A sustainable tiny cabin powers this holographic lighthouse of the future

September 21, 2018 by  
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Lighthouses are beloved around the world for their architectural beauty and historical significance. But in recent times, the number of operational lighthouses has sharply declined due to the advancement of electronic navigation technology. In a bid to raise awareness of these romantic maritime towers and promote preservation, French designer Nicolas Abdelkader of Paris-based Studio NAB has proposed Hololightkeeper, an experimental and sustainable project that combines traditional maritime design with futuristic holographic technology to create a glowing lighthouse-like projection out at sea. Abdelkader conceived the project with two main parts: a 3D holographic lighthouse projected onto highly transparent mesh and a compact, 30-square-meter cabin from where the hologram would be controlled. In a nod to traditional lighthouse operations, a “lighthouse keeper” would live in the tiny cabin and manage this 3D luminous lighthouse. This guardian can control the holographic diffusion of the 3D lighthouse, which would measure 25 meters in height, diffuse at a range of 50 meters and serve as a guiding beacon to boats at night. To minimize the architecture’s site impact, Abdelkader designed the building with a light metal framework clad in stainless steel panels and elevated on a series of reinforced concrete and steel piles anchored into hard rock in the seabed. Moreover, the tiny cabin would be built for energy self-sufficiency by drawing power from a wind turbine and solar panels, while drinking water would be provided through a desalination process of the seawater. Natural wood wool within the walls would serve as insulation, and a green roof would add an extra layer of protection. Related: Denmark’s 116-year-old lighthouse transformed into a giant kaleidoscope “The starting point of this project was to note that there still remains around the world more or less 1,500 lighthouses in activity and that consequently, the lighthouse and the job by lighthouse keeper, as we know them, are declining,” Abdelkader explained. “The Studio NAB thus thought about a solution to try to stem the phenomenon, to revive this ancestral job and to modernize the famous concrete monolith such as it is anchored in the collective imaginary, while preserving its aesthetic codes by means of holographic image in 3D.” + Studio NAB Images via Studio NAB

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A sustainable tiny cabin powers this holographic lighthouse of the future

Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

August 6, 2018 by  
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A beautiful A-frame cabin has popped up on the remote Finnish island of Vallisaari to serve as an “ecological alternative to cabin life.” Imagined by Finland-based designer Robin Falck , Nolla is a beautiful cabin retreat that was built using sustainable materials and designed to leave minimal impact on the environment. Nolla (which means “zero” in Finnish) is located on the island of Vallisaari, just a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsinki. Carefully constructed for zero emissions, this  A-frame cabin stands just 13 feet tall, lifted off the landscape by multiple supports so that it leaves little-to-no impact on the pristine landscape. The minimalist design was inspired by the need to provide an off-grid retreat that lets guests truly connect with nature. An all-glass wall floods the interior with natural light and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The interior of the cabin is modern with furnishings from the Stockmann Sustainable Collection, which specializes in eco-friendly products. Related: These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design The cabin’s energy needs are met by solar power. Guests can cook on a Wallas stove, which runs entirely on Neste MY Renewable Diesel that is made entirely from waste and residue. Guests can rest assured that their voyage to the cabin is also sustainable, because the ferry that travels to the island runs on the same eco-friendly diesel, which reportedly reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent. “With the Nolla cabin, we want to offer visitors the possibility to experience modern cabin life in the realm of nature, with minimal emissions, Falck explained. “An ecological lifestyle does not only require giving up unsustainable commodities, but also discovering modern, sustainable solutions that can be used instead. This has been an essential part of the design process.” Nolla, which will be on the island until the end of September, is part of Neste’s Journey to Zero project. Neste has collaborated with notable eco-concious companies to design and promote the cabin’s eco-message. The first guests to visit the eco-retreat will be hosted by Finnish zero waste influencer Otso Sillanaukee, a specialist on sustainable everyday living . “Finns are known for spending time at their beloved summer houses. We wanted to explore sustainable solutions that could enable cabin life with minimal emissions,” said Sirpa Tuomi, marketing director at Neste. “Shared and circular economy, as well as new technologies and innovations, have made it possible to enjoy our cabins without harming or burdening the environment . Some of the solutions that have been used at the Nolla cabin are perfectly adaptable at any cabin.” + Robin Falck + Neste Images via Neste

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Embrace sustainable travel in this solar-powered A-frame cabin

Prefab open-air theater pops up with speed in a London park

August 6, 2018 by  
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Completed in just seven months, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theater in central London is yet another example of how prefabrication can be a fantastic solution for site-sensitive projects strapped for time. Local architecture firm Reed Watts Architects designed the theater using a lightweight cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel system. Set amidst protected Royal Parks trees, the cultural institution houses new rehearsal studios and a catering kitchen, marking the first time in the theater’s 86-year history that its operations have been brought together onto one site. Spanning an area of over 5,000 square feet on the far corner of the site, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theater is designed to host over 1,200 people every night during the summer season. The architects installed the building during the winter season, when the Theater was closed, atop relatively small foundations to minimize site impact. The building exterior is clad in dark-stained larch at its base with more textured cladding higher up; the overall effect helps the structure recede into the landscape and makes it look like a natural extension of the existing Theater buildings. “Reed Watts have succeeded in delivering a significant new rehearsal facility for the theatre, as well as a state of the art kitchen to support the commercial catering arm of our business,” said William Village, Executive Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theater. “Efficiently utilising every inch of the available footprint, the sense of scale when entering the building is impressive, and yet the design is sympathetic to the magical ambience of the Open Air Theatre. Realised with an acute understanding of the natural environment and the importance of our location in the heart of Regent’s Park, one might be forgiven for assuming that these new buildings have always been a feature of the theatre’s infrastructure.” Related: A prefab chapel’s sculptural form amplifies the landscape in Uruguay Most of the programs are located on the first floor; however, a floor above provides extra room for rehearsal spaces and a green room. The new studio is double-height to provide added flexibility for dancers, actors and acrobats. The space is illuminated by roof lights and tall windows, heated with underfloor heating and mechanically ventilated (and cooled) from upper-level ductwork. + Reed Watts Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Simone Kennedy and David Jensen

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Prefab open-air theater pops up with speed in a London park

Old mountain retreat renovated into sublime off-grid refuge

April 28, 2017 by  
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The challenges of renovating older buildings are already numerous, but when working deep in 8,100-foot-high mountainous topography and extreme climate conditions, it can be downright perilous. Meeting the challenge head-on, architecture firms Arteks Arquitectura and Ginjaume Arquitectura i Paissatge partnered up to convert a 1930s mountain retreat in the Andorran Pyrenees into the modern, off-grid Illa Mountain Hut that can generate up to four days of self-sufficient energy . Working within the confines of such harsh conditions, reforming the mountain refuge proved to be an uphill battle at every turn. The first hurdle was working under the restrictions imposed by the area’s protected UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status. Additionally, the extreme weather conditions meant that the project team could only access the site – the 4th highest shelter in the Pyrenees – during the summer months. Related: Modern lodge in the Rocky Mountains produces as much energy as it consumes Although the conditions were not optimal for building, it did have its advantages. Working around so many environmental barriers enabled the building team to use the restrictions to their advantage by using eco-friendly materials that were purpose-built for the project. Due to the harsh conditions and topography, for example, the architectural team chose to use light and prefabricated materials that could be flown in by helicopter. With most of the elements prefabricated in workshops and assembled on site, the building now weighs about a third of a similarly-sized conventional building and the execution time of the project was cut down to a surprising six months. Using the existing building as a structural base helped the team to further minimize the cost of the project as well as reduce the waste associated with the project. The wooden frame was reinforced with an extended gabled roof which helps discharge large snow loads during winter. This feature was also strategic to optimize solar energy gain . Thanks to a large array of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof, the refuge can generate up to four days of energy self sufficiency , making the project 100% off-grid. In addition to its solar power, the structure uses an independent water treatment system equipped with coconut filters . Additionally, an efficient ventilation system and ultra-thick insulation keeps the interior spaces warm and cozy, free from the extreme exterior cold. + Arteks Arquitectura + Ginjaume Arquitectura i Paissatge Photography via Pol Viladoms

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Old mountain retreat renovated into sublime off-grid refuge

This village in Arizona has a simple solution to light pollution

April 28, 2017 by  
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Residents of Arizona Sky Village abide by one simple rule: “Turn off your goddammed lights .” The 21-household community near Portal, Arizona is comprised of stargazers and astronomers, and almost every home has its own domed observatory. But some people also wonder if the small community could hold the secrets of fighting light pollution in America. In Arizona Sky Village, clear night skies are a major priority. There are no outdoor lights allowed, and every single window in every home must have blackout curtains. Nighttime driving isn’t forbidden, but it’s discouraged, and most residents are too busy gazing at the stars to drive anyway. Co-founder Jack Newton condensed it all into that one colorful rule: turn off those lights! Related: What City Skies Would Look Like Without Light Pollution Newton, who is nearly 75, said he spends “90 percent of my time up in my dome.” He’s made three supernova discoveries in 2017 alone, and the International Astronomical Union christened an asteroid 30840 Jackalice after him and his wife Alice. He doesn’t even own the largest telescope in the community; that honor goes to neighbor Rick Beno , who has a 24-inch telescope. Many residents once had scientific careers and now spend their retirement in Arizona Sky Village – like retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak – but Newton managed department stores during his career. Few Americans benefit from the starry skies of Arizona Sky Village. The American Astronomical Society says people have a universal right to starlight; but around 99 percent of Americans actually live with a constant sky glow, according to The Guardian. Light pollution isn’t just bad for stargazing; it could have an impact on health as well. Blue lights streaming from cellphones and laptops have led to insomnia in some users and evidence isn’t conclusive yet but some studies suggest changing the light and dark rhythms in our bodies could increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, and cancer. International Dark Sky Association astronomer John Barentine said in Arizona Sky Village, “the people are already practicing what we recommend.” Kitt Peak National Observatory director Lori Allen told The Guardian to help keep skies dark, “There are three simple things people can do. Shield their lights, dim their lights, and use the right color bulbs.” Via The Guardian Images via John Fowler on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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This village in Arizona has a simple solution to light pollution

These student-designed cabins for Outward Bound are rustic and awesome

April 11, 2016 by  
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Get off the grid in style with the mini solar-powered Wave Eco Cabin

December 4, 2015 by  
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Thoreau-Inspired Sustainable Cabin Rises Up in West Texas

December 9, 2010 by  
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More than a century ago, Henry David Thoreau asked, “What’s the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” He might not have been pondering climate change or green design, but his wise words – and his cabin on the shore of Walden Pond – inspired this simple and modern prefabricated dwelling located in West Texas. Read the rest of Thoreau-Inspired Sustainable Cabin Rises Up in West Texas http://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/ohttp://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=better_feedptions-general.php?page=better_feed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bamboo flooring , composting toilet , henry david thoreau , Reclaimed Materials , Recycled Materials , Solar Power , solar power off grid , sustainable architeture , sustainable cabin , Urs Peter Flueckiger , water harvesting

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Thoreau-Inspired Sustainable Cabin Rises Up in West Texas

The United States’ Largest Photovoltaic Plant Opens In Nevada

December 9, 2010 by  
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While it is nowhere as large as Canada’s 80MW Sarnia Solar Project (which is the world’s largest PV plant ), the US has just opened the country’s largest PV plant in Nevada.

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