Sustainable teak home blends into the Costa Rican hills

August 19, 2020 by  
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San Jose-based Studio Saxe has completed Tres Amores, a contemporary family home that takes in spectacular ocean and mountain views in Costa Rica. Nestled on the hilltops in the town of Nosara, the luxury home was designed to blend in with its lush surroundings through its staggered massing and natural materials palette, which includes exterior cladding of charred teak wood with black-framed windows. The home also takes full advantage of its beautiful surroundings with an emphasis on indoor/ outdoor living via floor-to-ceiling glazing and sheltered outdoor patios. In response to the seismic conditions and constrained footprint of the site, the architects created a lightweight steel structure that was pre-cut offsite and then quickly assembled onsite. The structure is wrapped in sustainably sourced teak wood cladding that was charred for longevity and finished with natural oils. The dark exterior takes cues from the landscape.  Related: Luxury prefab Costa Rican home features dramatic wing-like roof Covering an area of approximately 515 square meters, Tres Amores is spread out across two staggered floors topped with extended horizontal roof planes that shield the interiors from the sun. The living spaces located on the lower floor connect to the private bedrooms above via a light-filled stairwell with full-height glazing that frames views of the ocean. The interior decor is kept minimalist so as not to detract from the landscape views. As with all of Studio Saxe’s projects, special design consideration was given to sustainability and site conditions. Tres Amores’ bioclimatic design was informed by site studies that include wind patterns, sun exposure and temperature data. The home further minimizes energy use with solar hot water heaters and water recycling through filters and state-of-the-art treatment plant systems. The architects said, “This design is a clear reflection of an approach to design that combines high tech preemptive design with low tech construction methods.” + Studio Saxe Photography by Andres Garcia Lachner via Studio Saxe

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Sustainable teak home blends into the Costa Rican hills

Cocoanutty makes zero-waste living more attainable

August 19, 2020 by  
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The concept couldn’t be more basic — you can live a great life without endangering the planet. Cocoanutty is a company that puts this idea at the forefront of everything it does with the motto to, “Live Well. Live Sustainably.” As such, this online retailer offers home and personal care items for a zero-waste lifestyle. Cocoanutty scours eco-minded businesses to find products that are environmentally friendly and then makes them all available in an easily accessible online store. The idea is to save consumers the time of tracking down each product themselves and having them shipped from multiple locations. Related: “FORGO” plastic packaging with powder to liquid hand wash The company’s mission is to “make eco-friendly products the go-to for every household. We’re doing this by making a sustainable lifestyle more approachable. Our curated selection of sustainable, environmentally friendly, and all-natural products aim to help you live well, while treating the Earth well.” Cocoanutty doesn’t believe you have to choose between living well and honoring the limited resources of the planet. For example, the store offers a luxurious-smelling lavender shampoo bar that looks like soap but performs like shampoo sans the typical wasteful plastic bottle. Cocoanutty also carries a plastic-free toothbrush made with bamboo wood for the handle and bamboo charcoal fiber for the bristles. For the household, reusable produce bags replace plastic at the grocery store, and the Travel Cutlery & Straw Set is a portable swap for single-use utensils. You can also ditch the kitchen plastic wrap in favor of the Vegan Wax Food Wraps. In addition to carefully selecting products that use eco- and human-friendly ingredients, the company is dedicated to reaching a zero carbon footprint when it comes to shipping. “We’re combating waste by ensuring that our products are packaged and shipped with zero plastic or recycled materials,” Cocoanutty explained. “Beyond our eco-friendly collection, consumers can feel good about making an order with our carbon-neutral shipping.” The company ensures every shipment made through Cocoanutty is neutralized through certified carbon offsets via Pachama, funds that go toward forest protection initiatives. Both product and shipping packaging is sustainable, too. The company chooses environmental protection over flashy marketing or pretty appeal when it comes to packaging. In order to be as sustainable and waste-free as possible, packaging options are 100% biodegradable, all-natural and reusable. Cocoanutty even recycles boxes from other brands and packs products with compostable corn peanuts and all-natural wooden boxes. The business admitted, “While it might not always be the prettiest, we feel good knowing that we’re minimizing waste.” Isn’t that more important after all? + Cocoanutty Images via Cocoanutty

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Cocoanutty makes zero-waste living more attainable

Hundreds of red plastic crates are repurposed into a public mosque in Indonesia

January 22, 2020 by  
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One green-thinking firm, Parisauli Arsitek Studio , has managed to find a way of giving new life to hundreds of discarded plastic crates . Located in Tangerang, Indonesia, the Kotakrat Pavilion is a 440-square-foot “Space of Kindness” that can be used for various purposes. In its initial form, the pavilion is currently being used as a small mosque, complete with a covered prayer room. According to the design team, the inspiration for the pavilion stemmed from the desire to create vibrant public spaces out of discarded items. Plastic crates are common containers for just about any type of product, but they are often left on curbsides to be sent off to landfills. Related: 30,000 recycled water bottles make up this 3D-printed pavilion The Kotakrat Pavilion is a modular structure that can take many shapes and sizes and will suit almost any type of function. First, the pavilion is put together by stacking hundreds of plastic crates on top of each other to create the outer shell. The crates are then screwed together and reinforced with steel pillars to create a sturdy, durable building. In this particular case, the public pavilion was designed to be a small mosque. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, and the call to prayer happens five times a day. Having a covered area with several staggered roofs during these times is quite welcomed, especially during inclement weather. Several crates near the pavilion’s entrance are designated as storage space for shoes. Further inside, there are several “shelves” to store prayer rugs. Throughout the modular pavilion , several hanging plants give the mosque a warm, welcoming atmosphere. According to the studio, the process of repurposing waste into public spaces is a practice that all communities in today’s world should adopt. “KotaKrat is a ‘ruang kebaikan’ (space of kindness) that starts with the diversity of people’s needs, behavior and habits,” the team said. “The existence of this space of kindness adapts to the context, location and needs of its user community. Space of kindness may appear as a stall, prayer room, emergency posts, shelter, bus stop and others.” + Parisauli Arsitek Studio Via ArchDaily Photography by via Parisauli Arsitek Studio

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Hundreds of red plastic crates are repurposed into a public mosque in Indonesia

UDEM students and Daan Roosegaarde install a Smog-Eating Billboard in Monterrey

December 19, 2019 by  
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Under the guidance of Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde , an interdisciplinary team of students from the University of Monterrey (UDEM) have designed and installed the “Smog-Eating Billboard” to purify the air in Monterrey, Mexico. Dubbed “Pollu-Mesh,” the installation follows in the footsteps of Studio Roosegaarde’s ongoing Smog-Free Project that includes the successful launch of the Smog-Free Towers, a series of large-scale, air-purifying structures in China, South Korea, Poland and the Netherlands. According to the team, the Smog-Eating Billboard purifies the same amount of air as 30 trees every six hours. The Pollu-Mesh project was created over the course of a year during Roosegaarde’s time as a visiting professor to the University of Mexico’s newly founded Environmental Design course. The idea to create an air purifier in the shape of a billboard was born from the observation of the ubiquitous advertising structure in the city; Studio Roosegaarde said that there are currently 9,760 billboards in Monterrey. Building upon existing infrastructure, the students and Roosegaarde created an air-purifying installation that also helps raise awareness about air pollution. Related: Studio Roosegaarde wants to turn space waste into shooting stars and 3D-printed housing Measuring 12.7 meters wide by 7.2 meters tall, the nearly 100-square-meter Pollu-Mesh billboard is coated with a chemical that relies on sunlight and wind to attract and then clean air pollutants via a process called photocatalysis. The text on the billboard reads, “This billboard is now cleaning the polluted air.” The team estimates the lifespan of the smog-eating billboard at 5 years and says it can provide clean air for 104,000 people daily. “It was great to work with the students and take a problem and transform it into a potential,” said Roosegaarde, referring to both Monterrey’s air pollution problems as well the visual pollution of the numerous billboards. “I am really proud to see them go from academic research to a real project. I do not believe in utopia, a perfect solution, but protopia, step-by-step improving reality.” + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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UDEM students and Daan Roosegaarde install a Smog-Eating Billboard in Monterrey

These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

November 8, 2019 by  
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While most home gardens tend to conceal the roots within decorated pots, Ilex Studio ‘s new collection of glass vases displays one of the most underrated parts of a plant — the roots. The studio’s transparent glass vases, which can be used to grow avocado and oak trees, feature minimalist silhouettes with spherical bases that showcase the plant’s incredible root systems. Recently unveiled at the London Design Festival , Ilex Studio’s collection was designed to let people skip the prickly process of using toothpicks to grow avocado trees. Additionally, the vases can be used to turn a humble acorn into a magnificent oak tree. Related: AvoSeedo makes growing avocado trees easier than ever Unlike most home gardens , where the plants’ roots are buried deep in the soil, these glass vases let you watch the magical powers of sprouting seeds. The hourglass shape has a small neck, where the avocado seed or acorn sits. The strategic shape lets the seed or avocado stay nice and dry up top while the roots begin to sprout below. Did we mention that there’s no need to stick anything with toothpicks? Over time, the roots begin to spread out into the water. Letting the roots hang freely allows them to become stronger until they are eventually ready to be planted in soil . The bulbous shapes of the vases actually magnify what is going on inside, giving you an up-close view of the roots as they grow. The Avocado Vase is slightly larger than the Acorn Vase, but according to the studio, the growing pattern is similar for the acorn and the avocado tree. The oakling can be left in the vase for up to one year, but growing an avocado tree is a bit more complicated. They both come with instruction booklets to guide you through the process of growing your own trees, straight from the seeds. These playful growing vases cost between £22 and £35 (about $28 to $45), with the larger avocado vase costing a bit more and the vases sans acorns costing less. Each order comes with a 20-page handbook of helpful instructions. + Ilex Studio Via Design Milk Images via Ilex Studio

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These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

Energy-efficient house embraces panoramic views of Puget Sound

July 30, 2019 by  
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Uninterrupted panoramic views of the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountain Range are ushered indoors at the House on the Cove, a contemporary home where the line between the outdoors and indoors is blurred. Seattle-based architecture firm Stephenson Design Collective designed the energy-efficient house for a client who not only wanted a home with a view but also sought space for a small metal fabrication shop and studio. The two resulting structures — a two-story main house and a separate garage/shop with a studio on top — are clad in natural steel and black-stained cedar to blend into the landscape. Located in the city of Bellingham just north of Seattle, the House on the Cove is set at a high elevation and backs into a conifer forest. “This project is study of environment and experience,” the architects explained. “The home itself is secondary. With views to the west that are uninterrupted Puget Sound , San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountain Range, the experience exists regardless of the home.” Related: A solar-powered luxury home blends into a Pacific Northwest landscape In addition to minimizing impact on the landscape , the house also boasts energy-efficient features and durable materials to meet the clients’ desire for sustainable housing. The house is heated with radiant concrete floors that double as a thermal mass to naturally cool the home on hot summer nights. Zola Windows open the house up completely on the west side and let natural breezes blow straight through. In winter, fireplace pipes are used to warm the air. The main house spans an area of 2,504 square feet. The ground floor includes the open-plan layout with the living room, dining area and kitchen as well as an office and a bedroom. The second floor comprises a spacious, west-facing en suite master bedroom, a third bedroom, a “Nest” refuge and a reading room. The separate 765-square-foot studio houses the garage, a west-facing metalworking space, and a studio space above the metalworking shop. + Stephenson Design Collective Photography by Andrew Pogue via Stephenson Design Collective

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Energy-efficient house embraces panoramic views of Puget Sound

Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

March 18, 2019 by  
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Architect Beatrice Bonzanigo from Milan-based firm IB Studio has unveiled a stunning, off-grid micro home that is transportable and adaptable to virtually any climate. The tiny structure, called Casa Ojalá, is just shy of 300 square feet but is equipped with a manual mechanical system that allows the space to be configured into as many as 20 different layouts. According to Bonzanigo, the flexible and transportable design of Casa Ojalá was inspired by the need to offer an alternative to the “world of static architecture.” Its versatility opens up a world of opportunity not only in terms of low-impact architecture , but also in offering an off-grid experience that lets occupants completely immerse themselves into the natural world. Related: This off-grid, lunar lander-inspired tiny home is out of this world “Casa Ojalá is a sustainable, minimal, compact and flexible product for a new comfort, away from TV or air conditioning,” explained IB Studio, which is led by Bonzanigo and Isabella Invernizzi. “The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists. Outdoor is a substantial, fundamental and precious part of it.” The structure is a round volume with a simple layout comprised of two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and a bathroom. A wrap-around, open-air terrace is used to provide a seamless connection between the micro home and its surroundings, no matter where they may be. To create its flexible design , the main structure is equipped with a manual mechanical system made up of ropes, pulleys and cranks that control the sliding wooden walls and fabric partitions. This system allows the structure to be continuously transformed into a fully-customized space, with private rooms or even one large outdoor platform. Built on a track, the house is completely mobile and can be easily assembled on-site. In terms of its sustainability, the structure is made out of eco-friendly materials along with socially-sustainable fabrics and wood features. The design’s footprint is minimal, and the project was also designed to be completely self-sustaining. The design calls for a rainwater collection system and can be installed with photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy. The Casa Ojalá design is slated to be presented during this year’s Milan Design Week. + IB Studio Via Dezeen Images via IB Studio

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Mobile, off-grid micro home can be configured into 20 different layouts

The peaceful Micro House serves as an artist’s refuge in Vermont

October 29, 2018 by  
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Tucked into a hilly landscape in a remote area of Vermont, a 430-square-foot tiny home holds court among the wildflowers. Designed by Vermont-based Elizabeth Herrmann Architecture + Design in collaboration with the artistic homeowner, the cabin-like Micro House is a sophisticated, minimalist structure with a design inspired by the works of Henri Matisse. Initially, the client contacted Herrmann to create his dream home set deep within the idyllic Vermont mountains; however, after much debate and a few obstacles presented by the original design, Herrmann came up with the Micro House. According to the homeowner, the inspiration behind the design comes from the work of renowned French artist, Henri Matisse. “Matisse wanted you to walk around his sculptures and be surprised [about] what would happen,” he said. “And, in a way, that’s what I wanted to have happen with my house. The house [looks so different] from the four sides and angles. It’s shocking to me and that has always made me happy.” Related: How high-tech Kasita microhomes could revolutionize homeownership At just 430 square feet, the volume is quite compact, but sculptural features including sharp angles, a shed roof and large square windows override its tiny presence. Clad in cedar panels stained a light gray, the home has a neutral tone that blends into its natural setting most days but stands out in certain seasons. The sunflower-yellow front door along with a few restrained splashes of color on the interior add a sense of welcoming whimsy to the home. The interior is an open layout, with the living and dining room defined as one space. Various square windows were placed strategically throughout to not only let in light but to frame the stunning views as if they were works of art. The windows were also specifically arranged to optimize natural ventilation and airflow in the warmer months. Locally-sourced maple flooring runs throughout the house and complements the all-white walls. In the center of the  tiny home , a small dining table sits under the large window in the living room, allowing for optimal views of the mountains in the distance. Throughout the space, similar practical features such as a built-in sofa, a small sleeping loft, a simple bathroom and attractive storage solutions give the home a serene, no-fuss atmosphere. The homeowner and guests can simply focus their attention on the incredible Vermont landscape that surrounds the Micro House. As the artist explained, “You know what’s amazing about this house? The view you get out of the different windows. You can lie in the bathtub, and when put your head [down] and look out the window, you can see the moon.” + Elizabeth Herrmann Architecture + Design Via Curbed Images via Elizabeth Herrmann Architecture + Design

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The peaceful Micro House serves as an artist’s refuge in Vermont

Billions of pounds of pumpkin will go to the landfill after Halloween

October 29, 2018 by  
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Over the past few weeks, millions of people have bought nutritious, tasty treats that they won’t eat, and after Halloween, the majority will end up throwing them in the trash. Of course, we are talking about pumpkins. This week, billions of pounds of the delicious, edible and versatile squash will become  food waste instead of being cooked or composted. In the U.K. alone, eight million pumpkins will be in the garbage on November 1. According to The Guardian ,  this would be enough to make pumpkin pies to feed the entire country. Nearly 60 percent of people bought their pumpkins just to hollow out and carve. The #PumpkinRescue campaign said that only one-third of those people will cook the edible insides, and just over half of them will throw away the pumpkin flesh. Related: How to cook a whole pumpkin (seeds, guts and all) More than 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins will be thrown out in the U.S., adding tons of waste to landfills. When we throw those pumpkins out, they decompose and release methane — a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change . In Canada, the pumpkin harvest attracts thousands of people to farms all over the country for hayrides and corn mazes. But farmer Rob Galey said that most visitors to his annual Pumpkin Fest won’t take pumpkins home to cook and eat. He explained that the visitors are buying a metaphor, not food. The pumpkin represents an abundant fall harvest and looks good in a photo, but it never makes it to the dinner table. Is our pumpkin waste ruining the environment? It’s certainly an issue, but the U.S. Department of Energy is working on the problem by teaming up with industry experts to develop integrated biorefineries, which are facilities that can efficiently convert plant and waste material into affordable biofuels. As of right now, none of the refineries are in full operation. In the meantime, keep enjoying your pumpkins . Carve them, decorate them and — after October 31 — eat or compost them to reduce the food waste. Via The Guardian , Vice , Pumpkin Rescue  and CBC News Images via Corey Blaz and Marius Ciocirlan

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Billions of pounds of pumpkin will go to the landfill after Halloween

Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes

March 5, 2018 by  
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Rather than elevate this coastal beach home on stilts, New York-based Raad Studio sought a more natural method to protect the building from floodwaters. The home, located in Sea Bright, New Jersey, is raised on artificial dunes planted with beach grasses, while stormwaters are safely channeled through an opening beneath the home. To further complement the surroundings, the Beach House was built with local maritime construction techniques and clad in locally sourced timber. Surrounded by stunning views, the Beach House is bookended on two sides by water with the Atlantic Ocean on one and the Navesink River on the other. “Our design team sought to balance an embrace of outdoor natural beauty while seeking to accommodate the site’s vulnerability to storms,” write Raad Studio. “The design solution that resulted is the marriage of landscape and architecture.” Taking inspiration from the dunes in the parkland to the north, the architects used a design by Dirtworks Landscape Architecture to create artificial dunes made from sand piled atop a concrete foundation and stabilized with beach grasses and other plants. “By restoring our idea of the original natural state to the site, we created a set of hydrodynamic dunes with penetrations that allow water to sluice through the land, while simultaneously elevating the house well above the historic high water mark,” wrote the architects. Related: This high-tech solar funnel allows plants to grow deep underground The modern Beach House is built to look like two stacked timber boxes wrapped in Alaskan yellow cedar and ample glazing that make the most of landscape views. A stairway descends down the dune to a pool deck. The light-filled interior is oriented around outdoor views with the common areas on the ground floor and two bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper level. + Raad Studio Via Dezeen Images via Raad Studio , by Robert Wright

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Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes

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