A green-roofed ski cabin blends into the lush Canadian landscape

September 26, 2018 by  
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Wrapped in black-dyed cedar planks and topped with a lush green roof , the Cottage in Sutton appears to meld into the landscape from afar. Montreal-based architecture firm Paul Bernier Architecte designed the 2,400-square-foot residence as a weekend retreat for a family of four avid skiers. Modern yet minimalist, the home prioritizes views of the outdoors, in particular the vistas toward Mount Sutton in the south. Set on a north-south axis, the rectangular home appears to emerge from the sloped site with an angled roof slope inverted to the site’s topography. As a result, the north side of the residence, which houses the entrance, only has a single level, which then widens to two floors on the south end. The home’s northern end is also defined with a thick concrete wall that protects the house from runoff waters. In contrast to the black-dyed vertical plank cladding, the interior walls and ceiling are painted a luminous white. Pops of color are introduced into the otherwise monochromatic palette through vibrant furnishings and indoor plants. The full-height wall of glass that frames views of Mount Sutton also opens up to a covered outdoor terrace . The upper floor houses the main entrance, master suite and living spaces while two additional bedrooms and a sitting area can be found on the lower level. Related: This beautiful Washington cabin meets net-zero targets even in extreme temperatures “The plank siding is displayed horizontally, with a vertical plank corresponding to the position of each of the structural columns inserted in the side walls,” the architecture firm noted. “Inside, one can see the roof beams supported by these columns which give rhythm to the space. Seen from the road, the green roof is the cottage’s most visible element, the house being downwards. When seen from the north, during summer and winter with its snow cover, the house thus melts itself through the landscape.” + Paul Bernier Architecte Via ArchDaily Images by Claude Dagenais

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A green-roofed ski cabin blends into the lush Canadian landscape

LEED-targeted condos bring Scandinavian design to a Quebec forest

September 19, 2018 by  
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Montreal-based real estate developer KnightsBridge has recently unveiled Arborescence, an eco-friendly condominium project on Quebec’s Bromont Mountain that will likely be the latest addition to its line of LEED-certified properties. Quebec design practice ABCP Architecture designed the residential development, which will comprise approximately 260 units, all for four-season use. The gabled structures are inspired heavily by Scandinavian design both inside and out and will embrace the outdoors with a natural materials palette and full-height glazing. Located just an hour from Montreal and a mere 40 minutes from the U.S. border, Arborescence will be sited in an area of natural beauty that’s also close to local services and attractions. The development was conceived as a “retreat in the heart of the forest.” Residents will have easy access to year-round outdoor activities, from ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes, snowshoeing, mountain biking, hiking and swimming at the nearby water park. Even at home, the residents will take in nature through expansive glass windows that offer unobstructed views of the Eastern Townships. In addition to ample glazing, each unit will be built using natural materials and outfitted with a gas fireplace. Tall ceilings from nine to 15 feet in height give the homes an airy feel, while superior soundproofing and insulation ensure peace and comfort. Residents will also have access to a heated outdoor pool, pond with a dock, tennis and beach volleyball courts and an outdoor fireplace. Related: Twisting tree-like sculptures redefine a public space in Montreal “If Quebec and Scandinavia were neighbors, Arborescence would be located right at the border,” said Simon Boyer, co-founder of KnightsBridge. “The development offers the best of both worlds, with sleek, modern architecture that integrates the warm feel of wood. The development is renewed with every season and is sure to please any epicurean!” The first phase of the $100 million project is slated to launch September 19 with 48 units to be delivered toward the end of 2019. + ABCP Architecture Images via KnightsBridge

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Sustainable desert home has a small water footprint in Nevada

September 19, 2018 by  
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Las Vegas-based Hoogland Architecture designed the Arroyo House, a forever home for a couple with a penchant for the outdoors and sustainable design. Located in the tiny town of Blue Diamond just outside Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert, the Arroyo House enjoys panoramic views of the landscape with nary a neighbor in sight. The 3,875-square-foot dwelling takes advantage of the views with full-height glazing that’s protected from the sun by large overhangs, while the water conservation and recycling system helps keep water usage to a minimum. Designed for a Las Vegas couple nearing retirement age, the Arroyo House was conceived as a forever home with a design conducive to aging in place. Examples include an ADA compliant roll-in shower and a single-story layout for the main living spaces. Currently, the house is used as a launch pad for hiking and exploring the desert landscape as well as nearby Red Rock Canyon. To ensure the longevity of the building, the architects relied on low-maintenance concrete and weathering steel for the external walls. Large roof overhangs protect full-height, low-E glazing and sliding doors that flood the modern interiors with natural light while framing views of the outdoors. Inside, the rooms are minimally dressed with polished concrete floors, white walls and light timber furnishings. The living room, dining area and kitchen are located in an open-plan, L-shaped layout next to the deck on one side of the home. The master suite is located on the opposite side of the entry and connects to a guesthouse via a shaded outdoor walkway. Related: Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability In addition to ample daylighting and passive cooling measures, energy efficiency was reinforced with radiant in-slab heating and low-flow fixtures. The drought-tolerant landscape is irrigated with recycled gray water, while black water is treated on site with a septic system. The house has also been engineered to accommodate the photovoltaic solar array that the homeowners plan to install in the future. + Hoogland Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Stephen Morgan

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This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

May 23, 2018 by  
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When a client with a large family reached out to ACDF Architecture for an extension of their rustic country cottage in Quebec , the Montreal studio responded with a modern building that provides a visually arresting contrast to the historic house. Dubbed the Chalet La petite soeur, the addition mirrors the original building’s dimensions with a sharply gabled roof. Unlike the existing cottage, however, the new building is clad in white-painted timber and a sheet metal roof for a crisp and modern appearance. Located on Lake Ouareau near the town of Saint-Donat in Quebec, the charming 1,400-square-foot countryside cottage and its new addition are designed to optimize enjoyment of the outdoors and views of the lake. The architects took inspiration from the surrounding landscape of birch trees when designing the new space, described as a “refined version of the existing house.” The chalet’s smooth, white-painted wood cladding mimics shiny birch bark and recalls the whitewashed walls of rural barns, while providing a sleek contrast to the natural silvery patina on the facade of the existing home. An elevated glass bridge connects the old cottage to the chalet and lies on an axis between the kitchen of the old building and the new living room. Glazed on both sides, the bridge overlooks views of the landscape and garden. The floor and ceiling of the bridge are finished in timber that matches the warmth of the existing home’s old wood planks. Both ends of the bridge are framed in wood, evoking the appearance of large picture frames. Related: Dreamy cabin is the perfect lakeside escape for large families An open-plan family room dominates the ground floor and overlooks spectacular views of the lake through large windows. The minimalist interior is dressed in polished concrete floors and natural wood details, like the central fireplace with a black-slatted wood surround. Hidden storage inside the built-in benches helps reduce visual clutter. The new master bedroom is tucked into the lower level, which is built of concrete. + ACDF Architecture Images by Adrien Williams

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This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

Apple invests millions in a carbon-free aluminum smelting method

May 11, 2018 by  
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For over 130 years, aluminum , a material in many Apple products, has been produced in the same dirty, greenhouse gas -releasing way. That could all change soon: Apple is partnering with aluminum company Alcoa Corporation and metal company Rio Tinto to commercialize technology that, according to Apple , “eliminates direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.” Fast Company reported the tech giant is investing $10.1 million in research and development. Rio Tinto and Alcoa are coming together to form Elysis, a joint venture company, with the goal of packaging the technology for sale in 2024. Not only is Apple betting big on the venture, the governments of Quebec and Canada are investing around $47 million. Elysis will be based in Montreal and will employ 100 people to work towards commercialization of what Alcoa called the world’s first zero-carbon aluminum smelting technology. Apple said they’d be offering technical support. Related: Apple’s new recycling robot can disassemble 200 iPhones in a single hour Alcoa said in Canada, “the technology could eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, if fully implemented at existing aluminum smelters in the country. That represents an amount roughly equal to taking nearly 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road.” Apple chose eight materials to zero in on to seek cleaner production methods, and aluminum is one of those. The company said back in 2015, three of their engineers started a search for an improved method of mass-producing aluminum, and they found it at Alcoa. The company’s founder, Charles Hall, pioneered the old method in 1886, but it uses a carbon material that smolders throughout the process, so greenhouse gases are released. But then Alcoa developed a new process that utilizes an advanced conductive material rather than carbon. The smelting process releases oxygen , not carbon dioxide. Rio Tinto brings smelting technology development experience to the joint venture, which will work towards larger scale production. Alcoa CEO Roy Harvey said in the company’s statement, “This discovery has been long sought in the aluminum industry, and this announcement is the culmination of the work from many dedicated Alcoa employees. Today, our history of innovation continues as we take aluminum’s sustainable advantage to a new level with the potential to improve the carbon footprint of a range of products from cars to consumer electronics.” + Apple + Alcoa Via Fast Company Images via Apple

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Dreamy cabin is the perfect lakeside escape for large families

February 16, 2018 by  
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Montreal-based YH2 Architecture has given the traditional lakeside cottage a modern refresh in Window on the Lake, a minimalist timber cabin that derives its name from its stunning glazed end wall. Located just steps away from the shores of Lac Plaisant in Quebec’s Mauricie region, the gabled dwelling features a clean and minimalist design so as not to detract from its surroundings. The spacious family cottage sleeps up to 12 across two floors. Built of timber inside and out, Window on the Lake was designed to “capture the essence of cottage life” by creating a sense of warmth and connection with nature. The gabled building is clad entirely in white cedar that will develop a patina as it weathers over time. “The balloon frame, with its exposed wooden studs and joists painted white, gives the building a unique rhythm of shadow and light,” wrote the architects. “This is the cottage as an expression of the art of living: a gentle, simple, pure way of life.” Related: Decrepit lumberjack shack transformed into a beautiful retreat with minimal site impact The south facade closest to the lake is fully transparent to provide the open-plan living area with stunning lake views. The glazed gabled wall lets in sunlight and warmth during the cold months, while an extended roof overhang and mature trees mitigate solar heat gain in summer. Three large vertically oriented glazed panels punctuate the east and west facades to strengthen the connection with nature throughout the home. The cottage also includes two ground-floor bedrooms and a large, open sleeping area on the second floor. + YH2 Architecture Photo credit: Francis Pelletier

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Wooden home designed to withstand extreme weather assembled in just two days

February 15, 2018 by  
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Borren Staalenhoef Architecten BV bna created this stunning prefab wooden home on the remote Dutch island of Vlieland. Tucked into the rolling landscape, the elegant structure rises out of the dunes with a majestic asymmetrical pitched black roof. Het Kulkje Vlieland was built on location in a mere two days, and it’s designed to blend into its environment and to withstand the extreme weather often found on the island. Considering the delicate nature of the landscape, the building process was a challenge for the architects. Additionally, the project had to overcome a few legal limits as well because new constructions are no longer permitted in the area. Between 1930 and 1970 about 200 holiday homes were built on this part of the island, but further construction had been limited to protect the natural state of the pristine area . Accordingly, the architects had to tear down an existing structure to create a new one, but had to respect the limited construction parameters of the prior structure. Related: Elegant Flying Point home rises gracefully out of restored sand dunes To reduce its footprint, the wooden structure was completely manufactured off-site. Once all of the pieces were on location, the entire construction process took just 2 days to mount, which is shocking considering the rugged landscape. The three-story home has a spacious living area on the first floor, which is surrounded by glazed walls to provide beautiful views of the natural surroundings from any angle. The bedrooms are located on the top floor, which leads up to a large attic space that can be used as an office or guest room. However, it is the lower level of the home, which is sunken beneath the level of the dunes, that is the heart of the design. This “hidden” level of the home is tucked deep into the landscape, virtually obscured from view from the outside. Once on the inside, however, the space is flooded with natural light and provides sweeping views of the dunes. + Borren Staalenhoef Architecten BV bna Via Archdaily Images by Borren Staalenhoef Architecten BV bna  

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Wooden home designed to withstand extreme weather assembled in just two days

Modern black house juts out like a natural extension of Quebecs forest landscape

December 1, 2017 by  
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If you haven’t tired yet of the blackened timber trend, feast your eyes on this modern retreat that’s backed up on a forested hillside in Quebec, Canada. Montreal-based studio Atelier General designed The Rock, a boxy timber home that, like its name implies, is meant to evoke a natural extension of the mountainous terrain. Full-height glazing and extensive use of wood inside and out blur the line between indoor-outdoor living. Topped with a flat roof, the two-story home avoids a monolithic appearance thanks to its main living space that, supported by slender black columns, juts out towards the landscape, shielding a carport underneath. Black-painted timber clads the 2,300-square-foot home that’s contrasted by light-toned timber used in the interior and outdoor terrace that extends into the hillside. Related: Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact The entrance is located on the smaller ground floor, which contains two bedrooms and a bathroom. A large south-facing open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen take up the majority of the L-shaped upper level. Full-height glazing wraps around the communal area that also opens up to a small triangle-shaped deck. The master ensuite is placed between the two decks. Polish concrete floors are used throughout the home. + Atelier General Via Dezeen Images via Atelier General , photos by Adrien Williams

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Modern black house juts out like a natural extension of Quebecs forest landscape

Rocks discovered in Canada hold the oldest evidence of life

September 29, 2017 by  
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3.95 billion-year-old rocks could offer the oldest evidence we’ve found for life on Earth . A team led by the University of Tokyo found graphite in Labrador, Canada that they think is biogenic, or produced by living organisms. They contend this is the oldest evidence of life, as opposed to microfossils found earlier in Quebec , saying the dating process used in the latter was highly controversial. In March, the journal Nature published the findings of an international team of researchers who’d found fossils in Quebec that they said could be between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years old. Now, nine scientists at institutions in Japan say they’ve actually found the oldest evidence of life on this planet, and it’s in 3.95 billion-year-old rocks. Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion years old These researchers found graphite in sedimentary rocks. Tsuyoshi Komiya of the University of Tokyo said, “Our samples are also the oldest supracrustal rocks preserved on Earth.” Phys.org pointed out the Quebec fossils were found in a similar formation. The Japan team measured the isotope composition of the graphite to find it was biogenic, although the identity of the organisms that produced the graphite or their appearance are mysteries. Komiya said the team could work to identify the organisms by scrutinizing “other isotopes such as nitrogen, sulphur, and iron of the organic matter and accompanied materials.” They can also analyze the rock’s chemical composition to try and figure out the organisms’ environment . Other researchers, like geochemist Daniele Pinti of the University of Quebec at Montreal, seem impressed by the new team’s findings and process. He told CBC News, “For the moment, it looks very convincing.” Phys.org said that should the discovery be accurate, it would mean life sprung up on Earth a geological second after the planet formed around 4.5 billion years ago. Nature published the new study this week. Via Phys.org and CBC News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Tashiro, Takayuki, et al.

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Estrade Residence adapts to rocky hillside with locally-harvested materials

January 30, 2017 by  
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The gorgeous Estrade Residence adapts to the rocky, steep topography of a lake shore in Quebec , and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. Canadian design studio MU Architecture design the house using natural and locally sourced materials and created a multitude of spaces and terraces that embrace the site. The main idea was to highlight the peculiarities of the site and integrate nature into the design of the house. This resulted in a staggered structure that includes several terraces that establish a strong dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Thick walls made from rocks extracted during excavation create a spine of the project that extends outwards, protect the apartments on the ground floor, and help establish a direct connection between the interior and exterior spaces. Related: Modern meets rustic in the Hemmingford House built from natural materials The different volumes are gradually revealed as visitors climb an aerial and magisterial staircase which connects all levels of the house. Open spaces dominate the ground floor bathed in natural light, with a double-sided fireplace located in the center of the common room adding warmth to the place. This area extends the kitchen to the outside via a veranda which stretches perpendicularly to the natural ridge. Natural cedar cladding of the upper volumes complements the stone walls and gives the residence both a rustic and modern feel. + MU Architecture Via v2com Photos by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard (YUL Photo)

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