Prefab housing pods pop up with speed at Dyson Institutes modular village

July 8, 2019 by  
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The future of student housing may mean greater energy efficiency, faster construction times, and less waste if developers follow in the footsteps of the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology’s newly completed undergraduate village in Wiltshire. London-based architectural practice WilkinsonEyre recently completed the student housing development at the Dyson Malmesbury Campus, which was also masterplanned by WilkinsonEyre. Constructed with modular building technologies, the energy-efficient village for engineering students comprises clusters of prefabricated pods that were rapidly manufactured off-site and then craned into place with fittings and furnishings already in place. The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology was created to combine higher education with commercial industry, research, and development. To create an immersive live/work experience, the campus tapped WilkinsonEyre to design student housing that houses up to 50 engineering students and visiting Dyson staff. In addition to the housing pods, the crescent-shaped landscaped site includes communal amenities as well as a central social and learning hub. Related: LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses California’s coastal climate Measuring eight meters by four meters each, the housing pods were prefabricated from cross-laminated timber and then stacked into a variety of cluster configurations ranging from two to three stories tall, with some units cantilevered by up to three meters. Each pod is optimized for energy efficiency, which includes harnessing CLT’s thermal massing benefits, tapping into natural ventilation, and maximizing daylight through large, triple-glazed windows. Aluminum rainscreen panels clad the exterior and some units are topped with sedum-covered roofs. The prefabricated units were fully fitted with bespoke furniture and built-in storage before they were transported to the site. Each cluster consists of up to six prefab units with a shared kitchen and laundry area at the mid-entry level as well as an entry area with reception and storage. “The dynamic variety of configurations lends an informal, residential character to the village,” says the project statement. “Green spaces and pathways determine user movement through the village and mediate connections between the residential accommodation and the communal clubhouse, named the Roundhouse, at the centre.” + WilkinsonEyre Images via WilkinsonEyre

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Prefab housing pods pop up with speed at Dyson Institutes modular village

Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change

July 8, 2019 by  
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New research suggests that tree planting isn’t just a feel-good volunteer activity — it could actually be the cheapest and most effective tool against global warming that exists. While environmentalists have been encouraging tree planting for decades, there has been contradicting information about how well nations are adhering to their reforestation pledges and how much they are actually making a difference. A new study, however, calculates just how many trees could be planted in a worldwide reforestation effort and how it would impact climate change if implemented correctly. The researchers concluded that if the entire world organized to plant trees in all available land that isn’t existing farms or urban areas, the new trees could capture two-thirds of all human-related carbon emissions . According to their calculations, there are 1.7 billion hectares available that could support 1.2 trillion additional trees. This area equates to 11 percent of the Earth’s total land surface, or according to The Guardian , “equivalent to the size of the U.S. and China combined.” Related: Philippine students must plant 10 trees to graduate, new law says The researchers calculated the land’s capacity for trees by attempting to reach the goal of 100 percent canopy cover in tropical areas and at least 50 percent tree cover in more temperate zones. “This new quantitative evaluation shows [forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” said professor and lead researcher Tom Crowther. “What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed.” Even if all 1.2 trillion trees were planted tomorrow, it would take between 50 and 100 years to see the full benefit, and who knows what carbon emissions will look like then? With this in mind, Crowther still emphasized the need to bring emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation to zero. “[Reforestation] is available now, it is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved,” Crowther said. He also noted that each person can make an impact by growing their own trees, donating to reforestation efforts and avoiding companies that are contributing to deforestation. Via The Guardian Image via Valiphotos

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Sculptural YULIN Artistic Center dramatically tops a Chongqing cliff

June 25, 2019 by  
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On the edge of a steep precipice in Longxing, Chongqing, Chinese architectural firm CHALLENGE DESIGN has completed a striking building that looks like a natural extension of the landscape. Defined by its sharp geometric form, the YULIN Artistic Center makes the most of its clifftop location with walls of glass that embrace stunning panoramic views. Not only were the majority of the building components prefabricated in a factory in Yancheng to mitigate the challenges of building on steep terrain, but the architects also used glue laminated timber to reduce the weight of construction. The YULIN Artistic Center consists of two main volumes stacked at an angle to one another and optimally placed for unobstructed views of the landscape. The line between the indoors and outdoors is continually blurred, from the massive wall of glass that runs along the side of the building to the interior spaces that are arranged to face the outdoors. The building consists of an exhibition center, a time-lapse gallery, a spherical video hall and an infinity pool on the cliff’s edge. Visitors access the site via a 30-meter glass elevator and a bridge on the northeast side of the site. “The building topping the paramount cliff reflects the minimalist design concept by following the natural landscape,” the architects said. “By making full use of the dramatic height drop and ingenious angles, the scenery is presented to the full extent. Like a natural part of the mount itself, the Artistic Center can be seen from a mile away, resembling a crane of legend standing on a rock, opening its wings and showing its grandeur and magnificence.” Related: 10 shipping containers make up this modern, mixed-use structure in Shanghai The building’s sculptural appeal is reinforced with the glulam lattice structure exposed in the interior as well as the facade that’s clad in gray aluminum panels laid out in a diamond-shaped pattern. The prefabricated components of the building were created in just three weeks. No tower crane was used to assemble the building onsite. + CHALLENGE DESIGN Photos by Prism Images and Arch-Exist

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Sculptural YULIN Artistic Center dramatically tops a Chongqing cliff

These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours

June 25, 2019 by  
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Canadian company DROP Structures is on a mission to allow people to “drop” the company’s incredible cabins (almost) hassle-free in just about any location. One of the most versatile designs is the minimalist Mono, a tiny prefab cabin that runs on solar power and can be set up in just a few hours. Although the minuscule 106-square-foot cabins take on a very minimalist appearance, the structures are the culmination of years of engineering and design savvy. According to Drop Structures, the cabins, which start at $24,500, typically require no permit. Thanks to their prefabricated assembly, they can be installed in a matter of hours. Related: Low-energy prefab cabins are inspired by the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’ Built to be tiny, but tough, the Mono tiny cabins are clad in a standing seam metal exterior, which was chosen because the material is resilient to most types of climates and is low-maintenance. The cabins also boast a tight thermal envelope thanks to a solid core insulation that keeps the interior temperatures stable year-round in most climates. The Mono features a pitched roof with two floor-to-ceiling glazed walls at either side. This standard design enables natural light to flood the interior space and create a seamless connection between the cabin and its surroundings. The interior space is quite compact but offers everything needed for a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The walls and vaulted ceilings are made out of Baltic Birch panels that give the space a warm, cozy feel. The biggest advantage of these tiny cabins is versatility. The structures can be customized with various add-ons including extra windows or skylights, a built-in loft, a Murphy bed and more. They can can also go off the grid with the addition of solar panels . + DROP Structures Via Dwell Images via DROP Structures

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These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours

This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days

June 3, 2019 by  
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No childhood is complete without spending time in a rickety old treehouse, but when two long-time friends decided they needed an adult treehouse for relaxing in nature, they went the sophisticated and sustainable route. Designed by German design firm Baumraum , the Halden treehouse is a prefabricated structure with a gabled roof and an entire glazed front wall that provides stunning views. Located in the remote Swiss town of Halden, the 236-square-foot treehouse i s tucked into a natural setting of rolling hills looking out over an orchard. To protect the idyllic landscape and reduce construction costs and time, the treehouse was prefabricated in Germany. When it was delivered to its location, the structure was carefully elevated off the land with four wooden support beams. Thanks to the prefabricated system, the house was installed in just a few days. Related: A series of geometric, sustainable treehouses is imagined for the Italian Dolomites The sophisticated treehouse was built with a steel frame and black metal siding, which gives the compact structure a strong resilience against storms or severe weather. A long ladder leads up to the treehouse’s wrap-around deck, which was carefully built around an oak tree. With enough space for a small dinette or lounge chairs, this open-air space is a prime spot for dining al fresco or just taking in the amazing views. The front of the gabled structure consists of a glazed facade that frames the picturesque views of the valley and nearby orchard. The windows also allow optimal natural light to flood the compact interior. Although the living space is just over 200 square feet, the space is light and airy. Oiled oak panels were used to clad the walls, ceiling, floor and the built-in furniture. A small lounge includes a sitting area facing a wood-burning fireplace. The kitchen, which is equipped with all of the basics, is hidden behind the walls with an integrated pantry. A hidden door opens up to the wooden bathroom with a full shower and customized sink made from natural stone found in a nearby creek. Above the kitchen and bathroom is the serene sleeping loft, accessible by a rolling metal ladder. + Baumraum Halden Via Dwell Images via Baumraum

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This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days

REPII House offers expansive modular space with sleek design elements

May 27, 2019 by  
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Modular design is nothing new and continues to grow in popularity as well as functionality. The design has been a growing trend in innovative markets such as converted train cars and storage pods. But not all modular spaces feature modern design, fabulous natural lighting and sleek decor. In fact, the REPII House is a stark contrast to many modular blueprints with the idea that the extra space can be close but not attached to the main unit — and stylish to boot. The REPII House can be used as extra office space, a studio, a guest house or any number of other applications, because there is no need to adapt the area adjacent to the existing space. As a stand-alone unit, it can be delivered and set up without inconveniencing the main house or office. Related: This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views Developed by architects Bernardo Vivo and Guzmán Trípodi from VivoTripodi, the REPII House is located in Canelones, Uruguay and is an example of modular expansion focused on privacy and direct contact with nature . VivoTripodi believes that the space in which the unit rests should not cause a disruption of the natural elements around it. Instead, the prefab house was constructed offsite in a closed environment and delivered via truck to preserve the organic state of the site. In other words, there was no need to deal with a construction zone during the build. Instead, the unit was constructed elsewhere and neatly dropped into place. The module is 518 square feet of streamlined interior design at its best. The flowing floorplan moves through two bedrooms, a living room or intermediate space, a kitchenette and a bathroom. A massive wall of windows connect indoors to out , providing an encompassing view. A series of shutters can cover the windows by creating a solid siding. One unique feature of the design is the size, which was determined by the natural length of the boards vertically and horizontally in order to minimize waste and use materials effectively. + VivoTripodi Via ArchDaily Photography by Marcos Guiponi via VivoTripodi

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REPII House offers expansive modular space with sleek design elements

A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps

January 14, 2019 by  
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Designed by Italian architects Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo , the Luca Pasqualetti Bivouac is a prefab mountain shelter that was airlifted to the very peak of the incredibly remote Morion ridge in Valpelline at an altitude of 3290 meters. The tiny bivouac  was built with sustainable and recyclable materials and designed to cause minimal impact to the stunning landscape. The tiny shelter was the brainchild of a group of local alpine guides called Espri Sarvadzo (“Wild Spirit”). Their objective was to attract more adventurous hikers and climbers to the Morion ridge of Valpelline, which, due to its remote location, is often overlooked. The team worked with the parents of Luca Pasqualettie to dedicate the bivouac to their son who passed away in the same area. Related: Tiny alpine hut is a cozy refuge in the harsh yet spectacular Slovenian Alps The rough location and extreme climate (temperatures reach -20°C and winds up to 200 km/h) in the area meant that the shelter had to be incredibly durable and resilient to wind and snow loads. The rugged terrain made building on the site impossible, so complicating the issue further was the fact that the structure had to be lightweight enough to be transported by helicopter to its destination. To bring the project to fruition, the architects designed and built a prefab structure. All of the building’s components, which were chosen for their durability and low-maintenance properties, are also recyclable and ecologically certified. As for the design itself, the shelter is a simple hut with a large pitched roof made out of two composite sandwich panels, wood and steel and can be split into four parts for easy transport. In addition to being sustainable, the design also called for a building that would cause minimal impact on the landscape. As such, the shelter was installed on non-permanent foundations that were anchored into the rock. This will enable the building to be dismounted at the end of its lifecycle without leaving a permanent trace. The interior of the tiny shelter is a minimalist space, optimized to live comfortably in a compact area. A large panoramic window on the main facade was oriented to face the east to take advantage of natural light and heat as well as to provide stunning views. A small solar panel provides additional lighting. As for furnishings, the interior houses a dining table and eight stools, as well as chests for additional seating and storage. There is also a sideboard that folds down for food preparation and various compartments for equipment. At the rear of the shelter ‘s living space is the sleeping area, which is made up of two wooden platforms with mattresses and blankets. + Roberto Dini + Stefano Girodo Via Archdaily Photography by Roberto Dini, Stefano Girodo, Adele Muscolino and Grzegorz Grodzicki via Bivacco Morion

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A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps

BIGs dramatic hillside apartments officially open in Stockholm

November 9, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has announced the official opening of the long-awaited 79&Park, a residential development with a striking, stepped design. Located in Stockholm’s Gärdet district, the sculptural complex consists of 169 foliage-covered apartments constructed from prefabricated 3.6-meter by 3.6-meter modules that are arranged around an open courtyard. The cascading design was developed to optimize access to natural light as well as views toward the city and Gärdet’s parklands. Inaugurated on the same day as OMA’s Norra Tornen — another spectacular structure and the tallest new building in the city — 79&Park occupies a prominent location bordering the city park. To tie the building into the urban fabric and adjacent nature, Bjarke Ingels Group crafted the building in the image of a gently sloping hillside and clad the exterior in vertical strips of cedar. An abundance of greenery has been incorporated as well, from the modular rooftop terraces to the lush central courtyard. “79&Park is conceived as an inhabitable landscape of cascading residences that combine the splendors of a suburban home with the qualities of urban living: the homes have private outdoor gardens and penthouse views of the city and Gärdet,” said Bjarke Ingels, founding partner at BIG. “The communal intimacy of the central urban oasis offers peace and tranquility while also giving the residents a feeling of belonging in the larger community of 79&Park. Seen from a distance, 79&Park appears like a man-made hillside in the center of Stockholm .” Related: BIG completes low-income “Homes for All” project in Copenhagen In addition to the 169 apartment units — nearly all of them have a unique layout — the development also houses commercial spaces open to the public on the ground floor. Resident amenities include a doggy daycare and preschool. Like the exterior, the Scandinavian design-inspired interiors were dressed in a natural material palette including white oak floors and natural stone. Large windows blur the boundary between the indoors and out. + BIG Photography by Laurian Ghinitoiu via BIG

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BIGs dramatic hillside apartments officially open in Stockholm

Reclaimed materials and a massive green wall transports Denali shoppers to the great outdoors

November 9, 2018 by  
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Earlier this fall, Connecticut-based, multidisciplinary design practice Pirie Associates completed a biophilic store that evokes the image of a romantic, aging barn bursting with lush greenery. The newly opened Providence, Rhode Island store was created as the eighth brick-and-mortar location for the outdoor clothing and gear retail chain Denali . The store sits next to Brown University on Thayer Street and brings together a massive, low-maintenance vertical green wall with a predominately timber material palette to pull the outdoors in. Most of the materials were reclaimed in keeping with the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Sheathed within a brick-and-steel envelope that complements the surrounding urban fabric, the new Denali Providence store greets passersby with full-height glazing on the ground floor. Though the shop might seem like the average brick-and-mortar building from the outside, shoppers are treated to a visual surprise in the woodland-inspired interior with a double-height space filled with 20 birch tree poles — with the bark intact — as well as a large vertical green wall filled with New England plants and overhead skylights that provide natural light. The design aims “to transport customers to a new state of mind with a biophilic interior ‘kit-of-parts’ [that Pirie Associates has] now used in several locations,” the firm said in a press release. To lure people upstairs, two 32-foot-tall birch tree poles were strategically positioned through the U-shaped stairwell and stretch upward from the ground floor to the ceiling of the second level. Related: Nearly 10,000 plants grow on NYC’s largest public indoor green wall Apart from the paint, electrical equipment and HVAC, most of the materials used to construct the store were reclaimed or recycled and were often locally sourced. Salvaged materials include the barn doors, corrugated sheet metal and the nearly two dozen birch tree poles. The vertical green wall that spans two stories was designed for low maintenance and is integrated with a self-irrigation system. + Pirie Associates Photography by John Muggenborg via Pirie Associates

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Reclaimed materials and a massive green wall transports Denali shoppers to the great outdoors

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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