Salvaged materials from devastating fire take new life in a British pier

July 26, 2017 by  
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A British seaside pier destroyed by a devastating fire in 2010 has made an incredible comeback in the hands of dRMM Architects . After a seven-year process, the century-old pier in Hastings, England was transformed from its decrepit and dangerous state to a vibrant new public space clad in reclaimed materials. Crafted in collaboration with the community, the Hastings Pier is an inspiring story of sustainable restoration and craft, earning it a place on the shortlist for the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize , UK’s top architecture award. Originally constructed in 1872 and later topped with a pavilion that survived until the fire, the Hastings Pier enjoyed its heyday as an entertainment destination in the 1930s but later fell into disrepair and ultimately closed in recent decades due to neglect. Rather than restore the Victorian pier to its original design, drMM wanted to craft a pier better suited to the 21st century and focused on designing an attractive multipurpose space with few buildings. The architects not only redesigned the pier, but also wrote the brief and helped raise funds with the Heritage Lottery Fund that paid for structural repairs below deck and partially covered the costs of rebuilding the pier above deck. The most defining building on the new pier is the new visitor center , that’s not positioned at the end of the pier but rather on top of the damaged pier’s weakest section. The cross-laminated timber structure is clad in reclaimed timber salvaged from the fire and is topped with an accessible viewpoint rooftop that doubles as an events space. The only other structures are a pair of circular extensions that house a kitchen, staff facility, and toilet; a group of hut-like trading stalls; and deck furniture built from reclaimed materials as part of a local employment initiative. The 266-meter-long deck was rebuilt with sustainably sourced African Ekki hardwood. Related: Light-filled cancer center harnesses the healing power of nature RIBA wrote: “From a conservation perspective, this project has reinvigorated a fire-damaged historic structure and facilitated a contemporary and appropriate new 21st century use. The project has been mindful to integrate material from the original pier in the new design, and the process of restoration was used to help train a new generation of craft specialists.” + dRMM Via Dezeen Images © Alex de Rijke

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Salvaged materials from devastating fire take new life in a British pier

Twin warming huts for TED conference evoke the Great Canadian Wilderness

July 26, 2017 by  
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The architecture and design students of DBR | Design Build Research created ELEVATE, unique pop-up structures that brought a slice of the Canadian backcountry winter experience to downtown Vancouver . Crafted as part of a three-month design/build course, this temporary installation served as a sheltered outdoor living room for the TED2016 conference. Innovation with wood and technical fabrication were explored in the project, most notably through the curved planks of CNC-milled timber used to create the structures’ inviting, cocoon-like shapes. From afar, ELEVATE evokes snow-covered hilltops, however a closer look reveals the design’s likeness to high alpine shelters . The 16 students sought to create an attractive meeting place where TED attendees, known as TEDsters, could gather and discuss ideas. The structures were also outfitted with graphics of provincial and national parks to encourage TEDsters to explore Vancouver’s great outdoors during their visit. Related: Solar-powered alpine prefab shows off the power of prefab in extreme conditions METSA Wood donated Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), an advanced wood product, that was shaped with CNC technology into the ELEVATE’s skeleton. Set on sill plates, the structures feature a timber deck and curved timber ribs reinforced by cross bracing. A white translucent covering protects visitors from the elements and is complemented with exposed timber ribbing visible from the interior. Each warming hut includes a large seating area marked with the TED logo, as well as bright red beanbags. + DBR | Design Build Research Images by Ema Peter

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Twin warming huts for TED conference evoke the Great Canadian Wilderness

Light-filled timber home is a modern zen haven in Seattle

July 18, 2017 by  
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How do you combine countryside tranquility with urban style? MW|Works Architecture+Design strikes a thoughtful balance in Helen Street, a beautiful modern home with handsome craftsmanship and careful attention to detail. Filled with light and views of the landscape, this lovely Seattle home is built largely of wood, from the heavy reclaimed timber cladding to the naturally weathered cedar plank roof. Helen Street was commissioned by clients who had been living on a rural property east of Seattle but found themselves drawn back to the vibrancy of city life. Thus, the architects were tasked to create a home with a smaller footprint than the client’s former house that still retained the peaceful setting of the countryside as well as easy indoor/outdoor living. The new-build is located on an urban corner lot in the walkable Madison Valley neighborhood next to Washington Park Arboretum , and comfortably houses the two clients and their two dogs. Related: Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces A courtyard is located at the heart of the home, bringing natural light and greenery deep in the interior. “Territorial view corridors helped identify where the building could be very transparent and where privacy was more important,” wrote the architects. “The material palette was simple with a largely glassy main level with solid volumes crisply detailed in cement panels.” Naturally weathered cedar planks clad the roof plane and master suite, while stacked and blackened reclaimed timber clad the exterior. + MW|Works Architecture+Design Images by Andrew Pogue

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Light-filled timber home is a modern zen haven in Seattle

Dwell Development’s net-zero home in Seattle is packed with sustainable goodness

June 29, 2017 by  
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This 5-Star Built Green home in Mount Baker, Seattle is packed with sustainable elements – including locally and sustainably-sourced materials and net-zero building strategies. The house was designed by JT Architecture for Dwell Development , and it’s perched on a peaceful hilltop in one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods with expansive views of the city. The design of the Mount Baker house is in line with the philosophy of Dwell Development and its net zero strategy rooted in the idea of remaining local. Each home by the firm occupies an urban site in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, where homeowners can live within blocks of all essential services and social activities. This new home was built on an urban infill lot steps away from Hunter Boulevard which includes an Olmsted designed center median park and dense retail and commercial areas on Rainier and McClellan. Related: Dwell Development’s outstanding zero-energy Emerald Star home in Seattle is almost entirely reclaimed The floors throughout the building are covered in sustainably harvested walnut from Montana, while the exterior polished concrete pavers were sourced locally. The exterior facade of the house is clad with reclaimed barn wood and reclaimed standing seam metal sourced from Oregon, while the interior features posts wrapped in over 100-year-old hand-hewn beam skins from Montana. The house is prepped for solar panels and electric vehicle charging, uses 100% LED lighting and is 100% electric. An exterior barrier system and a heat recover ventilation system regulate indoor temperatures 24/7. + JT Architecture + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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Dwell Development’s net-zero home in Seattle is packed with sustainable goodness

Pollution cuts solar energy production by up to 35%

June 29, 2017 by  
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We may be sabotaging our efforts to generate clean energy . New research from a team led by Duke University found polluted air may be reducing our solar energy output – by 25 percent. And areas with some of the highest investment in solar power are those impacted the most: China , the Arabian Peninsula, and India . Dust and airborne particles may be harming our ability to generate as much solar energy as we can. Duke University engineering professor Michael Bergin said, “My colleagues in India were showing off some of their rooftop solar installations, and I was blown away by how dirty the panels were. I thought the dirt had to affect their efficiencies, but there weren’t any studies out there estimating the losses. So we put together a comprehensive model to do just that.” Related: Students Create Award-Winning Robot That Cleans Solar Panels Joined by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) and the University of Wisconsin at Madison , Duke University scientists found pollution accumulation is indeed impacting solar energy output. They measured the decrease in energy from IITGN’s solar panels as they got dirtier. Each time the panels were cleaned after several weeks, the researchers noted a 50 percent boost in efficiency. China, India, and the Arabian Peninsula are the areas of the world impacted the most. Even if their panels are cleaned monthly, they still could be losing 17 to 25 percent of solar energy production. And if the cleanings happen every two months, the losses are 25 or 35 percent. Reduced output costs countries not just in electricity but money as well. Bergin said China could lose tens of billions of dollars yearly, “with more than 80 percent of that coming from losses due to pollution.” He pointed out we’ve known air pollution is bad for health and climate change , but now we know it’s bad for solar energy as well – all the more reason for politicians to adopt emissions controls. The research was published online this month by the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters . Via Duke University Images via Duke Engineering on Twitter and Pexels

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Pollution cuts solar energy production by up to 35%

9 eco-friendly ‘man caves’ for dudes and dads to get away from it all

June 29, 2017 by  
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Ah, the “man cave” – a place for dudes and dads to find solitude, tinker, build or read. Although the term may conjure up images of dank basements and wood-paneled rec rooms, the modern man cave has much more to offer. From prefabricated backyard pods and minimalist A-framed cabins to a futuristic voice-activated sphere in the sky, we’ve rounded up 9 inspiring ideas for men looking to get away from it all and recharge their batteries. 1. Prefabricated, versatile backyard getaway The Backyard Room is only available in Australia at the moment, but, logistics aside, it’s the perfect solution for creating a separate space without the need for moving or funding a pricey (and intrusive) home renovation. The prefabricated structure is built from renewable materials with high standards including LEDs and insulated roof and walls. It only takes a week to install this space-maximizer; calculate another few days to add on a green roof for the ultimate backyard eco-haven. 2. Man cave for a man-in-training For the young at heart, this man cave features pinball machines, a pool table, and a skateboarding bowl as well as a fully loaded tv and movie-viewing area. Designed and built for a very fortunate Cape Town teen, this space is a dream for men who want to go from shredding on their skateboard to playing video games to lounging with friends. There’s no need to leave the premises, especially when Mom and Dad’s stocked kitchen is just a few feet away. 3. Solar-powered, voice-activated Skysphere Image via Jono Williams Because having a regular, old man cave isn’t sufficient, Jono Williams concocted one of the craziest ones we’ve ever seen: a solar-powered sphere in the sky with electronics that operate on voice command. Williams designed and built the Skysphere himself (with a little help from friends), taking classes and learning a variety of topics to ensure that the Skysphere would be safe and structurally sound. While it’s awesome that he can say the word and custom LED lights change color or motorized doors open to cool the space down, it’s even more impressive that these awesome features are a result of educating himself and working until he had the dream space he wanted. 4. Cabin by the lake with a 55-year history This lakeside retreat isn’t truly tiny, but it began that way 55 years ago when an 18-year-old commenced construction on a 14-square-foot bunk house. That teen with a vision grew up to be Jim Olson, an accomplished architect . Over more than five decades, the cabin grew too, continually and gradually transforming into the picturesque getaway that it now is. Olson took care to build his outdoor deck around three trees to allow for their continued growth; a palette of woods used in the cabin’s interior as well as floor-to-ceiling windows make the space appear integrated into its gorgeous surroundings. Related|Build your own tiny home or treehouse with these stackable wooden micro-units 5. Modern micro-cabin made from recycled parts We love this 3-D printed micro-cabin , and we hope you will too. Dutch architects created the “Urban Cabin” using mostly recycled components and a sustainably produced and sturdy bioplastic frame. There’s enough room for a bed, which can also be folded into seating to leave room for Dad to tinker with other projects (or even set up a little table to serve as a mini office). A 3-D printed tub doesn’t fit inside the structure itself, but can be placed just outside. 6. Book nook nestled in nature For bibliophiles, this timber cabin is a green dream come to life. Felled oak trees that were left over from a separate construction project were repurposed into the bones of this tiny retreat, which was crafted using a Lincoln log-like method that created natural internal bookshelves and window spaces. This sublime upstate New York space is perfect for every season, although the wood-burning stove makes it the ideal place to snuggle up for a long winter’s nap. Image via Rok Pezdirc 7. Cabin among the trees This cozy cabin on stilts reminds us of a kiddie treehouse all grown up and elevated (literally). Inside there’s everything one would need for some R & R including a chair, storage units that double as a bed foundation, and a table. An outdoor deck offers optimal views, but between the skylights and numerous windows, the divide between inside and outside is minimal. Untreated timber forms the interior and exterior, but the space is surprisingly refined and could even serve as an office space. Image via Carolyn L. Bates 8. Wheelchair accessible tiny home with a mobile base Wheelchair accessibility is unfortunately not typically high on the list of specifics when designing tiny homes; the struggle to use every nook , cranny, and spare inch often supersedes an effort to make the space friendly to persons with mobility issues. Wheel Pad , designed with input from home health nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and doctors, aims to change that precedent. The home maximizes the available 200 square feet with a spacious and accessible bathroom, a wheelchair-level desk set-up and fixtures, and large windows to fill the home with natural light. 9. A-frame eco hut with a tiny footprint A-frame cabins by Lushna are reminiscent of human-sized bird houses, and they even come ready for some up-close-and-personal nesting: each has a king-sized mattress and was designed with four season living in mind. The prefab cabins are comprised of locally sourced larchwood and can be customized to include an outdoor wooden hot tub , curtains, or even a luxurious suite version with bathroom facilities and a mini kitchen.

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9 eco-friendly ‘man caves’ for dudes and dads to get away from it all

This tiny off-grid cabin in the UK is clad with reclaimed slate tiles

June 27, 2017 by  
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This rustic writer’s retreat in UK’s Snowdonia National Park is covered with local stone and slate tiles reclaimed from nearby farms. Architecture studio TRIAS based the Slate Cabin’s design around local and historically significant materials, with carefully arranged openings that capture small vignettes and views of the gorgeous hills and pastures of Wales. The cabin is set in a lush green valley surrounded by Snowdonia National Park. The structure has a simple, rectangular volume and muted exterior contrasted by the warm birch interior. The interior is bright and simple, with a single room for essential activities– sleeping, cooking, resting and relaxing– and a bathroom tucked behind. The bed sits up on a raised platform, and pulls back at one end to provide space for a seat and desk. Related: Trek-in prefab cabin offers luxury sustainable lodgings for campers The bed head does double duty to support a built-in seat and table. Stairs to the bed platform are a space to store books and shoes, while a shelf above the bathroom acts as a slot for stashing hiking packs. A continuous lantern of high windows bathe the space in natural light , while smaller openings offer curated views of the surrounding landscape. + TRIAS Via Uncrate Photos via Epic Retreats

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This tiny off-grid cabin in the UK is clad with reclaimed slate tiles

Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin

May 3, 2017 by  
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Austin-based Andersson-Wise Architects designed a unique boathouse that blends into its surroundings and, according to the firm, “appears softly in a state of natural decomposition.” Set on the shore of Lake Austin, the Bunny Run Boat Dock is a breezy two-story building constructed from different species of wood for textured effect. Reclaimed materials hailing from different regions of the world punctuate the interior and give the boathouse an electric and worldly vibe. The 2,563-square-foot Bunny Run Boat Dock features two boat slips on the ground level and an outdoor bar and living area on the upper level. The steel frame superstructure is clad in vertically oriented cedar planks irregularly spaced to allow for views and natural light. The sense of openness and connection with the outdoors is a theme throughout the design, with only a few moveable screens dividing the living spaces from the landscape. The railing that wraps around the terrace, for instance, can be removed so the space can be used as a diving platform. Related: Gorgeous Flathead Lake Cabin is a Minimalist Home for the True Adventurer Different timber species were used in the construction, from the cedar patchwork cladding and interior cedar boards to the Douglas fir ceiling and sinker cypress flooring. The summer retreat’s fun and eclectic atmosphere comes from the selection of reclaimed materials that add texture and color. “The architectural palette is complemented by several reclaimed items: antique doors from India, a timeworn butcher block from England and a steel structure that weathers naturally,” the architects said to Dezeen . “The experience is intended to be an inviting homage to the beautiful climate and setting – a place to become connected to and surrounded by nature.” + Andersson-Wise Architects Via Dezeen Images via Andersson-Wise Architects , by Andrew Pogue

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Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin

Off-grid shipping container cabin has a warm wooden interior

March 31, 2017 by  
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Shipping container residences can be elaborate and complex, but sometimes bringing it back to basics is the key to good living. At the request of their client, San Francisco-based architects  YAMAMAR  created a simple, off-grid container cabin getaway out of two  repurposed shipping containers tucked into a pristine natural forest in North California’s Mount Lassen area. The container cabin is located on 1,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The idyllic location is next to an old creek bed with amazing sunset views of the surroundings. At the request of the property owner, who had been previously using an old Fleetwood trailer to sleep on site, the new structure had to fit into this natural area by operating completely off-grid . Working within the restrictions set by the local nature conservancy for permanent structures, the team began by customizing two shipping containers off site. This reduced the project’s overall footprint and production costs. Related: A glazed container cabin that reflects the Colorado sky Once fused together, the new cabin was built out with simple materials such as  reclaimed Douglas fir panels on the flooring and walls. To generate power, a solar array was installed on the roof, but the home uses propane for most of its lighting and heating needs. The adjacent creek is the home’s natural source for fresh water. In contrast to some luxury dwellings found in the world of shipping container design, this off-grid cabin was meant to offer the basics and keep the focus on the amazing setting. The compact interior is equipped with a small kitchen and one bedroom with a large window that offers incredible views. Two sliding doors on either side of the home roll open on castors and can be locked up tight when not in use. + YAMAMAR Design Via  Dwell Photography by Bruce Damonte

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Off-grid shipping container cabin has a warm wooden interior

Rusty shovel heads transformed into delicate lace-inspired sculptures

February 27, 2017 by  
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Artist Denise Bizot has a gift for breathing new life into an unexpected medium—rusted shovel heads. The New Orleans-based artist retrieves discarded shovel heads from salvage yards and carves beautifully intricate lace-inspired designs into the rusted surfaces. She typically keeps the oxidized patina intact for the visual contrast between the weathered object and the delicate new designs. Formerly a drafter in the petroleum industry, Bizot returned to Loyola New Orleans to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus on sculpture. Her interest in found objects , particularly metals, sparked her metalworking craft and love of transforming discarded junk and debris found in New Orleans into beautiful sculptures. In addition to her reworked shovel heads and other sculptures, Bizot also creates more functional pieces such as metal room dividers and handmade tables. Related: Artist sculpts lifelike grizzly bear from recycled cardboard “Like many cities undergoing gentrification , New Orleans is replete with discarded metal, miscellaneous street junk and salvage yards teeming with all sorts of debris,” writes Bizot. “For me, the idea of reclaiming, deconstructing and transforming “so-called junk” into works of sculpture is fascinating.” + Denise Bizot

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Rusty shovel heads transformed into delicate lace-inspired sculptures

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