This sustainable lodge is in the worlds oldest living desert

January 24, 2020 by  
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It’s not often that hotels located in stunning landscapes come close to matching that natural beauty, but the &Beyond Sossuvlei Desert Lodge is no ordinary hotel. Located in the surreal desert landscape of the Namib Desert, the eco-hotel, which was designed by South African–based Fox Browne Creative , is the epitome of luxurious design mixed with innovative sustainability . Deep in the Namib, the world’s oldest living desert, the &Beyond’s Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is located in one of the world’s most surreal landscapes. Surrounded by miles and miles of rolling dunes, the surrounding terrain is otherworldly. And now, for those who’d like to explore this incredible area, the Sossusvlei lodge, which was originally built in the 1990’s, has been renovated to offer not only the perfect base to explore this stunning part of the world, but do it all while staying in a modern sustainable hotel that was designed to reduce its impact on its environment. Related: Gorgeous Belize eco-resort will offer 100% carbon neutral villas The hotel is comprised of ten individual stone and glass suites, which were laid out to provide each suite with a stunning view. There are various sizes on offer, but each unit offers a spacious living area with a fireplace, as well as a kitchen and dining room. In the bedroom, guests will enjoy the large retractable skylight above the bed for some prime stargazing before drifting off to sleep. Additionally, the master bedroom has a dreamy ensuite bathroom with a glass-encased rain shower that provides 180º desert views. From the living area, large floor-to-glass doors open out to a shaded veranda, some installed with a private plunge pool. Guests at the hotel will have the option of splitting their time enjoying their private suites, as well as taking time to explore the hotel grounds. The common area includes a comfortable sitting room with bar and interactive kitchen as well as another pool. There are numerous shaded lounges to enjoy, along with a gym and wellness center with full spa treatments. To top off the luxury, the hotel boasts a strong sustainable profile . From the beginning of the renovation process, the architecture and design team focused on three objectives, “to create an extraordinary experience for the visitor; design structures that are in harmony with their natural setting and minimize the human impact on this sensitive environment.” The first step was the repurposing of the original buildings to fit into a more sustainable model. The renovation process included using as many natural materials as possible, such as natural stone and locally-sourced furnishings. Throughout the hotel as a recycling program as well as an integral water recollection system to reuse rainwater. And finally, a massive amount of rooftop solar panels allows the hotel to generate all its energy, making the lodge 100% self-sustained. + Fox Browne Creative + &Beyond Sossuvlei Desert Lodge Via Wallpaper Photography via Dook Photography

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This sustainable lodge is in the worlds oldest living desert

Award-winning Owl Woods Passive House playfully mimics birdhouses in Australia

January 24, 2020 by  
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Australian design studio Talina Edwards Architecture recently completed the Owl Woods Passive House — the first certified Passivhaus project designed by a woman architect in Australia. Located in the Victorian town of Trentham, the sustainable home not only follows Passivhaus standards for an extremely energy-efficient build, but it also adheres to biophilic principles with its pitched roofs in the shape of unique “bird beaks” for solar shading. The project also won the Sustainability Medal at the 2019 Architeam Awards and was an official finalist in the New Home Category at the 2019 Sustainability Awards. As the 20th certified Passive House project in all of Australia, the Owl Woods Passive House is designed and constructed to meet strict Passivhaus standards that translate to an airtight building envelope for comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, energy efficiency, durability, controlled ventilation and adherence to passive solar design principles. Due to the building envelope specified for the site, the high-performance home is oriented slightly northwest but includes extended roofs along the western sides to protect the interiors from the afternoon summer sunlight. Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Inspired by the farmhouses of a Scottish village, where the clients previously lived, the home is organized into four interconnected gable-roofed pavilions. The easternmost wing houses two bedrooms and a shared bath. The central wing, which is topped with two pitched roofs, contains the open-plan living area and service rooms. The wing to the west comprises the master en suite with a sitting room. The home also includes an outdoor deck on the north side and is punctuated with large windows and glazed doors throughout for a constant visual and physical connection to nature and natural light. In addition to Passive House certification, the timber-framed project has also earned a NATHERS 7.4-star rating and is solar -ready. The interiors continue the exterior’s palette of natural materials and are finished with low-VOC paints for a healthy home environment. “The Owl Woods Passive House is a unique blend of biophilic design and Passivhaus standards of construction — a balance of creative design outcomes, which focus on how the occupants will feel in their home, along with the integration of building science, which delivers a high-performance home,” the architects explained. “In this aspect, it really is a pioneer project for Passivhaus homes in Australia.” + Talina Edwards Architecture Photography by Tatjana Plitt via Talina Edwards Architecture

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Award-winning Owl Woods Passive House playfully mimics birdhouses in Australia

This lovely lampshade is made from cabbage

January 10, 2020 by  
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Lighting can set the tone of a room, so a lamp with a natural and compostable lampshade can create a cozy, gorgeous and sustainable setting. In a partnership between Indian designer Vaidehi Thakkar and London-based Nir Meiri Studio, Veggie Lights are just that — lampshades made out of red cabbage leaves that lend a warm glow to any space. A testament to the duo’s dedication to exploring and highlighting sustainable options, Veggie Lights offer a useful and elegant decor option straight from the garden. To create the lampshades, Thakkar developed the process of converting vegetables into a paper-like substance called Fiber Flats. Meiri joined the project with a passion for using organic materials, as seen from previous successes in using both mycelium and seaweed to make lampshades. Related: Algae Lamps are a work of art and natural shade in one Each lampshade in the Veggie Lights line is unique, a result of the natural variations in the leaves. Cabbage leaves may not be in the spotlight for intrinsic beauty, but through the process of separating the leaves and soaking them in a water-based color preservative, the originality of each leaf begins to shine through. The leaves are then shaped and left to dry in high temperatures, so all of the moisture evaporates. At this point, the leaves are either left unfinished, or the edges are trimmed and contoured into a gentle downward curve. The design of Veggie Lights places the bulb and electrical parts in a simple and streamlined base. This allows the light to shine upward into the shade, illuminating the natural veins and color variations in the cabbage leaf. Because the lampshades are naturally biodegradable, they will age and are meant to eventually be replaced. However, the base is long-lasting, so you can replace the shade at the end of its life for a refreshed look without producing waste . + Nir Meiri Studio + Vaidehi Thakkar Via Dezeen Image via Nir Meiri Studios

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This lovely lampshade is made from cabbage

30,000 recycled water bottles make up this 3D-printed pavilion

December 16, 2019 by  
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Dubai-based design studio MEAN Design has unveiled an eye-catching pavilion in the front esplanade of the Dubai International Financial Center. Not only is the bulbous structure with multicolored “teeth” visibly stunning, but the unique pavilion, called Deciduous, was constructed entirely with 3D printing technology that turned 30,000 discarded water bottles into a plastic polymer to use as the base material. The Deciduous pavilion is a stunning example of how 3D printing is not only a viable and affordable construction method of the future but also a revolutionary system that can help reduce plastic waste . According to MEAN Design, the structure was printed using a polymer filament that was made from 30,000 recycled water bottles. The bottles were recycled into the filament and then used to print interlocking parts. The base is also made from 3D-printed concrete, hybridized with the polymer parts. Related: Croatia Pavilion’s Cloud Pergola is one of the world’s largest 3D-printed structures Unveiled at this year’s ‘Art Nights’ event at the Dubai International Financial Center, the pavilion ‘s concept was inspired by autumn. Its name, Deciduous, refers to trees that seasonally shed leaves in the autumn months. The innovative, 3D printing system, which was conceived using computer modeling, allowed the parts to be easily prefabricated off-site and then assembled onsite with little construction materials. In fact, all of the parts of the pavilion were mechanically joined without the need for heavy machinery. As for the design itself, the unique pavilion is a labyrinth-like, white volume with multicolored spokes rising out of the base, resulting in a bulbous, organic figure. The designers invite visitors to enter into the pavilion’s “abstracted botanical form” to explore their relationship with nature . + MEAN Design Photography by NAARO via MEAN Design

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30,000 recycled water bottles make up this 3D-printed pavilion

Experimental, net-positive energy development in India is a prototype for future sustainable housing

December 12, 2019 by  
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Communities around the globe are struggling to find feasible options for affordable and sustainable housing to meet the needs of growing urban populations. Now, one forward-thinking firm, Auroville Design Consultants , is leading the charge with Humanscapes, an 18,000-square-foot, net-positive energy, experimental housing complex located in Auroville, India. Designed to house up to 500 residents, the sustainable housing complex will be studied for years to come in order to create a future model of sustainable living. According to Suhasini Ayer, director of Auroville Design Consultants, Humanscapes is an experimental project designed to create affordable and sustainable housing for approximately 500 inhabitants. The ambitious project will be used as research into creating future developments that can withstand the impacts of climate change . Related: Green-roofed community center champions sustainable design in London The project was based on three main principles. The first was creating a  resilient structure that could meet India’s urban planning challenges. Secondly, the complex would be made available to house young adults, students and researchers in order to create an active and collaborative society, where the residents learn from each other. Finally, the habits of the community would be monitored for many years in order to create a field test prototype to help design future projects. The large development was built by local workers using locally sourced materials, such as clay. Additionally, the complex will be net-energy positive thanks to its off-grid systems that work on various renewable energy sources, including solar power. The project has several water collection and recycling systems. The landscaping around the apartments incorporates several drought-resistant native plants and trees. There is also ample space set aside for organic food production, which is a hallmark of the project. Future tenants will also be able to enjoy the spirit of community within the Humanscape design. Using the co-housing concept of living, the development was laid out in a way to foster interaction among neighbors.  This “functional fusing” of living, working and recreational environment creates an open learning campus that could offer a real-world prototype for future urban development in countries around the world. + Auroville Design Consultants Via ArchDaily Photography by Akshay Arora and John Mandeen via Auroville Design Consultants

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Experimental, net-positive energy development in India is a prototype for future sustainable housing

Prefab homes on stilts include solar panels, water collection systems and organic gardens

November 29, 2019 by  
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Bali-based architect Alexis Dornier has unveiled a beautiful, eco-friendly concept for a series of prefabricated homes that are elevated off the landscape by stilts. The Stilt Studios come in a variety of sizes, from one-story to multi-level, all raised above the ground to reduce the structures’ impact. Additionally, the prefab design , which can be easily disassembled and moved to new locations, includes a number of sustainable features, such as solar power and integrated rainwater collection systems. According to the architect, inspiration for the Stilt Studios came from a problematic housing issue common in Bali . “The reality here is that we often find leasehold plots with a limited amount of years,” explained the German architect, who currently resides in Bali. “This situation calls for us to tread lightly through prefab ‘PropTech’ structures that could be packed up and re-erected someplace else.” Related: Beautiful cedar home stands high on stilts to accommodate heavy snowfall in Japan Accordingly, the concept calls for prefab building system, which would allow the units to be installed by families who are in need of extra space. The homes could also be used as rental units for extra income. The structures would come in a number of sizes as well, depending on the owners’ needs. The homes would be made out of steel frameworks initially, but Dornier hopes to build additional models out of CLT paneling . Other sustainable features to the design are plentiful, with solar arrays on the roof to generate energy, large roof overhangs to reduce solar heat gain on the interior and a built-in rainwater harvesting system to reuse water. Wide, open doorways and large windows would also promote natural air ventilation. The concept envisions families growing their own organic food underneath the buildings. + Alexis Dornier Via Dezeen Images via Alexis Dornier

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Prefab homes on stilts include solar panels, water collection systems and organic gardens

Beachfront hotel in Costa Rica pays tribute to the land and its inhabitants

November 27, 2019 by  
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A new hotel, Hotel Nantipa , located in the Puntarenas area of Costa Rica, has been built with several sustainable features while also paying homage to the indigenous Chorotegan people who first inhabited the area. Designed by local firm Garnier Arquitectos , the hotel is integrated with water-saving systems, solar-powered water heaters, reclaimed building materials and more. Paying homage to the native inhabitants of the area, the hotel’s name, Nantipa, means “blue” in the Chorotegan language. Positioned right at the shoreline, the hotel’s accommodations are centered around the idyllic landscape, including, of course, the stunning blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Related: This eco-hotel in Costa Rica will be completely solar-powered by 2019 Wanting to redefine the Costa Rican concept of “barefoot luxury,” the boutique hotel is arranged in a semi-circle made up of 11 individual beachfront bungalows (Ninta) and 24 family-style rooms (Nanku). Most of the rooms have private balconies with ocean vistas, while others look out over the garden and central swimming pool. Spread out over nearly six acres, the hotel also offers guests access to conservation areas, an ocean-view swimming pool and a spectacular beachfront restaurant. These areas, as well as the private bungalows, were all built using native, raw materials that date back centuries. Throughout the complex, natural stone, palm trees, leaves and large tree trunks were used to create structures that are reminiscent of indigenous huts. Surrounding the property is lush vegetation and palm trees, which were fiercely protected during the construction. Only six of the existing trees on the property were cut down (with a license), and the felled lumber was reused in the hotel’s construction or furniture . Multiple native trees and plants were added to the landscaping to keep the grounds as green as possible. In addition to the hotel’s commitment for keeping the land as intact as possible, the buildings have been integrated with several sustainable features . Waste water is processed in a state-of-the-art treatment plant and is then used to irrigate the Nantipa gardens. Solar water heaters are found in each room, and energy sensors are installed throughout the hotel to reduce energy waste. The hotel and the restaurant all have systems in place to reduce single-use plastics. No straws or plastic bottles are allowed, and take-out meals are packaged in biodegradable containers. + Garnier Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photography by Andres García Lachner via Garnier Arquitectos

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Beachfront hotel in Costa Rica pays tribute to the land and its inhabitants

Amsterdams new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy

November 27, 2019 by  
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The city of Amsterdam has officially opened the Depot Amsterdam Noord, a new repository for the capital’s Stadsarchief city archives. Designed by cepezed and cepezedinterieur, the new building offers nearly double the amount of space of the existing archive facilities. Even more impressive is its use of circular design principles and energy-neutral operations thanks to an airtight envelope, energy-efficient systems and solar panels. Realized by BAM Bouw en Techniek within a Design, Build & Maintain assignment, the Depot Amsterdam Noord does not receive visitors and is used solely for the reception, quarantine, intake, cleaning and processing of archival documents. The 2,665-square-meter facility houses all municipal archives from 1811, when Napoleon introduced the Civil Registry. All documents before 1811, as well as posters, prints, photos and film material, are located in the publicly accessible De Bazel building in the heart of Amsterdam .  Related: Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands Located in the northern part of the city, the building sports a “fierce and robust” appearance. “The building block is almost completely closed and from the outside, it does not reveal what it contains,” the architects said. “It has a dark, completely flush and anthracite-colored facade with a horizontal band of solar panels in the middle that is also dark gray. The detailing is minimalist. The sleek and basic character of the building makes for a firm landing of the storage place within its surroundings.” An enlarged version of Amsterdam’s iconic logo — the three red Andreas crosses — have also been added to the gray facade. To achieve a stable, climate-controlled interior, the architects designed the building with an airtight, highly insulating shell with minimal ventilation and an uninsulated concrete floor that acts as a passive heat and cold storage facility. All of the energy the building needs is generated by more than 1,600 square meters of solar panels on its facade and roof; any energy surplus is fed back to the electricity grid. A water management system also ensures responsible stormwater practices. The prefabricated components of the building are detachable, removable and reusable in keeping with the circular ambitions of the design team and Amsterdam. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Amsterdams new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy

These ultra-cool, vintage-style travel trailers can go off the grid for a week

November 27, 2019 by  
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Handcrafted in California by Bowlus Road Chief , these aluminum-clad travel trailers offer race car-inspired aerodynamics that provide the smoothest ride possible. Additionally, the incredible campers can even go off the grid for various periods of time before needing recharged. The beautiful, vintage-style campers are available in two models. The smallest of the two, the On The Road model starts at $137,000. It is 24′ long and can sleep up to four people. At 2,500 lbs, it can be easily hitched and towed, and this model takes up minimal space for parking. The camper features a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and a dining space that can seat two. Related: Hit the road in style this summer in this ship-inspired travel trailer The larger model, the Endless Highways , is 26′ long and weighs 3,200 lbs. Starting at $185,000, this model has a larger, more comfortable living space than its counterpart, and it offers some additional flexible design features. The spacious bedroom, for example, converts from two twin beds to a larger king-sized bed, adding extra space to accommodate all types of travel companions. There is also a kitchen and enough dining space for four people. In addition to their versatile sizes and features, the Bowlus campers also offer high-quality homes on wheels that cater to the adventurer in all of us. The campers are four-season capable with heated floors and tight insulation that keeps the interior temperatures constant year-round. For those rugged adventures, the incredible campers come equipped with powerful lithium iron phosphate power systems that allow these travel trailers to go off the grid for varying periods of time. The On The Road model can operate off the grid for a long weekend, while the Endless Highways model can go a full week without charging. + Bowlus Road Chief Via Tiny House Talk Images via Bowlus Road Chief

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These ultra-cool, vintage-style travel trailers can go off the grid for a week

Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming

November 5, 2019 by  
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Gardening should be good for the environment, adding oxygen to the air, nutrients to the soil and filtering water for consumption. But plastic and toxins have become ubiquitous, leaving the home gardener to make intentional choices about which products to use. That’s where Sead Pod comes in, a vertical garden made using sustainable practices and recycled materials . Sead (Sustainable Ecology, Adaptive Design) Pod offers a simple plastic planter for bringing gardens into the smallest spaces while reusing plastic, which is problematic for the environment. The pod simply clips on to any chain link fencing, providing water efficiency from the vertical garden design while diverting plastic from the landfill. Related: This self-sustaining planter doesn’t require sunlight for plants to thrive “The Sead Pod represents a new way of thinking about green design in an urban context,” said Bryan Meador, Plant Seads’ Founder and Chief Design Officer. “By reimagining existing architectural elements like chain link fencing as a tool in the fight against climate change, we’re able to leap into the green movement immediately, fighting climate change at the grassroots level and making our cities cleaner, healthier, and more livable—right now.”  Based in Kingston, New York, Meador is familiar with the limitations of urban gardens so he designed the Sead Pod to jump start the urgency of climate change. What he described as “the sluggish response of government and multinational companies” lead him to take action, experimenting with 3d printing and rapid prototype development to finalize the design . Proving his self-labeled impatience, Meador had the Sead Pod designed, manufactured and released in less than nine months. “Our generation is the first to be born into Climate Change. This crisis is not hypothetical to us, and we’re tired of waiting around for others to address this issue in a meaningful way,” Meador said in a press release.  With lofty goals of tackling CO2 emissions at a grassroots level, the Sead Pod gives everyone the ability to contribute to the solution. Imagine every chain link fence in your community covered in greenery and you begin to see the potential. The pods also connect to chain link material the size of a picture frame and Sead Pod offers five sizes of sead frames to suit the needs of every home and office. They are designed to be durable for long-term use even when exposed to harsh elements, not to mention, they are recyclable at the end of their life cycle. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thursday, October 31, 2019 8:59 PM PDT. + Plant Seads Images via Plant Seads

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Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming

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