The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials

March 21, 2019 by  
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A tiny and deliciously cozy prefab  home has popped up in St. Petersburg, courtesy of local architectural practice Smart Architecture Laboratory (SA lab) . The charming compact building—dubbed FLEXSE—is the firm’s first prototype for tiny modular housing and is modeled after a traditional Scandinavian BBQ house. Designed with flexibility in mind, the FLEXSE prototype was prefabricated in a factory, assembled on-site and built entirely of recyclable materials. Defined by its organic elliptical footprint, the FLEXSE was created to accommodate a wide variety of needs. Although the architects decided to use the first prototype as an all-season grill house, they believe the unit could be adapted for use as a guesthouse, a sauna , a cafe, a shop, or for a myriad of other retail uses. Buyers will have the option to customize the building in a variety of finishes and materials. Moreover, the buyer would also have the freedom to place the building in almost any environment, whether on water or on a rooftop, thanks to the wide range of foundations that can be used to support the structure. The recently installed FLEXSE prototype in St. Petersburg measures nearly 330 square feet in size. “During winter or in a cold weather it is cozy and comfortable to cook and chill inside, while in summer the open terrace is a nice place to spend time,” the architects say in their press statement. Related: A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park Topped with an angled snow-shedding roof, the tiny BBQ house is lined, inside and out, with vertical strips of wood. The minimalist interior is simply furnished with a dining table and chairs that share the space with an open grill that fills the room with a warm orange glow when in use. A large round window and the glazed doors let in natural light . + SA lab Images by Ekaterina Titenko

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The FLEXSE tiny house module is built from 100% recyclable materials

A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park

February 21, 2019 by  
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Flexible, transportable and cost-efficient, the modular classrooms created by local design studio Baena Casamor Arquitectes BCQ offer a sustainable new way to activate Barcelona’s public parks. Inspired by timber cabins, the prefabricated pop-up classroom is a multipurpose space sheathed in wood and crafted with a focus on environmental education for school groups and families. The architects recently installed a classroom prototype, AULA K, in the Parc de Can Zam with a built area of nearly 1,200 square feet. Constructed primarily of timber, the prefabricated classroom is designed to blend into the park surroundings with the future aim of providing habitat to certain species of animals, including insects, birds and bats. “It is a pavilion destined to give more life to the parks, complementing the offer of leisure, recreational and sports with the educational dimension,” the architects said in a statement. “It must be a space open to the outside; it is necessary that one could see the trees from the classroom, to perceive the light and feel the climate.” To create flexibility in the design, the classrooms can comprise any combination and configuration of three modules — a service module, classroom module and pergola module — so as to best meet the needs of each site. The modular architecture is prefabricated in a factory and can be installed on site in just a few weeks. The prototype at Parc de Can Zam consists of the service and classroom modules and is topped with sloped roofs optimized for solar panel installation and rainwater collection. Related: Modscape installs a prefab school building that stays comfortable year-round The use of prefabrication helps reduce the time and cost of producing the classrooms, which share a uniform wooden envelope and a large opening on the facade to let in natural light and views of nature. The classrooms can be modified to generate energy, return rainwater to underground aquifers, reuse stormwater runoff as garden irrigation or provide habitat for local fauna. + Baena Casamor Arquitectes BCQ Photography by  Marcela Grassi via Baena Casamor Arquitectes BCQ

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A modular classroom for environmental education pops up in a Barcelona park

The Lantern is a portable home wrapped in a natural woven lattice

February 21, 2019 by  
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London-based firm Emulsion Architecture has designed a serene, portable home to serve as versatile lodging that can be installed in a variety of landscapes. Hosted by Land Stories , the first dwelling is The Lantern, a round structure with a translucent core, which is wrapped in ornate latticework made out of woven willow. The glamping suite is designed to be highly energy-efficient and have minimal environmental impact, leaving no lasting footprint on any of its locations. The portable home was designed to offer a contemporary but inviting sustainable lodging within a variety of landscapes. Whether surrounded by mountains, deserts or grasslands, guests staying in The Lantern will be able to immerse themselves comfortably in the surrounding nature. Related: KODA is a tiny solar-powered house that can move with its owners The round dwelling sleeps up to four, with one double bed and two singles as well as a kitchenette. The living space is surrounded by glass doors that swing open to a beautiful outdoor deck, which winds around the structure. Wrapped in the woven latticework, this area is the perfect spot to enjoy the panoramic views. As a nod to the design’s inspiration, lights on the roof will act as periscopes, reflecting glimpses of the landscape and environment directly onto the mirrored interior. According to the architects, the inspiration for the design came from the simple but ubiquitous lantern. “We were inspired by the simple idea of a lantern acting as a gentle beacon, which can sit sensitively in the landscape,” the team said. “A lattice of woven willow encases the dwelling space, the irregularity of the natural willow contrasting the glowing faces of the enclosure. It will be a very serene and beautiful place to stay in any landscape.” The portable home was originally slated to be built in the North Norfolk coast in the U.K., but the plans fell through at the last moment. Land Stories is currently looking for landowners that would like to collaborate on the project. + Emulsion Architecture + Land Stories Via World Architecture Forum Images via Land Stories

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The Lantern is a portable home wrapped in a natural woven lattice

Modscape installs a prefab school building that stays comfortable year-round

December 27, 2018 by  
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Cheap trailers and portable classrooms can be a quick fix for schools strapped for space, but the trade-off often comes at the expense of student comfort. Aware of the “crazy hot in summer and freezing cold in winter” conditions of these temporary trailers, Australian custom home builder Modscape wanted to create a more pleasant solution to the Keilor Primary School’s need for additional space without compromising on speed and efficiency. The result is a new permanent modular building that was constructed off-site, installed in just a day and built with high-performing paneling to ensure comfortable classroom conditions year-round. Created in collaboration with Victorian project management firm Sensum Group, the new prefabricated building for Keilor Primary School in Melbourne consists of four teaching spaces, a library, an arts space and associated amenities for students and the staff. Modscape designed and constructed the structure as part of the Victorian Government’s Permanent Modular School Buildings Program, an integral part of a multibillion school construction process to precede the government’s Victorian School Asbestos Removal Program that will oversee the largest ever removal of asbestos from Victorian schools. “The new permanent modular building offered a fast and efficient solution for the school,” the firm said. “With less time needed for planning and construction, the replacement of the older buildings containing asbestos could occur quickly — reducing disruption to students, staff and teaching programs. … Gone are the days of the crazy-hot-in-summer/freezing-cold-in-winter ‘portables’ of previous generations. … High-performing acoustic paneling and double-glazed windows are used in forward-thinking volumetric modules, creating a comfortable learning environment for the students of today and for generations to come.” Related: This highly insulated modular home is completely self-sustaining The building was constructed offsite in Modscape’s modular construction hub in Brooklyn in just 10 weeks — approximately half the time required when compared to a traditional build process. The modules were then installed in a day over the weekend, after which onsite and landscaping was carried out. + Modscape Photography by John Madden via Modscape

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Modscape installs a prefab school building that stays comfortable year-round

Solar-powered cabin is designed for ultimate flexibility and mobility

December 11, 2018 by  
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Buenos Aires-based firm  IR Arquitectura  has created a brilliant modular cabin designed to offer not only exceptional flexibility, but also stellar energy efficiency. The cabin is made up of five distinct prefab modules that can be configured in various shapes. Equipped with a solar heating water system, a solar kitchen, a trombe wall and solar lamps, the sustainable cabin can operate completely off-grid in virtually any location. The cabin is built out of prefabricated modules that are manufactured off site and transported to the desired location. The cabin can be configured in a variety of shapes. Various sections of transparent cladding in the roof and on the walls allow natural light into the interior. Additionally, the cabin’s wide swinging doors provide a strong connection between the cabin and its surroundings. Related: This series of modular wood cabins form a rustic retreat in the Catskills The modules are each clad in a thermal and waterproof coating to add a strong resilience to the design , which can be installed in nearly any environment. For example, after recently serving as a central building in an outdoor summer camp in Hungary, the cabin’s modules were dismantled and loaded onto a truck to be used in its next location. According to the architects, the cabin was inspired by the need to provide inhabitants with the basic functions of storing, dressing, cooking, heating and resting. Clad in natural wood paneling and framework, the interior space is light and airy, with a notable minimalist appearance. Behind the simple design is an intricate, sustainable profile. The modules are installed with multiple clean energy features such as a solar heating water system , a solar kitchen, a trombe wall and Moser solar lamps . + IR Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Bujnovsky Tamás via IR Arquitectura

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Solar-powered cabin is designed for ultimate flexibility and mobility

Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva

December 4, 2018 by  
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In the centrally located town of Lancy in Geneva, Switzerland, a compact and experimental timber home bucks the local archetype for concrete-based housing in favor of a more eco-friendly alternative. Swiss architect Leopold Banchini collaborated with engineer Marc Walgenwitz to design the light-filled abode — dubbed the Casa CCFF — using a prefabrication system that minimizes construction costs as well as waste. The small urban home was built for energy efficiency and assembled in just a few days by local carpenters.   Built overlooking Geneva’s industrial train station, Casa CCFF references its surrounding industrial environment with a sawtooth shed roof that floods the interior with natural light . Connections to nature, however, dominate the majority of the design, which boasts two interior gardens on the upper level and carefully framed views of the landscape for indoor-outdoor living. The primary living spaces are located on the open-plan upper floor while the ground level features a much smaller built footprint and is mainly used as a covered outdoor space for living and parking. The prefabricated home can be understood as a series of square modules laid out in a square four-by-four module plan. The compact ground floor, for instance, is made up of three modules: a single outdoor living space and a double-width interior space that connects to the upper floor via a spiral staircase. Upstairs, an open-plan layout with a kitchen, living room and dining area takes up roughly three-quarters of the area while the remaining space is dedicated to the two interior gardens, bedroom and bathroom. Related: Yves Béhar designs compact, prefab homes to tackle the housing crisis Casa CCFF is a domestic factory floating above an untouched garden. The house is built almost entirely in wood, pushing the structural capacities of this natural and sustainable material to its limits. The use of wood for the home also helps reduce the use of concrete to a bare minimum. By incorporating high insulation values and maximizing solar gain , a small heat pump allows the modern home to avoid the use of fossil fuels. + Leopold Banchini Images by Dylan Perrenoud

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Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva

Robotically fabricated Wander Wood Pavilion pops up in just over three days

December 4, 2018 by  
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Traditional materials and futuristic technologies have come together in the Wander Wood Pavilion, a large-scale robotically fabricated structure completed by students at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Installed as a temporary addition to the campus grounds, the experimental pavilion was fabricated and assembled in just over three days using a state-of-the-art eight-axis industrial robot at the UBC Center for Advanced Wood Processing . Constructed with built-in seating, the sculptural installation was built mainly of wood, a renewable material selected for its sustainable features and ability to store carbon. Completed in October 2018, the Wander Wood Pavilion is the result of the Robot Made: Large-Scale Robotic Timber Fabrication in Architecture workshop led by David Correa of the University of Waterloo, Oliver David Krieg of LWPAC, and SALA professor AnnaLisa Meyboom. A large team of students, staff, faculty and external partners worked on the project as part of the university’s SEEDS Sustainability Program , an initiative that aims to advance campus sustainability through multidisciplinary projects. Forestry Industry Innovation provided the funding. “Starting with computational tools for parametric design, structural principles for wood construction, robotic CNC milling and digital workflow management, participants were provided with a unique insight into the new opportunities and challenges of advanced design to fabrication processes for timber structures,” explains the team in their project statement. “Parametric design and robotic fabrication are disruptive new technologies in architecture that allow us to build high performance structures of unprecedented formal complexity.” Related: Provocative timber horn explores the hypnotic pull of the unknown The sinuous and latticed form of the sculptural Wander Wood Pavilion not only helps activate the surrounding public area, but its curved shape also creates a cocoon-like environment for visitors using the built-in bench seating. The research workshop installation was installed next to the university fountain in the Martha Piper Plaza. + UBC Center for Advanced Wood Processing Images by David Correa

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Robotically fabricated Wander Wood Pavilion pops up in just over three days

Harvard unveils Snhetta-designed HouseZero for sustainable, plus-energy living

December 4, 2018 by  
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The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design has just completed HouseZero, an energy-positive living lab for sustainable architecture. Designed by renowned architecture firm Snøhetta , along with Skanska Teknikk Norway , the groundbreaking building aims to produce more energy over its lifetime than it consumes. Hundreds of sensors are embedded inside of HouseZero to continually monitor energy performance and advance data-driven research to help produce more energy-efficient and sustainable architecture. Billed as “an energy-positive prototype for ultra-efficiency,” the HouseZero living lab is set in a retrofitted pre-1940s house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The renovated structure aims to meet near zero-energy targets for heating and cooling, use zero electric lighting during the day, produce zero carbon emissions and operate with 100 percent natural ventilation. The working prototype will serve as a research tool for understanding energy inefficiencies in existing buildings as a means to curb the current and future building stock’s impact on climate change while simultaneously helping property owners save on energy costs. “HouseZero’s flexible, data-driven infrastructure will allow us to further research that demystifies building behavior, and design the next generation of ultra-efficient structures,” said Ali Malkawi, founding director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities and the creator and leader of the HouseZero project. “By creating both a prototype and an infrastructure for long-term research, we hope to raise interest in ultra-efficient retrofits and inspire substantial shifts in the design and operation of buildings.” Related: Snøhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change A combination of low-tech and cutting-edge technologies is used in HouseZero to meet the ambitious energy targets. In addition to passive design strategies and operable windows, for instance, the building is equipped with a window actuation system that uses sensors and a computer system to automatically open and close windows. Using data collected over time, the building will “adjust itself constantly” throughout the seasons to create a healthy and thermally optimized environment year-round. + HouseZero Photographer Credit: Michael Grimm

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Harvard unveils Snhetta-designed HouseZero for sustainable, plus-energy living

Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

November 19, 2018 by  
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Located in the mountainous area of Filefjell, Norway, a stunning, solitary cabin peeks out over the snow-covered landscape. Designed by Oslo-based firm  Helen & Hard Architects , the beautiful Gubrandslie Cabin, which is made out of prefabricated solid wood panels, is designed to provide a low-impact shelter that can withstand the extreme climate characterized by harsh wind and snow. Located on the border of Jotunheimen National Park, the private, 1,184-square-foot home is sturdy enough to withstand the weather while simultaneously leaving  minimal impact on the pristine landscape. Large snow falls can wreck havoc on structures in this area, so the architects built the cabin to be inherently sheltered from the elements. Related: Contemporary ski chalet boasts gorgeous panoramic views and a low-energy footprint The first step in creating the  resilient design was to research the local climate and geography. Using extensive wind studies as a guide, the architects formed the home’s volume into an L-shape to mimic the slope of the landscape. Additionally, the cabin is integrated deep into the terrain to protect it from the elements. The roofs are slightly slanted in order to make it easier for the wind and snow to blow over the structure, avoiding heavy snow loads. Using the same climate to the home’s advantage, the architects were focused on creating a serene living space that took full advantage of the stunning, wintry landscape. The volume of the cabin is divided into three levels that follow the topography. The ground floor, which is embedded into the landscape, houses a sauna as well as the garage and plenty of storage. On the first floor, an all-glass facade makes up the entryway, which leads into a spacious, open-plan living area. The living, kitchen and dining space was orientated to face another wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels , providing breathtaking views of the exterior landscape. On the back side of the cabin, which houses the bedrooms, clerestory windows follow the length of the structure, allowing natural light to flow into the spaces without sacrificing privacy. + Helen & Hard Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Rasmus Norlander and Ragnar Hartvig via Helen & Hard Architects

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Gorgeous prefab cabin is embedded into the mountainous Norwegian landscape

MIT develops a sustainable, mass timber-building prototype modeled after the longhouse

September 27, 2018 by  
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As sustainability measures become increasingly important in new construction, architects around the world are turning toward mass timber — even for large-scale projects. A workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is dedicated to exploring the design and engineering potential of wood-based technologies and recently unveiled one such example that can even be turned into an energy producer. Dubbed the Longhouse, the mass timber -building prototype is modeled after the traditional building type of the same name that has been historically used as a place for community gatherings. Led by research scientist John Klein, the cross-disciplinary team at the MIT Mass Timber Design workshop that developed the Longhouse prototype studied how mass timber products can be used to create modern buildings. Research has shown that mass timber structures have a lower carbon footprint than their conventional building counterparts and can be engineered for substantial strength and fire resistance. Moreover, greater use of mass timber technology could lead to improved forest management and restoration. The MIT Longhouse prototype would serve as a multifunctional building that could accommodate a variety of events, from co-working, exercise classes, social gatherings, exhibitions, lectures and more. To create a flexible and open-plan interior, the building would be engineered with a series of timber laminated veneer lumber (LVL) arches that are 40 feet tall at the central peak and span 50 feet across. Each arch uses a thin-walled triangular profile and would be prefabricated in sections and then assembled on site for a fast and efficient construction process. Related: The nation’s largest timber office building is coming to Newark The building is also designed to follow passive solar principles while its sawtooth roof would allow for ample natural daylighting and could accommodate solar panels. The MIT Mass Timber Design workshop will present its Longhouse design at the Maine Mass Timber Conference this October. + MIT Mass Timber Design workshop Images via MIT Mass Timber Design

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MIT develops a sustainable, mass timber-building prototype modeled after the longhouse

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