Spend the night among the trees in southern Denmark

September 21, 2020 by  
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Before one ventures into the wilderness, where to shelter is always part of the initial planning process. While a tent or a lean-to might come to mind, if you find yourself in a particular section of the landscape near Genner, Denmark, a nest hanging from the treetops could be your chosen sleeping spot. The Hanging Shelter, called Hængende Ly in Danish, is much more than a hammock amidst the tree branches. In fact, it features a one-of-a-kind custom design constructed using traditional shipbuilding techniques. The end result is an enclosed structure perched 2.5 meters above the ground that offers 360-degree views of the surrounding nature. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment A basic ladder is the only access point to the Hanging Shelter, where visitors will immediately notice the steam bent oak that forms the curved walls and floor. In the vertical direction, eight additional arched wood frames shape the rounded walls. A thin, clear membrane covers the entire shelter, offering protection without disrupting the all-encompassing views. This unique structure was designed and produced in Genner, Denmark, by a team of skilled boat builders and engineers in collaboration with Stedse Architects. The Hanging Shelter’s location inspired the project after the architects and design partners were hiking around the Genner area. With equal passions for nature and wood, the team came together to highlight nature, design and skilled woodworking in a single overnight accommodation with minimal site impact . The architects enlisted the help of a local boat builder, who used traditional techniques to construct the finished product. Stedse Architects has a history of creating architecture centered around “sustainable construction, including climate adaptation, energy-efficient buildings, energy calculations and environmental consulting.” As an overall company goal, Stedse Architects focuses on wood architecture and rethinking traditional woodworking. Using the Hanging Shelter as an example, the company hopes that the project will “show the potential of using wood as a natural, sustainable and adaptable building material .” + Stedse Architects Photography by Thomas Illemann via Stedse Architects

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Spend the night among the trees in southern Denmark

World’s first "living coffin" made of mycelium is used in a burial

September 17, 2020 by  
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A “living coffin” has been used in a burial for the first time in the Netherlands. The coffin is made out of mycelium , a complex system of thread-like fibers that form the vegetative part of fungi. The coffin, called Living Cocoon, was developed by a Netherlands-based startup known as Loop to serve as a more sustainable option for burials. Speaking to Metro Newspaper , Bob Hendrikx, the founder of Loop, confirmed the successful burial. “I didn’t actually go, but I talked to a relative beforehand — it was a moving moment, we discussed the cycle of life,” Hendrikx said. “He had lost his mother, but he was happy because thanks to this box, she will return to nature and will soon be living like a tree. It was a hopeful conversation.” Related: The many ways fungi are saving our planet Hendrikx explained that mycelium neutralizes toxins and provides nutrients for plants growing above-ground. But mycelium’s natural properties have made it popular in many applications. “Mycelium is constantly looking for waste products — oil, plastic, metals, other pollutants — and converting them into nutrients for the environment,” Hendrikx said. “For example, mycelium was used in Chernobyl, is utilised in Rotterdam to clean up soil and some farmers also apply it to make the land healthy again.” The coffin presents an opportunity for human bodies to feed the earth after their life span. Wooden caskets can take longer than a decade to decompose . Varnished wood or metal components further slow the process. However, by using caskets made out of mycelium, we can speed up decomposition. The mycelium coffin is absorbed in the soil within 4 to 6 weeks. Further, the coffin contributes effectively to the full decomposition of the body, which then enriches the surrounding soil. The entire process can be completed in less than three years. Currently, Loop is working with researchers to determine the effect of human bodies on the quality of the soil . According to Hendrix, the company hopes the research can persuade policymakers to convert polluted areas into forests by burying bodies in such areas. + Loop Via TU Delft and The Guardian Images via Loop

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World’s first "living coffin" made of mycelium is used in a burial

This villa in India is made up of cascading floating terraces

September 17, 2020 by  
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Currently under construction in Hyderabad, India and designed by Studio Symbiosis, the Floating Terraces Villa will measure 11,840 square feet on one acre of natural landscape. One of the property’s most unique features is its cascading terraces , which appear to float from the indoor living space to the outside in order to protect residents from the region’s harsh climate. According to the architects, the nature-focused villa is designed to create an intimate relationship between the building and the surrounding landscape, with the terraces and a series of outdoor courtyards fostering this connection. The city of Hyderabad in South India is known for its iconic monuments that attract visitors from around the world. The area’s arid climate includes extremely hot, dry days with slightly cooler temperatures at night, limiting most people indoors for the majority of daylight hours. This is the main hurdle that the villa addresses through its build. The designers extended the series of cascading terraces from indoor to outdoor, creating a barrier for occupants during the hotter parts of the day and allowing for circulating ventilation with the cooler evening winds. Additionally, the terraces serve to create varied levels of privacy between rooms. Related: BIG’s LEED Gold-seeking school in Arlington features a cascade of green terraces The center of the Floating Terraces Villa is defined by its double-height living space, which spills into a kitchen, library and formal drawing room. Bedrooms, each with its own dedicated outdoor courtyard and views into the main gardens, are flanked along the central living space as well. A double-height family room is accessed through a semi-covered green space , providing views of four separate courtyards while serving as a supplemental connection to nature. The starting point of the design was originally derived from a traditional Indian system of architecture called Vastu Shastra, modified to create alternating periphery grids that favor outdoor courtyards. Exposed concrete and natural wood are prioritized as construction elements. + Studio Symbiosis Images via Studio Symbiosis

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This villa in India is made up of cascading floating terraces

A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

Geothermal-powered timber home glows by an Austrian lake

August 24, 2020 by  
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Locally procured materials and energy-efficient building systems make up the Wohnhaus am Eichenberg (Residence on the Eichenberg), a contemporary timber home designed by Austrian architecture firm Berktold Weber Architekten  in 2019. Built into the mountainside in the Austrian village of Eichenberg, the home opens up to breathtaking views of Lake Constance. At night, the house’s wraparound full-height glazing glows like a lantern thanks to the atmospheric  Nimbus  LED luminaires that complement the minimalist natural material palette.  Designed with flexibility in mind, the Wohnhaus am Eichenberg comprises two floors with separate entrances, allowing the home to take on different uses in the future. For example, the lower level can function as a separate apartment or an office. Both levels of the house use  locally sourced  silver fir cladding, exposed concrete and natural Schwarzachtobler stone. The pared-back material palette gives the home a clean, crisp appearance. This minimalist design ensures that the surrounding mountain landscape remains the main visual focus.  For privacy, the lower level uses an opaque design, and the upper level pushes its wraparound glazing back from the building’s edges. Spaced out vertical strips of timber also form a privacy screen that shields portions of the home. The top-heavy home’s upper level  cantilevers  out toward scenic views of the nearby Eichenberg village and Lake Constance. An overhang provides coverage to the ground level’s cozy outdoor patio space, which features a swing suspended from the bottom of the upper plinth.  Related: Geothermal-powered home fuses high-end luxury with restraint Locally sourced timber accents continue inside the home, with warm-hued wood floors, walls and ceilings creating a seamless indoor/outdoor visual experience. Midcentury modern furnishings punctuate the living spaces, alongside Nimbus’s minimalist LED fixtures. These fixtures, praised for their “discreet appearance, good technical qualities, consistent design and versatility,” provide the home with a warm glow. The interior also features  geothermal -powered underfloor heating and ventilation with heat recovery.  + Berktold Weber Architekten Images by Adolf Bereut

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Geothermal-powered timber home glows by an Austrian lake

This rammed earth passive house in Japan is shaped like a shell

July 16, 2020 by  
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This small, shell-shaped villa — made using local wood, rammed earth and traditional techniques — is located in the forest of Nagano Prefecture in the center of Japan. Known as the Shell House, the project request came from a client who wanted a contemporary and unique home that could blend into the surrounding forest with minimal environmental impact. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Shell-House-13-889×592.jpg" alt="small, round wood home with wood door" class="wp-image-2275164" To blend the Shell House into the surrounding environment as organically as possible, the designers chose a rounded, shell-inspired shape and constructed the structure using locally sourced natural materials . Local, FSC-certified wood and earth went most into most of the building, with additional sustainable elements including hand-built construction and the elimination of petrochemical materials. Related: Hawk Nest House combines rammed earth and local stone <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Shell-House-2-889×592.jpg" alt="round wood home in a forest" class="wp-image-2275175" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Shell-House-7-889×592.jpg" alt="wood kitchen island facing a wall of glass" class="wp-image-2275170" The entire structure was built per passive house principles to Japanese standards. The home satisfies the environmental assessment’s primary energy consumption requirements, and then some, with 11% less energy consumption than the country’s standard. Windows and doors are made of aluminum and resin composite with double- and triple-paned glass. The outside roof is made of asphalt, and the fireplace inside is also made of rammed earth. The earthen walls are combined with 180 millimeter wool insulation to complete the energy-efficient package. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Shell-House-11-889×592.jpg" alt="fireplace built into a rammed earth wall" class="wp-image-2275166" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Shell-House-9-889×592.jpg" alt="loft with wood ceiling beams above a kitchen with wooden island and cabinets" class="wp-image-2275168" Interior rooms are finished with local earth and wood as well as the rammed earth wall that makes up the curved surface of the exterior. The southeast wooden fittings are designed to become integrated with the forest through the deck, which is also made of sustainably sourced wood . According to the architects, the seven beams connected to the rammed earth wall are inspired by the cycle of human life and the universe, with the two inscribed circles representing the correspondence of them. Ideally, once the villa has reached the end of its life, the materials can be returned back to the earth. + Tono Mirai Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Tono Mirai Architects <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Shell-House-10-889×592.jpg" alt="kitchen opening up to wooden outdoor deck" class="wp-image-2275167"

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This rammed earth passive house in Japan is shaped like a shell

The Invisible House is a reflective building that mirrors its desert surroundings

July 3, 2020 by  
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The Invisible House is a mirror-clad home designed to look like a New York skyscraper flipped on its side. It is covered in heat-reflective “Solarcool” glass to mirror the surrounding remote desert of its site, located 10 minutes from downtown Joshua Tree, California. Designed by architect Tomas Osinski and Chris Hanley, the LA-based producer behind American Psycho , the Invisible House is situated on 90 acres. The 5,500-square-foot building, completed in 2019, is made of concrete , steel and tempered glass. Related: Hidden in the Vinhedo rainforests of Brazil, this glass house was built for a scholar The home has a wall designated for movie screen projections and a catering kitchen. There are four bedrooms and bathrooms separated by white partitions instead of doors to provide views of the desert . The theme of invisibility is reflected in the interior furnishings, such as a bed frame made of glass and and a partially-exposed glass shower. The building’s sustainability features include an efficient insulation system using a combination of closed cell “Cool Roof” foam and a hill-adjacent  location protecting it from the sun. There is a solar water heating system, a thermal mass of concrete and a 100-foot-long indoor swimming pool to help regulate the temperature. During construction, large portions of the building were cantilevered to minimize disturbance of the natural grounds. The steel-frame is elevated above the ground onto cylindrical concrete columns.  The designers conducted a biological survey to map out the native flora and fauna before beginning construction, and the Invisible House has a landscape-to-dwelling footprint of 2,000 to one. Low-emissivity glass in the walls and photovoltaic panels on the roof help further reduce the environmental impact of the home. According to the owner of the house, the local birds have been thriving on the insects around the property and have not been harmed by the reflective glass nor have they flown into the building. + Tomas Osinski Via Dezeen Images via Tomas Osinski

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The Invisible House is a reflective building that mirrors its desert surroundings

Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun

July 3, 2020 by  
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Ahmedabad-based  Openideas Architecture  has completed Hive, an adaptable and sustainable family home that takes inspiration from nature in more ways than one. Located in Vesu, an up-and-coming area in Surat, Gujarat, the luxury home was commissioned by a client who sought to manufacture a flawless home inspired by his work with diamond industry machinery. Informed by extensive solar and site studies, the 600-square-meter residence’s name comes from its honeycomb-inspired facade embedded with solar sensor-based modules that open and close in response to lighting conditions.  When the client approached Openideas Architecture, he brought with him a nearly 90-point brief that covered everything from the structural materials and landscaping to sustainability needs and a year-long solar study. In response, the architects conducted an in-depth analysis of external temperature, humidity, solar radiation, cloud cover and wind pattern conditions that informed the creation of the V-shaped, metal-framed home, which opens up to greenery on multiple levels. In addition to a sunken court and stepped garden, the home features a walkable  green roof  with varying slopes and pockets of greenery dispersed throughout. The most eye-catching feature of the home is the  honeycomb-inspired  facade with a unique opening mechanism engineered to optimize sunlight exposure and thermal comfort levels inside the home. “Analyzed as per the structure, function and mechanism, its design is based on structural strength, transformability and biomimicry ,” noted the architects, who also took inspiration for the modules from the doors of airport buses. As the modules open and close, the sun creates changing patterns of light and shadow indoors.  Related: Honeycomb shading keeps Büro Ole Scheeren’s skyscrapers naturally cool in Singapore In contrast to the metal-clad exterior, the  open-plan  interior includes a mix of wood and stone that create a sense of warmth. As a continuation of the expressive facade, the indoor furnishings and structures feature strong geometric shapes and clean lines.  + Openideas Architecture Images by FABIEN CHARUAU

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Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun

Solar-powered residence in Thailand takes on a sculptural form with cantilevering cubes

January 29, 2020 by  
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Bangkok-based studio ASWA has unveiled a contemporary home located in the mountainous region of Maehongsorn, Thailand. The 1,000-square-foot, solar-powered home is comprised of three large cubes stacked on top of each other. With massive windows and dual outdoor decks, the energy-efficient house is strategically crafted to let the residents best enjoy the incredible views. Using the surrounding nature as inspiration , the ASWA team came up with the idea to create a structural form that would allow the homeowners to embrace the views from nearly anywhere inside the home. Built out of concrete frames, the blocks, which are of similar height and width, are shifted alternatively as they rise, creating large, covered decks between the levels. Related: A series of cantilevering cubes make up this French social housing complex A smooth cement cladding was used on the three volumes, but the second and third floors were covered in thin panels of artificial wood to create a warm aesthetic that blends in with the surrounding trees. To create a strong connection between the home and its natural setting, the blocks feature floor-to-ceiling windows that offer unobstructed views and natural light throughout the interior spaces. Connected via a stairwell that runs through the middle of the home, the three floors each have a designated use. The ground floor houses the main living area along with the kitchen and dining space, while the second floor has an office space. The large master bedroom is located on the top floor. Thanks to the stacked design, there are covered decks on the top two levels, including one with a hammock and another with a hot tub, as well as a rooftop terrace that allows the residents to take in the views and the fresh air. The Maehongsorn home was also built to be energy efficient and operates almost entirely off the grid . An array of solar panels was installed on the rooftop and provides electricity and hot water for the home. There is also a rainwater catchment system installed. Throughout the house, LED lighting helps reduce the energy consumption. + ASWA Via ArchDaily Images via ASWA

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Solar-powered residence in Thailand takes on a sculptural form with cantilevering cubes

A nearly century-old Copenhagen school gets an eco-friendly makeover

January 14, 2020 by  
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Danish architectural practice JJW Architects has used recycled bricks and Cradle-to-Cradle certified mortar to renovate Copenhagen’s Grøndalsvængets School. Originally built in 1929, the building had long been hidden away from the surrounding neighborhood; this comprehensive transformation, completed in 2019, has now integrated the structure into the urban fabric. The school has also been expanded to support modern principles of learning and a larger educational program.  The Grøndalsvængets School renovation project targeted three main objectives: an improved connection with the neighborhood, new differentiated learning environments and sustainable building practices. To better integrate the school with its surroundings, the architects first took down the tall hedge that had visually separated the school from the city. The pair of two-story buildings that were added on the outer corners of the site are topped with gabled roofs in a nod to the pitched rooflines of the area. Related: A massive pollution-fighting green wall engulfs this Dutch city hall The two new buildings were built for teaching, sports and music and are part of a greater plan to cultivate a campus-like environment within the school. In addition to the renovation of the main building, the Grøndalsvængets School’s expansion focuses on creating a flexible and differentiated learning environment that can support the needs of its students. The two new buildings were built with recycled bricks from a nearby hospital and assembled with Cradle-to-Cradle certified mortar to ensure that those bricks can be reused again in the future as part of a long-term circular economy strategy. “The old school building becomes new and the new school buildings carry on an old story from the beginning,” the architects explained in a project statement. “ New and old meet each other in respect and create a school that is cohesive and interlinked with the surrounding neighborhood.” + JJW Architects Photography by Torben Eskerod via JJW Architects

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A nearly century-old Copenhagen school gets an eco-friendly makeover

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