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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Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

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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Goodyear reCharge tire concept targets sustainability

Transformed caravan’s mobile music studio to help refugees

March 11, 2020 by  
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Although we’ve seen quite a few cool caravan conversions, Swedish studio  Snask ‘s latest project brings music to our ears and color to our eyes. The innovative designers have converted an old camper  into a vibrant mobile music studio — all for a very worthwhile cause. The project is in collaboration with  Turning Tables , a nonprofit organization that builds creative spaces so that refugee children around the world have a place where they can express themselves through music. Founded by Danish DJ Martin Jakobsen, Turning Tables first began its work with  refugees  in New York, where it ran a program to teach kids how to DJ. The nonprofit program has since gone global, with teams of artists and musicians building spaces for kids to express themselves through music and other art forms. Related: Amplified tiny house lets musician homeowner rock out in the great outdoors Not satisfied with their many brick and mortar locations around the world, the Turning Tables team decided to go on tour around Sweden. To do so, however, they knew they needed a more efficient way to travel with their music equipment. Looking for solutions, they contacted the innovative creatives behind Snask to ask for help in designing a  tiny music studio on wheels  that would help them travel further to reach more kids. Once they found an old caravan for sale, the  renovation project  kicked off with the help of several artists and friends. The rundown camper was completely gutted, removing all of its moldy furnishings and replacing its wooden structure. The resulting design is a fantastically vibrant music studio, complete with turntables. Of course, the  pièce de résistance  is the soft pink fur used to line the walls and help with sound insulation . With the help of artists  Fabrizio Morra ,  Rasmus Linderos  and  Enrike Puerto,  the exterior of the camper was painted with a bold pattern of colors and shapes that perfectly reflect the project’s mission. + Snask + Turning Tables Via Design Boom Images via Snask

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Transformed caravan’s mobile music studio to help refugees

1971 Airstream gets glossy modern makeover, off-grid power

March 9, 2020 by  
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Although we’ve covered some gorgeous  Airstream renovations  over the years, there’s always one project that really blows our design-loving minds. This beautiful retrofit of a 1971 Airstream by Idaho-based  Traverse Design + Build is simply incredible. Once covered with a rusted out exterior and filled with a dingy avocado-green interior, the 27-foot trailer is now a gleaming contemporary home-on-wheels that can run completely off-grid . Though the team behind Traverse Design + Build had quite a few  Airstream conversions under their belts, when they saw an old 1971 Airstream Overland International for sale, they knew it would be a massive undertaking. The entire aluminum hull was almost entirely oxidized, and the outdated interior (comprised of avocado-green appliances, rotten flooring and yellow walls) was screaming to be put out of its misery. Related: A 1989 Airstream is converted into a modern home on wheels for a family of 6 In addition to the  Airstream’s rundown exterior and interior, all of the trailer’s electrical systems, which had been “modified” over the years, were completely shot. “There were electrical modifications that were done to it which were extremely dangerous,” said Jodi Rathbun, owner and founder of Traverse Design + Build. “We were surprised it never caught on fire, and that no one had been electrocuted.” To begin the arduous  renovation process , the team went to work on the exterior. According to Rathburn, just polishing the exterior to bring out its signature silver shine took more than 160 hours. Once the exterior was set and the hull’s trim repaired, it was time to tackle the interior space. The first step was to gut the interior almost entirely. The dilapidated, nearly 50-year-old trailer had little inside to reuse, but the team managed to retain some of the original elements  whenever possible. For example, they were able to reconfigure some of the existing storage cabinetry and some of the electrical and plumbing systems were able to be repaired. Other than that, the trailer’s interior living space was completely overhauled. To brighten up the space, a fresh coat of all-white paint was used on the walls and ceiling, and engineered maple floors were installed to give a little bit of warmth to the  interior design . The kitchen was built out with white IKEA cabinetry that contrasts nicely with the Tiffany-blue upper cabinetry, which was kept in place as a nod to the trailer’s long history. Throughout the space, the team managed to use ethical, sustainable, and fair-trade items to decorate. Not only did the designers manage to breathe new life into the 1971 Airstream, but they also enabled the trailer to run off-grid. A 510-watt  solar system generates enough power to run off-grid for extended periods. Additionally, there is an on-demand water heater, and LED lighting was installed throughout. The bathroom even features a Nature’s Head composting toilet, again enabling the trailer to be self-sustaining. “We built this so that it could be used off-grid, and away from power and water hookups for extended periods,” said Rathbun. + Traverse Design + Build Via Dwell Images via Traverse Design + Build

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1971 Airstream gets glossy modern makeover, off-grid power

Clean Lakes Alliance provides Madison with year-round lake fun

March 9, 2020 by  
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On a chilly February day in Madison, Wisconsin, more than 8,000 people venture onto frozen Lake Mendota. Kids toast marshmallows and warm their hands over fires; people try curling, they skate, they slide, they fall on their butts — they have a great time. Kites brighten up the frozen landscape. Skydivers jump from planes and land on the lake’s glossy surface. This is the annual Frozen Assets Festival, a citywide party and a fundraiser for Clean Lakes Alliance. “The neat thing about Madison is that we have these five lakes,” said James Tye, founder and executive director of Clean Lakes Alliance . “And all spring, all summer, all fall, people are fishing and they’re kayaking and they’re doing all these wonderful things on the lakes. But in the winter, they’re frozen. And our lakes, to our community , are our biggest assets. So doing a play on words, they are truly our frozen assets in the winter.” When Mendota, the biggest lake, is frozen, it can turn into the city’s largest park with just a little imagination. Related: 5 sustainable activities to make the most of a winter wonderland A chain of lakes The 62-mile long Yahara River connects Madison’s five lakes. Mendota is the first and largest lake in the Yahara chain. The others are Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra. Before western explorers came to Wisconsin, the Ho-Chunk Nation inhabited southern Wisconsin, including present-day Madison. Later, white settlers developed Madison, eventually moving the state capital here. The lakes have always been an important part of the area’s history. “We’re a coastal city in landlocked middle America,” said Adam Sodersten, marketing and communications director of Clean Lakes Alliance. “Without the lakes, we’re Lincoln, Nebraska. We’re a capital in a Midwestern city. But because we have these large urban gems, it really makes Madison stand out.” For most Madison residents these days, the lakes mean recreation. The five lakes have a combined total of 24 miles of publicly owned shoreline, said Sodersten. “So they’re not inaccessible. They’re not just built up by people who can afford to live on the lakes. There’s public spaces, there’s the university, there are state parks, county parks. They’re truly the people’s lakes.” The lakes also serve as an important recruiting tool for large businesses headquartered in Madison. To attract the best talent — especially millennials focused on work/life balance — companies have to demonstrate a high quality of life. “So the businesses here have really recognized that when people fly into Madison, if they’re flying into Dane County, they can’t fly over green and unusable lakes,” Sodersten said. Dangers to Madison’s lakes James Tye founded Clean Lakes Alliance in 2010 to protect the lakes he loves. “I’m actually a townie,” he said. “I’m actually from Madison, and was fortunate that my dad taught me how to swim and fish, canoe and kayak, waterski and sail on the Madison lakes . So at a very young age, I got that water connection.” Despite the residents’ love of lakes, they didn’t know how to best take care of them. Part of the trouble was century-old infrastructure that was built long before today’s current best practices for lake management. Storm sewers channel water straight into the lakes. One of the lakes’ biggest enemies? Leaves. Especially leaves in streets. “So when a leaf is in the street, the storm water runs through it like a teabag,” Sodersten explained. That phosphorus-rich storm water flows into the lake, fueling cyanobacteria bloom. Commonly known as blue-green algae , cyanobacteria can be toxic enough to require officials to close beaches. Because changing the infrastructure would be extremely difficult and costly, Clean Lakes Alliance focuses on what people can do to protect the lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance works with other cities and municipalities around the watershed to coordinate leaf management efforts. Instead of raking leaves into the streets, Clean Lakes Alliance suggests individuals pile leaves on their own grass or onto the narrow strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. If homeowners keep storm water on their property by building a rain garden or collecting it in rain barrels, the lakes would appreciate it. But in addition to Madison’s urban area, the watershed also serves a very large rural area. “We’re the dairy state,” Tye said, emphasizing the productivity of Dane County’s cows . Clean Lakes Alliance partners with farmers to impart ways to reduce erosion and runoff and to improve manure management. One simple example is installing harvestable buffer strips at least 30 feet wide between fields and the nearest stream or shore ditch. Clean Lakes Alliance also helped purchase a manure injector machine that local farmers can rent. Instead of spreading manure on a frozen field for winter — bad for runoff — the machine shoots the manure 6 inches into the ground, putting the nutrients right at the roots of plants where farmers need them. Lake cleanup and monitoring Clean Lakes Alliance volunteers have the opportunity to take on many tasks. Volunteer jobs include office work, picking up trash, raking beaches, getting leaves off the streets in fall, water monitoring, partnering with local parks to remove invasive species and stamping storm water drains to warn people that the water goes directly to the lake. “More companies are having their employees do teambuilding exercises by doing volunteer days,” Tye said. “Like from Lands’ End alone, they’ll bring out 100 to 160 people on a volunteer day. They’re working at a park called Pheasant Branch Conservancy. And they’re doing the major work to restore the creek that goes right into Lake Mendota.” The lake monitoring program is especially useful to locals planning a day of kayaking or swimming in the lakes. Clean Lakes Alliance partners with the city and county health departments and the University of Wisconsin to gauge lake clarity. From Memorial Day weekend through mid-November, 70 citizen monitors trained by Clean Lakes Alliance check the water quality at local beaches and post their findings to Lakeforecast.org . “It tells people what the clarity of the lake is, what beaches are open, what beaches are closed,” Tye said. The citizen monitors provide the fine-tuned data so folks can plan their recreational activities. “The beach might be open and there might be one foot of clarity. But maybe a beach on the other side of the lake has three feet of clarity.” Clean Lakes Alliance hopes that its campaign to educate greater Madison will normalize everyday actions people can take to protect the lakes. “It’s sort of like recycling,” Tye said. “In Madison in the ‘70s, we started tying up newspapers and putting them out in the street. Now you’ve got two trashcans built into your kitchen that you open up a door and there’s recycling and non-recycling.” He hopes that people will think about the lakes when building parking lots, designing their own backyards and making decisions like adding rain barrels for water reuse. “One of those probably doesn’t make a difference,” Tye said. “But when you get 50,000 houses or 100,000 homes, you really start making an impact.” + Clean Lakes Alliance Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat and Clean Lakes Alliance

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Clean Lakes Alliance provides Madison with year-round lake fun

Intergravity launches sustainable clothing that reduces the need to do laundry

March 9, 2020 by  
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An exciting trend is hitting the fashion market, and it’s not about the coolest design or newest fad — it’s about corporate responsibility and sustainable practices. There are companies who believe fashion can be eco-friendly, ethical and affordable, and this Kickstarter campaign for sustainable, anti-bacterial clothing by Intergravity is the perfect example of this mindset. The company started out as a design and production house aimed at helping start-up designers build their collections. Along the way, it discovered a desire to make a clothing line that was long-lasting and eco-friendly, so the team evaluated every step in the operation and made every improvement they could think of. Related: Designer Dana Cohen creates unique, recycled fabric garments Intergravity begins its process by making its own fabric in-house. This way, it can control waste and production resources, such as water and electricity. All clothing is made from organic cotton, recycled polyester, Lenzing Ecovera and Tencel. Any leftover fabric will be donated to make cuff gloves for people who are at high-risk of being exposed to bacteria (e.g. street cleaners and janitors). All garments are produced by a small, family-run factory with a staff comprised of 80% women. Workers receive 15-20% of each garment’s price and are guaranteed a fair wage. To ensure the clothing meets the highest standards for eco-friendly practices, it is OEKO Tex 100 Standard, Bluesign and Global Organic Textile Standard certified. Intergravity’s focus is not only on conservation during production but also during the life of the garment. With this in mind, it coats products with Polygiene, an anti-bacterial and odor-control treatment. With the knowledge that cutting back on washing and drying clothing consumes less resources, Intergravity clothing can be worn longer between washings, saving time, money, water and electricity over the life of the garment. Each design factors in a wide size range to suit a variety of body types and includes an adjustable fit in shirts. Quality stitching, copious pockets and functional design round out the reasons to hold on to each garment for the long-haul rather than subscribing to fast fashion . To further its goal of protecting the Earth, Intergravity has joined 1% For the Planet as a way of giving back. At the time of writing, the campaign is nearly fully funded. If it achieves its goal, Intergravity is scheduling shipments for June 2020. + Intergravity Images via Intergravity

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Intergravity launches sustainable clothing that reduces the need to do laundry

Green-roofed brick home ‘disappears’ into the landscape

February 18, 2020 by  
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Antwerp-based studio Studio Okami Architects has unveiled a design that masterfully blends a home into its surrounding landscape. Built into a sloped hill, the brick-clad and aptly named Sloped Villa uses an expansive green roof to help the house “disappear” into its serene natural setting. Located in an idyllic area of Mont-de-l’Enclus in Belgium , the Sloped Villa came to be after the homeowners, who purchased an expansive, sloping plot of land, met with the architects and explained their vision of building an “invisible house” into the rolling terrain. “We love the view too much to be constricted by predefined window sizes,” the clients said. “We love the way nature shifts through the seasons on this plot. We love the tranquility … It would be mostly for the two of us enjoying the sunrise over the valley, but make sure our four adult kids can stay over anytime.” Related: Stunning green-roofed home in Poland is embedded into the idyllic landscape To bring the clients’ dream to fruition, the architects came up with the idea to partially embed a simple, one-story volume into the sloped landscape so that it would slightly jut out on one side. With a rooftop covered in greenery , the home “vanishes” from sight from one angle while providing unobstructed views over the valley from the other. The resulting 3,000-square-foot house features a wrap-around porch made out of locally sourced bricks . The walls boast floor-to-ceiling glass panels that create a seamless connection with the outdoors and let in plenty of natural light and the landscape vistas that the clients adore so much. Inside, an open-floor plan makes the most of the main living space, which features a minimalist design . Throughout the home, neutral tones and sparse furnishings keep the focus on the views. The bedrooms are “cave-like” yet still benefit from views and light, and a soaking tub next to a glass wall offers an additional space to relax and unwind. + Studio Okami Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Filip Dujardin via Studio Okami Architects

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Green-roofed brick home ‘disappears’ into the landscape

Off-grid geodesic cabins by FUGU can handle harsh climates

February 13, 2020 by  
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From remote snow-covered mountains to idyllic beaches in far-flung corners of the earth, Parisian studio  FUGU  has you covered with its new line of geodesic cabins. The solar-powered cabins, which come in various sizes and can be customized, are made with durable,  eco-friendly materials  and designed to be resilient in almost any harsh climate. While the structures are apt for any number of uses, FUGU’s  geodesic cabins  are primarily geared towards the hospitality sector. The domed cabins are the perfect solution for quiet retreats in remote areas, or even complimentary structures such as spas, gyms or office spaces. Related: Create your own backyard geodesic dome with these super affordable DIY kits With the smallest size coming in at just over 300-square-feet, the domes can be made to order at almost any size, but always put the environment first in their design. The modular cabins are also made out of  environmentally-friendly materials  that have proven resilient to almost any climate. Designed to run on solar power, the domes are equipped to go off-grid almost anywhere in the world. The dome’s eco-friendly manufacturing consists of frames made out of  engineered wood  (CLT, LVL or glued laminated timber), meaning less CO2 emissions than a conventional building. Additionally, the structures are designed to be built off the landscape, on piles or elevated terraces, to limit their impact on the environment. Due to their geodesic shape, which allows for optimal heat distribution and a significant heat flow exchange, the domes are inherently  energy efficient . To provide a tight thermal envelop, the structures use reinforced insulation that not only avoids energy loss, but keeps the structures warm and toasty in the winter months and nice and cool during the summer. + FUGU Geodesic Cabins Via Uncrate Images via FUGU

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