Tiny eco-minded home bathes owners in the dappled light of metal leaves

May 30, 2017 by  
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Who can resist an afternoon nap in dappled sunlight? Sleeping beneath a tree canopy can be wonderful but not always practical, so architect Eva Sopéoglou found a clever way to recreate the dramatic light effects indoors year-round. Inspired by ecological principles, Sopéoglou designed the Olive Tree House, a small prefabricated summer house in Halkidiki, Greece with metal textile-like cladding perforated with leaf patterns. Set on an olive grove hill overlooking the sea and nearby Mount Athos, the Olive Tree House is an experimental, bare-bones summer retreat. To minimize the building’s environmental footprint and waste , Sopéoglou used prefabricated and moveable building components. The 21-square-meter home is wrapped in a lightweight metallic surface perforated with a textile-like pattern inspired by the shade of olive trees. The metallic walls open up and expand the living space to the outdoors, while the interior is bathed in an ever-changing play of light and shadow. Related: Solar-powered Rotterdam home wraps around an olive tree “This building forms part of an enquiry into sustainability and the provision for human comfort in architecture, by questioning the definition of inside and outside inhabitable space,” wrote Sopéoglou. The Olive Tree House was oriented to the cardinal points and carefully placed following several site studies to optimize views, natural ventilation , lighting, and the creation of interesting shadows throughout the day. The home’s metallic textile-like cladding was developed in collaboration with metal fabricator METALSO using a CNC punching machine. + Eva Sopéoglou Via ArchDaily Images © Mariana Bisti

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Tiny eco-minded home bathes owners in the dappled light of metal leaves

Prefabricated lakeside cabin is a beautiful exercise in restraint

May 22, 2017 by  
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Family reunions can be loud affairs, a fact that one Torontonian family patriarch with ten energetic grandkids knows well. To secure peace and quiet while staying close to visiting family, a homeowner on Ontario’s Lake Simcoe hired Superkül architects to design a retreat within a retreat—a modern kid-free cabin separate from his existing bungalow. Dubbed Pointe Cabin, the prefabricated modern dwelling is a beautiful exercise in restraint that fully embraces the outdoors. The two-bedroom, 840-square-foot Pointe Cabin is sited close to the client’s original log cottage, purchased in the 1970s, at the edge of Cook’s Bay on the southern tip of Lake Simcoe. Although the new addition contrasts with its predecessor in its contemporary design, both cabins are linked by their predominant use of timber that blends the buildings into the wooded surroundings. Natural, locally sourced , and low maintenance materials were used in the indoor and outdoor living areas and include a mixture of cedar, white oak, and spruce-pine-fir. Related: Superkül Designs Canada’s First Active House To meet cost and efficiency targets, the single-story cabin was prefabricated offsite. The factory-built wall, floor, and roof panels were trucked to the site and the home was assembled in just a few days. The two-bedroom home is connected to the original cabin with a glazed passageway and contains a private entry, kitchenette, bathroom, and wrap-around deck. Floor-to-ceiling glass frames views of the lake and the landscape. + Superkül architects Images via Superkül architects , by Shai Gil

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Prefabricated lakeside cabin is a beautiful exercise in restraint

Henning Larsen Architects unveils zero energy-targeted civic center for Toronto

May 10, 2017 by  
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Henning Larsen Architects has won a competition for Toronto’s new 500,000-square-foot Etobicoke Civic Centre. Designed in collaboration with Adamson Associates Architects and PMA Landscape Architects , the winning proposal will have a focus on sustainability and feature municipal offices, public gathering spaces, a library branch, recreation center, and a child care center. Build Toronto and the City of Toronto hosted the design competition and evaluated proposals on their environmental sustainability, flexibility, community identity, and pedestrian scale. The competition jury commended the winning team’s proposal for its “flexibility and an iconic design well suited for the community.” The winning design also demonstrates an ability to achieve a net zero target and builds on the context and history of the Etobicoke community. Related: Designers float plan to cover Toronto’s CN Tower with clip-on condos The proposed Etobicoke Civic Centre will break down the development’s large scale using different sized building volumes that help preserve a comfortable pedestrian-friendly scale. Site analysis and local thermal studies also informed building placement to protect against the summer solar heat gain and winter winds. Comfortable microclimates are improved further with green roofs and landscaping, and the total effect will prolong the comfortable outdoor season by up to five weeks, said Henning Larsen Architects. Via ArchDaily Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Airtight prefab House in the Woods pops up in just ten days

May 8, 2017 by  
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Airtightness , minimal site disturbance, and speedy construction are just a few benefits of the striking House in the Woods. Designed by London-based architecture firm alma-nac , this prefabricated timber home is nestled within a particularly beautiful wooded lot in England’s South Downs National Park. Constructed from structural insulated panels (SIPs), the fully insulated, watertight building frame was erected in a speedy ten days. House in the Woods was built to replace a bungalow that had been in the family for over sixty years. Despite the new home’s contemporary appearance, the design pays homage to its traditional predecessor with its single-story dual-pitched appearance and occupies roughly the same 240-square-meter footprint. Ample glazing and large sliding doors connect the home with the landscape while a large deck and roof terrace extend living spaces to the outdoors. Related: Ancient Party Barn blends historic preservation with energy-smart design The adaptable interior can accommodate up to ten people in five bedrooms thanks to full-height sliding partitions . When not in use by guests, the home can be comfortably transformed to a one-bedroom home with a studio and study. Heat zoning allows for areas of the home to be controlled independently to minimize energy loss. Energy efficiency is further improved thanks to SIPs construction with rigid insulating lining that offer high levels of thermal efficiency and air tightness. + alma-nac Via ArchDaily Images © Jack Hobhouse

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Snhettas ready-made cabin can fit into any landscape

May 4, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a Snøhetta -designed home, this may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. The renowned Norwegian design firm just unveiled a beautiful prefabricated cabin designed to pop up in and complement any landscape. Created in collaboration with Rindalshytter , Norway’s leading producer of leisure homes, the Gapahuk cabin features an environmentally friendly footprint with off-grid capabilities. Designed for adaptability, Gapahuk can suit an array of climates and terrains from high mountaintops to lakesides. The cabin is built primarily from wood and uses a twisting roof that protects the interior from the elements. “Focus has been put on using high quality and low maintenance materials that can be locally sourced and are environmentally friendly,” writes Snøhetta. Related: Gorgeous forest home will fulfill your tiny cabin dreams Natural light pours into the Gapahuk through the cabin’s large windows that also frame views of the surrounding landscape. Created with an emphasis on social design, the compact cabin interior prioritizes common areas with its large open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room. In contrast, the cabin’s three bedrooms are moderately sized. The building also features an outdoor patio space to emphasize connection with the outdoors. + Snøhetta

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Snhettas ready-made cabin can fit into any landscape

How high-tech Kasita microhomes could revolutionize homeownership

March 17, 2017 by  
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America’s affordable housing crisis is squeezing people out of cities, but one Harvard researcher believes he’s developed a beautiful and high-tech solution to the problem. In 2015, Jeff Wilson—also known as “Professor Dumpster” after his year-long dumpster living experiment—unveiled Kasita , a smart microhousing startup that aims at disrupting the housing market with prefabricated tiny homes that can pop up just about anywhere. After a couple years in development, Wilson just debuted the Kasita microhouse at SXSW this week with the announcement that the tiny stackable homes will be ready for nationwide delivery in June. Stylish, smart, and space-saving, the 352-square-foot (33 square meter) Kasita mobile home offers a beautiful split-level living space that uses transforming furniture , white walls, and ten-foot-high ceilings to make its small footprint feel airy and spacious. Most impressively, the home is outfitted with ultra-modern amenities and home automation such as the dynamic curtain-less windows that can be turned opaque with a smartphone app to the Amazon Alexa-powered lighting modes. The high-tech stackable homes can be moved around with a crane, placed virtually anywhere, and can be prefabricated in as little as three weeks. https://vimeo.com/207700762 Envisioned for installation in unused areas of land like vacant parking lots, the Kasita aims to keep land lease costs low by taking advantage of undevelopable real estate in prime urban areas. The flexibility and modularity of the Kasitas lend themselves for use as apartments, multi-family homes, student housing, workforce housing, and more. Related: Meet the Texas Professor Who Lives in a Dumpster The Kasita comes fully equipped with all the traditional home amenities—including a walk-in shower, fridge, convection oven, washer/dryer, cooktop, and queen-sized bed—as well as lots of space-saving storage and access to natural light. Each unit costs $139,000, which according to Wilson’s calculations comes out to an estimated $800 monthly mortgage not including land lease costs. Interested customers can pay $1,000 to hold a spot on the waitlist for preorders. + Kasita

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How high-tech Kasita microhomes could revolutionize homeownership

Future solar technology inspired this bio-sustainability research centers prefab facade

February 14, 2017 by  
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The porous, pale green facade that wraps the Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability at Portugal’s Azurém Campus was created for more than just looks. The holes in the eye-catching cladding reference the shape of titanium nanotubes, which are being studied as a cheaper, energy-efficient alternative to silicon solar cells. Architect Cláudio Vilarinho designed the unique building as an inspiring symbol of the research center’s impact on the future of bio-sustainable technologies. Vilarinho cited the search for future technology themes as the inspiration behind the building’s unusual facade. The porous green skin was made from prefabricated cement-based panels reinforced with micro-fibers. The composite material is low-maintenance , resistant to corrosion, and is very ductile, making it easy for the builders to manipulate and add round openings to the panels. Related: Architects burrow two large eye sockets into the green aluminum-clad Euronews headquarters “We propose a building with a unique image for the campus,” wrote the architect. “A building that breaks the existing gray monotony – referring not only about the pictorial issue of the Campus, but also about the ‘global crisis without end’ – and that, at the same time, is able to captivate.” In contrast to the pale green façade, the interiors feature white cement surfaces and a clean industrial feel. Although landscape views are obscured by the double-skin façade , natural light still penetrates the building through the gap between the prefabricated panels and the building. The project was completed in 2015. + Cláudio Vilarinho Images by João Morgado

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Future solar technology inspired this bio-sustainability research centers prefab facade

Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling

January 26, 2017 by  
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It should come as no surprise that when Apple’s Director of Store Design was in the market for a new house, he wanted a home that would be as modern and streamlined as his employer’s impeccable shopfronts. He, along with the team at Alchemy, tweaked the original designs of the Alchemy weeHouse to create the Sonoma weeHouse, a prefabricated home made up of two elevated open-sided boxes. The ultra-minimal home was swiftly assembled onsite between gnarled oaks and boasts fantastic views of the Santa Rosa valley in California. The 970-square-foot Sonoma weeHouse is based on Alchemy’s original weeHouse modified with several customizations and finishing requirements by the San Francisco-based client, who is also an architect. While the home’s design was finalized in Minnesota by the Alchemy team, the structure was mostly prefabricated in Oregon before it was shipped, 90 percent complete, to its California site. The steel accessories, which include stairs, porch railings, and lasercut trim, were prefabricated in and shipped out from Minnesota. The Sonoma weeHouse comprises two main modules—a 640-square-foot main house and a 330-square-foot accompanying guesthouse—set atop horizontally banded, board-formed concrete plinths . Both modules feature steel frames, nine-foot-tall sliding glass walls, custom corrugated weathering steel cladding, and ipe interiors with oiled oak cabinetry. The low-maintenance oxidized steel facade helps blend the home into the landscape of gnarled coastal oaks and seasonal grasses. Related: Alchemy Architects Build Tiny Prefab weeHouses that Connect with Nature The main house contains a whitewashed oak box in the middle that houses the bedroom and divides the open kitchen, dining room, and living room on one end of the box from the toilet and shower on the other. Sliding glass doors connect the interior to an outdoor bolt-on porch that cantilevers into the dramatic landscape valley of Santa Rosa. A rear walkway connects the main house to the small guesthouse. Doors, privacy screens, and insect screens are recessed to minimize visual clutter. + Alchemy Via ArchDaily Images © Geoffrey Warner

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Apple design director perfects a prefab home into an ultra-minimal, modern dwelling

Eco-friendly Syrian refugee housing that anyone would love to call home

January 19, 2017 by  
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Building refugee housing often means fast construction at the expense of beauty and quality, but that doesn’t have to be the case if we take German architect Werner Sobek’s work as any indication. Sobek and the company Aktivhaus recently completed a modular development for 200 Syrian refugees in the German town of Winnenden. Prefabricated in a factory and swiftly assembled on site like Legos, the bright and airy homes are attractive enough for anyone to want to call home. Faced with an influx of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war , the German town of Winnenden turned to Sobek for a quick way to set up a housing estate for around 200 people in the Schelmenholz district. The development also needed to be flexible enough to be converted for different uses in the future and to be easily expanded on or deconstructed. To minimize costs, construction time, and waste, Sobek installed 38 prefabricated modules from Aktivhaus’ 700 Series. Each 60-square-meter module is constructed using timber frame construction and is stacked to create two stories. The airtight walls, clad in larch , are made with high levels insulation—consisting of hemp and wood fibers—to minimize energy demands. Most materials used are resource conserving and recyclable, with minimal concrete used. The windows are sealed with rubber strips instead of toxic polyurethane foam. Related: Sobek’s Activhaus produces enough green power to light up the house next door Sobek estimates that the modules could last hundreds of years if they are well cared for. The Winnenden development is intended as refugee housing for three years, after which they will be converted into social housing. The development also includes a technology module, two community rooms, and a multifunctional space with washing machines and dryers. The project was initiated and completed last year. + Werner Sobek Via Treehugger , zvw.de Images © Zooey Braun

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Eco-friendly Syrian refugee housing that anyone would love to call home

Tesla’s Gigafactory is getting a $350 million upgrade to build Model 3 parts

January 19, 2017 by  
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Tesla ‘s massive Gigafactory near Sparks, Nevada is expanding weeks after kicking off production of lithium-ion batteries . The electric carmaker and clean energy storage company is planning to invest $350 million in a project to manufacture electric motors and gearboxes for the Model 3 — Tesla’s first affordable EV, which is priced at $35,000 before tax incentives and is expected to hit the assembly line this year. Tesla will hire an additional 550 people for the project on top of the 6,500 workers the company has already committed to employing at the Gigafactory. The expansion news was revealed by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval during his State of the State address on Tuesday and confirmed by Tesla. Steve Hill, director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, told the newspaper the Nevada Appeal that he expects Tesla will eventually have 10,000 workers at the site, which when completed will be the biggest building in the world with a footprint of 10 million square feet. According to Tesla, the Gigafactory will indirectly create another 20,000 to 30,000 jobs in the surrounding area. Related: Tesla to power Gigafactory with world’s largest solar rooftop installation Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s goal is to make 500,000 mostly Model 3 electric cars by the end of 2018 and one million EVs by 2020. The cars are assembled at the company’s Fremont, California factory. The city recently approved a major expansion of the facility that includes 11 new buildings covering 4.6 million square feet of manufacturing space. The city anticipates that the factory expansion will increase employment by 3,100 workers. Tesla is also planning to build a second gigafactory in Europe, with the location still to be announced. Gigafactory 2 will manufacture both lithium-ion batteries and electric cars. + Tesla Via CNBC Images via Tesla , Wikimedia

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