Mobile Smartdome homes pop up almost anywhere starting at 20k

May 31, 2017 by  
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Dome homes are durable, efficient, and—above all—fun to live in. Now you can get your hands on your very own mobile dome home with Slovenian firm smartdome construction . Available in a variety of styles, the Smartdome consists of prefabricated modules engineered for energy efficiency and designed for the enjoyment of nature lovers and DIY enthusiasts. Built on a set of adjustable steel legs, the elevated Smartdome sits lightly on the land with the option of placement in degraded and difficult terrain. Thanks to its modular design , the homes can be easily expanded, dismantled, and transported to new locations with little technical knowledge needed. The base Smartdome model measures 25 square meters with a starting cost of 19,900€. Related: These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k “The project is really something fresh and different […] for every nature lover,” said Željko Ho?evar of smartdome construction to Inhabitat. “It’s the first printed dodecahedron structure in the world.” The modules are constructed from galvanized steel and a laminated and moisture-resistant timber framework sealed with UV-resistant rubber gaskets. Buyers can choose between transparent modules with two or three-layer thermoformed polycarbonate or opaque versions filled with mineral wool or space-tech foil. All Smartdome homes are designed, engineered, and manufactured in Slovenia. + smartdome construction

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Mobile Smartdome homes pop up almost anywhere starting at 20k

Minimalist prefab home hides a sculptural light-filled interior

March 17, 2017 by  
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Berrel Berrel Kräutler Architekten designed a minimal prefabricated house with a modest appearance that belies a sculptural interior. Located in Rodersdorf, Switzerland, this single-family home has a deceptively simple design with its gabled roof and facade clad in metal and timber. The interior is divided into four levels with split-levels that maximize space and access to natural light. Constructed with a timber frame , the 172-square-meter home sits high on a slope overlooking views across the Alsatian landscape. The asymmetrical gabled roof and shape of the home, which steps down on the landscape, was designed to meet local building code specifications. To make the most of the slope change, the architects added split-levels and inserted a wooden shell mounted beneath the roof. Like a house-within-a-house concept, the wooden shell houses the two upper floors and is accessible via a set of minimalist wooden stairs. Related: Ant House hides an innovative wood interior behind a metal-clad cube in Japan The over-height space below the suspended wooden shell is the highlight of the home. Bathed in natural light from a skylight and full-height window that overlooks the outdoors, the over-height space connects to the ground floor via a slight level change . The ground floor contains the entrance, cloakroom, kitchen, dining area, living room, and lounge, all of which appear to be seamlessly connected through precise carpentry work. The fluid connections between the different spaces, from the partly sunken basement level to the topmost floor cradled in the timber shell, gives the home a sculptural quality. + Berrel Berrel Kräutler Architekten Via ArchDaily Images © Eik Frenzel

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Minimalist prefab home hides a sculptural light-filled interior

See how the "Kiss-Kiss House" snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape

March 2, 2017 by  
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Homes built to embrace the landscape, rather than working against it, always seem to have a good story to tell. The Kiss-Kiss House, a prefabricated home that gets its name from its linear shape broken into two bars kissing at an angle to frame the existing bedrock, is no exception. Designed by Minneapolis-based Lazor Office , the cedar-clad home is perched above bedrock on the shore of the remote Rainy Lake in Ontario. Inspired by driftwood, the Kiss-Kiss House is clad in unpainted cedar panels that also help blend the home into its forested surroundings. The home’s main structure, made up of two modules set at an angle, is set atop bedrock and is thus raised with elevated pathways that also preserve and frame the rock. Views of the water were prioritized and embraced through floor-to-ceiling , full-length glass on the lakeside facades of the two modules. The home’s elevated position and uninterrupted views create the sensation of floating over water when in the home. Related: Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling “At the kiss line between two prefabricated modules, the lineal form of the house snaps like a branch held together only by bark,” writes Lazor Office. “The open break forms a V-shaped outdoor room facing the water.” The larger of the two modules contains the master suite, kitchen, and lounge, while the other module houses the playroom, mudroom, and two bedrooms. The private areas are located at the ends of the modules, whereas the communal areas are closely linked together by the breezeway . Elevated walkways connect the modular home to a walled vegetable garden, dock house, and garage. + Lazor Office Images via Lazor Office

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See how the "Kiss-Kiss House" snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape

Research reveals the Earth may have once had a solid egg-like crust

March 2, 2017 by  
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Extending the symbolism of eggs as a metaphor for life and reproduction, recent research reveals the Earth itself may have once had an egg-like structure. According to a report from the University of Maryland , the plate tectonics that now define the Earth’s geology may have begun later in the planet’s history. Before the plates began moving and colliding to define the surface we know and love today, the Earth’s crust likely consisted of a solid but deformable shell encasing a molten liquid interior. The research, a joint effort between the UMD’s College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Curtin University and the Geological Survey of Western Australia , was recently published in the journal Nature, and represents the latest in a longstanding debate over the Earth’s geological history. One side of the debate says plate tectonics began right after the Earth started to cool (known as uniformitarianism), while the other proposes the planet went through a long phase with a solid shell enveloping it. This latest study clearly favors the latter view. Models for how the first continental crust formed generally fall into two groups: those that invoke modern-style plate tectonics and those that do not, says Michael Brown, a professor of geology at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the study. “Our research supports the latter ‘stagnant lid’ forming the planet’s outer shell early in Earth’?s history. Related: Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight Coming to this conclusion was no easy task. Brown and his team studied rocks collected from the East Pilabara Terrane – a large area of ancient crust located in Western Australia . As old as 3.5 billion years, these rocks are some of the oldest on the planet. The researchers looked at the granite and basalt rocks for signs of plate tectonic activity, such as subduction of one plate beneath the other. As UMD explains it: “Plate tectonics substantially affects the temperature and pressure of rocks within Earth’?s interior. When a slab of rock subducts under the Earth’s surface, the rock starts off relatively cool and takes time to gain heat. By the time it reaches a higher temperature, the rock has also reached a significant depth, which corresponds to high pressure – in the same way a diver experiences higher pressure at greater water depth.” In contrast, a stagnant lid regime would be very hot at relatively shallow depths and low pressures. Geologists refer to this as a “high thermal gradient.” According to Brown, the results showed the Pilabara granites were produced by melting rocks in a high thermal gradient environment and the composition of local basalts shows they came from an earlier generation of source rocks supporting the ‘stagnant lid’ theory of the Earth’s early formation. Images via Robert Whitehead , domdomegg

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Research reveals the Earth may have once had a solid egg-like crust

New net-zero Solar Farmhouse from Deltec generates all its own energy

January 24, 2017 by  
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In these uncertain times of erratic weather and changing climate patterns, net-zero energy (or NZE) is quickly becoming the gold standard in green building. If you can generate all of your own energy on site, you never need to rely on the grid or worry about energy bills. The North Carolina prefab builders at Deltec launched a line of affordable net-zero energy homes last year to great fanfare from off-grid buffs around the U.S. Now we’re thrilled to see them introduce a brand new design to this collection; a charming, classically-styled Solar Farmhouse with all of the old-fashioned curb appeal, plus the futuristic technology that makes this home achieve net-zero energy.

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New net-zero Solar Farmhouse from Deltec generates all its own energy

This $10k tiny house can be built with a hex key in less than a day

December 8, 2016 by  
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Cheap Chinese goods are a bit of a joke in America, but when a company manages to produce an entire house with the affordable price of just $10,000 , the laughing stops. China’s People’s Architecture Office (PAO) recently built one of these new prefabricated homes for a first-time buyer known only as “Mrs. Fan.” The so-called Plugin House consists of a series of prefab panels that were assembled on-site by a small team in just a few hours using a hex key. https://vimeo.com/194316406 The $10,000 home is so simple to assemble that the work can be done by a relatively unskilled team—with a single hex key—in less than 24 hours. Mrs. Fan’s Plugin House is unique compared to most prefab homes in that respect, but it also breaks from the norm in that the structure actually extends an existing building. The homeowner is a young woman who wanted to live in the courtyard of her parents’ home, but an existing structure had already fallen into disrepair. By tearing down most of that building and installing the prefab home as an expansion, PAO demonstrated that these inexpensive, easy-up structures can be used in a variety of situations. Related: Plugin Tower is a low-cost modular home with no foundation The Plugin House is a riff on PAO’s Plugin Tower – another home composed of prefabricated modules with insulation, interior and exterior finishes, and all the necessary wiring and plumbing. Plugin Tower’s modules use the same integrated locking system as the Plugin House – they’re tightened by a hex key, not unlike an Ikea bookcase. It’s no surprise that the home is tiny, measuring just shy of 300 square feet, but that’s a sprawling mansion compared to cramped units in some of Beijing’s high-rise apartment buildings , which PAO says cost 30 times as much as this home. The double-height living area and a spacious kitchen turn the structure into a humble home, and the windows are glazed just so to draw in daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Since the local area lacks a sewage system, Mrs. Fan’s Plugin House is also outfitted with a composting toilet and shower. A rooftop deck adds usable space and offers sprawling views of the city in the distance. + People’s Architecture Office Via New Atlas Images via PAO

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This $10k tiny house can be built with a hex key in less than a day

Donald Trump taps fossil fuel-funded climate denier to head EPA

December 8, 2016 by  
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If there were any illusions that President-elect Donald Trump might be persuaded on climate change and clean energy after meeting with Al Gore at Trump Tower and appearing to soften his positions in an interview with New York Times reporters at the newspaper’s offices, those hopes have officially been quashed. Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency – and he’s an ally of the fossil fuel industry and a climate change denier. He has been a vocal critic of the EPA and President Obama’s climate change policies. As AG, Pruitt led the legal effort against the Clean Power Plan , Obama’s signature climate policy to reign in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Since taking office in 2011, Pruitt has used his position to try to undermine the agency he could be in charge of (if confirmed by the Senate), boasting that he “led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda.” He has sued the EPA multiple times, fighting against air pollution standards, toxic pollutant regulations and rules to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. Related: What Trump’s victory means for the environment (it’s not good) Writing in the conservative magazine National Review , Pruitt questioned “the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” adding that in the scientific community the “debate is far from settled.” Pruitt did not mention studies showing that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that humans are contributing to global warming. Pruitt has close ties with the fossil fuel industry. Since 2002, he has received more than $300,000 in campaign contributions from oil, gas, mining and utility interests. In 2014, The New York Times uncovered a secretive alliance between attorneys general, including Pruitt, and dirty energy firms to attack EPA regulations on fracking and air pollution. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who sits on the Environment and Public Works Committee that must confirm Pruitt, slammed Trump’s pick to run the EPA. “At a time when climate change is the greatest environmental threat to the entire planet, it is sad and dangerous that Mr. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA,” said Sanders. “The American people must demand leaders who are willing to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels. I will vigorously oppose this nomination.” Via Huffington Post Photos by Gage Skidmore , Wikimedia , Flickr

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Affordable DublDom prefab home pops up in just one week

October 4, 2016 by  
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Completed for a budget of $42,500, this particular DublDom 2.65 model offers 65 square meters of space with enough room for two spacious bedrooms, a veranda, and common areas. Like all of BIO Architects’ modular homes , the EcoPark home was built mostly from wood for a cozy and welcoming feel. Large double-glazed windows let in natural light and frame panoramic views of the outdoors. “Our task was to organically enter the house in the natural surroundings, produce it in a short period time and cause minimum damage to the environment during the installation,” write the architects. “The architecture of the house is as much as possible open to the environment and interact with it. From the large living room you can see the endless fields and small river, two bedrooms behind the house are made for sleep. Layout of the house provides maximum exposure to the nature and to spend time with friends in the living room or on the veranda.” Related: Tiny and Affordable Russian DublDom Home Can Be Assembled in Just One Day The light-filled gabled home is minimally decorated with black metal and unpainted larch that line the exterior and parts of the interior. BIO Architects offers five different configurations of the DublDom 2.65; the Eco-Park client chose DublDom 2.65-01, which includes a spacious front veranda that wraps around the sides of the home and includes a small terrace in the rear; an open-plan kitchen, living, and dining area; a bathroom; and two equal-sized bedrooms. The house is elevated on stilts and was installed on site in seven days. + DublDom Images via DublDom , by Bokaeva Louise and Ivan Ovchinnikov

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Affordable DublDom prefab home pops up in just one week

This new rocket thruster is powered by space junk

October 4, 2016 by  
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What do Australia, space junk, and the journey to Mars have in common? Well, that sort of remains to be seen. Over the next year, the International Space Station will be testing rocket propulsion technology developed by an Australian team that is fueled by space debris and could—someday—help us get to Mars. This new innovation centers on an ion thruster that could replace current chemical-based rocket propulsion technology. Since it is designed to make use of abundant space junk as a fuel source, it is not only efficient but potentially cost effective (with the handy side effect of cleaning up of some of that celestial garbage in the process). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TVipU98g9s Dr Patrick “Paddy” Neumann is a graduate of the University of Sydney and he partnered with two professors from the college to develop an ion thruster (aptly dubbed the Neumann Drive) that aims to give current rocket propulsion technology a run for its money. The invention led to his founding of Neumann Space , a start-up working to further develop and advance the technology. The Neumann Drive uses solid fuel and electricity to produce thrust, in “a ‘wire-triggered pulsed cathodic arc system’ that works kind of like an arc welder,” according to the company’s website. Related: Elon Musk reveals his big plans for colonizing Mars This addresses one of the key issues SpaceX CEO Elon Musk mentioned last week during his detailed unveiling of his Mars plan: the need to refill while in orbit. Chemical-based rockets require enormous amounts of fuel to travel the long distance to Mars, so it isn’t logistically possible for a rocket to carry all its own fuel, which predicates the need to refuel in space. On the contrary, the ion thruster developed by Neumann and his team eliminates the fuel capacity need, since it utilizes space junk as a fuel source. Among the “junk” the Neumann Drive can use for its propulsion are a number of materials common on Earth, as well as in space. The team touts magnesium as their most efficient fuel, best for longer cargo transport journeys. Aluminum, sourced mainly from space junk, is their best recycled fuel. Carbon, derived from recycled human waste, has also been tested. But the material that tops the list is a more unusual one: Molybdenum . It’s a heavy metal with a high melting point that would have to be sourced from Earth, but a small amount of fuel would last a very long time. “Moly,” as it’s known for short, is the fastest fuel tested so far in the Neumann Drive, and it’s the current favorite for fueling a passenger ship to Mars. Via ABC Australia Images via Neumann Space and Wikipedia

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This new rocket thruster is powered by space junk

Solar-powered Casa C is an affordable prefab home for a family of five

August 30, 2016 by  
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The house is located in Ziefen, a village near Basel, Switzerland . Instead of ordering a pre-made, prefab house from a catalogue, the owners opted for a custom-designed structure which would marry affordability and green design. This was achieved largely through smart organization and the introduction of two unheated spaces in two sides of the building which present an additional layer of insulation . It has a porch and a loggia on two sides which help insulate the interior space Related: Stunning prefab home uses sustainably sourced timber in Switzerland The final design was of a house built using prefab elements, industrial materials and rough wood and concrete. The central area of the house functions as the living room, kitchen area, an office space, and the master bedroom with bathroom. Fully glazed with operable glass, the living area and kitchen face a large porch that overlooks the garden. Three smaller bedrooms with a bathroom and laundry occupy the upper floor. + HHF Architects Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Tom Bisig

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