Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

January 2, 2020 by  
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Karina Duque had a unique conundrum to overcome when it came to the design of the KDDK House. Located in Frutillar, Chile , the eco-home’s site had views of lush greenery, in the form of meadows and forests, that presumably made the property so attractive to the landowners. These green views, however, could only be found in the opposite direction of the sun’s natural course. In a region that often saw rainy weather, designing a house that could allow for high-quality indoor livability while avoiding a dark or gloomy interior in such a location was quite the challenge. First, the designer placed the home on the highest point of the property to allow for the best views while also creating the greatest potential for natural sunlight to filter indoors for the greater part of the day. Even better, the elevated building site as well as reflective windows and organically inspired colors and materials help immerse and disguise the home among its lush property. Related: An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest The architect took inspiration from the architecture of German settlers, turning to simple lines, an elongated volume, a gable roof and skylights for a contrasting yet relaxing design. This style came with another perk in the form of ample space for a loft that could store heat. The team used painted, locally manufactured zinc for much of the exterior and certified larch roofing for the access corridor. These materials contrasted and complemented the interior, which was painted bright white to make the spaces brighter on those gloomy days. Cellulose insulation (typically made from recycled paper fiber ) for the roof, walls and under the windows helps to maintain heat during cold days, and natural cross-ventilation regulates the indoor temperature during hot days. The addition of a combustion stove in the kitchen serves as a primary heat source during the coldest winter days. In the summer, the iron-and-glass screens fold open to reveal a pleasant outdoor terrace. + Karina Duque Photography by Fernanda Castro via Karina Duque

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Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

This container home in Brazil helps its residents disconnect

December 24, 2019 by  
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The 2,766-square-foot Hanging House was designed by the architects of Casa Container Marília in the rural area of ??Campos Novos Paulista, Brazil. About 80 percent of the materials used in construction were recycled , including the primary maritime shipping containers that make up a majority of the structure. The home also lacks two major modern amenities — televisions and Wi-Fi — to encourage a digital detox. The Hanging House sits elevated from the ground, so the windows are level with the native trees abundant throughout the property. This also lessened the impact on the landscape. The wooden deck balconies blend in with the branches of the trees as well, making it feel much like a treehouse. It earns its name from the numerous hammocks that hang from the ground level, one of many places where the homeowners can kick back and relax. There is a modular green roof attached to the container home as well as a rainwater storage system that reduces the need for excess irrigation around the property. The interior doors on the first floor were made with reused plates of the containers. Following the completion of the project, 70 percent of the debris left over — mostly made up of wood and steel scraps — was also reused. No outside soil was brought to the site, and a minimal amount of concrete was used in the foundations to preserve and protect the soil drainage and root patterns. Related: This prefab weekend retreat made from shipping containers can be ordered online All of the walls are insulated with a thermoacoustic blanket, and the interior has a cross-ventilation system with wide openings to encourage airflow. Nestling the house under the trees also provided the building with plenty of shade. Thanks to this air exchange and thermal arrangement, the house has no need for an air conditioning system, even on the hottest days of the year. The container home has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a beautiful kitchen that opens up to the living spaces. The interiors are dressed in timber, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. In an effort to allow residents to disconnect from the outside world and better connect with the surrounding nature, there are no televisions or Wi-Fi available on the property. + Casa Container Marília Images via Casa Container Marília

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This container home in Brazil helps its residents disconnect

Upcycled materials make up this beautiful cabin retreat in Denmark

December 19, 2019 by  
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Located an hour outside of Copenhagen, this beautiful vacation home is tucked into a lush forest mere steps away from a beach. Designed by Nordhavn-based Lendager Group , the Holiday Cabin consists of five connected structures, all of which are constructed from upcycled waste materials found from demolition sites and local factories. According to the architects, the five connected volumes were built with circular principles in mind out of respect for the pristine nature that surrounds them. As they designed the holiday rental, the designers searched locally to find discarded building materials. They found a great source of waste wood at a local flooring company, and several demolition sites allowed them to salvage old bricks to repurpose for the retreat. Related: These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials The cabin exterior, structural frame and exposed rafters are made from the waste wood. To prepare it for its new life in the cabin, the wood was treated in the Japanese traditional preservation of shou sugi ban . Not only does the 700-year-old practice add durability and resilience to the exterior, but dark cladding blends the home into the lush forest that surrounds the property. In addition to the cabin’s reclaimed materials , the living spaces offer guests a gorgeous respite away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Each section of the holiday home offers uninterrupted sea views from the living areas and the outdoor terrace. The entire structure is 1,700 square feet with five bedrooms, three living rooms and three bathrooms. The main living area is arranged in an open plan that it shares with a fully equipped kitchen and dining space. This living area also features several sofas and chairs positioned around a central fireplace. Floor-to-ceiling glazing and skylights allow natural light to filter throughout the interior. + Lendager Group Via ArchDaily Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj – Coast via Lendager Group

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Upcycled materials make up this beautiful cabin retreat in Denmark

Compostable, portable Stak pods eliminate the need for individually wrapped snacks

December 19, 2019 by  
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Most of us spend much of our time on the go, rushing to work and shuttling kids to activities. Somewhere in the midst of the hustle, we have to eat. Stak has created a snacking pod to match those lifestyle needs, while aiming to create a long-lasting, eco-friendly product that eliminates the temptation of convenient but wasteful individually wrapped snacks. Convenience products have been flooding the supermarket shelves for decades, serving the needs of individuals and families who pack food to travel through the day with them. But these conveniences come at a cost in the form of single-use plastic packaging and excessive waste . Plus, the food is typically highly processed and loaded with preservatives. Stak developed an easy, zero-waste way to transport healthy snacks and is hoping to bring the product to market via a successful Kickstarter campaign. Related: This durable, recyclable cooler is made from bamboo, wool, steel and aluminum Traditional plastic storage containers are often bulky to pack and haul. Stak is a sleek, reusable vessel with three separate compartments that hold a variety of foods. Load up nuts, fruit, veggies or other favorites and take one or all three connectable containers to the office, daycare or park. Connect cups by easily screwing them together into a streamlined tower. The thoughtful design uses silicone seals to maintain freshness. As a unit, Stak fits easily into a world built for reusable water bottles, settling into automobile, stroller or bicycle drink holders as well as the side pouch of a backpack. Along with the intent to provide an alternative to processed, wasteful single-use packaging , Stak is made from plant-based materials and is compostable. Instead of using petroleum-based plastic, the company developed a corn-based option that functions like plastic but without harmful chemicals, such as BPA. The lid and cutlery are made from sustainable bamboo , and the straps are sourced from natural cotton. Even with commercially compostable materials, Stak is built to last for endless uses with parts that are dishwasher-safe and easy to clean. The Stak Kickstarter campaign ends January 1, 2020 with the goal of raising $17,815. + Stak Images via Stak

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Compostable, portable Stak pods eliminate the need for individually wrapped snacks

Urban Earth House exemplifies off-grid living in the city

December 16, 2019 by  
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When Craig Byatt Architecture was approached by eco-minded clients who wanted a home that was off-grid in an urban context and built with a combination of natural, reclaimed and locally sourced materials, the plans for the Urban Earth House were born. What’s more, because the clients’ children recently moved out, the resulting 70-square-meter structure in Melbourne, Australia was to become their “forever home.” The greatest challenge arose when the building site was examined. Privacy was an issue because access was constrained through a shared driveway. The site was also surrounded by neighbors, which worried the clients as they expressed eagerness for natural light. This, combined with a steep, small property block and a limited budget, led to a difficult time finding the right builder. After turning to four different building companies, all of which turned down the project, the clients decided to build the home themselves. Related: Phoenix Earthship features a food garden and jungle in off-grid fashion The Urban Earth House has many green design features. Double-glazed windows, recycled glass bulk insulation batts in the roof and ceiling spaces, mud bricks and recycled concrete walls help the home maintain a comfortable temperature year-round. A north-facing glasshouse was built onsite to help utilize the sunlight for winter vegetables and seed propagation for the clients’ organic farm. The skeleton of the house was constructed with recycled and reclaimed hardwood from an old road bridge, and the project used local tradespeople and suppliers as often as possible. To make the Urban Earth House even more exceptional, the clients commissioned local artisans to add unique touches. The kitchen backsplash was designed by a local painter and printed onto glass. A local metal worker crafted the door handles using tools owned by the grandfather of one of the clients. According to the architect’s statement, “This project’s recipe called for experimentation and adventure.” By “working with the laws of nature” and using “what’s already there” as much as possible, they were able to create a unique, off-grid home that respected the building site and supported the clients’ sustainable ambitions. + Craig Byatt Architecture Photography by Meredith O’Shea via Clean Energy Nillumbik

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Urban Earth House exemplifies off-grid living in the city

This versatile, waterproof parka is made with recycled PET bottles

November 18, 2019 by  
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Oftentimes, less is more — like when you can carry a coin purse instead of a weighty bag. When it comes to coats and jackets, choosing a light-yet-durable option is best, so you don’t find yourself in a mummy-tight arctic coat when all you really need is a lightweight, waterproof shell. That is where the Maium Lightweight Parka comes in to play. Of course, we’re all about sustainability, so while having the right jacket for the job is ideal, it’s even better when that jacket is also kind to the environment. The Maium Lightweight Parka fits the bill here, too. As with all Maium raincoats, the Lightweight Parka is made using recycled PET bottles — and we all know that diverting plastic out of landfills is a good move. Maium ensures all of its jackets are also manufactured under fair, safe and healthy working conditions. Related: Labo Mono turns plastic water bottles into Urban Jackets for cycling and everyday use Even when you want to support companies that keep sustainability in mind, the products should still live up to your expectations. Enter the versatility, convenience and great design of Maium Lightweight Parkas. The Maium Lightweight Parka is, of course, lightweight. That makes it easy to haul around from weekend sporting events to thousand-mile backpacking treks along the Pacific Crest Trail. In addition to being light, it packs down into a compressed size for easy storage and retrieval. For versatility, the parka has adjustable cuffs to fit a variety of wrist sizes and to accommodate bulky, long-sleeve clothing underneath. The waist and hood can also be adjusted. Plus, side zippers easily convert the parka into a poncho, which is especially convenient when you need the maneuverability to ride a bike. The newly released Maium Lightweight Parka is available for men and women in three color options: black, army green or iridescent. It retails for 155 euros (approximately $170). + Maium Images via Maium

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This versatile, waterproof parka is made with recycled PET bottles

Double your vacation fun on this gorgeous double decker bus hotel in Wales

November 18, 2019 by  
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Visitors to the incredibly idyllic area of the Teifi Valley in West Wales now have a quirky new accommodation to enjoy. The vintage 1964 Leyland Titan double decker bus has been renovated into a vibrant glamping location that sleeps up to six. Surrounded by 40 acres of organic farmland, the beautiful blue double decker is a great way for guests to reconnect with nature. The converted bus is located at Ceridwen Centre, an organic farm that offers a number of unique lodgings, such as converted barns, yurts and even a cool eco pod. Now, the farm has added its own double decker bus to its whimsical collection of accommodations. Related: Vintage red double decker bus is converted into a cool, retro hotel The double decker bus is a great choice for families looking to get away for a bonding experience. With a master room upstairs and two double rooms with a sofa bed downstairs, the converted bus sleeps up to six guests. Additionally, the bus offers a spacious indoor living and dining area. There is also a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom. For dining al fresco or simply taking in the natural surroundings with a fresh cup of coffee each morning, there is an open-air deck connected to the bus. Although the glamping property itself has plenty to offer in terms of long, leisurely strolls throughout the landscape, there is an abundance of things to do in the area. Onsite, there is a store that sells local produce and crafts as well as a bar for a fresh, cold pint. The lodging is just a mile from the village of Drefach Felindre, which offers more retail shops and restaurants. Of course, those seeking some outdoor thrills can check out activities in the beautiful Teifi Valley, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, canoeing or fishing. + Independent Cottages Images via Independent Cottages

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Double your vacation fun on this gorgeous double decker bus hotel in Wales

Net-zero energy DPR office becomes Austins first WELL-certified workplace

November 11, 2019 by  
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Construction management firm DPR Construction has recently moved into an impressive new workplace of its own making — a LEED Gold -certified facility located on the east side of Austin, Texas. Designed to follow sustainable principles, the net-zero energy office is fitted with energy-efficient fixtures, environmentally friendly materials and health-minded features that have also earned the project WELL Silver certification. The interiors of the new office — DPR’s regional team occupies the top floor of the mixed-use facility — were designed by IA Interior Architects . DPR’s Austin office is the fifth net-zero energy office completed by the company across the country and is seen as one of the firm’s “living labs” for sustainable design. In addition to a focus on energy efficiency, the building is notable for its promotion of healthy living. Natural lighting is emphasized while materials with volatile organic compounds are limited wherever possible. Circadian lighting design, ergonomic workspaces, a spotlight on healthy eating and activity incentive programs have helped the project achieve WELL Certification. Related: Sound-absorbing materials fold into a giant origami-like meeting pod The workspace design is also reflective of DPR’s four core values: integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness and ever-forward. As an extension of the company’s flat organizational structure, an open-office concept was created in place of private offices. Instead, employees can work from a variety of different work areas with adjustable-height workstations. Amenity spaces such as the bar/break room and the gaming corridor surround the office. “Multiple green walls with air plants and succulents, like the one in reception, enhance and in some cases provide privacy,” reads a project statement by IA Interior Architects. “Environmentally friendly and sustainable local materials, views to the outside, circadian lighting design and an increase in natural light provided by the added skylights are all factors contributing to the design’s sustainability story and DPR’s commitment to wellness in the workplace.” + IA Interior Architects Photography by Robin Hill via IA Interior Architects

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Net-zero energy DPR office becomes Austins first WELL-certified workplace

Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

October 29, 2019 by  
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One of the biggest complaints about urban living is the lack of space to grow your own veggies, but this automatic home garden can fit in nearly any kitchen space. Recently launched on Kickstarter, Verdeat is an indoor garden system that uses soil-less, organic plant cultivation to grow up to 76 plants. Additionally, the innovative gardening system is made out of 95 percent recycled materials and is designed for zero waste. Although there are quite a few home garden systems on the market, Verdeat stands out in that it is designed to be flexible. The garden comes in three different sizes to better suit your needs. The system is arranged in a tower shape, made up of one, two or four stacked trays that use a soil-free organic system for cultivation. Each tray is suitable to a certain type of growth using a natural substrate (such as coconut fiber). For lighting, the system has an integrated lighting system that mimics sunlight and promotes faster growth. Related: This sleek lamp provides light and grows food Depending on the size, the trays are arranged precisely for seeds or microgreens but can also be ordered to include a tray of small potted plants, perfect for strawberries, flowers, peppers, onions and more. No matter the size, the entire system is designed to be user-friendly and produce zero waste . Better yet, the garden system is nearly 100 percent self-sufficient for weeks at a time. Almost entirely maintenance-free, the gardening tower only needs to be watered every 1 to 3 weeks. To make it even easier, there is even a handy app to take care of the plants while you are away from home. The app monitors the amount of water, energy and nutrients and adjusts automatically according to the needs of the plants. This precise system allows Verdeat to grow plants without generating unnecessary waste. + Verdeat Via Yanko Design Images via Verdeat

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Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

October 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch Design Week , the largest design event in Northern Europe, is back once again this October to show how pioneering designers around the globe are changing the world for the better. Spread out across nine days with over a hundred locations in Eindhoven, the annual event will host a wide array of exhibitions, lectures, festivities and more — including the first-ever public presentation of a Biomaterials Archive , where attendees can see, touch, smell and even taste innovative materials made by students from organic and recycled materials. Held this year from October 19 to 27, Dutch Design Week is an annual showcase of futuristic design that covers a wide breadth of topics from sustainable farming to artificial intelligence and robotics. Every year, more than 2,600 designers are invited to present their pioneering work — with a focus given to young and upcoming talent — and more than 350,000 visitors from the area and abroad flock to Eindhoven to see how design has the potential to improve the world. Creative proposals for reducing waste and addressing other timely environmental topics, such as climate and biodiversity crises, have also been increasingly highlighted in recent years.  One such example of forward-thinking design by young designers can be found at the Biomaterials Archive, a multi-sensory exhibit open to the public all week at Molenveld 42 | Downtown. Hosted by Ana Lisa, the tutor for Design Academy Eindhoven’s Make Material Sense class, the exhibition will feature #ZeroWaste and #ZeroBudget material samples created by second-year BA students. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with proposed alternatives to materials such as leather, plastic, marble, cotton and MDF. Related: Colorful People’s Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials “It unveils how these young designers are taking matter into their own hands by farming organisms on the Academy’s shelves or recycling what’s being trashed at home, school’s canteen, city or farms,” reads a statement on the DDW website, which references biomaterials made from old bread, lichen, acorn-MDF, coffee grounds, kombucha , cow manure and even vacuum dust. “While they close some loops and make new, shorter life-span materials that forge new paths into design and architecture.” + Biomaterials Archive Images via DDW

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Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

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