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

The largest green wall in Europe will absorb 8 tons of air pollution per year

December 10, 2019 by  
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Located in London, U.K., the Citicape House by Sheppard Robson will feature a 40,000-square-foot green wall , the largest in Europe, that sets the standard for urban green development in the city. Not only is Citicape House designed to become a five-star hotel, but its living wall will also absorb a projected 8 tons of air pollution annually. The hotel, projected to be finished in 2024, will house 382 rooms, 40,000 square feet of workspace, a sky bar, meeting and event spaces, a spa and a restaurant on the ground floor. On the 11th floor, a public green space will be available as well, with an unobstructed rooftop view of St. Paul’s Cathedral. From there, the green wall, consisting of 400,000 plants, will wrap around the exterior of the building and contain designated spaces for threatened species of plants to grow undisturbed. Related: Retrofitted “green” living lamp posts in London reclaim water and run on solar power In addition to the 8 tons of air pollution that will be captured by the Citicape House each year, the building is also projected to produce 6 tons of oxygen and lower the surrounding temperature by between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the wall will trap about 500 kilograms of hazardous airborne particulate matter each year. Apart from the obvious air quality advantages, the building will take measures to function sustainably with features like air-source heat pumps and rainwater collection systems to provide irrigation to the living wall. This project sets an example for the Urban Greening Policy developed by the New London Plan, aimed toward encouraging businesses to prioritize urban greening with a mandated “Urban Greening Factor” (UGF). The Citicape House will exceed the required UGF by more than 45 times. With the massive, striking green wall located within London’s bustling Culture Mile, it is sure to inspire those who see it while addressing environmental issues and positively affecting the region. + Sheppard Robson Via Dezeen Images via Sheppard Robson

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The largest green wall in Europe will absorb 8 tons of air pollution per year

Architects use simple, low-cost and efficient materials to create spectacular home with ‘flying roof’ in Chile

October 17, 2019 by  
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Modern homes come in all shapes and sizes, but it seems that architects are opting to take a simpler route these days when it comes to creating amazing designs. Case in point is the beautiful BL House by Mas Fernandez Architectos . Located in a coastal area in Chile’s Valparaíso region, the gorgeous home was built using prefabricated and modular materials, then topped with an eye-catching, origami-inspired metal roof. Tucked into a hilly landscape covered with trees and vegetation, the almost 2,000-square-foot home was designed to embrace its idyllic, quiet setting. Using the surrounding nature as inspiration , the team at Mas Fernandez used simple, cost-effective materials to create a design that would offer the homeowners a peaceful respite away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Related: Breezy, prefab home stays naturally cool in tropical Costa Rica The single-level home is gently nestled into the topography of the land in order to minimize impact. Using concrete pillars, part of the home is elevated over a gentle slop. The home is topped with a fun, origami-inspired aluminum roof that gives off the impression that it is about to take flight at any moment. The roof juts out over the home’s frame, shading the interior from harsh sunlight during the hot summer months. The roof also has two triangular cutouts that allow for natural light to filter into the two interior courtyards. The house was built using prefabricated materials that allowed the architects to keep construction costs down and minimize construction time. The project is clad in a dramatic, dark pine cladding with some walls made of glass panels. The five-bedroom home features an open-concept living, dining and kitchen area that is filled with simple, rustic decor reminiscent of a contemporary cabin. Massive, floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide a seamless connection between the outdoors and indoors. Additionally, the walls and ceilings are lined with native treated pinewood, adding warmth to the atmosphere. For outdoor space, the home has an enviable, open-air deck with plenty of space for seating and dining. + Mas Fernandez Arquitectos Via Dezeen Images via Mas Fernandez Arquitectos

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Architects use simple, low-cost and efficient materials to create spectacular home with ‘flying roof’ in Chile

Get away from the urban chaos in one of these 8 amazing eco-friendly treehouses

September 24, 2019 by  
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Imagine just for a moment waking up to the chirpy birdcall and the crisp sounds of rustling leaves coming from the surrounding tree canopy.  The rest of your day can be spent exploring the deepest part of the Costa Rican rainforest or strolling along pristine coastal waters. You might just want to sleep in and enjoy a mid-morning yoga class, too. Although all of this may seem too good to be true, it’s not. This is life within the rainforest sanctuary known as the Finca Bellavista community. Located in the southern region of Costa Rica, this idyllic sustainable community offers ecotourists their choice of eight amazing eco-friendly treehouse retreats. Casa Tamandua Entrenched in lush vegetation, the three-level Casa Tamandua offers family-style lodging high up in the tree canopy. The solar-powered treehouse has two bedrooms plus a cool sleeping loft. The main living area offers ample space to enjoy the great outdoors, but for those looking to really immerse themselves in nature, the place to be is swinging on the dual hammocks hanging on the spacious decks. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Fila Tortuga For those looking for a serene off-grid respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Fila Tortuga is calling your name. The one bedroom treehouse sits high up in the canopy, surrounded by vegetation. Although it has no electricity, it comes with all of the basics, including a well-equipped kitchenette. There is plenty of indoor living space, but at the heart of the treehouse is the large balcony with plenty of room to watch the amazing wildlife. Cabina Colibri Get back to the basics with this lovely studio treehouse that offers the glorious delight of off-grid simplicity. The Cabina Colibri offers a quiet treehouse stay, complete with a furnished balcony with outdoor dining space to enjoy the daily sightings of the wildlife among the rusting of the tree leaves. El Castillo Mastate El Castillo Mastate stays true to its name by offering guests a castle in the sky. Reached by a fun plankway, the two-story treehouse is another great family-oriented retreat. The treehouse features three bedrooms with Queen-sized beds, two bathrooms, plus a fully-equipped kitchen and large dining table that seats up to eight people. Although, the large open-air deck is the perfect place for dining al fresco while listening to the birds and other wildlife. Solar-powered electricity provides enough charge for lights, refrigeration, phones, etc. Casa Estrella With its robust all-wood interior, including exposed wooden beams, this two bedroom, 1.5 bathroom treehouse is like a tiny wooden cabin in the sky. Along with a spacious living and dining area, the solar-powered treehouse comes with furnished balconies and canopy views that offers the best in wildlife viewing. As the closest treehouse to basecamp, Casa Estrella is especially suited for those who are looking for a getaway, but not one that’s not so far from civilization. Casa de Tigre This studio-style treehouse offers a beautiful stay for anyone wanting to explore the Costa Rican jungle. Tucked into the vegetation, this cabin sits high off the ground, but is accessible via a small ramp. It even has its own trail leading to an adjacent river. With a large-open air balcony and screen-in windows on every wall, it’s perfect for getting in tune with the surrounding nature. Casa de Leon This three-level treehouse is a perfect location for anyone wanting to truly go off-grid with a large group. Casa de Leon sleeps ten, spread out between two bedrooms and a loft. And although there is no electricity in the off-grid treehouse, there is a well-equipped kitchenette with everything needed to whip up tasty meals. La Torreluna Reached by a stairway leading up from the landscape, La Torreluna treehouse is a perfect escape for a small family. The treehouse offers one queen bed and two twin beds, along with a bathroom. Although there is no electricity, families can spend their time bonding as they hike through the large network of hiking trails that lead to some seriously breathtaking views. Along with a vast choice of amazing eco-friendly treehouses to choose from, Finca Bellavista offers an incredible chance to explore the Costa Rican jungle. In addition to wildlife viewing, hiking, mountain biking, etc., the community offers complimentary daily yoga classes with reservations secured. Fresh organic produce is grown on site at their expansive gardens. Guests can also enjoy spending time at the camp’s community center which provides internet service, happy hour gatherings, games, etc. + Finca Bellavista Images via Finca Bellavista

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Get away from the urban chaos in one of these 8 amazing eco-friendly treehouses

NRPA and Coca-Cola partner to install trash traps to clean Atlanta waterways

September 24, 2019 by  
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The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), which is the leading nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recently partnered up with beverage giant Coca-Cola to install trash trap systems in southwest Atlanta. The initiative seeks to keep pollution out of estuaries the Proctor Creek feeds into, such as the Chattahoochee River, and ultimately the ocean. As a 9-mile tributary of the Chattahoochee River, Proctor Creek experiences both stormwater runoff and flooding . The water runoff that moves the trash from storm drains empties into Proctor Creek and is then conveyed into connecting waterways. Related: Coca-Cola to offer Dasani water in aluminum cans and bottles to reduce plastic waste With the catchment system in operation, floating litter can be intercepted in the water runoff. Collected rubbish and debris are then guided into a larger collection container. Both the NRPA and Coca-Cola explained that the trash traps are technologically designed to prevent harm to fish and wildlife , for they do not use nets nor fencing. With a trash-free watershed, the surrounding communities’ water quality will be revitalized. Revitalization will also improve the overall quality of life for the region. Current estimates are that the traps reduce litter by 80 percent so that Proctor Creek is relatively cleaner before entering the Chattahoochee River. Coca-Cola is notorious for its massive plastic footprint. But just last month, in August 2019, Coca-Cola and its rival, PepsiCo Inc., both announced their departures from the leading plastics lobbying group, the Plastic Industry Association. Coca-Cola has deployed its global World Without Waste goal to recycle and reuse the equivalent of all the bottles and cans it sells by 2030. Additionally, Coca-Cola plans to recycle and reuse the bottles collected by the trash traps to transform them into graduation gowns for Atlanta Public Schools’ high school seniors. With this trash trap project, Coca-Cola is commercially maneuvering even closer toward a more environmentally friendly stance, perhaps to dispel its long-standing negative image as the world’s largest plastic polluter. Coca-Cola noted in its news release, “The visibility of the trash traps, educational programming and creation of local green jobs associated with the project will facilitate lasting change and foster environmental, economic and social benefits in the area.” Other stakeholders in the waterway improvement plan include the city of Atlanta, the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Groundwork Atlanta, Park Pride and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some of these partners will analyze data on the trash collection to document trends and detail effectiveness of the project design to inform best practices for optimal litter mitigation strategies. + Coca-Cola + NRPA Image via Shawn Taylor

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NRPA and Coca-Cola partner to install trash traps to clean Atlanta waterways

This lake house in Chile was designed to complement the surrounding environment

July 29, 2019 by  
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The BEG House by Rudolphy + Bizama Arquitectos is located off of Lake Riñihue in the Los Ríos Region of Chile. With stunning views of the lake and the Andes Mountains to the south, the designers made sure to prioritize these vistas from each of the main spaces. Sunlight brightens the home through two large northern skylights and spreads through the use of circulation spaces. The walls to the south are made almost completely out of glass sliding doors, so the residents can either open them to enjoy the fresh air or close them while still receiving a majestic lake view. To provide even more light and ventilation, there are several interior courtyards built into the home as well. The region is known for rain, so the windows and glass doors separating the interior to the courtyards give one the feeling of being outside and enjoying the cool rain while staying comfortable and dry inside. These courtyards also allow for the merging of the property with the surrounding natural spaces for the home and the environment to work as one. Related: Contemporary A-frame home soaks up lakeside views in Mexico The dark color of the exterior of the house, constructed of pre-painted metal sheets, helps the structure blend into the environment with thoughtful pops of brightly-colored wood used as a slight contrast. The metal brings the walls and the roof together, and the slopes of the roof on the interior are built at different heights to mimic nature. The natural, organic shades of wood on the interior gives the residents even more connection to the setting while contrasting beautifully with the dark metal exterior. With the exception of the kitchen, the entire inside is unpainted to show off the light wood. The abundance of rain also nourishes the dense, rainforest shrubbery that surrounds the property, creating plenty of greenery to complement the lake views and make this home truly unique. + Rudolphy + Bizama Arquitectos Images via Rudolphy + Bizama Arquitectos

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This lake house in Chile was designed to complement the surrounding environment

Passive solar house embraces indoor-outdoor living in sustainable comfort

June 18, 2019 by  
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Just 15 minutes from New Zealand’s capital is an environmentally conscious house that enjoys the best of city and country living. Designed by Wellington-based architectural firm Parsonson Architects , the hybrid city-country house — dubbed the Ostrich House — feels like a rural escape from the city with its hilltop location boasting panoramic views and its indoor-outdoor design approach. To minimize energy use and future-proof the home, the architects followed passive solar principles and outfitted the home with low-maintenance materials as well as a rainwater collection system. Spanning an area of 2,368 square feet, the Ostrich House takes inspiration from its rugged, hilltop location. Wrapped around a sheltered courtyard , the dwelling is topped with an angled roofline that not only references the surrounding topography, but also provides protection from the prevailing hot and dry Nor-Westerlies. The house is also backed up to a hill for protection from the cold southern winds. Long roof eaves provide added protection from the elements. The interior of the house also pays homage to the outdoors. Massive windows and floor-to-ceiling glazing bring the outdoors in at every angle. Okoume plywood lines the sculptural ceiling and matches the predominately timber palette used in the minimalist interior. Cedar, which is used as cladding for the exterior, is repeated as interior wall linings to further the indoor-outdoor connection. Related: Beautiful Wellington Welcome Pavilion glows like a lantern at night The timber floors and cedar cladding have been oiled — zinc was also added to the exterior — to ensure durability for the low-maintenance building envelope. Following passive solar principles, the home is positioned for optimal passive solar gain in winter, while sections of exposed concrete floor and internal block walls help retain that heat. In summer, slatted sunscreens and generous eaves mitigate unwanted heat gain. The double-glazed, low-E windows with thermally broken frames and a heat recovery ventilation system also help keep temperature fluctuations in check. In addition to a rainwater collection system, the house is equipped with an on-site septic system that uses Tiger Worms to reduce solids by approximately 95 percent. + Parsonson Architects Photography by Paul McCredie via Parsonson Architects

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Passive solar house embraces indoor-outdoor living in sustainable comfort

The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

A series of tiny, geometric cabins in an overgrown slate quarry are a truly secluded retreat

April 17, 2019 by  
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Architectural firm New British Design has unveiled four tiny cabin retreats located in Britain’s North Cornwall coast. The Kudhva Wilderness Cabins are compact, angular huts elevated off the landscape by turned pine poles, providing stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Inside, the compact spaces offer guests all the basics needed for a truly off-grid getaway. Located in an old slate quarry that has been overrun by lush natural greenery, the huts are a project between New British Design founder Bill Huggins and long-term collaborator Louise Middleton. Working with boat-builder-turned-furniture-maker Toby Sharp, the designers created the tiny cabins to be the ultimate retreats for travelers to the North Cornwall coast. Although the region is a popular destination for tourists looking to explorer the expansive coastline, this specific area is extremely remote and, as such, is a perfect place to completely disconnect. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills The word “Kudhva” comes from the Cornish word for “hideout,” which was the driving factor behind the cabin design. Elevated high up into the tree canopy by a series of cylindrical pine columns, the secluded retreats let visitors enjoy incredible views of the surrounding wilderness and local wildlife . Working directly with the architects, Toby Sharp designed and built the timber cabins with a small team of master craftsmen in a local workshop. This system allowed the construction process to reduce the project’s environmental impact . Once fully constructed, the cabins were then transported to the site and carefully placed onto their cradle bases by crane. Made out of insulated, paged-pine panels with an EDPM rubber membrane covering, the cabins are clad in a series of larch slats. The natural exteriors, along with sharp, angular lines, seamlessly blend the cabins into the forestscape. Accessed through a ladder, the interiors feature an open layout with enough space for a sofa, a sleeping loft and a wood-burning stove. Various triangular windows and glazed facades look out over the surroundings, further embedding the rustic retreats into the tranquil landscape. + New British Design Via Archdaily Photography by George Fielding and Roy Riley via New British Design

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A series of tiny, geometric cabins in an overgrown slate quarry are a truly secluded retreat

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