Modern gabled guesthouse embraces passive solar in Australia

May 4, 2018 by  
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A sleek and modern take on the Australian farm building has popped up in the coastal town of Gerringong. Atelier Andy Carson designed Escarpment House as a two-bed guesthouse on an east-west axis to make the most of ocean views to the south and pastoral views to the north. The building orientation and material choice were also guided by passive solar principles. Set on nearly 150 acres of pasture with dairy cows, the Escarpment House maintains a relatively low profile with a simple gabled form created in the likeness of the traditional metal shed dairy structures of the region. “The project utilizes north and south decks as ‘winter’ and ‘summer’ outdoor space to enable the occupants to use the building mass as sun or wind protection moving to each side as favored,” wrote the architects. “The site positioning offered a significant view towards the nearby dairy with the setting sun over the escarpment offering a unique user experience.” The two bedrooms are located on the home’s east end, while the open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living space face the west. Related: Passive solar home stays naturally cool without AC in Australia Energy consumption is minimized through the regulation of light and views thanks to the west façade’s large operable panels that open or close with the touch of a button. Escarpment House also features extra-thick insulated walls and double-glazing . Supplementary solar power, rainwater harvesting with UV filtration and treatment, as well as on-site sewage treatment further reduce the home’s environmental impact. + Atelier Andy Carson Via ArchDaily Images © Michael Nicholson

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Modern gabled guesthouse embraces passive solar in Australia

SOM’s net-zero Paris skyscraper will be one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe

March 20, 2018 by  
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Prolific firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) just unveiled plans for Charenton-Bercy, a net-zero Paris skyscraper that’s designed to be one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe. The 180-meter tower would include multiple green features, including rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling, green roofs, and waste-to-energy conversion systems. As part of its “garden in the sky” design, the project would also feature a  band of vegetation running the length of the tower’s facade, leading into a tree-filled plaza at the tower’s base. The architects would place the skyscraper on the banks of the Seine in southeastern Paris. The building will house a mix of residential units and a hotel, with shops and outdoor cafes in the adjoining plaza. The master plan calls for  green space to occupy more than one-third of the site. In fact, the developer working with the architects has committed to planting one tree on-site per residential unit. Related: SOM unveils impressive LEED-targeting medical campus for Egypt’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) The plans reflect the firm’s goal of creating an icon of sustainability while blending the design into the traditional cityscape of Paris. In the words of Daniel Ringelstein, director at SOM London, the architects “saw [their] role as bringing a fresh perspective from an international point of view, refined in close collaboration with [their] local team to ensure a sensitive integration within the existing community.” + SOM Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Som Architecture

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SOM’s net-zero Paris skyscraper will be one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe

Dreamy cabin harvests rainwater and natural light for a minimal carbon footprint

January 8, 2018 by  
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Nevada-based INCLINEDESIGN proves sustainable design can be beautiful in this dreamy timber cabin on Lopez Island, Washington. Available in the summer as a vacation rental, the Barn Gallery guesthouse is a showcase of eco-friendly design – from its use of reclaimed timber and metal to its elegantly crafted rainwater catchment system. Surrounded by four acres of woodland and private meadow, the guesthouse faces southwest for views of a secluded waterfront bluff. The Barn Gallery project began as a “deconstruction” of a 1970s-era home, with the designers recycling materials where possible while retaining the original building footprint. The new home’s untreated timber siding was reclaimed from the original home’s floor joists, which were milled from trees felled on the property in 1970. Corten steel frames the single-pitched roof and walls and reclaimed metal components compliment the timber palette that will naturally develop a silvery patina over time. The light-filled interior is modern and minimalist with custom artistic touches like the unique sandblasted shower glass and the copper towel warmers plumbed inline with the in-floor hot water pipes. Reclaimed timber can also be seen indoors in the form of new custom furnishings. Per its name, Barn Gallery regularly hosts rotating art exhibits featuring local artists. Related: Rammed-charcoal home is a handsome oasis between the trees To keep energy use to a minimum, the designers installed smart energy monitoring, a structural insulated panel roof, and underfloor radiant heating with heat recovery ventilation and heat pump technologies. A solar array was omitted due to budget. Rainwater is captured and filtered on-site through a rain garden and is also harvested in a large timber-clad rain barrel. + INCLINEDESIGN Via Dwell Images by Steve Horn

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Dreamy cabin harvests rainwater and natural light for a minimal carbon footprint

Spiraling timber temple revealed for Burning Man 2018

January 8, 2018 by  
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A massive spiraling temple of timber is set to rise in the middle of a Nevada desert for Burning Man 2018. Designed by London-based French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani of Mamou-Mani Architects , the winning 2018 Burning Man Temple design is titled Galaxia as a nod to the cosmos from which the structure takes inspiration. The 65-foot-wide temporary pavilion will be made of timber modules twisted and lifted to converge into a central tower rising 200 feet in height. 3D computer modeling tools were used to design Galaxia, which will be made up of 20 timber triangular trusses. The trusses are twisted to frame a central space where a large 3D-printed mandala will be placed. Burning Man attendees will be able to enter the temple and sit in small alcoves built into the timber structure. Related: First designed for Burning Man, foldable Shiftpods now shelter refugees around the world “Galaxia celebrates hope in the unknown, stars, planets, black holes, the movement uniting us in swirling galaxies of dreams,” wrote Mamou-Mani Architects. “A superior form of Gaia in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, Galaxia is the ultimate network, the fabric of the universe connecting living beings into one entity.” Galaxia will be ritually burned at the end of the event. Burning Man 2018 will take place August 26 to September 3 in Nevada’s Black Rock City . + Mamou-Mani Architects Via Dezeen Images via Mamou-Mani Architects

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Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living

November 20, 2017 by  
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Sustainable design principles are embedded throughout the Northcote Solar Home, a beautiful Melbourne home that shows how energy efficiency can go hand-in-hand with contemporary design. Local architecture studio Green Sheep Collective designed the light-filled home for a family who wanted flexible spaces and an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living. The sustainable, passive solar home is strategically positioned for thermal mass, while elements like double-glazing and rainwater harvesting reduce its energy footprint. Topped by an eye-catching raked corrugated zincalume roof, the Northcote Solar Home’s pitched roofline and clerestory windows help to modulate solar gain, while allowing for stack ventilation. North-facing living areas take advantage of passive heating and cooling, and high levels of insulation helps lock in desired temperatures. Large low-e, double-glazed windows frame the outdoors and bring in ample natural light. Views to the central courtyard and garden can be enjoyed throughout the home. Related: Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built from recycled red brick The airy interior features white plaster walls and wormy chestnut flooring that flow from the inside to the outside decking and also tie into the silvertop ash exterior cladding. Large sliding doors delineate the three bedrooms from the living and dining areas, and are set up so for easy adaptation into different uses. “In addition, the courtyard affords great connectivity between spaces within the home, so while inhabitants might be undertaking separate activities, they may still be ‘together’,” wrote the architects. + Green Sheep Collective Images via Emma Cross

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Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living

Post-earthquake home in China wins World Building of the Year 2017

November 20, 2017 by  
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A humanitarian project built with affordable, low-tech materials has won this year’s World Building of the Year at the tenth annual World Architecture Festival . Designed by The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Kunming University of Science and Technology, the award-winning Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Project is a prototype house located in China’s Guangming Village, an area devastated by the 2014 Ludian earthquake. The rammed-earth house was recognized for its innovative reconstruction strategy merging modern strategies with local building materials to create an energy-efficient, earthquake-resistant home that can be affordably built by local residents. The post-earthquake prototype home was built for an elderly couple and as a demonstration project to show villagers how rammed earth construction can be modern, economical, and earthquake resistant. After the 2014 earthquake flattened many traditional rammed-earth buildings, villagers sought brick-concrete construction as a safer alternative but found it cost-prohibitive. The designers and researchers developed an anti-seismic earth building strategy to turn the conversation back to the local building material, while introducing new construction components to reinforce building strength and thermal performance. The walls of the home are built of local materials , such as clay, sand, and grass. Steel bars and concrete belts are embedded into the walls for structural integrity, while double-glazed windows and an insulated roof improve thermal performance. The building’s emphasis on comfort, natural light, and respect for local architecture forms has presumably helped the new building strategy (built to meet local seismic codes) gain acceptance among the community. Related: Poland’s National Museum in Szczecin wins World Building of the Year 2016 “The architects succeeded in translating ‘four walls and a roof’ into something which, through architectural commitment, becomes a project that is much more profound,” WAF Programme Director Paul Finch commented. “This building is a demonstration that architecture is just as relevant in the poorest of communities as it is in the richest.” + World Architecture Festival

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Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home

October 31, 2017 by  
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When Faulkner Architects was tasked with building a family home just outside San Francisco, the clients emphasized the importance of the environment. The Truckee-based architecture firm set about creating a striking site-specific dwelling with a small energy footprint. The result is an AIA award-winning three-bedroom home, called Miner Road, that’s wrapped in sheets of Corten Steel—chosen for its low maintenance and the way it “refresh[es] every time it rains, just like the landscape,” says architect Greg Faulkner. Located in Orinda on a sloped eight-acre site with large oak trees, Miner Road takes over the footprint of a former home that once stood on the property. The mature oak trees informed the orientation of the home and provide shade, while glass walls frame the trees’ large gnarled branches. Large cutouts in the weathering steel facade let in ample natural light and views of the landscape. Related: Green-roofed home with rusting walls appears to grow out of a Finnish forest “This bridging between interior and exterior is major feature of the main living space, and an entire wall is devoted to connecting the two visually,” wrote Faulkner Architects. In contrast to the weathering steel facade, the interior is bright and modern, and focuses on a natural materials palette , from the abundant use of white oak to white gypsum walls and basalt floor tiles. The home’s mechanical and electrical systems are designed at a 44.9% improvement over code and include a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels. + Faulkner Architects Via Dezeen

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Rainwater-harvesting pavilions mimic a lush rainforest at the Indianapolis Zoo

October 23, 2017 by  
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Artful rainwater design has taken root at the Indianapolis Zoo. RATIO Architects recently completed the Bicentennial Pavilion, an open-air events space modeled after a lush rainforest with 11 steel-framed “tree canopies.” Built primarily from natural materials, the pavilion is a beautiful example of multifunctional and sustainable design that provides 40,000 square feet of weather-protected events space while collecting and filtering 100% of its stormwater runoff. The Indianapolis Zoo Bicentennial Pavilion and Promenade was made possible by a $10 million grant provided by the Lilly Endowment in 2015. The money came with the requirement that the zoo “implement a game-changing initiative that benefits the community institution’s long-term sustainability.” To satisfy the zoo’s needs to expand visitor infrastructure and the Lilly Endowment’s condition, RATIO Architects designed an open-air multifunctional facility that could be used year-round and replace the zoo’s former 400-person events tent tucked into the back-of-house areas. The sustainability angle came from the use of natural materials —each tree-like column is built of 63 individual timber beams, while a hearth of rough-back quarry block limestone rests beneath the canopy—and stormwater management . The pavilion canopy funnels rainwater down the tree-like column’s laser-cut weathered steel rain screens and into planting beds, where it then percolates through a water quality unit and is held in a 14-foot deep water detention bed designed to accommodate 100-year flood events. The angled pavilion canopy is built of translucent roofing materials to let filtered light shine through, just as in a real rainforest canopy. Related: Stunning solar Butterfly House masters resource conservation in California The Bicentennial Pavilion is split up into two main event areas, each of which accommodate up to 400 guests. The pavilion can also be converted into one large event space for up to 800 guests. The pavilion’s north side is designed for the new bird exhibition, Magnificent Macaws, with a custom-designed stage and perch to showcase the birds on their twice-daily flight through the Pavilion. + RATIO Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Susan Fleck

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Rainwater-harvesting pavilions mimic a lush rainforest at the Indianapolis Zoo

Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

October 19, 2017 by  
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The LEED Platinum -certified Noe Hill Smart Ecohome marries state-of-the-art green technology and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that urban dwellers dream about. The house, designed by EAG Studio , creates a healthy living environment with plenty of natural light, native plant gardens, rain catchment, solar power and a bevy of smart features to optimize power use. The house occupies a coveted site near the crest of the Collingwood hill in San Francisco . It spans three levels and comprises 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths (with 3 bedrooms ensuite on the upper floor), media room, gym, flexible use 2-room guest suite, an open main level floor plan, 4 distinct outdoor living areas and 2-car independent parking. Related: Sunset’s Green Dream Home in San Francisco The dramatic vistas open up from the main living room and dining area connected to a sunny deck and a landscaped garden. The garden features drought-tolerant , native plantings. Retractable glass doors in the kitchen open directly to the deck and enhances the experience of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. A sculptural staircase leads to the upper level and receives natural light from the skylight above. The bedrooms occupy the upper floor, with the luxurious master suite openning to its own view deck ideal for a morning cup of coffee or casual lounging. The staircase leads further up toward the roof deck with multiple dining and lounging areas perfect for entertaining guests. Related: San Francisco’s Solar “Mission: House” is a High-Tech Marvel A rainwater harvesting system captures most of the roof/surface water for landscaping irrigation. All exterior walls are insulated and optimized for energy efficiency, while a solar array provides renewable energy for the building. These systems, along with LED lighting , occupancy sensors and the use of reclaimed building materials make this building a modern and truly eco-friendly home. + Noe Hill Leed Home + EAG Studio

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Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

Hundreds of mysterious stone structures discovered near ancient volcanoes in Saudi Arabia

October 19, 2017 by  
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Professor David Kennedy of the University of Oxford just discovered hundreds of mysterious structures near ancient lava domes in Saudi Arabia. Using Google Earth , Kennedy found approximately 400 stone walls that are believed to be more than 9,000 years old. Because the structures appear similar to others found in the Middle East , they have been dubbed “gates” The mysterious gates are located in the western Harrat Khaybar region of the country. According to the Bedouin, a nomadic group of Arab people, they were the “Works of the Old Men.” While there are similarities between the newly-discovered gates and others in the country, there are notable differences, as well. For instance, the gates Kennedy discovered are larger (the longest measures more than half a kilometer, the shortest is just 13 meters) and the space between them varies. Some are “almost touching” while others are “miles apart,” reports The Independent . Kennedy told Newsweek , “It is impossible at the moment to date these gates except relatively. I have argued in the article that they are the earliest of the so-called ‘Works of the Old Men’, the stone-built structures found widely in Arabia from northern Syria to Yemen , but especially common in the lava fields.” The “Old Men” are also credited with building “kites” – stone structures archaeologists say were used to catch migratory birds . They are found on top of the gates in other areas of the Middle East, signifying possible relationship. Said the Professor of archaeology, “The works known as Kites, which are certainly animal traps, may be as old as 9,000 years before present in some cases and there is one example of a kite overlying a gate. So Gates may be up to or more than 9,000 years old, which takes one back to the Neolithic .” Related: Large organic farm in Saudi Arabia switches to solar-powered irrigation Because the gates are situated on ancient lava domes (the volcanoes remain inactive), some of the structures bear traces of lava. This could prove a sufficient method to date the mysterious phenomenon. Kennedy’s findings will be published in an upcoming issue of Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy . Via The Independent Images via Wiley/Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy/Douglas Kennedy , Google Earth

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