This modular, off-grid design can adapt to any landscape

April 27, 2020 by  
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DIY home design is a life-long dream of many, and today’s architects are making it easier than ever to build your own home without toiling for years. Genoa-based firm  TEKE Architects  has just unveiled the MU50, a modular  off-grid home  designed to be configurable to virtually any landscape. Using modules of prefabricated timber frames that can be connected in various layouts, the innovative design is meant to be incorporated into any landscape with minimal impact. The MU50 design is meant to be a feasible solution to sustainable and convenient modern  home design . According to the architects, a basic principle of the innovative home design was to create a modular, highly-flexible system that incorporates reusable and recyclable materials that would ensure minimal environmental impact across the board. The modular frames and enclosure panels, which are prefabricated off-site, are easily delivered on-site where they can be installed in just a few days, depending on size. Related: This ready-made tiny home can be shipped to any destination Part of the design includes a severe pitched overhang roof made out of three possible building materials, either wood, aluminum or copper. As one of the design’s many passive features, the roof offers several climate control features. First, the underside of the roof includes tight thermal insulation and waterproofed panels. Secondly, the large overhangs shade the interior spaces. The roof will also be installed with  solar panels,  which depending on the location and size of the home, should provide sufficient energy to power the entire house. The living space is designed to be an open plan that allows for optimal natural lighting and air ventilation. No matter what the size, the system’s modular pods allow for  maximum flexibility , meaning minimalists can create the tiny home of their dreams, and families can create larger spaces that are suited to their individual needs. This flexible system also allows homeowners to adjust their living space to their changing needs throughout the years. Additionally, the home can run off-grid in any number of climates or terrains thanks to several active and passive climate control features. The modular frames are designed to be elevated off the landscape to allow for air circulation below its base. With proper building orientation, custom windows with double-paned glazing, and piston-operated pine sunshades, the home’s interior is protected from harsh sunlight and heat. In terms of active sustainable systems, the home design is created to run solely on solar power, but additional clean energy-generating systems can be used as well, such as a water collection system. Additionally, ground source heat pumps and underfloor heating create optimal  energy-efficiency  for the beautiful home design. + TEKE Architects Via Archdaily Images via TEKE Architects

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This modular, off-grid design can adapt to any landscape

Studio Precht designs a fingerprint-like park for social distancing

April 27, 2020 by  
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Studio Precht has turned the rules of social distancing into a design guideline for Parc de la Distance, an innovative park proposal that ensures all visitors will be separated at least 6 feet from one another at all times. Created in the shape of a fingerprint with spiraling ridges represented by tall hedge rows, the conceptual park takes inspiration from both French baroque gardens and Japanese Zen gardens. The hedge-lined paths slowly spiral toward a center, where fountains are located. With all famous parks across Vienna closed due to the pandemic , Studio Precht wanted to create a safe way for local residents to get access to a brief time of solitude and nature. As a result, it has proposed Parc de la Distance for a vacant lot in Vienna that comprises multiple spaced-out pathways for individual walks. “Although our ‘Park de la Distance’ encourages physical distance, the design is shaped by the human touch: a fingerprint,” the architects explained. “Like a fingerprint, parallel lanes guide visitors through the undulating landscape.” Related: Architects propose produce markets designed for social distancing Each lane is bookended by an entrance gateway and exit gateway to indicate whether the path is occupied or free to stroll . The lanes are spaced 8 feet apart and flanked with nearly 3-foot-wide hedges on either side for visual separation. The height of the hedges vary along the path. Each individual path is 0.37 miles long and takes around 20 minutes to walk from start to finish. Although visitors are often shielded from view from one another, they will be able to hear the sounds of footsteps on the reddish granite gravel that line each path. “For now, the park is designed to create a safe physical distance between its visitors,” Studio Precht founder Chris Precht said. “After the pandemic, the park is used to escape the noise and bustle of the city and be alone for some time. I lived in many cities, but I think I have never been alone in public. I think that’s a rare quality.” + Studio Precht Images via Studio Precht

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Studio Precht designs a fingerprint-like park for social distancing

Costa Rican eco-lodge is made of reclaimed wood from a 100-year-old home

April 20, 2020 by  
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Costa Rican architectural firm Gussa has unveiled a peaceful eco-lodge located on the country’s beautiful Caribbean coastline. Esquina Verde is a cozy rental accommodation made out of locally sourced materials and reclaimed wood salvaged from a 100-year-old home. Surrounded by lush vegetation and native wildlife, the lodge’s multiple hammocks that hang from the thatched roofs make it an idyllic place to disconnect. Located just outside of Cahuita National Park in Limon, Esquina Verde is a serene retreat that provides park visitors with a place to stay while they explore the area. The indoor/outdoor nature of the two bedroom, two bathroom guest house lets guests completely immerse themselves in the tropical forest backdrop, which is home to some incredible wildlife. Related: Sustainable eco huts built on stilts in an idyllic French pine forest Inspired by the natural setting, the architects wanted the project to reflect and protect the environment. The first step was to repurpose loads of reclaimed wood that was salvaged from a 100-year-old home being demolished near the site. This timber was originally imported from the U.S. to be used in the island’s banana plantations. The rest of the lodge was almost entirely prefabricated off-site in San Jose. Once delivered to the lot, it was put together using a simple bolt system that held the steel frame in place. To protect the structure from the region’s infamous heavy rains and high humidity, the lodge incorporates several resilient design features. Esquina Verde has multiple connecting volumes, all of which are elevated off of the landscape to reduce the impact on the terrain . The lifted building also protects itself from flash flooding, which commonly occurs in this part of the country. The eco-lodge is arranged around a central courtyard with a small swimming pool. The main structure, which is two stories, features a wide thatched roof and a wrap-around porch, where guests can enjoy views of the lush tree canopy. Underneath the roof overhangs, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors open up completely to provide air circulation and a deeper connection to the environment. + Gussa Images via Gussa

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Costa Rican eco-lodge is made of reclaimed wood from a 100-year-old home

Self-sustaining Shade House helps combat urban pollution

April 13, 2020 by  
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Bangkok-based architectural firm,  Ayutt and Associates design , has unveiled a stunning  self-sustaining home  in the Thai capital. The Shade House is a three-story home covered in the firm’s signature perforated facade that allows for optimal natural light and airflow, while simultaneously providing privacy for the homeowners. Additionally, the design incorporates several passive and active technologies, as well as an abundance of indoor pocket gardens that allow the homeowners to enjoy a serene, natural forest-like atmosphere inside their own home. Tucked into a quiet neighborhood behind the massive high rises in Bangkok, the Shade House was designed to be a serene living space for a family who wanted to live in an urban area but retain some personal  green space  to enjoy in their day-to-day lives. Accordingly, the architectural team came up with an ingenious home design that would be based on creating an “individual natural ecosystem.” Related: Spain’s San Telmo Museum Boasts a Perforated Green Façade At over 10,000 square feet, the Shade House is comprised of two main towers connected by an indoor/outdoor walkway that leads to various access points inside the home. The home’s exterior shell is made up of a perforated facade  created using aluminum panels and white slender steel rods. This system allows the home to enjoy ample sun and air ventilation, as well as a natural cooling system. In fact, according to the architects, the home allows the interior spaces to be around seven degrees cooler than the outside temperature. The  interior layout  of the home was also designed to take advantage of the natural atmosphere. The first floor of the home is designed as a “garden villa.” Separate from the family’s main living areas, this space is meant to be a welcoming social area, or can be closed off to be used as a guest home. The second floor contains the family’s main living spaces, as well as the “pool villa” that features a large swimming pool and outdoor area. Elevated off the first floor, the main living room, kitchen and dining spaces look out over the tree canopy, creating the sensation of being high up in a treehouse . The private bedrooms are located on the top floor, which rises way up over the treetops to provide a sense of privacy and relaxation. Throughout the home, an abundance of greenery has been strategically planted at virtually every corner. Between the outdoor plantings, indoor pocket gardens and a  green roof , the total vegetation currently covers 90% of the home and is expected to grow 150% larger than its beginning site over the years, eventually covering the home’s expansive exterior. + Ayutt and Associates design Via Archdaily Images via Ayutt and Associates design

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"FORGO" plastic packaging with powder to liquid hand wash

April 8, 2020 by  
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Plastic containers  line nearly every shelf of any health and beauty aisle. To tackle this earth-endangering practice, Stockholm-based design studio Form Us With Love set out to make personal care more sustainable with their first product in this endeavor, FORGO powdered hand soap. Although the design company has launched other product campaigns, including furniture in conjunction with notable icon IKEA, FORGO targets making an impactful change to the personal care industry.  The name FORGO, meaning “to do without,” captures the essence of the hand wash, the first product in what Form us With Love hopes will be an entire line of personal care products. This hand wash is made using the bare essentials, from the ingredients list to the packing materials, embracing minimalism  throughout the process for all the right reasons. Related:  This skincare and natural deodorant is made from apple cider vinegar FORGO is a lightweight and compact powder you mix up at home. During your initial order, the company sends a glass jar with a fill line mark for easy measuring. Your job is simply to open the package, dump the powder into the glass jar, fill with water and shake. In less than a minute, you have a full bottle of foaming hand soap ready to go. When you run low, you can have three more packages sent directly to your home with free shipping throughout Europe and North America. For the initial run, FORGO is only available for these areas, but they hope to expand to other countries in the future. FORGO is produced in a partnership with a Montreal-based lab specializing in natural cosmetics. The result is a product that uses only six essential ingredients over 1%. All ingredients are naturally derived , and all are considered safe by EWG Skin Deep®. Five are COSMOS certified (COSMetic Organic and natural Standard). The scents for the foaming soap are also natural, with the wood scent distilled from timber yard scraps in Canada and the citrus scent distilled from leftover peels and pulp from organic citrus in the Caribbean.  The packaging is also mindful, using only recycled and recyclable paper to contain the powder and ship it, along with the glass jar, which can be recycled and is non-toxic should it end up in a landfill. The steel pump can be returned to the company for proper recycling . The compact packaging reduces waste and produces significantly fewer transport emissions, with 18 packets of FORGO equaling approximately one plastic bottle of a premixed solution. A now fully-funded Kickstarter campaign boosted the initial launch, with the first round of shipments expected summer 2020. + FORGO Images via Jonas Lindström Studio, Fredrik Augustsson, and Anna Heck & Yujin Jiang

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"FORGO" plastic packaging with powder to liquid hand wash

DIY yurt could be the answer for true social distancing

April 2, 2020 by  
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In these trying days when social distancing seems to be so hard for so many, perhaps a change of living space is the key to finding some alone time. Designed by the team from  Woodenwidget , the Plurt is a lightweight yurt  that can be assembled quickly with just a few simple tools. What’s more, the round yurt offers a sustainable and highly insulated home that can be built in just about any landscape. While we’ve seen some pretty impressive DIY yurt designs over the years, the Plurt is designed to take the guesswork out of the process. The entire set up includes six curved wall panels, 15 flat roof panels and a door frame. Enabling an easier transport process, the panels, which are made out of exterior grade wood, weigh less than 45 pounds each. In fact, the entire yurt weighs only about 550 pounds. Additionally, the interchangeable panels are custom cut to ensure that the project is as low-waste and low-impact  as possible. Related: 7 cozy tipis and yurts that make you feel right at home Once put into place, the  wooden panels are bonded together through several adjustable clasps and sealed with waterproof wood glue. According to the team from Woodenwidget, the round yurt structure can be assembled by just one or two people using basic power tools in about 200 hours. About 16 feet in diameter and just under 9 feet high, the interior of the yurt is a fairly compact size, but the living space seems quite spacious thanks to an abundance of  natural light . Curved walls made out of plywood add a cabin-like feel to the living space. In addition to the large windows, a central skylight covered by a plexi dome can be raised or lowered for natural air ventilation. Besides the resiliency naturally achieved by its  circular design , the Plurt also offers several sustainable features. Unlike most yurt designs, the structure is constructed using the insulating layer as a structural element, which in return, reduces the project’s overall number of building materials. Additionally, the design’s highly-insulated system and natural lighting mean that it can be used in almost any climate. A Neoprene seal stops water leakage and a simple gutter system helps redirect rainwater from the roof. + Woodenwidget Images via Woodenwidget

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Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

March 27, 2020 by  
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Mumbai-based firm  Sanjay Puri Architects  has just completed work on a beautiful hotel in northern India known for wine production. Built on a base of locally-sourced natural stone, the Aria Hotel is a stunning design carefully stacked onto the landscape that boasts several passive and active features to make it incredibly  energy efficient . Located in the ancient city of Nashik in the northern Indian region of Maharashtra, the  beautiful hotel  is located right on the banks of the Godavari River. The idyllic location includes the river on one side and rising hills on the other, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature. Related: Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort According to the architects, no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography. Stacked multiple levels high, the hotel is built on a base of locally-sourced natural black basalt stone . The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout the suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light  thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, further reducing the hotel’s energy usage. The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs thanks to a rooftop solar array . In addition to its clean energy generation, the hotel was installed with a rainwater collection system that provides water for irrigation. All of the luxury units boast large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and  minimize heat gain  throughout the interior spaces. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via v2com Photography by Dinesh Mehta and Sanjay Puri

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Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

March 27, 2020 by  
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Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled its competition-winning designs for the Shimao ShenKong International Centre, a new “three-dimensional urban living room” for the heart of Shenzhen’s Longgang district. Selected from nearly 30 competition entries, the winning proposal, also known as the Shenzhen Terraces, will introduce over 20 programs to a thriving university neighborhood. The project also focuses on sustainability and will integrate passive design principles, native landscaping, recycled materials and solar panels.  Named after its architecture of stacked plateaus, the Shenzhen Terraces project references forms of the nearby mountains while its predominately horizontal lines and curvaceous shapes provide a visual contrast with the vertical lines and hard edges of the surrounding high-rises. The terraced design also creates opportunities for large overhangs to mitigate solar gain as well as spacious terraces filled with plants and water basins for cooling microclimates . Bridge elements link various buildings to create a continuous elevated route.  Related: ZHA unveils LEED Gold-targeted OPPO headquarters in Shenzhen “ Shenzhen has developed so quickly since its origins in the 1970s,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “In cities like this, it is essential to carefully consider how public spaces and natural landscape can be integrated into the densifying cityscape. The urban living room of the Shimao ShenKong International Centre will be a wonderful example of this, and could become a model for the creation of key public spaces in New Town developments throughout Shenzhen. It aims to make an area that you want be outside, hang out and meet, even when it is hot — a literally cool space for the university district, where all communication space can be outside. It will truly be a public building.” As a sustainable hub, the 101,300-square-meter Shenzhen Terraces will be home to a pedestrian-friendly landscape, a bus terminal and a mixture of functions — such as an art gallery, library, conference center and outdoor theater — conveniently placed near high-rise housing, commercial complexes and educational facilities. The landscaping, designed in collaboration with Openfabric, will mimic the curvaceous architecture and will feature native sub-tropical plants and recreation zones.  + MVRDV Images by Atchain via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

March 26, 2020 by  
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Known for their love of infusing modern structures with an abundance of greenery, the prolific Paris-based practice  Vincent Callebaut Architectures has just unveiled their latest sustainable design. Slated for the Island of Cebu, The Rainbow Tree is a modular timber tower draped in layers of lush vegetation to become an “urban forest” for the city. Thanks to the design’s strong sustainability features, which include passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies, the tower will be a  LEED Gold design . Slated to be a sustainable icon for the fairly remote island of Cebu, the Rainbow Tree will be a 32-story, 377-foot-high tower built almost completely out of solid wood. The building’s volume will be comprised of 1,200  CLT modules , inspired by the local Nipa Huts made out of wood, bamboo and palm leaves traditionally found throughout the Philippines. Related: Vincent Callebaut wins bid to sustainably revive Aix-les-Bains’ ancient thermal baths All of the modules, which come with basket-style balconies, will be prefabricated off-site in a factory to reduce energy and construction costs. Once on-site, the innovative design will be implemented with several passive bioclimatic features and advanced  renewable energies . To save energy, the tower will be double insulated thanks to an interior and exterior cladding made of all-natural materials such as thatch, hemp and cellulose wadding. The tower’s name and design were inspired by the Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree native to the Philippines. To bring the nature-inspired design to fruition, the  timber building  will be clad in vegetation native to the island. Using plants sustainably-sourced from local tropical forests, the tower will be covered in more than 30,000 plants, shrubs and tropical trees. Many of the plants will change color through the season, giving the city a living “rainbow” throughout the year. The Rainbow Tree will be a mixed-use property, split between office space and luxury condominiums. Interior spaces will be flooded with natural light and include several vertical walls. Guests and residents to the tower will be able to enjoy the building’s eateries, swimming pool and fitness center. Adding to the building’s amazing sustainability profile, residents will also have access to an expansive  aquaponic farm  that will span over three levels. Combining fish farming and plant cultivation, the Sky Farm is slated to produce up to 25,000 kilos of fruit, vegetables and algae and 2,500 kilos of fish per year — the equivalent to almost 2 kilos of food per week for each family residing in the tower. + Vincent Callebaut Architecture Images via Vincent Callebaut Architecture

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Goodyear reCharge tire concept targets sustainability

March 20, 2020 by  
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Goodyear tire company has a history of innovation with products like the  living moss tire that cleans the air as you drive  and  crazy spherical tires . Their newest concept could see a self-regenerating tire with customized capsules that renew your tire and allow it to adapt to varying mobility needs. “Goodyear wants the tire to be an even more powerful contributor to answering consumers’ specific mobility needs,” said Mike Rytokoski, Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of Goodyear Europe. “It was with that ambition that we set out to create a concept tire primed for the future of personalized and convenient electric mobility.” Related: These stylish, work-appropriate loafers are made with recycled tires The concept incorporates three main goals: provide a personalized experience,  manufacture the tires sustainably  and make the tires hassle-free for the consumer. To reach these goals, the concept tire offers a reloadable and biodegradable tread compound. This means each tire tread can be recharged with individual capsules. With the ability to regrow tire tread, the Goodyear reCharge can adapt to changing road conditions and your driving style. That might include extra cornering strength, protection on gravel, or variances in surface moisture such as rain and snow. The concept personalizes even further with the use of artificial intelligence that creates a driver profile and a customized liquid compound tailored to each individual’s driving style. For the sustainability portion, the tire will be made from biological material and reinforced by one of the strongest naturally-occurring fibers in  nature — spider silk. Not only is spider silk durable, but since it is a natural fiber, it is also 100% biodegradable. The liquid-capsule concept was created to provide hassle-free tire replacements. The frame has a “tall-and-narrow” shape and is lightweight so pressure maintenance or downtime related to punctures is less of a concern. “The Goodyear reCharge is a concept tire without compromise, supporting personalized, sustainable and hassle-free electric mobility,” said Sebastien Fontaine, Lead Designer at the Goodyear Innovation Centre in Luxembourg. + Goodyear  Images via Goodyear 

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