A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience

July 25, 2018 by  
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Modular architecture and sustainable strategies blend together in the Ivanhoe Extension, a bold and contemporary addition to a suburban home in Melbourne. Designed by Australian practice Modscape , the two-story extension not only creates more space for the clients’ growing family, but also offers a new way to embrace their beautifully landscaped backyard. The house is equipped with many energy-efficient solutions such as solar passive heating, rainwater harvesting and double glazing with thermal break frames. Located behind a weatherboard house, the Ivanhoe Extension is a handsome structure clad in sustainably sourced blackbutt timber and Colorbond Diversaclad. The ground floor is fitted with full-height glazing for a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience, while the upper floor is wrapped in a curved battened screen to ensure privacy and protection from the sun. The new addition houses an open-plan living space, dining area and kitchen on the ground floor, and the master suite is found on the upper level. The original house has been turned over to the “kids domain.” “A new double?height entrance space has been created in the middle of the house providing a clean separation and demarcation between existing and new,” Modscape explained. “As soon as you walk in the front door, your eye is drawn up to the circular skylight, which casts directed light to the open stairs below. To accommodate for the sloping site, the extension is terraced down the block with a slight change in levels between the original house (which has now become the kids domain), the entrance way and the new modular living area. This helps to subtly define different zones, while the same oak flooring used throughout provides continuity and flow.” Related: This highly insulated modular home is completely self-sustaining The modular components were prefabricated offsite within a factory so that the clients could continue living in their house free of disruptions. Demolition and site preparation took approximately three weeks — the clients moved out four weeks prior — and installation of the modules took only one day. + Modscape Images by John Madden

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A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience

A prefab chapels sculptural form amplifies the Spanish landscape

July 23, 2018 by  
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Perched on a hilltop in a bucolic rural landscape in southern Spain, the Sacromonte Chapel is a minimalist, prefabricated structure designed to coexist with nature in harmony. Designed by Uruguay-and Brazil-based architecture firm MAPA , this sculptural place of worship is set on one of the highest peaks in the traditional Andalusian neighborhood Sacromonte and overlooks unobstructed, panoramic views of its surroundings. The building was mainly constructed from cross-laminated timber panels and steel and was assembled onsite in just one day. Crafted as a “landscape amplifier,” the Sacromonte Chapel takes cues from its surroundings — a rolling landscape of vineyards, lagoons, hills and shelters — and features a relatively simple shape that complements the environment. The chapel comprises two cross-laminated timber panels — measuring nearly 20 by 30 feet in size — angled toward one another, like a pair of hands in prayer, without actually touching. The semi-enclosed structure simultaneously creates a defined interior while remaining open to the environment. “How should the sacred spaces of the 21st century be? The chapel ponders possible interpretations of this and other questions through its ambiguous relationship with matter, space and time,” MAPA said in a project statement. “A peaceful tension reigns when in contact with it. A tension between weight and lightness, presence and disappearance, technology and nature . Enigmatic and mystifying, it leaves its visitors with more questions than answers.” Related: Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown The Sacromonte Chapel was prefabricated in a factory in Portugal and then transported to the site for assembly. The architects strived to use as few resources as possible to make a simple and austere design statement. A black metal box faced with a sheet of translucent onyx punctuates one of the timber planes and houses a statue of the Virgin of “La Carrodilla.” A slender timber cross was installed in front of the chapel. + MAPA Images by Tali Kimelman

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A prefab chapels sculptural form amplifies the Spanish landscape

Air pollution levels in national parks rival those of major US cities

July 23, 2018 by  
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Bad news for national park lovers: a new study published in Science Advances  has found that many national parks have levels of of air pollution on par with major US cities. In parks such as Sequoia, Acadia, and Joshua tree, toxic ozone levels breaching the safe limit set by the EPA rivaled those found in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, which has the worst air quality rating of cities in the United States. While the number of dangerous pollution days has fallen for both cities and parks since the 1990 enactment of the Clean Air Act and the EPA’s Regional Haze Rule of 1999, experts are pressing for more regulation after this week’s findings. National parks see an 8% decline in visitor numbers, on average, in months recording two to three days of bad air quality. The statistics suggest that many of the parks’ guests choose to come not only for the sights, but for their health as well. And, while some have criticized Regional Haze Rule regulations, study co-author Ivan Rudik disagrees. An assistant professor at Cornell University, Rudik stated that “some of the arguments that people are making against the Regional Haze Rule are that the benefits are basically zero, that these visibility rules don’t matter much or maybe the health improvements are overstated. But if you look at what people actually do, they clearly do care.” Related: UN creates a new global climate change coalition Recent years have seen record-breaking numbers of visitors to national parks, yet another reason to reevaluate government standards when it comes to air pollution. Speaking to The Associated Press, Rudik remarked that “even though the national parks are supposed to be icons of a pristine landscape, quite a lot of people are being exposed to ozone levels that could be detrimental to their health.” + Science Advances Via Ecowatch Images via Shutterstock

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Air pollution levels in national parks rival those of major US cities

These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

July 9, 2018 by  
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In an effort to encourage ecotourism for the millions that visit the United Arab Emirates each year, the country has officially launched the Biodomes project, which will feature beautiful biodomes designed by Baharash Architecture . Located in the mountainous eastern region of the UAE, the biodomes will be self-sustaining, use 100 percent renewable energy and have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Ultimately, the UAE hopes that the biodomes will promote awareness of and interest in the variety of wildlife in the mountain region. Baharash Architecture’s biodomes will provide a controlled environment, similar to that of a greenhouse, that closely mimics the surrounding natural area. In this case, the biodomes will be located in the Al Hajar Mountains, a stunning region that is home to rare species of Arabian wildlife . The project seeks to raise awareness of mountain biodiversity, and its facilities will include a wildlife conservation center and an adventure-based wilderness retreat. Related: Solar-powered biodome sustains all four seasons at the same time, under one roof The self-sustaining structures are crafted from prefabricated components, which will help to reduce site disruption and allow for the biodomes’ quick assembly. Semi-subterranean typology will provide passive cooling benefits, and the biodomes will rely on 100 percent  renewable energy and use recycled wastewater for irrigation and waste management on site. Visitors to the biodomes can experience a restaurant that offers both organic local cuisine and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, according to Baharash Bagherian, the Director and Founder of Baharash Architecture, the biodomes’ “bioclimatic indoor environments will provide visitors with thermal comfort, restorative and therapeutic benefits.” Visitors can also participate in several nature-based ecotourism activities, including ziplining, horse riding, hiking, camel excursions, mountain biking, paragliding and much more. + Baharash Architecture Images courtesy of Baharash Architecture

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These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five

June 19, 2018 by  
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When designer Jorie Burns set her sights on owning a second home near Lake Michigan, she decided to take a chance with the more affordable options found in prefabricated architecture. After perusing several different layouts offered at Lakeside Cabins Resort, she and her family settled on a compact floor plan of 860 square feet. The tiny cabin was built in Indiana and then shipped to the resort in Three Oaks, Michigan. Created for seasonal use, Jorie Burns’ compact cabin is primed for relaxing and unplugging — literally. The house operates off the grid and was designed to embrace the outdoors. To match the aesthetic of the other homes at the Lakeside Cabins Resort , the tiny home features a log siding exterior and a 280-square-foot enclosed deck large enough to fit a dining area and extra sleeping space. The interior features a 380-square-foot living space, a master bedroom for Jorie and her husband, and a double loft that’s roomy enough for two double beds and two single beds for the kids. The design of the tiny house was dictated through emails between Jorie and the builder. “I shipped the builder all of our lighting , bathroom vanity, tile, and chose cabinets, flooring, tongue and groove wood for the walls, countertops, cabinets and everything else that went into it,” Jorie told Inhabitat. Given the limited space, Jorie chose a minimalist aesthetic with Scandinavian influences to make the home feel airy and spacious. Related: The pre-fab tiny Skyview Cabin is crafted from all-natural and low-impact materials This summer will mark the family’s first stay in their prefab home and Jorie anticipates that they’ll spend much of their time outdoors. The tiny  cabin , which is located a 90-minute drive from their main residence in the Chicago suburbs, has access to two pools as well as two small lakes where the family can enjoy paddle boarding, fishing and kayaking. The retreat is also located two miles from Lake Michigan’s shoreline. + Jorie Burns Via Dwell Images by Paper and Plate Photography

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This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five

This prefab pavilion in Zhejiang brings travelers closer to nature

June 7, 2018 by  
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There’s no better way to build appreciation for nature than to immerse people in its beauty. That’s the idea behind the Pine Park Pavilion, a recently completed structure by the riverside in China’s Zhejiang province. Designed by Beijing-based design studio DnA Design and Architecture , the prefabricated Pine Park Pavilion serves to bring cyclists and hikers closer to the landscape. Commissioned by the Songyang Department of River Control and Reservoir Management as a piece of tourism infrastructure near the village of Huangyu, the 197-square-meter Pine Park Pavilion was prefabricated offsite and then assembled onsite. The installation is parallel to the river and comprises a pavilion, retail store, toilets, an infant room, management room, a tearoom  and private meeting spaces. “The elongated pavilion consists of four segments,” the architects wrote. “The building elements are separated with glass surfaces, on which the production of resin is illustrated in an artistically alienated manner, thus giving rise to one picture in combination with the already existing group of trees around the pavilion.” The prefabrication of the project and the preservation of existing trees are indicative of reduced site impact. The structural components are deliberately exposed, giving the modern pavilion a raw appearance. The large panels of glazing used throughout also give the structure a sense of transparency. The glass walls frame the landscape like a painting. In addition to serving as a viewpoint, the Pine Park Pavilion also includes an art installation that explains the production of pine resin in the neighboring village of Huangyu. Related: UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials “The simple wooden building with its clear constructive structure serves as a resting place at the dam on the river and provides information about a traditional method of producing resin,” the architects wrote. “It consequently combines information about the location with a tourism infrastructure that links history and future for visitors in a playful manner.” + DnA Design and Architecture Images by Ziling Wang and Dan Han

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This prefab pavilion in Zhejiang brings travelers closer to nature

BIG designs a high-end tiny house that goes off-grid

May 18, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed images for the firm’s first-ever tiny house—the A45—designed for the prefab-housing startup Klein . Inspired by the traditional A-frame cabin, the A45 takes on an angular form conducive to rain run-off and easy construction. The 180-square-foot timber cabin boasts a completely customizable interior design and can be built within four to six months in any location. Constructed in Upstate New York, the prototype for the A45 tiny house is clad in blackened pine with a triangular glazed end wall to immerse homeowners in nature even when they’re indoors. The triangular floor-to-ceiling window—made up of seven glass pieces—and the soaring 13-foot-tall ceiling help create a sense of spaciousness despite the structure’s small 180-square-foot size. The cabin is slightly elevated on four concrete piers in order to minimize site impact and to give homeowners the freedom to place the tiny home in areas without heavy machinery. “The resulting crystal-like shape gives A45 an ever-changing appearance,” said BIG in a statement about their modification of the traditional A-frame cabin. “Upon entering, the 180 [square-foot] interior space reflects a minimal Nordic abode prioritized for ‘hyggelig’ comfort and design.” The subtle natural material palette, from the exposed timber frame built of solid pine to the Douglas Fir floor planks and the space-grade insulating natural cork walls, further emphasizes the Scandinavian aesthetic. Cedar clads the compact bathroom, and the fixtures were sourced from VOLA. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The A45 tiny house comprises 100% recyclable materials including the timber frame, wall modules, and subfloor. The home get all of its power from  solar panels, and the service equipment is hidden from view in the back. The cozy interior is furnished with a Morsøe wood-burning stove and handcrafted Nordic furniture including pieces by Carl Hansen and a bed fitted with Soren Rose Studio’s Kvadrat fabrics. Københavns Møbelsnedkeri designed the petite kitchen. + Bjarke Ingels Group + Klein Via AD Images via BIG

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This prefab movable house can be assembled anywhere

May 3, 2018 by  
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On the go? Not a problem. This movable, prefab house from Swiss studio Rahbaran Hürzeler Architekten can be built and installed almost anywhere. The architects developed the project as an experiment in designing a space that can be assembled and transported easily and quickly. Every aspect of the project is designed around mobility, including the structure and floor plans. The house can stand alone or can connect to another building. Four timber cores are the only load-bearing structures that support the concrete roof. Related: zeroHouse offers luxurious living in a fully self-sustaining modular home The structure has four main areas organized around a circular central space, which establishes a flexibility that allows multiple occupants to adapt the design to their own needs and preferences. This also allows users to adjust the organization of the house to a specific site. The floor, made from concrete, can be hauled by truck. Four prefabricated timber cores stand on the floor and create five functional spaces — a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. The first prototype of the movable home is slated for construction in Basel , Switzerland. It will feature a system of sensors that that allow the occupants to monitor the home’s performance over the course of one year. The architects plan to use this data to further develop and enhance the design. + Rahbaran Hürzeler Architekten Via Archinect

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Pakistan just broke the world record for the hottest April day ever

May 3, 2018 by  
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Pakistan hit 122.3 degrees Fahrenheit (50.2 C) this week, marking the highest temperature recorded for the month of April – ever. The city of Nawabshah in Sindh province reported the stunning temperature on Monday, and it was confirmed by the Pakistan Meteorological Department . While Pakistan is getting the worst of it, a huge portion of the planet, from South Asia to Europe and parts of the US, is being hit by a heat wave that threatens to become the new normal. ???Exceptionnel 50.2°C à Nawabshah au #Pakistan ce lundi 30/04/2018, #RECORD national de chaleur pour un mois d'avril ! ???(précédent : 50°C à Larkana le 19/04/2017)*** aussi un nouveau record mensuel pour tout le continent asiatique ! *** pic.twitter.com/GTCOJuDT9Q — Etienne Kapikian (@EKMeteo) April 30, 2018 As you’d expect, the heat was incredibly hard on those living in the area, causing people to pass out, heatstroke reports to increase, and business to shutter. Nawabshah experienced another record just last month, when temperatures climbed to 113.9 F (45.5 C). Areas in India and Eastern Russia have been setting their own records this month as a heat wave moves across the area before monsoon season sets in. Unfortunately, it seems likely that these numbers will become more common. A study completed last year showed that temperatures in India had risen 0.5 C over the past 50 years, with no change in sight. Related: Ocean heatwaves have risen by more than 50% since 1925 In 2011, Santa Rosa, Mexico was said to have hit 123.8 F (51 C), but that number was never confirmed. Pakistan’s measurement is considered to be reliably accurate. However, in order for the figure to qualify as a world record, the World Meteorological Organization will need to verify the number. Just in case you were wondering, Pakistan’s previous April heat record was set last year when temperatures climbed to 122 F (50 C). Via Earther and Al Jazeera Image via Deposit Photos

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After 250 earthquakes in 24 hours, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano might erupt

May 3, 2018 by  
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Out of the five volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island, Kilauea is the most active — and it’s threatening to erupt. After a collapse event at the Pu’u ‘?’? vent, in the volcano’s East Rift Zone, around 250 earthquakes happened. Authorities are warning people to remain on alert, because scientists observed magma flowing under a main road close to houses. Will Kilauea erupt? Seismic activity could result in a lava breakout, but Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists can’t say exactly what time or where it might happen. The crater collapse and earthquakes are “associated with the continued intrusion of magma into the East Rift Zone to locations east of Highway 130. An outbreak of lava from the lower East Rift Zone remains a possible outcome of the continued unrest,” according to the observatory. The Independent said there are homes in that part of the island, and Highway 130 leads to an access point enabling visitors to hike or cycle to a lava viewing area. Related: Mesmerizing volcano “skylights” give a glimpse under the Earth’s surface Local residents have noticed cracks in roads near the Leilani Estates subdivision, but so far neither heat nor steam have been observed escaping from the cracks, which are small. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said areas that could be impacted are Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates or Kapoho. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory offered resources for those who want to stay updated about Kilauea ; sign up for notification emails from the Volcano Notification Service at this USGS website or sign up for the Civil Defense Emergency Notification System at the County of Hawaii website . The volcano’s activity hasn’t always been explosive in the past, but a 1924 eruption spewed ash and rocks into the air and killed one man. The summit crater gushed rock and lava across 75 acres in 2008, and a view point was damaged. + Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (1, 2) + County of Hawaii Via The Independent and CNN Images via Depositphotos and U.S. Geological Survey

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After 250 earthquakes in 24 hours, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano might erupt

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