These charming timber cabins in South India are a retreat for nature lovers

May 22, 2018 by  
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If your dream getaway involves nature excursions in a tropical environment, prepare to fall in love with the Cardamom Club resort in Thekkady, India. Recently renovated by Bangalore-based Kumar La Noce , this boutique resort features a series of elevated tiny cabins primarily built from sustainably sourced Bangkirai hardwood. Combining contemporary design with traditional elements, each 430-square-foot cabin rests lightly on the landscape and blends in with the verdant surroundings. Set within an eight-acre cardamom plantation, the Cardamom Club resort features a nearly 50-foot-long infinity pool and spa block — both of which are raised on stilts and also built with extremely durable Bangkirai wood. The hardwood’s reddish tones provide a striking contrast to the lush green backdrop. “Our first response upon visiting the spectacularly lush site was to ‘tread gently,’ which led us to imagine the built structures as light-weight volumes floating within a sea of green,” said Bhavana Kumar, the principal architect and co-founder of Kumar La Noce. The cabins have a minimalist interior filled with  natural light that pours through the plentiful windows. Rooms are dressed in handcrafted textiles and furnishings made with natural fibers — such as  rattan chairs and rice-paper light fixtures — that emphasize the resort’s back-to-nature aesthetic. Operable windows, ceiling fans and linen shades allow guests to control the interior microclimate. The bathrooms are fitted with black granite countertops; a small porthole window looks out over the lush landscape. The hotel rooms also extend out to private terraces. Related: Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel with minimal impact In addition to Kumar La Noce’s elevated cabins  — dubbed the ‘Mountain-View Cottages’ — the hotel also offers ‘Garden-View Cottages’ designed to match a Western aesthetic. The retreat offers 13 rooms in total as well as a variety of experience packages, from spa and massage programs to bird watching and visits to an elephant sanctuary. + Kumar La Noce Images via Kumar La Noce , by Kumar La Noce and Vivek Muthuramalingam

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These charming timber cabins in South India are a retreat for nature lovers

3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

May 22, 2018 by  
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Toronto’s new buildings are quickly cementing the city’s status as an architectural icon, and its latest gorgeously green residential tower is no exception. The city has just broken ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building with multiple tiers of green roofs. Designed by Danish architecture firm  3XN , the residential building has multiple outdoor spaces integrated into the design to enhance the well-being of the residents. Looking to serve as an icon for the revitalized Bayside Toronto waterfront area, the multi-tiered design will house 174 residential units. Large balconies and terraces rise up in an “L” shape from the first floor, creating a strong connection to the outdoors. These spaces not only enable residents to enjoy fresh air and incredible views of the lake, but also illuminate the apartments’ interiors with natural light . Along with the private homes, the complex will include a community center, a basketball court, retail spaces, and plenty of restaurants and cafes. Related: Toronto’s waterfront to undergo major futuristic redesign thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs According to the architects, their vision of creating a “complex yet elegant sculptural form” inspired the final design of rising terraces. Like many of 3XN’s projects, Aquabella was based on Scandinavian design principles , which typically have a strong emphasis on providing outdoor spaces for healthy lifestyles. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Nielsen described his firm’s role in creating an architectural design that would foster a strong sense of community: “3XN is thrilled to be part of helping Toronto to reclaim its industrial waterfront and integrate it into the city. Inspired by the scale and intimacy of a family home, we envision this new project as a vertical neighborhood on the shores of Lake Ontario. The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle. The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighboring parks, and the city skyline.” + 3XN Architects Images via 3XN Architects

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3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

Steven Holl Architects LEED Gold-seeking museum is a beacon for sustainability

May 22, 2018 by  
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Environmental design and contemporary art go hand-in-hand in Steven Holl Architects’ recently completed The Markel Center , the home of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Located at the busiest intersection in Richmond, The Markel Center embodies VCU and the ICA’s commitment to sustainability with its LEED Gold-seeking design and energy-efficient technologies. Filled with natural light to reduce electricity demands, the museum draws energy from geothermal wells and features over 8,000 square feet of green roofs for extra insulation. Opened last month, VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art is free to the public and marks Richmond’s first art institution dedicated exclusively to exhibiting contemporary art . Sandwiched between VCU’s Monroe Park campus and the city’s art district, the ICA is a sculptural, 41,000-square-foot structure spread out across three floors and flooded with natural light from large glass walls, windows and skylights. The glass, which ranges in transparency from clear to opaque, filters out UV rays and, when backlit, gives the titanium-zinc-clad building a light, box-like appearance. The lobby, offices, cafe, bar, 240-seat auditorium , and concept shop, along with a 4,000-square-foot gallery, occupy the first floor and connect to the ICA’s central forum and outdoor garden, dubbed the “Thinking Field.” The second floor houses two forking galleries, an interactive “learning lab,” and a publicly accessible landscaped terrace . The top floor features a gallery with 33-foot-tall walls in addition to administrative suites and the boardroom. “We designed the ICA to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that will both illuminate and serve as a catalyst for the transformative possibilities of contemporary art,” said architect Steven Holl. “Like many contemporary artists working today, the ICA’s design does not draw distinctions between the visual and performing arts. The fluidity of the design allows for experimentation and will encourage new ways to display and present art that will capitalize on the ingenuity and creativity apparent throughout the VCU campus.” Related: Steven Holl Architects unveils designs for geothermal-powered Angers Collectors Museum Clad in 100% recyclable titanium-zinc exterior paneling, the LEED Gold -seeking building draws energy from 43 geothermal wells for its radiant floor system. Native plants are used in the permeable landscape design as well as on the green roofs that cover three of the four gallery roofs. Nearly a third of materials used during construction were recyclable and nearly a quarter of the materials were regionally sourced. + Steven Holl Architects Images by Iwan Baan

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Steven Holl Architects LEED Gold-seeking museum is a beacon for sustainability

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