Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zrich

April 2, 2019 by  
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In the midst of a centuries-old forest sits the Two Family House, an aptly named project that houses a pair of maisonette apartments for two families at the edge of Zürich, Switzerland. Local architecture firm Hajnoczky.Zanchetta Architekten collaborated with architect Angela Waibel on the design, which takes advantage of its wooded location with full-height windows that capture views of the changing landscape. Due to regulations that enforce minimal disturbance to the landscape, the building’s unusual triangular shape is dictated by the forest, which diagonally divided the parcel. To fit two homes onto the constrained space without compromising space and comfort, the architects used the slope of property to vertically separate the two apartments. Each of the four levels has a slightly different floor plan and size; the upper floors, for instance, have cantilevered elements, such as projecting windows, that increase floor space. The larger of the two maisonette apartments occupies the ground floor, which comprises the bedrooms, and the first floor, where the communal spaces are located. Since the building is set into the existing slope, both the ground floor and first floor have direct access to the gardens. The second apartment occupies the uppermost two floors. To make up for the smaller footprint, the upper apartment has access to three rooftop terraces. The building is primarily a timber-clad concrete structure, aside for the topmost level, which is built of timber construction. Related: Massive tree-like sculpture takes over Switzerland’s largest train station “To enhance the distinctiveness of the building, we have chosen a black timber facade to elegantly contrast with the surrounding nature,” the architects explain in a statement. “The tree grove is part of a forest arm that permeates through the city. From dense foliage in summer, the location metamorphoses in winter into a snowy scenery with a beautiful creek that flows to the lake of Zürich .” + Hajnoczky.Zanchetta Architekten Images © Lucas Peters

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Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zrich

Mecanoo unveils stunning glass lake house that harmonizes with nature

December 14, 2018 by  
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Dutch firm Mecanoo has just unveiled Villa on the Lake — a stunning example of contemporary home design that sits in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings. Tucked against a lake near the U.K. city of Lechlade, the cube-like home features facades of floor-to-ceiling glass panels and a massive rooftop terrace that offers optimal views over the water. At just over 6,000 square feet spanning three floors, the Villa on the Lake is a mammoth of a home. Despite its large size and predominantly glass facade, however, the bold design creates a strong harmony with its all-natural forest and lake surroundings. The entrance is connected to a long bridge that winds through the lake’s edge of thick forest. Curving the bridge allowed the architects to avoid felling trees, leaving the landscape in its natural state. Related: Mecanoo to update Washington’s MLK Library with massive green roof According to the architects, the home was designed from the inside out, so the homeowners could enjoy unobstructed views from anywhere in the home while still maintaining a sense of privacy. Glass panels make up the front and side facades, giving off the appearance that the home is floating on the water. Inside, white walls and sparse furnishings, along with an abundance of natural light, brighten the space. The main living area is on the second floor while the bedrooms and private areas are on the top floor. A large staircase joins the three stories, one of which is actually underwater. The sunken basement houses a cinema, game area, bar and wellness spa. Of course, for truly enjoying the stunning panoramic views, the home boasts two open-air terraces . The rooftop terrace is more than 800 square feet, and the second deck, which leads out from the living space, wraps around the home’s volume, hovering just over the water. + Mecanoo Via Archdaily Photography by Mariashot.photo and Blue Sky Images via Mecanoo

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Mecanoo unveils stunning glass lake house that harmonizes with nature

A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for children

December 14, 2018 by  
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While it’s obvious that we want the children in our lives to have only the most natural, clean, organic clothes and toys , it’s also important to our planet that we introduce sustainable goods from the start. As children grow up with eco-friendly items at their side, they will naturally grow up to respect the Earth, seeking out these types of green products for the rest of their lives. To get them started on the right foot, here are some of our favorite sustainable gifts for kids and babies. Veggie Crayons These crayons , which are made from organic herb and vegetable powders as well as food-grade soy wax, are safe for babies and children to use. While they shouldn’t be eaten, they are safe for hand to mouth transfer, and they do not contain toxic ingredients like petroleum. Plus, the square shape also makes them fun for stacking and playing. “Adopted” animals Support organizations like WWF , Oceana , The Nature Conservancy and more, and in return, your child will have an opportunity to learn more about our planet and the animals that roam it. Many organizations will allow you to symbolically adopt an animal , and for your donation your child will receive a plush animal, coloring books, educational materials and more. Related: 20 sensory table activities that offer creative ways to teach kids through play Plush toys Kids love their “stuffies,” so gift them their new favorite this year. These options from Ouistitine are adorable yet minimalist, so they’ll still look chic lying all over your living room floor. Plus, each toy is handmade from the scraps of natural, eco-textiles like wool, linen and cotton . Sustainable clothing Clothing is a gifting staple in many households, but conventional fashion often relies on unsafe fabrics and unethical production processes. If you’re looking to give the little ones clothing this year, be sure to choose options that are organic , non-toxic and responsibly made. Gardening kits Most kids love to get messy, so add in the benefits of growing their own food and teaching them the importance of gardening, and you have quite a gift! Surprise the kids with a gardening kit (like this one ), which is fun for children of all ages. You can also check out this website for educational resources to go along with the gift. Images via  Wee Can Too , WWF , Christopher Michel , Ouistitine ,  Phichit Wongsunthi and Shutterstock

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A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for children

Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

March 21, 2018 by  
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Aedas has unveiled plans for a soaring 656-foot tower that’s broken into two pieces held together by a series of ‘floating’ sky gardens and glass boxes. The architects drew inspiration from the Chinese character ‘?’ in the logo of the Taichung Commercial Bank. The 40-story high tower is a mixed-use development comprising the Taichung Commercial Bank Headquarters and an internationally-branded five-star hotel. Instead of stacking all the large functions such as the ballroom and swimming pool in a singular tower, the design creates two separate towers with a vertical void in the middle of the building. Related: Village-inspired office in Jakarta is topped with living trees and a green roof A series of transparent glass boxes house public exhibition space, sky gardens , a ballroom, a swimming pool, and conferencing facilities within the void. This plan enriches the building’s shape and creates a unique, iconic feature facing the main road. A terrace retreat at the rooftop features a restaurant and a VIP club long. Landscaped outdoor space and sweeping balconies provide magnificent city views for guests. Aedas’ design recently won the Tall Buildings category at MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2018. + Aedas Via Archinect

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Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

February 20, 2018 by  
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Architect Suraksha Acharya from Midori Architects has proposed a pair of ultra-green translucent towers for the Hong Kong skyline. The futuristic Aero Hive skyscrapers are clad in an organic facade interspersed with greenery that leads up to the towers’ expansive open-air rooftop gardens . The concept is based on creating an iconic symbol of sustainable design for the city – a unique highrise designed to adapt to the challenges of the local climate and reduce CO2 emissions in the area. Acharya’s design, which recently won the Skyhive Skyscraper Challenge , is meant to provide the bustling Hong Kong skyline with an icon of sustainability. Although aesthetically apt for Hong Kong’s profile of soaring skyscrapers, the Aero Hive is also strategically designed to withstand the local climate. The shape and size of the two towers, as well as the materials, were all chosen to adapt to the city’s subtropical weather and extreme winds. Related: Futuristic floating skyscraper ‘heals’ the effects of climate change According to the architect, the design is meant to change ideas when it comes to green skyscrapers, “Aero Hive aims to challenge the common belief that contemporary tall buildings cannot be ventilated naturally due to their ultra-heights and offers pause from typical hermetically sealed glass-boxes, serving as a model of sustainability” The curvaceous form of the towers is designed to be self-shading, meaning that the angles of the buildings are precisely aligned to allow them to mutually shade each other throughout different times of the day. Additionally, the porous cladding allows optimal air circulation throughout the building. The double glazed windows that make up the cladding are also optimized to bring in diffuses natural light to the interior while restricting direct solar radiation. Topping the twisty towers are two flared rooftops, which will be open to the public as city gardens. The greenery is two-fold – helping preserve the city’s public green space, but also address the “urban heat island” effect common in Hong Kong’s tropical climate. The lush rooftop gardens will help create a natural habitat for local birds, as well as filter pollutants and reduce CO2. + Midori Architects + Midori Architects on Facebook + Midori Architects on Instagram + Midori Architects on Twitter + Midori Architects on G+ Images courtesy Midori Architects

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Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

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