Light-filled timber home is a modern zen haven in Seattle

July 18, 2017 by  
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How do you combine countryside tranquility with urban style? MW|Works Architecture+Design strikes a thoughtful balance in Helen Street, a beautiful modern home with handsome craftsmanship and careful attention to detail. Filled with light and views of the landscape, this lovely Seattle home is built largely of wood, from the heavy reclaimed timber cladding to the naturally weathered cedar plank roof. Helen Street was commissioned by clients who had been living on a rural property east of Seattle but found themselves drawn back to the vibrancy of city life. Thus, the architects were tasked to create a home with a smaller footprint than the client’s former house that still retained the peaceful setting of the countryside as well as easy indoor/outdoor living. The new-build is located on an urban corner lot in the walkable Madison Valley neighborhood next to Washington Park Arboretum , and comfortably houses the two clients and their two dogs. Related: Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces A courtyard is located at the heart of the home, bringing natural light and greenery deep in the interior. “Territorial view corridors helped identify where the building could be very transparent and where privacy was more important,” wrote the architects. “The material palette was simple with a largely glassy main level with solid volumes crisply detailed in cement panels.” Naturally weathered cedar planks clad the roof plane and master suite, while stacked and blackened reclaimed timber clad the exterior. + MW|Works Architecture+Design Images by Andrew Pogue

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Light-filled timber home is a modern zen haven in Seattle

Worlds first porcelain courtyard opens at Londons V&A Museum

June 30, 2017 by  
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London’s world-renowned Victoria & Albert Museum has made art even more accessible to the masses with the completion of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter. Set to open today, this beautiful and unique civic space includes the “first outdoor porcelain courtyard in the world” as well as a new subterranean exhibition hall. Designed by AL_A , this alternative museum entrance is the V&A’s largest architectural intervention in over a century. Created over the course of six years, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter transformed the museum’s former boiler house yard into a new arts destination. The design includes the underground Sainsbury Gallery, a flexible 1,100-square-meter column-free exhibition gallery; the Sackler Courtyard, the world’s first porcelain public courtyard; the Blavatnik Hall, a new entrance into the V&A from Exhibition Road; and the Aston Webb Screen, a newly created colonnade with 11 openings. The £54.5 million project is part of the museum’s FuturePlan scheme that has updated two thirds of the V&A’s public spaces in the past 15 years. The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter is envisioned as bridge between the city and the museum, and a reflection of the founding mission to democratize access to culture and education. “The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter reframes the relationship between street and Museum, breaking down the barrier between the two,” says a press release. “We have created a less formal, more public place that is as much of the street as it is of the Museum, attracting and welcoming in new audiences, and making ideas of accessibility and democracy very explicit.” Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London The Sackler Courtyard is paved with 11,000 handmade porcelain tiles produced after two years of research and development. This new public space also hosts a cafe with furniture designed by AL_A and reveals architecturally significant facades and details never seen before by the public, such as the sgraffito decoration on the side of the Henry Cole Wing. Over 22,000 cubic meters of earth were removed from the site, 99% of which was recycled. In celebration of the project’s opening, the V&A is hosting REVEAL, a free, week-long festival from June 30 to July 7. + AL_A Images © Hufton + Crow

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Worlds first porcelain courtyard opens at Londons V&A Museum

Atlanta makes rainbow crosswalks permanent as a symbol of unity

June 15, 2017 by  
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A vibrant visual symbol of pride will remain a permanent part of the urban fabric in Atlanta , Georgia. For Atlanta Pride Week 2015, rainbow crosswalks were installed at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, and this week on the anniversary of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, Mayor Kasim Reed made the colorful crosswalks permanent. The intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street in Atlanta’s Midtown is considered a hub for the LGBTQ community in the city, so Reed said it was fitting the location should feature the rainbow flag. He announced the decision one year after the shooting in Orlando, Florida in which 49 people lost their lives. Related: 12 comfort dogs dispatched to grief-stricken Orlando Reed said in a statement, “For the past year, Atlanta has grieved alongside Orlando . Our city has rallied around our LGBT community, and we have not shied from demonstrating our unity and solidarity. And with this spirit, I cannot think of a more important time to reaffirm our unwavering and unqualified support for our LGBTQ residents…We must never forget that love defeats hate, and light defeats the darkness.” Over 22,200 people to date have signed a petition requesting the city make the rainbow crosswalks permanent. Advocate Sarah Rose, who started the petition, said the community has been vocal about their desire to keep the rainbow crosswalks in place. Reed said symbols of unity matter, and he would keep the crosswalks year-round “in recognition of the outstanding and ongoing contributions of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community to our city.” Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell , who’s currently campaigning for the role of mayor in the 2017 election, told local channel WSB-TV in May, “I believe this is a model for what we can do for the entire city. There are neighborhoods that may want to show their neighborhood spirit at a particular intersection and this can be the model.” Via HuffPost and the City of Atlanta Images via screenshot

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Atlanta makes rainbow crosswalks permanent as a symbol of unity

Reflective arrow-shaped studio is a futuristic space for displaying art

June 15, 2017 by  
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When Mr. White retired, he had an unusual building request: he wanted a studio where he could work and display his art that had few windows but provided plenty of natural light – all while enhancing his garden. The result looks like a futuristic space dwelling fell out of the sky and into Victoria. Australian architects Nervegna Reed Architecture and PH Architects teamed up to create the Arrow Studio, a private art gallery that provides a secure space for a local art connoisseur to safely display his private collection. Located in the outskirts of Hanging Rock, Victoria, the small art gallery was created for an art collector who wanted to securely display his private collection and have room for a studio space. The client requested that the structure have minimal windows for not only security reasons, but also to create sufficient wall space to hang the artwork. He also requested that the few windows that were installed be framed in such a way that would impede intruders from breaking in. Related: Century-old packing shed brought back to life as a contemporary art gallery According to the architects, these specific criteria led them to create a unique arrow-shaped design by starting with a rectangular volume whose interior was pushed inwards from one end, jutting out from the other. Curiously, this shape allowed the designers take advantage of the arrow’s indentation to create a formidable timber-slated screen that provides security as well as subtle natural light for the interior. The jutted screen also provides nice lighting for entertaining in the backyard area, beautifully illuminating the surrounding green space. The architects used plywood to create the structure’s frame, which as then coverd with large sheets of galvanized metal. This cladding provides the building with a second skin to properly insulate the structure and the artwork from harsh weather. The metal sheeting also gave the structure a fun reflective exterior that adds to the whimsical character of the building. + Nervegna Reed Architecture + PH Architects Via Arch Daily Photography by Sam Reed and Toby Reed

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Reflective arrow-shaped studio is a futuristic space for displaying art

The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber

June 15, 2017 by  
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The beautiful Yoshino Cedar House , located near Osaka, was built by local carpenters and craftsmen with sustainable cedar harvested from the nearby mountains. The community-run retreat was created through a collaboration between Airbnb designers, Samara and architects Go Hasegawa . The team sought to foster the local community while providing a much-needed source of income for the town. The cedar retreat’s design was part of the 2016 event, Kenya Hara’s House Vision , an exhibition that showcases community-led housing projects that aim to help small towns boost their economies. Like a lot of rural areas in Japan, the small town of Yoshino has an aging population that is dwindling by the day. For years, the town’s principal industry was sustainable forestry , but without young workers working to enter the workforce, the town’s only economic boost these days is its annual cherry blossom festival. Related: Circular garden walkway cuts straight through Japanese timber home From the start of the Cedar House project, the architects and designers worked with locals every step of the way. Local foresters, woodcutters and carpenters collaborated on the process, from harvesting and cutting the timber to its construction. According to the architects, the design of the Yoshino Cedar House, which is technically owned and operated by the community, was meant to pay homage to the area’s local traditions as well as foster new relationships between residents, “Every detail of the structure inspires connection to the people of Yoshino and their underlying traditions.” Located on the bank of the Yoshino River, the structure is clad on the interior and exterior in warm-hued cedar planks whose intricate patterns create a calming, peaceful environment. The bottom floor, with a single table built into the floor, houses the living and dining space. An open staircase leads to two separate bedrooms on the second floor. The simple, uncluttered rooms have one mattress and a small table and are beautifully illuminated by natural light coming through the structure’s A-frame window. Since its inauguration, local townspeople take care of the Airbnb retreat ‘s rental operation and all proceeds are used to support the community. + Go Hasegawa + Samara Via Dwell Photography via Airbnb

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The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber

The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

May 1, 2017 by  
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House 24 makes the most of a challenging plot by opening up to its idyllic surroundings in Singapore . Park + Associates Pte Ltd designed the multi-generational home to embrace the tropical climate using rhythmic timber screens. A courtyard provides privacy, and a peaceful pool helps to passively cool the home. The house sits on a triangular plot in Singapore, near a lushly landscaped state-owned park. The architects saw the shape of the site as the main design driver and envisioned a courtyard residence that offers privacy while providing expansive views of the surroundings. Related: This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises The project features timber craftsmanship in the form of wooden screens that create patterns of light and shadow that reflect the project’s tropical locality. A row of full height sliding doors along the first-floor corridor opens up to the swimming pool , which helps to passively cool down the air flowing into the home. A series of timber screens line the west-facing walkway on the second floor to protect it from the direct and harsh tropical sunlight. Related: A tropical paradise grows inside this lush Singapore home The team redefined the conventional entry sequence and transformed it by forming a more layered and sequential experience through the use of courtyard screens fronting the street. This space marks the transition between the public and private space and offers a serene atmosphere. The project has won the A’ Design Award in the Architecture , building and structure design category. + Park + Associates Pte Ltd Via A’ Design Award and Competition

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The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

Apple self-driving car spotted in California

May 1, 2017 by  
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Apple is full of surprises. Just last fall sources told Bloomberg the technology giant wasn’t going to build a self-driving car anymore. They may have scrapped plans to construct their own car, but it appears they didn’t abandon autonomous vehicles altogether. People in California recently spotted a white Lexus RX450h SUV with self-driving apparatus drive out of an Apple Silicon Valley facility. Bloomberg obtained images of the sneaky self-driving car, glimpsed around two weeks after the company got a permit to test autonomous cars. The Lexus SUV was reportedly decked out with Velodyne Lidar Inc’s 64-channel lidar, as well as an array of other sensors. An industry expert said the equipment looked like it was purchased off the shelf, not custom-built. An Apple spokesperson would not give Bloomberg a comment on that. Related: Apple announces goal to make products from 100% recycled materials Here's the vehicle Apple's using to test autonomous driving https://t.co/prbKCuJBq6 pic.twitter.com/8oUvrXv7qC — Bloomberg (@business) April 28, 2017 Apple is known for building their own software and hardware, as opposed to companies like Microsoft that focus on software usable on other companies’ hardware. But it appears they may be going a different direction with their self-driving cars, pursued under the name Project Titan . Last fall Bloomberg said the tech company would focus on software to be used in existing cars, which could help them get their product to market faster. They’re already up against tough competition: big players like Tesla , Uber , and Waymo, which began as Google’s self-driving project, have all made strides on their technology. Project Titan has gone through its ups and downs. When Apple decided to zero in on software, they reassigned or laid off hundreds of engineers. Leadership changed around a year ago, with veteran executive Bob Mansfield taking over, and he’s scaled back ambitions. So far California has given out permits to test self-driving vehicles to 30 companies, including startups, tech companies, and automakers. According to California’s DMV, Waymo and startup Zoox Inc. are also testing their technology with Lexus RX450 models. Via Inc. and Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and Paul Miller on Flickr

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Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

May 1, 2017 by  
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Although Airbnb is chock full of luxury beach condos, it’s rare to find an eco-friendly retreat tucked into a secluded beach. Ría Luz is a wind-powered sustainable home carefully designed to coexist with its pristine surroundings – and it’s one of the only structures located in the Yucatan’s Ria Lagartos biosphere. Ria Luz is the perfect spot for a secluded getaway. Visitors to this beautiful beach retreat will have access to spectacular wildlife found along the shoreline, which is almost completely devoid of tourists. The home is made up of two white blocks connected by a wooden viewing platform with multiple points of beach access. The main building houses the kitchen, living room and master bedroom, while the second building has additional bedrooms and an outdoor shower with a deck. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Sliding glass doors and multiple windows provide the interior with optimal natural light and incredible views. Guests can also enjoy a rooftop terrace with a comfy open-air bed for sleeping under the stars. As one of the only buildings located in the protected biosphere, the beach cottage was built to be ecologically friendly and it operates solely on wind-generated electricity . Wildlife tours are provided by local experts, and those who visit in summertime can see the hundreds of turtles who come to nest in an adjacent beach. + Ria Luz Airbnb Images via Ria Luz

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Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

April 18, 2017 by  
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Shortly after announcing that Tesla plans to cut its relatively more affordable Model S 60 and 60D from its lineup, the company revealed that it will also reduce the price of its new entry-level models, the 75 and 75D, by $5,000 to make up the price difference. It’s still $1,500 more than the previous model, but given that it retails for almost $70,000, that might not be a major issue for potential buyers. Those aren’t the only Model S variants to receive a price cut. The 90D’s base price is being cut from $89,500 to $87,500. If you want a car packed with more features, however, there’s bad news: the 100D and P100D are seeing a several thousand dollar price hike, as are Model X variants. There are also certain upgrades which are no longer available for the “entry level” cars, including smart air suspension on the 75 and 75D. And anyone interested in a high-amperage charger will have to shell out for the 100 or 100D. Related: Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving It may seem strange for the company to make such dramatic changes to its lineup, but it makes sense when you consider the launch of the $35,000 Model 3 later this year. The company is cutting out the products that will overlap with the Model 3’s functionality – the new car’s battery capacity stops at 75kWh, so anyone who wants a more powerful vehicle will have an incentive to upgrade. The higher prices at the top of Tesla’s range will help make up for the low cost of the Model 3, allowing the company’s average prices to remain the same. While this might be a bit frustrating for anyone interested in a 100D, overall it will help make electric cars more affordable for the average consumer. Hopefully this will result in more Tesla vehicles on the street overall. Via Engadget Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

March 21, 2017 by  
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A company based in Toronto is bringing New York City its first community solar project. UGE International , one of the world’s leading renewable-energy contractors, will be partnering with Gotham Community Solar to develop a new array at a multi-tenant commercial facility between the Park Slope and Boerum Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in early summer, will have a rated peak capacity of roughly 100 kilowatts, according to UGE. The building abuts another UGE project: the Whole Foods Market at 214 3rd Street, colloquially known as “3rd and 3rd” by locals. “It’s been a privilege to work with ConEd , the Department of Buildings, and the project’s ownership group on developing this landmark project” Tim Woodcock, UGE’s Regional Director, said in a statement. Related: UGE is building a massive rooftop solar array atop this popular Brooklyn church Woodcock anticipates selling any surplus power to nearby residents at rates lower than those offered by their utility companies. The benefits would be twofold: cheaper electricity that also comes from a sustainable source. “The solar power generated by the project will be credited to numerous residential accounts, offering access to the benefits and low cost of solar energy to those previously excluded due to their housing situation,” he added. + UGE International

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