This lake house shows how nature inspires seamless design

September 13, 2021 by  
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Organic Shelter sits in the middle of a forest, with a lake transitioning smoothly away from it. Nature is all around, creating stunning views for everyone inside. This beautiful modern home is the latest project from Studio Organic’s Aga Kobus and Grzegorz Goworek. Kobus and Goworek decided to make the lake and the landscape part of the home design itself. Nature surrounds the house, unspoiled, wild and pure. The house is not an intruder into this natural world; it’s made to be a part of it. Related: This house by the lake erases the barrier between inside and outside The house is made from natural materials such as stone and wood. Polish limestone gives the home its distinct look, alongside burned larch wood that creates black planks. These elements combine for a simple, elegant and modern design with clean lines. Inside, the minimalist style continues. Japanese design influenced the flow of the interior spaces. Glass surfaces allow plenty of natural light, and the rooms have light colors to keep the spaces feeling airy and open. The walls and floor are oak, with matching oak boards on the ceiling. Upholstery and fabrics in the space are made of natural linen and cotton. Lamps woven with wooden strips hang over the table. Soft edges and simple lines define the space. Organic Shelter’s minimalist, beautiful design takes nothing away from the amazing natural views outside. The living area is full of curving sofas that look out over the lake and the trees . This creates a continuous effect, bringing the home and lake into a seamless flow. As Studio Organic explained in a press release, “The house flows smoothly into the surface of the lake, surrounded by a forest , with the southern exposition. It sounds like a dream of every nature lover. This is what the latest project of the Studio Organic looks like.” + Studio Organic Images via Studio Organic

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This lake house shows how nature inspires seamless design

ANNA is a stunning prefab cabin with off-grid potential

August 19, 2021 by  
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Many people dream of staying in a cabin in the woods, but few have dreamed of one like this. Fortunately, Dutch designer Caspar Schols did, and now it’s available in a flat-pack design that can be quickly constructed for work, living or a getaway. The idea behind this unique and versatile  cabin  is to allow nature into the space, rather than simply placing a lodging in nature. “It’s primarily about being outside, and about creating a dynamic interaction between yourself, cabin ANNA as your home, and nature,” Schols explained. Related: ARCspace’s prefab homes are a quick and sustainable housing solution That’s done through a dynamic and innovative design that allows layers of the cabin to roll away as different situations arise. It features a glass-framed interior and a wooden exterior with a roof. The exterior is made of panels on rollers that can quickly transform the space. Completely retracting the walls and roof leaves a deck surface for true outdoor living. Alternatively, removing only the  wood  panels leaves a glass sunroom for shelter from the elements while allowing in copious natural light and views. When the weather rolls in, so do the walls, for a tight closure and a cozy protected space.  Schols was new to the architecture realm, but he dreamed big and delivered. ANNA, as the cabin is known, is now a completed ANNA Stay location, and the home can be delivered to a buyer’s location nearly anywhere in Europe . It’s expected to be available for shipping worldwide in 2022. ANNA can come flat-packed or fully constructed. If construction is required onsite, the build takes a few days with a small crew and an electric crane. Schols relies on  natural materials  inside and out, using sustainable Siberian larch wood and birch plywood. Sawdust is used for insulation. The cabins are prefabricated for minimal construction waste and site impact.  The cabin covers the basics with a shower, toilet, bathtub, complete kitchen and space for a couple of beds. Buyers can customize ANNA with a central heating system to match the location’s climate. It can also be fully equipped for off-grid living with a fire-heated boiler, a solar energy system and a water  waste  treatment system. ANNA Stay has received the 2021 Architizer A+Awards Project of the Year Award in a competition with over 5,000 entries from more than 100 countries. ANNA’s ability to adapt and change enables occupants to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. Schols says, “She gives the freedom to live among an abundance of life, and cultivates a sense of belonging. You become part of everything around you, and I believe that everyone recognizes that feeling deeply from within.”  + Cabin ANNA Photography by Jorrit ‘t Hoen and Tonu Tunnel

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ANNA is a stunning prefab cabin with off-grid potential

This sustainable home has a roof that bends like a leaf

August 13, 2021 by  
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Architecture is more than creating a sound building. It’s a craft that couples personal style and visual appeal with goals for the space. In the case of the Garden House, a project located in Playa Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica , it’s a family home that meets the challenges of immersing into the surrounding landscape while maintaining a low carbon footprint. Garden House is more than shelter, although it is built to provide shelter for everyday life and in the case of natural disasters. It’s an example of how a structure can sync with nature. To start, architects built the home on stilts for a  minimal site impact  and to allow for a green space on the ground floor. The design takes into account rising sea levels and the potential for future flooding.  Related: New apartments bring sustainable architecture to the Upper West Side Costa Rica is world-renowned for taking progressive action in the fight against climate change. With that in mind, the Garden House took the lead on creating an  energy-efficient  space through the use of high-efficiency double glass sliding doors and windows that allow in copious natural light while helping to moderate temperatures indoors. They also promote natural ventilation and eliminate the line between indoor and outdoor worlds. Also, the water from the AC is captured and reused, along with  rainwater harvesting  that is filtered and used for irrigation. Water shortages in Costa Rica and across the globe inspired the designers to use high-efficiency faucets and toilets. This eco-friendly water supply supports the many surrounding gardens, which double as a privacy barrier and natural shade. The design hopes to set an example for the potential of “food production wall systems,” where even small homes can provide their own food. While the design may start from the ground up, even the roof works in conjunction with the other sustainable elements. The architects say, “The roof bends like a leaf to provide proper shade for the house and water drainage slope while capturing the sun’s energy for the use of the Garden House.” This is done through the use of  solar panels . + LSD Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Andres Garcia Lachner

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This sustainable home has a roof that bends like a leaf

A green roof makes Lazy House a sustainable beauty

August 9, 2021 by  
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Lazy House’s design emphasizes the relationship between house, garden and city. Each element flows together in this beautiful, harmonious home. Part of a new urban area in the Czech Republic , Lazy House is located above the Zlín valley on a slope that connects to the Lazy residential district. With its lower floor base sunk into the slope, the house has a square floor plan with a rotated layout. The house sits facing the north and the valley below to create gorgeous views. Related: 4 green-roofed volumes combine to form one eco-friendly home The floor plan is divided into two separate guest sections with separate access. There’s also room for a wine cellar and a swimming pool with a grotto. A “social zone” area houses the dining room, living room and kitchen. This is in the central part of the home. The master suite area has a walk-in closet and a “secret” bathroom door. Meanwhile, the two smaller bedrooms share a bathroom. The western part of the house has a guest apartment with a separate entrance, terrace and garden. The unique layout helps eliminate the need for hallways and corridors so that the space is used for living and not for connecting areas. Lazy House is constructed out of reinforced concrete with high-performance thermal insulation . Adapted from the original brick design, the wine cellar features interior steel waxed shelves and a roof covered with Irish moss. The green roof over the main portion of the home creates the look of an infinity meadow that blends into the landscape. The house showcases an open concept that creates stunning panoramic views of the surrounding city. Vegetation around the house creates privacy without destroying this beautiful view. Tall grasses and bamboo plants form a green “fence” of sorts around the property. The design aims to be seamless, streamlined and flowing, like nature itself. Even the garden is made to look like a smooth, natural green carpet. + Petr Janda Photography by BoysPlayNice

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A green roof makes Lazy House a sustainable beauty

Ngi Space offers a new purpose to traditional ceiling tiles

August 9, 2021 by  
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Architecture can connect with nature, serve a purpose and bring visual charm all at the same time. This seems to be the case with Ngói Space, a multipurpose building located in a residential area outside Hanoi, Vietnam . Ngói Space sits on a corner, drawing attention from every angle. H&P Architects compare the design to that of a tree , such as a branching banyan or bodhi tree, merged with elements of a cave. H&P Architects designed Ngói Space not only as a community hub but as an example of tilework architecture. Many of the existing and crumbling tile-ceiling buildings in the country are torn down with little consideration for material recycling . Yet, the tile is a familiar natural material, so the architects chose to use it in unfamiliar ways, creating curtains and walls rather than just traditional tile ceilings. Related: Reclaimed timber makes up this tranquil nature retreat in Vietnam   With this project, the architects said, “The Ngói space was created as an inspiring solution to reusing these memory-filled tiles.” A press release further explained, “On a larger scale, it orientates users towards a sustainable tomorrow, from the perspective of reaching back to the past to recognize and rediscover the core and hidden values of the original space and use those values to create spaces of the future.” The eye-catching design incorporates 20,000 ‘viglacera dong anh tiles’ into the exterior, forming five levels of clay tile triangles as an exterior skin to the building. The roofing tiles form a shaded space between that exterior and a glass wall on the interior layer. Floor nets and casual areas to enjoy a cold beverage with friends fill the void. The building also includes a two-floor café , a multifunctional space for seminars or exhibitions on the fourth floor and a rooftop garden. + H&P Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Le Minh Hoang via H&P Architects

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Garden City brings a breath of fresh air to urban Paris

August 6, 2021 by  
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The future of Paris will be focused on a greener, healthier future for the environment. Part of this plan focuses on the Bois de Vincennes, the city’s largest public park. It sits on the Lac des Minimes. The project, Garden City of the Crescent Moon, seeks to showcase what the design of the future can look like. How can environmentally-friendly concerns be integrated into urban design ? Garden City seeks to provide the answers to that question. Related: Experimental, ecological home is inspired by a tree in France Urban agriculture is a big part of the design. This is a method of using space to create growing areas for herbs , spices and vegetables. Urban agriculture not only improves soil quality but also reduces air pollution. Most importantly of all, it produces food. By providing spaces for farming and gardening within urban areas, the plan also provides opportunities for economic benefits. Produce, spices and other products harvested from these mini urban farms can become a source of supplemental income. Roof terraces and small urban greenhouses create space for urban agriculture and create a unique look. The design also includes spaces for housing, offices, sports facilities and areas for cultural activities. The distinct silhouette of the project overall is made to resemble the shape of canyons. The Garden City design follows the natural bend of the Lac des Minimes and its natural islands . In the Garden City, all yards, roofs and public spaces will be used for growing and livestock. In fact, cattle breeding and dairy production areas will be right in town at the heart of the action. Meanwhile, everyone will have the chance and the space to grow all sorts of commodities, including corn, beans and herbs. This design shows how urban environments can become more eco-friendly and self-sustaining in the future. How can urban agriculture spaces like this impact society, climate and health? This project can serve as a case study to help answer these questions. The plan is a design created by architecture firm Rescubika. The firm describes Garden City as “created by man for man” and says it will improve the urban landscape by “adapting it to our new way of living in the city.” Via DesignBoom Images via RESCUBIKA Creations

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Garden City brings a breath of fresh air to urban Paris

New Day School by MMXVI makes use of existing residential building

August 5, 2021 by  
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School districts around the world face the battle of pairing the existing budget with the need to increase usable space for student and teacher use. When the topic inevitably came up for an elementary and middle school in Orpund, Switzerland, the team at MMXVI Architecture was pulled into the discussion. The result is a unique solution that serves a multitude of purposes for the campus and beyond. Known as the New Day School, the building was previously a residential building near the fringe of the school grounds. With the decision to use the aging building, the architects turned their focus on function. The planning team saw the opportunity to not only meet overflow needs of the school but to create a space that was flexible for the public, too. Related: Cranbrook School teaches environmental stewardship   The day school doesn’t require classrooms, so the space is open and flowing as a place where students can eat or meet for clubs or other extracurricular activities. The public can also access the spaces for gatherings, meetings and events. The original foundation from the 1950s wood home was kept to minimize costs, construction time and site impact . As the design took shape, the team said, “It became clear that this concrete structure would be ideal for accommodating ancillary rooms such as the kitchen, sanitary facilities, services, and storage.”  With these secondary spaces accounted for, the main rooms in the building were opened up with a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors. The entire building has direct access to the gardens. A large, curved roof brings a soft connection between the levels and provides passive design elements for cooling and ventilation. Automated louvre windows provide additional cooling at night and bring natural light into the space. Along with a passive earth-air heat exchanger, there is no need for air conditioning, which results in low energy usage. + MMXVI Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Oliver Dubuis via MMXVI Architecture

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New Day School by MMXVI makes use of existing residential building

Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature

August 3, 2021 by  
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The clients for this home in the northernmost part of Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture, wanted the architecture to represent local history and culture while also developing a modern aesthetic in a space that closes the gap between indoors and outdoors. Architect Yasuyuki Kitamura honored the clients’ wishes for a sustainable home that spoke to nature with thin beams on the interior and large windows to invite in natural light and open up the views of the nearby Mount Aogai. Known as the House in Minohshinmachi, the home was situated with the south side facing the road, east and west sides meeting other residential homes and the north side opening up to a buffer zone for the landslide disaster warning area. Related: Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration The one-story house was kept low-lying in order to merge into the landscape without being obtrusive as well as to keep material and construction costs low. Builders used conventional construction methods, relying on wood and structural metals, which came together quickly for a short building period. House in Minohshinmachi was designed to ensure high seismic performance, resulting in the achievement of earthquake-resistance grade three standards. The designer brought elements of nature into the interior design with large pillars that resemble trees standing in the forest. Natural light floods the space with the entire center of the roof acting as skylights. Modern and minimalistic , the home also achieves excellent insulation performance standards while adhering to a modest budget. The project won the prestigious AZ Award and has been selected as the 2021 Architizer A+ Awards Finalist for Architecture + Living Small/Low Cost Design. “We have been searching for the future of environmental architecture, and our goal was to reconstruct the forgotten relationship between local character and the surrounding natural environment,” the architect explained. “The result is a new type of building that, in addition to its high residential performance, feels more like a part of nature than a landscape.” + Yasuyuki Kitamura Photography by Masashige Akeda via v2com

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Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature

Invasive lanternflies want to take over the U.S.

August 3, 2021 by  
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Spotted lanternflies are extremely cool-looking bugs, with polka-dotted wings in shades of red, black and beige that make them resemble paper lanterns. But people should be very worried about this invasive  insect , according to entomologist Frank Hale. The spotted lanternfly hales from India, Vietnam and China. It probably immigrated to the U.S. as a stowaway in a cut stone or wood product shipment circa 2012. The initial U.S. sighting in 2014 was, fittingly enough, on a common  invasive  tree of heaven in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Since then, spotted lanternflies have spread to at least 26 counties in  Pennsylvania  and been spotted in several other eastern states. Related: More than half of Europe’s native trees face extinction The problem is, this is one destructive little bug. Lanternflies feed by piercing  tree  bark and vines, biting right into the plant’s vascular system and sucking out the sap. At an inch long, they’re pretty big for a sucking insect and can remove an awful lot of sap, jeopardizing the lives of their hosts. Then they excrete large amounts of the euphemistically called “honeydew,” which coats the tree. “The heavy flow of honeydew and the resulting sooty mold makes a mess of the landscape,” said Hale, as reported in Ecowatch. Woe to those who park beneath a tree infested with lanternflies. These invasive bugs also have a yen for grapevines. It takes a lot of  insecticide  to kill them, driving up production costs and making vintners kiss their organic status goodbye. Eastern wine-producing areas, including Long Island and Finger Lakes in New York, Newport, Rhode Island and parts of Virginia all face the threat of lanternflies ruining their vineyards. How have these little bugs spread so far in just a few years? In late summer and autumn, lanternflies lay egg masses. Any smooth surface is fair game. Including  cars , trains and trucks. The unborn lanternflies can hitch a ride anywhere, leading to future infestations. Scientists are trying to figure out the best way to stop these bugs from continuing their west and southward trajectory. “Two naturally occurring fungal pathogens of spotted lanternflies have been identified in the U.S.,” Hale told Ecowatch. “Also, U.S. labs are testing two parasitoid insects – insects that grow by feeding on lanternflies and killing them in the process – that have been brought from  China  for testing and possible future release.” Wait, haven’t we seen that in a sci-fi movie? In the meantime, if you see spotted lanternflies in your area, contact your local county extension office for suggestions on how to control the bugs. And if you’re the unlucky first sighter of the bugs in your area, contact your state department of  agriculture .  “ If the infestation is caught early before it can become established in your area, hopefully it can be eradicated there,” said Hale. “Eventually, it will spread to many parts of the country. We can slow the spread by identifying and eradicating new infestations wherever they arise.” Via Ecowatch , USDA Lead image via F Delventhal

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Invasive lanternflies want to take over the U.S.

A mini rainforest thrives in the Nanbo Bay Reception Center

July 19, 2021 by  
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In Yinchuan Shi, China , Nanbo Bay Reception Center by Sunson Design is an example of striking architecture that intertwines nature with comfort and eye-catching appeal. The center sits adjacent to China Yinchuan Cultural Park, which is backed by wetlands that appear to have inspired much of the feng shui flow inside the building. The experience begins at the entrance, dubbed the “hall of time.” Here, visitors their first impression of the natural yet mysterious space, which is bathed in  plants . In fact, the Reception Hall is a mini ecological rainforest with bamboo, banyan trees, plantains and other fresh green plants and low shrubs. This environment invites guests to slow down and look around, enjoying the natural elements while gradually progressing through the space. Related: Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center is a hidden art hall in China Copious natural light streams in from innovative sky windows overhead, ranging from a spectacularly engaging grilled design to extraordinary skylight effects. The marriage between the outdoors and indoors leaves visitors questioning if they are actually in a building at all.  Moving into the adjacent sand table display area, visitors meet more  natural materials  in the form of floor-to-ceiling stone walls and copious wood accents. Also off the reception hall is an expansive library and sitting area with tables spaced throughout a tiered stairway. On the opposite side of a built-in bookshelf wall sits a bar. The bookshelf itself is filled with discussion-worthy pieces paying homage to ancient Yinchuan. Throughout the dining area,  wood  tables and chairs, wallpaper printed in food designs, and bamboo screens continue the ecological theme.  Nanbo Bay Reception Center also features a landscaped courtyard, awe-inspiring sculptures, and a glass-walled swimming pool area that creates the visual illusion of “zero gravity” for a floating effect. These spaces work together to join the elements of  water , stone, light, music and plants. + Sunson Design Photography by Kanghui Zeng

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