A remote, off-grid cabin is elevated off the forest floor with log columns

November 15, 2018 by  
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Panama-based architect Jose Isturaín (JiA) has built a beautiful tiny cabin tucked into a remote, mountainous area in Panama. With the help of local builders as well as his own family, Isturaín constructed Cabin 192 atop pine columns to elevate the glass-enclosed structure off the landscape to reduce its environmental impact . Located in Altos del María, a mountainous region about two hours outside of Panama City, the cabin is the first structure of what will eventually be a family retreat consisting of a main house and three individual cabins. Tucked deep into a wooded forest, the idyllic area offers a serene respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Related: A cluster of wooden cabins create a serene weekend retreat in Norway Working with local builders, as well as his family and friends, Isturaín envisioned a cabin that would “transmit the peace and tranquility that simplicity offers, an elementary architecture.” Accordingly, he decided to forgo any type of ostentatious design, instead opting for an off-grid cabin  that would put preserving the natural landscape at the forefront of the project. The cabin’s frame was built from  reclaimed pine wood beams and columns felled on site. Pine trees are not native to the area, so the decision was made to use this wood for the cabins and a perimeter fence. The team reforested the surrounding area with native species that would help provide shade to the home and improve the local environment. Using the basics of tropical architecture, Isturaín designed the tiny cabin to not only be off-grid, but also resilient to the local climate . Raising the main living space off the ground certainly helped to preserve the natural landscape underneath. But by elevating the home off of the natural soil, it also helped keep the tropical humidity at bay. The roof is covered with a slanted metal mooring structure that juts out substantially over the cabin’s perimeter, a strategic feature that will help cool the interior space during the hot and humid summer months. The ground floor of the  cabin is actually an open, 226-square-foot space with no walls, just pine columns that mark the perimeter. The covered, open-air living area has a small kitchenette, dining table and ample seating, the perfect space for family gatherings. The bedroom and bathroom are located on the upper floor, which is a very compact 387 square feet. Large floor-to-ceiling windows illuminate the space with natural light . Facing out over the surrounding forest, large sliding doors open completely, further connecting the structure with its forested surroundings. + JiA Via Archdaily Photography by Alfredo Martiz and Nadine Sam via JiA

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A remote, off-grid cabin is elevated off the forest floor with log columns

Lyft’s Jody Kelman on collaborating to launch autonomous vehicle technology

November 5, 2018 by  
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Self-driving technology providers were looking for riders — and Lyft had a network of customers looking for rides. The collaboration made sense to Jody Kelman, director of self-driving platforms at Lyft, which has launched trials in cities across the U.S. Collecting research on the space, the decisions necessary and implementing them has been a collective effort, but one that’s driving a “revolution.” “We really want to be pushing people into these shared electric self-driving cars, not advancing another generation of individual car ownership,” she said.

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Lyft’s Jody Kelman on collaborating to launch autonomous vehicle technology

Former convent in Valencia is reborn as an ornate entertainment hub

October 30, 2018 by  
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In the heart of Valencia, Spain , the old convent of San José has undergone a sensitive transformation that has turned the historic site into a vibrant gathering space for civic events, a food market and a soon-to-be hotel. Barcelona-based interior design practice Francesc Rifé Studio was tapped for the adaptive reuse project and inserted modern updates while preserving the property’s architectural integrity. The renovation project was completed this year under the name of Convent Carmen. Built in the 17th century, the church has been modified into the main access point for the site and been remade into a multifunctional venue and “21st-century sculpture.” Metal framework was installed to give the space a contemporary edge and to house all new light fixtures and other elements in order to leave the original church walls untouched. New audiovisual technical elements, for instance, including an adjustable color lighting system with RGB, was fitted into the structure. The designers also took cues from the church’s layout and emphasized the dome with three metal circles, from which a sculptural light fixture hangs. “Through this element was intended to develop an obvious past-future connection, and as it happened in the Renaissance the dome takes an essential role,” the architects wrote in the project statement. “This space for the celebration of the religious rite now becomes a privileged place for musicians, lecturers and a multitude of actors, which will make this one of the main participatory focuses of the city. The simplicity of this intervention demonstrates the importance of holding back and making little noise when the context already expresses its memories with force.” Related: Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library Outside the church, the garden has been redeveloped into a “gastronomic market.”  Shipping containers were repurposed into small-scale restaurants offering different types of cuisines, from fried Andalusian to Japanese sushi, all coordinated by Michelin-star chef Miguel Ángel Mayor. The casual setting, illuminated by fairy lights, features shared and varied seating options built mainly of tubular metal and phenolic surface boards dyed black. The addition of palms and other trees give the outdoor space an oasis-like feel. + Francesc Rifé Studio Photography by David Zarzoso via Francesc Rifé Studio

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Former convent in Valencia is reborn as an ornate entertainment hub

Dutch couple to drive a solar-powered, 3D-printed vehicle to the South Pole

October 30, 2018 by  
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In a bid to promote zero-waste lifestyles, Edwin and Liesbeth ter Velde of Clean2Antarctica will soon embark on a thrilling adventure to one of the coldest places on Earth — Antarctica. The Dutch couple will drive from their base camp on the southernmost continent to the South Pole in a solar-powered vehicle — called the Solar Voyager — built from upcycled, 3D-printed plastic components. The expedition is expected to take 30 days and will kick off in less than a month on Nov. 28, 2018. Weighing in at 1,485 kilograms with a length of 16 meters, the Solar Voyager was mainly built from specially engineered,  3D-printed hexagonal blocks, called HexCores, made from industrially recycled PET filament that lock together into a honeycomb-like structure. Forty 3D printers were used to transform approximately 200 kilograms of plastic into the chassis of the Solar Voyager, which is held together with 3D-printed knobs that can withstand below freezing temperatures. The vehicle consists of a cab large enough for two people and two trailers on eight netted tires. Mounted on the trailers are 10 bifacial solar panels with 325-Watt peak for powering the Solar Voyager’s engine. Each panel measures nearly 19 square feet and weighs about 25 kilograms. In case of emergencies, the vehicle will be equipped with two 60-kilogram batteries with a total power of 10 kWh. The couple has also included infrared windows for absorbing sunlight and vacuum solar tubes that melt snow. Related: The world’s largest wildlife sanctuary proposed for Antarctica “If driving to the South Pole on solar power was our ultimate goal, we would still be proud of our mission because no one has ever done it before and the technology we developed can become a prototype for Antarctic research drones,” the couple said. “However, it’s not about technology but about starting experiments and discovering what’s possible with waste. To reach a circular society, we need to start doing things differently. Our expedition is an example how far you can get when you simply start doing things differently instead of talking about abstract solutions.” The expedition is expected to begin November 28 starting from Union Glacier, Antarctica. The Solar Voyager will be followed by a support group of three people for filming purposes. + Clean2Antarctica Images via Clean2Antarctica

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Dutch couple to drive a solar-powered, 3D-printed vehicle to the South Pole

Penda unveils a futuristic micro-cabin inspired by Beijings hutongs

October 26, 2018 by  
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The micro-apartment concept has been sweeping cities around the world due to overcrowding and rising housing prices. But out of the need to provide solutions for urban housing issues, some designers are looking toward the future. Known for its innovative housing concepts, Penda has just unveiled the MINI Living Urban Cabin, designed to achieve “maximum quality of living within a minimum space” by forgoing walls almost completely. The 160-square-foot,  pod-like cabin is a futuristic, circular volume with a sleek, white facade. Designed as a temporary living space, the micro-apartment was conceptualized to offer a high degree of flexibility within a compact, open-air structure. Related: Penda unveils temporary nature-filled “village” for the Beijing Horticultural Expo Penda co-founding partner and architect Sun Dayong sought inspiration for the design in Beijing’s architectural history , specifically the city’s beloved hutongs. By putting a modern take on traditional Beijing architecture, the open-air cabin is meant to connect the residents to the community. The cabin features various volumes jutting out from the upper layer of the structure. Lined in a reflective gold cladding, these volumes have cut-outs that give the structure a playful, futuristic appearance but also allow natural light to filter into the living space. Inside, the design is divided into two living areas on either side, each separated by thin columns. In the middle of the living areas, a sitting hammock swings from the roof, inviting activity and conversation as well as providing a place to relax and read. Elsewhere in the home, transforming furnishings were chosen for their space-saving techniques that offer the ultimate in flexibility . In fact, much of the furniture was built with push, fold and rotate mechanisms to provide various uses. Even the front door folds outward, reminiscent of a spaceship. + Penda Via Archdaily Photography by Xia zhi, Laurian Ghinitoiu via Penda

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Penda unveils a futuristic micro-cabin inspired by Beijings hutongs

Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

October 12, 2018 by  
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A dazzling neon green light show is illuminating the night skies in Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s latest large-scale art installation, the Space Waste Lab Performance. Created as part of the Space Waste Lab , the performance uses real-time tracking information to render the space waste floating above our heads visible with bright green LEDs that follow the movement of the drifting waste. The series of live installations kicked off on October 5 in the Dutch city of Almere and aims to call attention to the problem of space waste as well as sustainable upcycling solutions. According to Studio Roosegaarde, there are currently more than 29,000 items of space waste  — approximately 8.1 million kilograms worth — floating around the earth. Classified as objects greater than 10 centimeters, the waste comprises anything from parts of broken rockets to chipped-off satellite pieces. The drifting junk poses a danger to current satellites and can disrupt digital communications, however there is no clear plan on how to fix the growing issue. In response, the Dutch design studio launched Space Waste Lab with support from the European Space Agency to bring attention to the issue and find ways to upcycle the waste into sustainable products. The Space Waste Lab Performance that launched early this month marks the first phase of the living lab. Created in compliance with strict safety and aviation regulations, the large-scale light show uses cutting-edge software and camera technology to track pieces of drifting space waste in real time with high-powered, neon green LEDs that project a distance of 125,000 to 136,000 miles. “I’m a strong believer in cooperation between technologists and artists,” said  ESA Director Franco Ongaro about Space Waste Lab. “Artists not only communicate vision and feelings to the public but help us discover aspects of our work which we are often unable to perceive. This cooperation is all the more important when dealing with issues like space debris, which may one day impact our future and our ability to draw maximum benefits from space. We need to speak in different ways, to convey not just the dry technological aspects of technology, but the emotions involved in the struggle to preserve this environment for future generations.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde unveils mind-expanding 295-foot SPACE installation in Eindhoven Space Waste Lab will be open to the public at Kunstlinie in Almere until January 19, 2019 and is complemented by the “Space @ KAF” exhibition next door. The Space Waste Lab Performance will be exhibited after sunset on the nights of October 5 and 6; November 9 and 10; December 7 and 8; and January 18 and 19, 2019. The surrounding street and commercial lights will be turned off at those times to enhance the experience. Phase 2 of the program begins after January 2019 and will study ways to capture and upcycle space waste. + Studio Roosegaarde Via Dezeen Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

A stunning solar-powered pavilion is planned for pasta company Barilla

September 21, 2018 by  
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London-based firm Open Architecture Systems  has just unveiled designs for a gorgeous solar-powered pavilion for the Italian food company Barilla. Slated to be built adjacent to the company’s headquarters in Parma, Italy, the plans show a contemporary building with an undulating roof rising out of the surrounding landscape. According to the architects, the inspiration for the design originated with the company’s key values of tradition, family and community. Although the concept is based on the pasta company’s long history, the structure itself is a fresh,  contemporary design that manages to be both subtle and striking at the same time. Related: Confluence Park’s new solar-powered pavilions collect rainwater and provide shade from the summer sun The architects explained that their first objective was to blend the new building into its surrounding landscape in order to become one harmonious space. “We strongly believe that landscape and pavilion should always be merged into one system, one building,” the firm said. “The new topography allows us to define a sense of space, and to provide shelter and a place for discovery, very much like in nature . We are interested not only in the space created by the topography but the spaces around it and how they interact with the new Barilla Pavilion. Raising the landscape provides us with infinite potentials for visitor interactions, interesting and unique experiences such as a raised piazza, a stepped hill with seating for an amphitheater, a valley for gatherings and many more different uses.” Partially embedded into the surrounding landscape, the building’s height is kept low to put the focus on the bold, undulating canopy that looks as if it’s about to take off at any moment. Comprised of perforated rows of solar panels , the roof’s array will generate clean energy for the building and also enable a system of natural ventilation. The exterior will be clad in large vertical glass panels framed in metal posts, providing natural light  throughout the interior. Once inside, visitors will be greeted with an open-floor plan comprised of several independent elements used for distinct purposes. At the heart of the structure will be the Hub, a large central space that can be adapted to various uses. There will also be flexible spaces for art exhibits and meetings as well as a large 400-seat auditorium. Also found inside will be the Start-ups Pavilion, an open office space where young entrepreneurs can foster their ideas. Within the solar-powered pavilion there will also be a nutrition center, which will serve as a research facility that is open to the public. And of course, guests to the pavilion will be able to dine in Sapori Barilla, a large restaurant featuring the company’s signature pastas. + Open Architecture Systems Images via Open Architecture Systems

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A stunning solar-powered pavilion is planned for pasta company Barilla

A 6-foot-tall man lives comfortably in this custom tiny home

September 12, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen tiny homes built for a number of distinct uses, such as homes for veterans , students and families. But one “large” group has been left out of the movement — until now. The Light Haus is a tiny home on wheels custom-built for a couple, including a man who is over six feet tall. Designed by Vina Lustado from Sol Haus Design , the light-filled home has an interior height of 6’8″. Going vertical didn’t mean sacrificing on space or style; the house has two separate offices, tons of storage space, a luxurious bathroom with a rainfall shower and even special access for the couple’s cat. Anna and Kevin approached Vina with their hopes of finding a tiny home on wheels that would be comfortable for Kevin’s height, but still provide the amenities of a traditional home. By creating a height clearance of 6’8″, there would be ample room for him to stand up, but that wasn’t sufficient when it came to creating a spacious living area. Therefore, the solution was to extend the structure horizontally to 24 feet long, which added much-needed space. The living space is flooded with natural light thanks to an abundance of windows, especially the multiple clerestory windows that wrap around the home’s upper level. The layout has a central living area with a compact kitchen on one side. On the adjacent wall, stairs with hidden storage lead up to the sleeping loft. Again, space efficiency was essential here, so there is a whopping 4’6″ of space above the loft. Related: This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five A light color palette and custom-made, multi-functional furniture give the space a fresh, modern aesthetic. Ample storage in every nook and cranny helps keep the space clutter-free. Adding to the healthy atmosphere is the fact that the tiny home was built with non-toxic materials . + Vina Lustado Via Tiny House Talk Images via Vina’s Tiny House

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A 6-foot-tall man lives comfortably in this custom tiny home

Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

September 12, 2018 by  
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Design students Timm Bergmann and Jonas Becker (now Studio Politaire ) decided to put their learned knowledge to the test by building an off-grid cabin in a remote area of Finland. Not only did they build the stunning 280-square-feet cabin from scratch with their own hands, but they stuck to a modest budget of just $14,000, proving once again that great design can be affordable. Bergmann and Becker were both halfway through their studies when they decided to build the off-grid cabin as a project for their dissertations. The determined duo found the perfect building location on an undeveloped forest plot in Finland. Before construction on the project started, they carefully studied the area and its terrain. “There was no electricity or water. No path led to the plot,” Bergmann explained. “We carried out a soil analysis and drew up a design based on the results, under the supervision of architect Jan Kampshoff.” The students scraped together just $14,000 to complete the project, obligating them to do 100 percent of the work — with a little help from their friends. Although the modest budget was seen as an obstacle at first, they soon realized that by doing the labor themselves , they were able to enjoy a certain flexibility when it came to making changes quickly. “As we built everything ourselves, we not only cut costs, but we were also able to make changes along the way,” Bergmann said. “As a result, we extended the terrace, built the roof ourselves after all — contrary to the initial plan — and made the stovepipes ourselves.” Because of the remote location, the young designers spent the first weeks building an elevated wooden walkway that stretched 650 feet in length. Building supplies were delivered from their base camp via tractor before carrying the rest of the materials by hand on the walkway. Related: Norwegian cabin weathers a harsh climate for breathtaking views The frame of the home was placed on a foundation of galvanized water pipes that a local contractor welded together. Apart from the pipes, the rest of the home was built using as many  natural materials as possible, keeping non-essentials to a minimum. The modular frame was built out of local lumber pieces, with walls built from plywood boards. Although it gives off a purely minimalist aesthetic at first glance, the design behind the 280-square-foot cabin is quite complex. The structure is comprised of four staggered volumes, strategically placed to provide distinct views from every angle. According to Becker, the cabin’s windows are double-paned and installed in solid wood frames to insulate the home during Finland’s harsh winters. Inside, the rooms are arranged for efficiency. The layout includes a small kitchen and living space with a bedroom and sauna in the back. Although the duo built many of the home’s features themselves, such as the bedroom cabinetry, most of the furnishings were taken from Bergmann’s grandparents’ home, giving an extra personal touch to the design. The house is 100 percent off-grid and has no electricity. A small, metal wood-burning stove and a sauna stove manage to heat the interior, and there is a detached outhouse with a composting toilet just steps away. Currently, the home is also without running water, but the ambitious builders are working on building a water filtration system that would use water from the nearby lake. + Studio Politaire Via Houzz Photography by Andre Boettcher Photography

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Two design students build a charming, off-grid summer cabin in a remote Finnish forest

These low-energy prefab cabins are inspired by the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’

September 5, 2018 by  
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Prefab housing startup Koto has unveiled a series of tiny timber cabins with minimalist designs inspired by friluftsliv — translated as “free air life,” this Nordic concept is the act of embracing indoor-outdoor living and a connection with nature. The low-energy, modular Koto cabins can be configured in a variety of sizes and are crafted specifically for those looking to reconnect with nature. Koto was founded by Johnathon Little and Zoe Little earlier this year. The name Koto means “cozy at home” in Finnish and is the ethos behind the company’s minimalist cabin design. To create the ultimate nature-based retreat, the cabins — which are made with eco-friendly materials  — allow for a comfortable atmosphere. Related: This off-grid, prefab tiny cabin in Michigan fits a family of five Black cladding allows the tiny cabins to blend into nearly any environment. The sloped roof, a hallmark of the company, is part of the architects’ design strategy to add space to the interior. “Our initial range of modules — Pari, Muutama and Ystava — are all represented with the Koto wedge shape roof,” Jonathan told Dezeen . “This shape allows for an interesting form and experience both internally and externally, a modern twist on the traditional vernacular.” According to the designers, the interiors are meant to be private retreats in the middle of serene landscapes. The living area is extremely space-efficient with storage concealed within the walls. The fresh Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic is achieved thanks to all-white walls and light wood flooring. A large skylight and glass front facade floods the interior with natural light and allows for a strong, constant connection to the outdoors. The modular cabins can be configured in a number of sizes, but a medium-sized cabin contains a bathroom, a fold-out king-sized bed, hidden wall storage, a window bench and a wood-burning stove. There are various options to customize the space, including a small kitchenette, an outdoor shower and a sauna cabin. + Koto Via Dezeen Images via  Joe Laverty

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These low-energy prefab cabins are inspired by the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’

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