

March 27, 2020 by  
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Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled its competition-winning designs for the Shimao ShenKong International Centre, a new “three-dimensional urban living room” for the heart of Shenzhen’s Longgang district. Selected from nearly 30 competition entries, the winning proposal, also known as the Shenzhen Terraces, will introduce over 20 programs to a thriving university neighborhood. The project also focuses on sustainability and will integrate passive design principles, native landscaping, recycled materials and solar panels.  Named after its architecture of stacked plateaus, the Shenzhen Terraces project references forms of the nearby mountains while its predominately horizontal lines and curvaceous shapes provide a visual contrast with the vertical lines and hard edges of the surrounding high-rises. The terraced design also creates opportunities for large overhangs to mitigate solar gain as well as spacious terraces filled with plants and water basins for cooling microclimates . Bridge elements link various buildings to create a continuous elevated route.  Related: ZHA unveils LEED Gold-targeted OPPO headquarters in Shenzhen “ Shenzhen has developed so quickly since its origins in the 1970s,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “In cities like this, it is essential to carefully consider how public spaces and natural landscape can be integrated into the densifying cityscape. The urban living room of the Shimao ShenKong International Centre will be a wonderful example of this, and could become a model for the creation of key public spaces in New Town developments throughout Shenzhen. It aims to make an area that you want be outside, hang out and meet, even when it is hot — a literally cool space for the university district, where all communication space can be outside. It will truly be a public building.” As a sustainable hub, the 101,300-square-meter Shenzhen Terraces will be home to a pedestrian-friendly landscape, a bus terminal and a mixture of functions — such as an art gallery, library, conference center and outdoor theater — conveniently placed near high-rise housing, commercial complexes and educational facilities. The landscaping, designed in collaboration with Openfabric, will mimic the curvaceous architecture and will feature native sub-tropical plants and recreation zones.  + MVRDV Images by Atchain via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

March 26, 2020 by  
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Known for their love of infusing modern structures with an abundance of greenery, the prolific Paris-based practice  Vincent Callebaut Architectures has just unveiled their latest sustainable design. Slated for the Island of Cebu, The Rainbow Tree is a modular timber tower draped in layers of lush vegetation to become an “urban forest” for the city. Thanks to the design’s strong sustainability features, which include passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies, the tower will be a  LEED Gold design . Slated to be a sustainable icon for the fairly remote island of Cebu, the Rainbow Tree will be a 32-story, 377-foot-high tower built almost completely out of solid wood. The building’s volume will be comprised of 1,200  CLT modules , inspired by the local Nipa Huts made out of wood, bamboo and palm leaves traditionally found throughout the Philippines. Related: Vincent Callebaut wins bid to sustainably revive Aix-les-Bains’ ancient thermal baths All of the modules, which come with basket-style balconies, will be prefabricated off-site in a factory to reduce energy and construction costs. Once on-site, the innovative design will be implemented with several passive bioclimatic features and advanced  renewable energies . To save energy, the tower will be double insulated thanks to an interior and exterior cladding made of all-natural materials such as thatch, hemp and cellulose wadding. The tower’s name and design were inspired by the Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree native to the Philippines. To bring the nature-inspired design to fruition, the  timber building  will be clad in vegetation native to the island. Using plants sustainably-sourced from local tropical forests, the tower will be covered in more than 30,000 plants, shrubs and tropical trees. Many of the plants will change color through the season, giving the city a living “rainbow” throughout the year. The Rainbow Tree will be a mixed-use property, split between office space and luxury condominiums. Interior spaces will be flooded with natural light and include several vertical walls. Guests and residents to the tower will be able to enjoy the building’s eateries, swimming pool and fitness center. Adding to the building’s amazing sustainability profile, residents will also have access to an expansive  aquaponic farm  that will span over three levels. Combining fish farming and plant cultivation, the Sky Farm is slated to produce up to 25,000 kilos of fruit, vegetables and algae and 2,500 kilos of fish per year — the equivalent to almost 2 kilos of food per week for each family residing in the tower. + Vincent Callebaut Architecture Images via Vincent Callebaut Architecture

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Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

March 25, 2020 by  
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Formentera-based  Marià Castelló Architecture  has become known for creating incredible homes that deftly combine contemporary design with nature-based inspiration. The firm’s latest project is the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer, a family home that was partially built deep underground into the rocky terrain to use the landscape as natural insulation to  reduce its energy usage . Local architects have used the natural beauty of Spain’s Balearic islands as inspiration in their  home designs  for years. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the island’s Mediterranean climate allows designers to use several passive features to create energy-efficient buildings that blend into the natural landscape. Related: This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year Located in the beach town of Migjorn, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer was built on a rocky landscape overlooking the expansive coastal views. Although the terrain would be normally considered a challenge for any type of construction, the team from Marià Castelló Architects used the rocky topography to their advantage, “burying” part of the home deep underground. The underground floor of the home was created by digging an elongated cavity reminiscent of a stone quarry. The shape of the tunneled space is horizontal, which was strategic in providing a base to create several transversal walkways and hovering patios on the upper floors of the design. Walking up from the underground level, the home design features several indoor/outdoor spaces lined by  natural rock  as the main walkway leads up to the home’s main courtyard. The upper levels of the home, which sit perpendicular to its underground base, are comprised of three light modules in cubical volumes. These bright white cubes with large glass facades give the home an undeniable contemporary feel, but once inside the  light-filled space , an array of natural features speak to the home’s incredible setting. Throughout the open-plan living space, there are walls of sculpted rock, locally-sourced limestone, pine and fir wooden elements, recycled cotton panels and several more  natural materials.  Even the rocky gravel was saved from the excavation process to be repurposed into the outdoor spaces around the home. Using the landscape also allowed the home’s design to take advantage of several  bioclimatic passive systems that not only insulate the home, but add substantially to its energy efficiency. Additionally, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer is equipped with an integral rainwater collection system that reroutes, collects and filters rainwater for reuse. +  Marià Castelló Architecture Images via Marià Castelló

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Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

Run away to this 100% off-grid desert retreat

March 24, 2020 by  
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In a world of exotic areas to go off-grid, sometimes the most exquisite locations can be found in your own back yard. Located just north of Pioneertown, California, the  Whisper Rock Ranch  is surrounded by 20 acres of vast desert landscape. The retreat, which is  100% off-grid , offers guests the opportunity to reconnect with nature while enjoying the small luxuries of life, such as a wrap-around deck with pool and jacuzzi, all perfect for enjoying days of spectacular sunsets and brilliant stargazing. Surrounded by ancient juniper and desert oak trees, the compact ranch is the brainchild of Rich Cook and Rezeta Veliu, who visited the site years ago when the only building on the land was a run-down home. Instantly falling in love with the spectacular desert landscape, they set out to create a remote retreat  where guests can truly get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Related: Cool homestead retreat with vintage trailer brings glamping to Mojave desert During the construction of the ranch, the pair used the untouched nature as inspiration to create a soothing, self-sustaining retreat. As a result, Whisper Rock is completely off-grid, running on  solar energy,  propane and water deliveries. “Since we’re completely off grid we operate off of hauled water, so we have three 1,800 gallon tanks that get filled up every other week. But for those same reasons, people off the grid don’t really have pools because they’re hard to maintain, but we did it anyway,” explained Cook. Additionally, the layout and construction of the retreat use various  passive features  such as natural light and shading techniques to reduce its energy use. “We went for as many windows as we could because the surroundings are so beautiful. And what we did was try to maximize the amount of light and glass; we pushed it basically as far as we could push it without allowing the house to fall down,” Cook added. Indeed, the structure’s  abundance of windows  is what connects the ranch to its incredible setting. Large floor-to-ceiling windows line the walls, while massive chunks of natural boulders jut into the living spaces. Additionally, the interior spaces open up to a wrap-around wooden deck. At the heart of the design are lounge areas where most guests spend their time taking in the 360-degree view from the swimming pool or jacuzzi. + Whisper Rock Ranch Via Dwell Images via Whisper Rock Ranch

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Run away to this 100% off-grid desert retreat

Transformed caravan’s mobile music studio to help refugees

March 11, 2020 by  
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Although we’ve seen quite a few cool caravan conversions, Swedish studio  Snask ‘s latest project brings music to our ears and color to our eyes. The innovative designers have converted an old camper  into a vibrant mobile music studio — all for a very worthwhile cause. The project is in collaboration with  Turning Tables , a nonprofit organization that builds creative spaces so that refugee children around the world have a place where they can express themselves through music. Founded by Danish DJ Martin Jakobsen, Turning Tables first began its work with  refugees  in New York, where it ran a program to teach kids how to DJ. The nonprofit program has since gone global, with teams of artists and musicians building spaces for kids to express themselves through music and other art forms. Related: Amplified tiny house lets musician homeowner rock out in the great outdoors Not satisfied with their many brick and mortar locations around the world, the Turning Tables team decided to go on tour around Sweden. To do so, however, they knew they needed a more efficient way to travel with their music equipment. Looking for solutions, they contacted the innovative creatives behind Snask to ask for help in designing a  tiny music studio on wheels  that would help them travel further to reach more kids. Once they found an old caravan for sale, the  renovation project  kicked off with the help of several artists and friends. The rundown camper was completely gutted, removing all of its moldy furnishings and replacing its wooden structure. The resulting design is a fantastically vibrant music studio, complete with turntables. Of course, the  pièce de résistance  is the soft pink fur used to line the walls and help with sound insulation . With the help of artists  Fabrizio Morra ,  Rasmus Linderos  and  Enrike Puerto,  the exterior of the camper was painted with a bold pattern of colors and shapes that perfectly reflect the project’s mission. + Snask + Turning Tables Via Design Boom Images via Snask

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Transformed caravan’s mobile music studio to help refugees

1971 Airstream gets glossy modern makeover, off-grid power

March 9, 2020 by  
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Although we’ve covered some gorgeous  Airstream renovations  over the years, there’s always one project that really blows our design-loving minds. This beautiful retrofit of a 1971 Airstream by Idaho-based  Traverse Design + Build is simply incredible. Once covered with a rusted out exterior and filled with a dingy avocado-green interior, the 27-foot trailer is now a gleaming contemporary home-on-wheels that can run completely off-grid . Though the team behind Traverse Design + Build had quite a few  Airstream conversions under their belts, when they saw an old 1971 Airstream Overland International for sale, they knew it would be a massive undertaking. The entire aluminum hull was almost entirely oxidized, and the outdated interior (comprised of avocado-green appliances, rotten flooring and yellow walls) was screaming to be put out of its misery. Related: A 1989 Airstream is converted into a modern home on wheels for a family of 6 In addition to the  Airstream’s rundown exterior and interior, all of the trailer’s electrical systems, which had been “modified” over the years, were completely shot. “There were electrical modifications that were done to it which were extremely dangerous,” said Jodi Rathbun, owner and founder of Traverse Design + Build. “We were surprised it never caught on fire, and that no one had been electrocuted.” To begin the arduous  renovation process , the team went to work on the exterior. According to Rathburn, just polishing the exterior to bring out its signature silver shine took more than 160 hours. Once the exterior was set and the hull’s trim repaired, it was time to tackle the interior space. The first step was to gut the interior almost entirely. The dilapidated, nearly 50-year-old trailer had little inside to reuse, but the team managed to retain some of the original elements  whenever possible. For example, they were able to reconfigure some of the existing storage cabinetry and some of the electrical and plumbing systems were able to be repaired. Other than that, the trailer’s interior living space was completely overhauled. To brighten up the space, a fresh coat of all-white paint was used on the walls and ceiling, and engineered maple floors were installed to give a little bit of warmth to the  interior design . The kitchen was built out with white IKEA cabinetry that contrasts nicely with the Tiffany-blue upper cabinetry, which was kept in place as a nod to the trailer’s long history. Throughout the space, the team managed to use ethical, sustainable, and fair-trade items to decorate. Not only did the designers manage to breathe new life into the 1971 Airstream, but they also enabled the trailer to run off-grid. A 510-watt  solar system generates enough power to run off-grid for extended periods. Additionally, there is an on-demand water heater, and LED lighting was installed throughout. The bathroom even features a Nature’s Head composting toilet, again enabling the trailer to be self-sustaining. “We built this so that it could be used off-grid, and away from power and water hookups for extended periods,” said Rathbun. + Traverse Design + Build Via Dwell Images via Traverse Design + Build

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1971 Airstream gets glossy modern makeover, off-grid power

Off-grid geodesic cabins by FUGU can handle harsh climates

February 13, 2020 by  
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From remote snow-covered mountains to idyllic beaches in far-flung corners of the earth, Parisian studio  FUGU  has you covered with its new line of geodesic cabins. The solar-powered cabins, which come in various sizes and can be customized, are made with durable,  eco-friendly materials  and designed to be resilient in almost any harsh climate. While the structures are apt for any number of uses, FUGU’s  geodesic cabins  are primarily geared towards the hospitality sector. The domed cabins are the perfect solution for quiet retreats in remote areas, or even complimentary structures such as spas, gyms or office spaces. Related: Create your own backyard geodesic dome with these super affordable DIY kits With the smallest size coming in at just over 300-square-feet, the domes can be made to order at almost any size, but always put the environment first in their design. The modular cabins are also made out of  environmentally-friendly materials  that have proven resilient to almost any climate. Designed to run on solar power, the domes are equipped to go off-grid almost anywhere in the world. The dome’s eco-friendly manufacturing consists of frames made out of  engineered wood  (CLT, LVL or glued laminated timber), meaning less CO2 emissions than a conventional building. Additionally, the structures are designed to be built off the landscape, on piles or elevated terraces, to limit their impact on the environment. Due to their geodesic shape, which allows for optimal heat distribution and a significant heat flow exchange, the domes are inherently  energy efficient . To provide a tight thermal envelop, the structures use reinforced insulation that not only avoids energy loss, but keeps the structures warm and toasty in the winter months and nice and cool during the summer. + FUGU Geodesic Cabins Via Uncrate Images via FUGU

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Off-grid geodesic cabins by FUGU can handle harsh climates

Airplane fuselage is converted into a minimalist tiny home with off-grid capabilities

February 12, 2020 by  
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While old planes typically get shipped off to aircraft boneyards, one savvy tiny home builder has found a new use for an old part taken from a retired plane. Brisbane-based The Tiny House Guys has breathed new life into a decommissioned Dash 8 airplane fuselage by converting it into the Aero Tiny — a 130-square-foot tiny home fully equipped to go off the grid. Run by father-and-son team Rick and Mitch Keel, The Tiny House Guys has been creating incredible tiny home designs for years. Not only are its homes practical and beautiful, but they are at the forefront of self-sustaining tiny home living. The company’s latest design is taking this idea even further. Related: Incredible recycled 747 airplane house completed in Malibu The Aero Tiny is built within an old fuselage of a decommissioned Dash 8 turboprop plane that was used by Australia’s largest cabin crew training facility. Rick saw the rare item listed for sale online and made the purchase, inspired to turn it into a unique tiny home on wheels . Once they got it to the ideal site, Rick and Mitch began the process of turning the old structure into a livable home. From the get-go, they wanted to keep as much of the original aviation character as possible, including the curved metallic cladding and fold-out, illuminated stairwell that leads into the interior. The interior was almost entirely gutted in order to create a minimalist living space ; however, certain features were salvaged. Various porthole windows and the main door with the original “exit” decal in red lettering were kept in their original state. The all-white interior features a small kitchenette and a living space with the plane’s original overhead bins. To create enough space for the bathroom, the builders added a special box to the fuselage’s side to insert a toilet, sink and shower. To expand the square footage, the designers installed a collapsible deck, accessible via sliding glass doors. More than just a pretty design, the Aero Tiny is also intended to be a mobile and sustainable home. The structure sits on top of a wheeled trailer; because of its lightweight and compact structure, it can be transported easily. Additionally, the tiny home runs on solar energy that, along with water storage and pumps, enables the structure to operate completely off the grid . Rick and Mitch spent over six weeks transforming the fuselage into a gorgeous tiny home on wheels. If you’d like to experience living in a unique tiny home with an interesting history, the solar-powered Aero Tiny is for sale at $37,000 via The Tiny House Guys. + The Tiny House Guys Via Dwell Images via The Tiny House Guys

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Airplane fuselage is converted into a minimalist tiny home with off-grid capabilities

Eco-friendly house uses only 19% of the energy it creates

January 27, 2020 by  
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Lexington, Massachusetts is known for its historical landmarks, but now the city is also home to a powerhouse of  energy-efficient design . Designed by Stephanie Horowitz of  Zero Energy Design,  the Lexington Modern Residence is a contemporary 4,400 square-foot home that not only generates its energy through solar power, but is strategically built to significantly reduce its overall energy consumption. In fact, the design is so efficient that the home only uses 19% of the energy it generates. The prolific team behind Zero Energy has long been recognized as a leader in  sustainable design . Not only do their projects maintain the highest standards in green architecture, but their signature modern aesthetics blend into nearly any environment. Related: Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy One of their latest designs, the Lexington Modern Residence, is a stunning example of how creating a sustainable home doesn’t mean sacrificing luxury. Completely powered by a 10kW rooftop  solar electric system , the home also boasts several energy-reducing strategies to create a highly insulated shell. For example, a high-performance building envelope and high-efficiency mechanical systems enable the home to consume only 19% of the energy it generates. The  layout of the family home  was intentionally created to make the most out of the landscape’s natural topography. Its sculptural volume is comprised of a series of cubed forms clad in various materials such as white stucco, wood siding and fiber cement panels. These exterior facades designate the use of the interior spaces found within. From the exterior, these areas are connected via open-air pathways, decks and patios. The interior of the four-bedroom home enjoys multiple strategic  passive features , as well as refreshingly modern interior design. The large open-space layout of the living area enjoys an abundance of natural light thanks to several triple-paned windows and a massive six by 16-foot Passive House (PHI) certified skylight. + Zero Energy Via Houzz Photography by Eric Roth Photography

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Eco-friendly house uses only 19% of the energy it creates

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