Mirrored home in the woods is hidden in plain sight

January 3, 2018 by  
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Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao has hidden part of a holiday home inside a forest by cladding it in mirrored glass . With a footprint of just under 2,200 square feet, Los Terrenos (Spanish for “The Terrains”) comprises three structures, each built with one of three main materials: mirrored glass, earth, or wood. Despite the diversity in construction materials, beautiful and complementary modern interiors are woven throughout the experimental residence. Located on a forested slope in Monterrey, Los Terrenos currently comprises two structures—the third, which will be built of wood and elevated for treetop views, has yet to be built. The larger of the two completed buildings is clad in mirrored glass and houses an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen in a double-height space. The one-way mirrors gives the building a greenhouse feel with floor-to-ceiling views of the forest. Related: Tatiana Bilbao’s $8,000 house could help solve Mexico’s social housing shortage The private areas consisting of two bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the L-shaped building built of clay brick and rammed earth placed diagonally opposite of the mirrored structure. A gorgeous chevron-shaped clay-brick wall in the bedrooms stylistically matches the chevron -shaped ceramic divider found in living room and the paver patterns on the paths around the residence. The bedrooms also look out to sweeping views of the forest. + Tatiana Bilbao Via Architectural Record Images by Rory Gardiner

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Mirrored home in the woods is hidden in plain sight

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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Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

September 12, 2017 by  
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Mother Nature has reclaimed a former gravel extraction area in Maasvalley Riverpark, a 2,500-hectare nature reserve straddling the Belgium-Netherlands border. To help visitors fully experience the revitalized area, De Gouden Liniaal Architecten designed a small observation tower that blends into the landscape with its rammed earth walls. Built of locally excavated materials, the Observation Tower Negenoord is the first public earthen building in the Benelux region. The 46-square-meter observation tower is located on a small hill in the heart of the former gravel mine, Negenoord. Although the tower features a sandblasted concrete core, it is clad in external walls built of locally sourced ochre-colored earth, clay, and gravel created with rammed earth building techniques and stabilized with mortar made of volcanic rock. Over time, the external walls will slowly erode away to reveal the gravel aggregate; the gravel content is also visible in the sandblasted concrete core. “To guarantee the quality of the construction, the design team was supported by an international team of experts: Cratterre/ Vessières&Cie/ BC Studies,” wrote the architects. “The earth-consultants analyzed different local materials, tried different mixes and evaluated them on compression force, abrasion, color and appearance. The chosen mix consisted of 20% gravel, 40% ochre-colored earth, and 40% clay , stabilized with Trasslime. Through its materialization, the building tells us about the location it’s built. and becomes strongly anchored in its environment.” Related: Giant timber periscope tower offers lakeside views to everyone — even those with disabilities Roughly triangular in plan, the observation tower features three staircases with landings that offer different views of the landscape. The rammed earth construction took seven weeks to complete, with about 20-meters-cubed of rammed earth finished every week. + De Gouden Liniaal Architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Filip Dujardin

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Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

Rammed earth walls form the core of this modern Australian home

December 12, 2016 by  
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Innovative, eco-friendly materials and contemporary design form the basis for Willow Grove, a modern home in the Australian farming community of the same name. Finnis Architects designed the small three-bedroom house for a couple that sought a slower pace of life away from city living. Rammed earth walls made from locally sourced materials serve as the focal point of the design, which comprises two wings that spread out and overlook views of the countryside. The rammed earth walls , which can be seen at the entrance, cut through the home and create a connection between the interior and exterior. The warm-toned and textured look of rammed earth creates a sharp contrast with the dark polished concrete floors, and that dichotomy is enhanced by a minimalist materials and color palette. The facade is clad in corrugated metal sheeting as a reference to the rural area’s corrugated country sheds. Related: 8 inexpensive earth homes almost anyone can afford The wedge-shaped entry framed by the angled rammed earth walls open up to two wings on either side. The west wing houses the open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen. The wing to the east contains two guest bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry room, and a master suite. Large windows frame hillside views and let in natural light , while large overhanging eaves mitigate solar heat gain and accentuate the roofline’s winged shape. + Finnis Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Finnis Architects , by Nic Granleese

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8 inexpensive earth homes almost anyone can afford

October 18, 2016 by  
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1. Dome-shaped earth bag house keeps residents cool in Colombia La Casa Vergara’s uncommon dome shapes may captivate the eye, but what’s underneath is most impressive. The Bogota home, built by architect Jose Andres Vallejo , is made from “ earth bags ,” or tubular bags stuffed with – you guessed it – earth. These bags are stacked atop each other and encased in concrete on both sides, which work together to prevent both earthquake and water damage. Exposed timber beams and plentiful daylighting make everyday living a bit greener and the $28 per square foot price tag puts the home within many buyers’ price range. 2. A green-roofed Hobbit home anyone can build in just 3 days These charming hobbit-like dwellings are prefabricated by Magic Green Homes and can be constructed in just three days. Sized at 400-square-feet, the green-roofed living spaces are so easy to assemble, practically anyone can do it. They require no heavy equipment to build, instead utilizing perforated flaps that are screwed and sealed together. Magic Green Homes adapt to any topography around the world, making this a dream come true for nearly anyone. 3. Build your own disaster-proof earth home using materials of war For anyone who is interested in building their own earth home, yet doesn’t know where to start, the guidance of Cal-Earth might come in handy. The California-based group teaches others DIY methods for creating your own dwelling using sustainable and disaster-proof materials. The group specializes in reusing materials of war and fortifying homes located in areas at risk of natural disasters. Sandbags packed with earth, barbed wire for tension, and stabilizing materials such as cement, lime, or asphalt emulsion all come together in a comfortable home that can withstand the elements. 4. Passive solar orphanage constructed with earth bags Orkidstudio , an organization that specializes in humanitarian design, opened up an orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya that is made entirely out of earth bags. The passive solar structure absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, creating a comfortable space for the children and staff inside. The orphanage is clad in recycled timber and features running water sourced from an on-site rainwater collection system. Not only did the project come together to produce an inviting and efficient facility, but it was put together in only eight weeks by a team of UK architecture students. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=522&v=U9b-h_cCdO8 5. Earth Home Builder machine “3D prints” entire homes from bags of earth Building low-cost, environmentally friendly homes is a sign of moving in the right direction and the Earth Home Builder makes the process amazingly efficient. Working similarly to a 3D printer , the skid-operated machine can fill bags of earth at a rate of 400 bags per hour. Given that only 30 bags can be filled at the hands of humans, the machine could revolutionize access to affordable and responsible housing. United Earth Builders , who developed the technology, are working to find non-profit partners to help bring earth homes to the masses. 6. Budget-minded rammed Earth home in Mexico One family in Mexico opted to create a multi-colored home on a budget with the help of architect Tatiana Bilbao ’s expertise. The rammed earth dwelling is mesmerizing inside and out, thanks to the clever practice of adding pigment to the material before layering the walls from the ground up. The distinct effect only adds to the temperature control qualities of the home, which is essential during the hot Mexican summers. Ajijic House features floor-to-ceiling windows and two open terraces to take advantage of the breathtaking coastal views. Indoors, the use of locally-sourced pine wood flooring allows the family to enjoy beautiful details in their home without breaking the bank. 7. Luxurious Triksa Villa combines rammed earth, bamboo and recycled wood When building using earthen materials, it is possible to create a home that would rival the most luxurious of vacation spots. Chiangmai Life Construction has built the Triksa Villa in northern Thailand, a stunning structure made from part rammed earth, and part mixture of clay and concrete for the foundation. Adobe brick walls keep the space a comfortable temperature while the bamboo roof gives the company sustainable material bragging rights. Recycled hardwood and a lavish outdoor pool setting shatter any preconceived notion that green building materials cannot produce an eye-catching slice of paradise. 8. Rural Ghana home built from rammed earth and recycled plastic In the countryside of Ghana lies this unique home made from rammed earth , recycled plastic, and fortified against the elements using natural materials. The home was constructed from student Anna Webster’s winning design through a Nka Foundation building competition. She states, “We aimed to overcome the negative associations of these materials and move away from the primitive image of building with earth by applying a modern design aesthetic.” Plastic waste is repurposed into window screens and roof materials and the sturdy rammed earth walls are covered in a cassava starch sealant to prevent exterior water damage. The home cost just $7865 to construct and serves as an example of what can be done with found materials and a little creativity. Images via Nka Foundation , Chiangmai Life Construction ,  United Earth Builders ,  Jose Andres Vallejo ,  Cal-Earth ,  Tatiana Bilbao ,  Orkidstudio , Green Magic Homes

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8 inexpensive earth homes almost anyone can afford

Extraordinary Red Hill rammed-earth residence’s funky funnel shape helps direct light

August 24, 2016 by  
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The single-story residence is located near Melbourne , on the Mornington Peninsula. Built for a winery owner, the house combines modern and traditional building materials and features warm details that reference rural architecture. Its minimalist volume forms a large canopy oriented toward the vineyard, sheltering a large terrace framed with a transparent glass balustrade. Related: Vineyard House uses rammed earth to stay cool in Portugal’s hot summers The open-plan interior received plenty of natural light through large, continuous glass windows and a timber-lined skylight . Toughened-glass panels create a visual connection between the ground floor and a large wine cellar in the basement which is supported by wooden beams . Wood permeates the entire structure, both structurally and in detail. “The home’s use of timber , both in the interior and exterior of the design, allows the materials to age naturally and blend in with the landscape,” explained the architects. + Finnis Architects Via Dezeen Photos by Les Hams

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Extraordinary Red Hill rammed-earth residence’s funky funnel shape helps direct light

Award-winning rammed earth home in Spain halves normal CO2 emissions

July 29, 2016 by  
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Presented as a “contemporary vernacular 21st century house,” Castellarnau’s design incorporates a variety of energy and resource-saving strategies. The stone, earth, and straw used in construction comprises 80 percent of the home’s overall weight, and all building materials, including wood, sheep’s wool and hydraulic lime, were sourced from within a 150 kilometer radius. In addition to supporting local suppliers, this drastically reduces the distance materials have to travel, and thereby the amount of greenhouse gas emissions sent billowing into the atmosphere. In a recent press release, Castellernau reported that the lifecycle analysis of this particular design shows a 50 percent reduction in overall emissions. Related: Dome-shaped Earth Bag House in Colombia keeps residents naturally cool Other notable features include thermo-insulating blinds, thermal accumulator clay plastering, and a biomass boiler, all of which are designed to make the most of natural resources available to the client. Strategically-placed windows maximize the amount of natural light reaching the interior, further reducing energy use, and a cistern collects rainwater for reuse. In her quest to research local, traditional architecture over the last decade, the architect has refined old techniques and developed new ones, many of which she has tested on her own home. She is currently working on two more earth architecture projects in Spain, and we are immensely excited to see the results. + Edra Arquitectura Images via Doble Studio

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Hacienda-style rammed-Earth home in Mexico City radiates stored heat during cool nights

July 19, 2016 by  
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Casa Candelaria is located in Mexico City ’s highlands, just outside San Miguel de Allende. Borrowing from the traditional hacienda style design, the 1,500 square meter dwelling features courtyards around which living areas are constructed. The central courtyard is topped with a  concrete roof which stretches out over a patio surrounded by desert landscape. Related: Rammed Earth desert courtyard house built from the ground upon which it sits in Arizona The rammed-Earth walls are made from soil excavated on site, saving the architects a great deal of money during construction. The nearly 20-inch thick, energy-saving walls are an ash hue thanks to natural pigments added to the soil. Heat from the sun is trapped within the walls, keeping the residents comfortable at night when temperatures drop. Four main volumes make up the structure, featuring parota, or Guanacaste, wood floors. Striking, full-length windows are surrounded by shutters of the same material, framing the scenery outside. Case Candelaria was one of the winners for Architizer’s 2016 A+Awards in the Private House category – and it’s easy to see why. + Cherem Arquitectos Via Dezeen Images via Enrique Macias

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Hacienda-style rammed-Earth home in Mexico City radiates stored heat during cool nights

Hillside home in Sonora, Mexico features rammed earth walls and native landscaping

June 23, 2016 by  
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Sal Casa was built with the idea of honoring the landscape around it. To that end, the architects utilized rammed-earth walls to give the home texture, climate control and natural color. The earth was obtained from the hillside that was excavated while building the home. Skylights allow ample light to fill the space, while the windows are covered by large overhangs that help control direct sunlight. The landscaping was completed using local and native plants to reduce irrigation needs and further unify the home with the land. This landscaping also helps to create the least disturbance possible on the environment. Exterior supports are made using steel that has been allowed to age naturally. Related: Vineyard House uses rammed earth to stay cool in Portugal’s hot summers The home sits on the hillside with views of both the ocean and the nearby San Carlos mountains and, to take advantage of these incredible views, has large windows and an large outdoor deck space where people can cook, dine, swim and lounge. The home can be accessed on two different levels: from the street-side upper level or the private lower level. + Imativa Arquitetcos via Contemporist

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Gorgeous desert home blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor living

December 30, 2015 by  
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