Quirky youth hostel in Taiwan is made from reclaimed materials

March 14, 2019 by  
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Young wanderers traveling to the city of Hualian in Eastern Taiwan can now book a stay in a fun, quirky youth hostel made almost entirely out of recycled materials. To create the Wow Hostel, designer ChengWei Chiang  from PL Interior Design breathed new life into an existing nine-level property by using a vibrant collection of concrete, stone, wood, greenery and reclaimed materials , such as old window frames and timber. From the moment you enter the hostel, the interesting collection of building materials is clearly visible. From stone walls and a reception made out of reclaimed wood, the nine-story hostel has a energetic, youthful aesthetic. Related: Nha Trang’s first hostel built from recycled shipping containers pops up in Vietnam The ground floor welcomes visitors with a cafe and bar area that is open to everyone, from paying guests to passersby. From the first floor leading up to the second floor reception is a large vertical living wall. The reception also features a check-in desk made out of reclaimed wood paneling. The rest of the floors are split between the dorm rooms and communal places. According to the designer, the hostel layout was strategically designed to provide plenty of space to allow people to meet each other and socialize or simply hang out in the lounge area with a good book. In the main communal space, there is a large table with family-style seating. Around this area are several lounges with big, comfy reading chairs. In one of the lounge areas, a custom-made cabinet stands against the wall. Made out of reused window frames, this is used to showcase art works by local artists as well as knickknacks left by travelers that have passed through the hostel. For outdoor space, one of the floors has an open-air terrace, which features a discarded shipping container door. For lodging, the Wow Hostel offers a number of options, from an eight-person dorm with four double beds to private suites. The guest rooms’ interior design boasts an industrial vibe with exposed concrete block walls and pressed board accents. + PL Interior Design Studio + ChengWei Chiang Images via ChengWei Chiang and PL Interior Design Studio

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Quirky youth hostel in Taiwan is made from reclaimed materials

Meatless Mondays are coming to public schools in New York City

March 14, 2019 by  
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Public schools in New York City are starting a meatless Monday program for student lunches. School officials hope the eco-friendly initiative will boost health among the student population and serve as an example for other districts to follow. “People are going to look at this, and they’re going to start to emulate what the New York City schools are doing,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio shared. The new program will be implemented in 1,800 schools in the city and was originally tested in 15 schools in Brooklyn in 2018. The school chancellor, Richard A Carranza, says that students and parents reacted positively to the initiative, giving them the green light to move forward. Related: 14 vegan and vegetarian Valentine’s Day dinner ideas Carranza also talked about the advantages of eating meat-free meals. This includes a lower risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Vegetarian diets, of course, are also good for the environment because they reduce water use and lessen our carbon output. In fact, the head of the city’s Office of Sustainability, Mark Chambers, argued that eating less meat is one of the best ways people can improve the environment . New York City has the largest school district in the country, and Chambers believes introducing its large student population to the idea of meatless Monday could lead to significant diet changes. This is not the first time New York City has started a program to improve eating habits. In 2017, public schools handed out free breakfast to all of its students throughout the school year. In the summer, NYC public schools continued the program and extended it to anyone who was 18 years old or younger. In addition to meatless Monday, public schools in New York obtain produce from local farmers every Thursday. The school district is also recycling more than ever and has started a program that teaches students how to sort recyclable goods. Given all of the eco-friendly programs coming out of New York, like meatless Monday, we can only hope that other schools across the country will follow their lead. Via Huffington Post Images via Shutterstock

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Meatless Mondays are coming to public schools in New York City

Rammed earth ties a contemporary home to the rocky New Zealand landscape

March 8, 2019 by  
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Emerging out of the landscape like a series of boulders, the Kanuka Valley House set into a lush valley in Wanaka, New Zealand mimics the large schist rocks that punctuate the pristine landscape. Wellington-based architectural practice WireDog Architecture designed the angular home for a winemaker and his family, who wanted the house to respect the beauty of the natural landscape. To that end, the architects not only modeled the building off of local rock formations, but also used a natural materials palette and rammed earth construction to visually tie the home to the land. Spanning an area of 3,390 square feet, the Kanuka Valley House consists of three northwest-facing volumes carefully positioned to maximize indoor-outdoor living . Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding pocket doors create a seamless flow between the indoors and out while framing stunning vistas of the Kanuka trees, Lake Wanaka and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. The outdoors are also pulled in through the abundance of timber surfaces used indoors, from the reclaimed native rimu wood used for floors and ceilings to the cabinetry built of bamboo and OSB. The appliances and other materials, such as the steel counters, also follow the earthy and muted aesthetic. Related: Eco-friendly guesthouse in Brazil sports a green roof and rammed earth walls The beautiful rammed earth walls, which have been left exposed and unpainted, not only tie the building to the landscape, but also have the added benefit of thermal mass. During the daytime, heat is absorbed in the walls, which then slowly dissipate the stored warmth at night when temperatures are cooler. This advantage of energy-efficient construction is strengthened with the addition of  triple-glazed windows and deep roof overhangs that mitigate unwanted solar heat gain. The architects said, “The design engages passive house principles , with attention to insulation detailing, materials, ventilation and heating.” + WireDog Architecture Via Dwell Photography by Matthieu Salvaing via WireDog Architecture

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Rammed earth ties a contemporary home to the rocky New Zealand landscape

Reclaimed timber clads a chic pool house near Californian vineyards

February 4, 2019 by  
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California-based architecture and design firm Ro Rockett Design recently added a pool house to a Sonoma County retreat that’s become so alluring, the clients decided to turn it into their full-time residence. Located in the northern California town of Geyserville, the property boasts stunning views of rolling vineyards and the rugged coastal landscape. The Dry Creek Pool House is carefully situated to take advantage of these impressive vistas and features a natural materials palette and minimalist design to blend in with the surrounding environment. Built as part of a narrow holiday home , the Dry Creek Pool House is the latest addition to the property’s growing amenities, which include the saltwater pool, outdoor living area, gardens, bocce court and guest arrival with overflow parking. To obscure views of the adjacent busy roadway, the architects sited the pool high on the property so that the raised pool edge would obstruct views of the road from the pool house, which boasts panoramic views of the landscape. “Nestled into the hill with it’s back to the trees, the new, earthen ground plane acts as a primitive plinth that supports a rustic enclosure,” the architects said in their project statement. “The prime program of the pool house is wrapped in grape stakes gathered from the property and re-sawn to operate as a shroud to the private innards of the building. This cladding provides solid walls where necessary and opens to the view where desirable.” Related: A lush green roof of native plants breathes life into this Texan cabana The modern and minimal design of the Dry Creek Pool House combined with a natural materials palette grounds the building into the landscape. The vine stakes that partly clad the building, for instance, were reclaimed from the fencing that had surrounded the site. The structure is also built of plaster and topped with a floating cedar roof. A stone terrace connects the saltwater pool with the pool house. The pool house celebrates indoor/ outdoor living and consists of an outdoor living space with a dining area and bar. Another sitting area can be found inside in addition to a mini-bar and bathroom. + Ro Rockett Design Images by Adam Rouse

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Reclaimed timber clads a chic pool house near Californian vineyards

Farmhouse-inspired family home combines salvaged and sustainable materials

January 7, 2019 by  
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Salvaged materials from a century-old farmhouse and barn have been given new life as Ben’s Barn, a spacious family home in Kennebunk, Maine that takes inspiration from New England’s rural architecture. Designed by Portland, Maine-based architecture practice Caleb Johnson Studio for a young family, Ben’s Barn was constructed with a mix of reclaimed materials sourced not only from the former farmhouse and barn that had stood on another portion of the site, but also from a midcentury modern teardown in Weston, Massachusetts. The well-worn and midcentury fixtures have been combined with new, sustainable materials to create a contemporary and light-filled environment. Created as a “lifetime family home,” Ben’s Barn covers an area of 4,425 square feet — including a loft — with four bedrooms and four baths. Because the clients are a family with young children, the home is designed with ample space for indoor play, yet it also provides an accessible first floor bedroom suite for visiting relatives or for the homeowners who intend to age in place . Ben’s Barn comprises two large gabled structures — a bedroom wing and a kitchen/master wing — connected with a double-story glazed link. The timber roof structure was salvaged from the former farmhouse on site, as were the interior wood cladding and interior doors. Granite blocks reclaimed from the farmhouse foundation were reused as steps and seating in the landscape. The cabinetry and fixtures were also taken from a midcentury modern teardown. Related: Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability “The structural system is a hybrid of a stick-framed shell over an amalgam of new and antique timbers, fortified with structural steel, all used without obscuring their identity or function,” the architects said. Consequently, all the exposed interior structural elements were left deliberately unfinished, as was the exterior weathering steel facade that will develop a rusty patina over time. + Caleb Johnson Studio Photography by Trent Bell via Caleb Johnson Studio

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Farmhouse-inspired family home combines salvaged and sustainable materials

Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary

January 7, 2019 by  
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Could 2019 be the year of the vegan ? This past week, people all over the world promised to make lifestyle changes with various new year’s resolutions. And, this January, more people than ever have pledged to go meat-free— for at least a month. A movement known as Veganuary started five years ago, and each year the number of participants committing to a plant-based diet during the first month of the year has more than doubled. This year, more than 250,000 people in 193 countries have signed up to make January a month without animal products. According to Rich Hardy, the head of campaigns at Veganuary, on Sunday alone over 14,000 people pledged to go vegan this month, which is a rate of one person every six seconds. “In 2018 there hasn’t been a week that has gone by without veganism hitting the headlines, whether it is a magazine editor being fired or Waitrose launching a new range of products,” Hardy said. “Vegan products are getting a lot better, and it is becoming a lot more convenient to have a tasty plant-based diet .” Related: Is a flexitarian diet right for you? Hardy believes that warnings from scientists about the environmental impact of meat have persuaded many people to consider veganism. This past May, the researchers who conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date on the subject declared that the single biggest thing an individual could do for the environment is to avoid meat and dairy products. Joseph Poore of Oxford University, the lead researcher on the project, says that reducing your impact on the planet is not just about greenhouse gases, and switching to a vegan diet is more impactful than buying an electric car or cutting down on travel. Some people believe that 2018 was the year that veganism moved into the mainstream, and Hardy says that Veganuary aims to be fun and inclusive. He says that even if those who made the pledge fall off the wagon, they should just pick themselves up and remember why they signed the pledge in the first place. Via The Guardian Images via jill11

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Reclaimed materials and a massive green wall transports Denali shoppers to the great outdoors

November 9, 2018 by  
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Earlier this fall, Connecticut-based, multidisciplinary design practice Pirie Associates completed a biophilic store that evokes the image of a romantic, aging barn bursting with lush greenery. The newly opened Providence, Rhode Island store was created as the eighth brick-and-mortar location for the outdoor clothing and gear retail chain Denali . The store sits next to Brown University on Thayer Street and brings together a massive, low-maintenance vertical green wall with a predominately timber material palette to pull the outdoors in. Most of the materials were reclaimed in keeping with the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Sheathed within a brick-and-steel envelope that complements the surrounding urban fabric, the new Denali Providence store greets passersby with full-height glazing on the ground floor. Though the shop might seem like the average brick-and-mortar building from the outside, shoppers are treated to a visual surprise in the woodland-inspired interior with a double-height space filled with 20 birch tree poles — with the bark intact — as well as a large vertical green wall filled with New England plants and overhead skylights that provide natural light. The design aims “to transport customers to a new state of mind with a biophilic interior ‘kit-of-parts’ [that Pirie Associates has] now used in several locations,” the firm said in a press release. To lure people upstairs, two 32-foot-tall birch tree poles were strategically positioned through the U-shaped stairwell and stretch upward from the ground floor to the ceiling of the second level. Related: Nearly 10,000 plants grow on NYC’s largest public indoor green wall Apart from the paint, electrical equipment and HVAC, most of the materials used to construct the store were reclaimed or recycled and were often locally sourced. Salvaged materials include the barn doors, corrugated sheet metal and the nearly two dozen birch tree poles. The vertical green wall that spans two stories was designed for low maintenance and is integrated with a self-irrigation system. + Pirie Associates Photography by John Muggenborg via Pirie Associates

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Reclaimed materials and a massive green wall transports Denali shoppers to the great outdoors

A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

November 8, 2018 by  
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A dark and gloomy, non-insulated dwelling with zero views to speak of has been dramatically transformed into a bright and sustainable home thanks to the work of local architecture studio Urban Creative . Flanked by 6-meter-tall walls and set on a long and narrow lot in inner Melbourne , 2 Halves Make a Home is a three-bedroom family residence that comprises two structures centered on a light-filled courtyard that allows daylight to penetrate deep into the living areas. Bricks sourced from the original decrepit structure were recycled for the construction of the new home, which features repurposed and sustainable materials throughout, from low-VOC finishes to a solar photovoltaic system and green wall. Faced with a site only 5.5 meters in width, the architects knew that access to the outdoors and light were crucial to making the family residence feel comfortably spacious. To that end, a courtyard was inserted along with walls of operable double-pane glass that blur the line between indoors and out. In addition to allowing natural light to enter the home, the courtyard also promotes passive cross ventilation while the full-height glazing and adjacent masonry party walls help capture early morning solar gain for passive heating in winter. “The original brick party wall has been uncovered and cleaned back to expose its rich warmth throughout the main axis of the dwelling,” the architects explained. “Not only does this avoid the use of new materials to construct this facade, but both dwellings on either side of the party wall serve to insulate each other.” Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Aside from the renovated brick wall and reclaimed brick used for the ground-floor facade, other recycled materials were used wherever possible. Reclaimed timber was used from the stairs and floorboards to the repurposed internal solid timber doors and timber shelves in the living room. Instead of replacing the ground floor structural slab, the architects polished the concrete and added a hydronic heating system. Low-VOC materials and finishes, like Tadelakt — a Moroccan rendering technique based on lime plaster and olive oil soap — promote a healthy indoor living environment. The house is also equipped with a solar array and a rainwater harvesting system. + Urban Creative Photography by Jessie May via Urban Creative

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A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

This beautiful Washington cabin meets net-zero targets even in extreme temperatures

September 13, 2018 by  
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Nestled in a historic mining area in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains, a holiday retreat offers luxurious comfort without compromising sustainability targets. Despite the region’s freezing cold winters and extremely hot summers, Bainbridge Island-based Coates Design Architects crafted the Tumble Creek Cabin to net-zero energy standards using renewable energy and passive solar strategies, rather than traditional energy consumptive cooling and heating systems. Powered by solar energy, the energy-efficient cabin boasts a contemporary design with an abundance of full-height glazing to look out on the landscape beyond. With a natural palette designed to evoke the region’s mining history, the 3,835-square-foot Tumble Creek Cabin is mainly built of stone, Corten steel and reclaimed barn wood. The steel and timber elements are left exposed throughout, while floor-to-ceiling glazing establishes strong connections with the outdoors. To minimize the home’s energy usage, Coates Design Architects oriented the home to follow passive solar principles and mapped the interior layout to conserve energy as much as possible. The self-contained entry vestibule and mud room, for instance, doubles as an air lock to stop chilly drafts and unwanted hot air from entering the main living spaces. Designed as “a legacy piece” for the clients’ extended family, the vacation home includes two primary bedroom suites and a bunk room in the main residence, and an additional guest room can be found in the separate extension. An L-shaped open-plan great room on the east side of the main house is anchored by a massive board-formed concrete fireplace and opens up to a spacious patio. A winding outdoor walkway leads from the patio to an outdoor spa and a freestanding garage on the southwest side of the site. Related: Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home In addition to a 10 kWh photovoltaic array on the roof, the cabin relies on radiant underfloor heating and an energy recovery ventilation system; both systems can be monitored and adjusted remotely. Energy-efficient aluminum-clad wood windows and doors were installed, as is a Tesla Powerwall for electric vehicle charging. + Coates Design Architects Images via Coates Design Architects

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This beautiful Washington cabin meets net-zero targets even in extreme temperatures

A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof

September 10, 2018 by  
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The building elements of a century-old farmhouse in Park City, Utah have been salvaged and transformed into a beautiful and contemporary new residence that pays homage to its historic rural past. Located on a nearly 80-year-old forested plot of spruce and cottonwood trees, the former farmhouse was beyond repair and needed to be demolished. Wanting to save the spirit of the structure, the owners turned to Salt Lake City- and Los Angeles-based design studio Sparano + Mooney Architecture to design a modern abode that would occupy the former building’s footprint and make use of as many recycled materials as possible. Named the Reddish Residence, the two-story home spreads out over 4,000 square feet. A natural materials palette of timber and stone tie the building to the landscape, while elements like recycled wood and metal reference the farmhouse vernacular. Inspired by the petrified wood — fossilized remains of trees or plants that turn into stone — found on the site, the architects used building materials that also visually morph over time. Consequently, the Reddish Residence exterior includes weathering steel and reclaimed cedar that’s treated with the Shou Sugi Ban  technique for a charred, blackened finish. Further tying the modern house into its surroundings are the abundance of landscaping, a green roof atop the charred cedar-clad addition and large full-height glazing. In contrast to the mostly muted exterior palette, the interior is full of colors, patterns and textures set on a backdrop of mainly white-painted walls and concrete floors. The existing metal silo was preserved and renovated to house the home office. The rooftop is also topped with solar panels. Related: Minimalism adds a modern twist to this traditional farmhouse “This architecture takes a contemporary approach to form,” the architects said. “The house responds to the site by acting as a moderator between interior spaces and the landscape. Arcades, overhangs, courtyards and site walls articulate that relationship. An arcade marked by a gesture to the street bisects an entry courtyard. This path forms a strong entry sequence that welcomes and guides the visitor through a choreographed threshold and provides a series of expanding glimpses of the site. The design offers both ideal southern orientation and full access to the mountain and meadow views.” + Sparano + Mooney Architecture Images by Scot Zimmerman

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