A solar-powered seaside home embraces contrast and scenic views

February 20, 2019 by  
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Melbourne-based firm  Megowan Architectural has unveiled a beautiful home located in Mount Eliza in Victoria, Australia that uses strategic angles and contrast to make the most of the idyllic seaside setting. The three-story Two Angle House is not only aesthetically stunning — behind its sophisticated concrete and wood facade is a complex system that makes the home incredibly energy-efficient . Located in the seaside town of Mount Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula, the 5,920-square-foot home’s sophisticated design scheme is based on contrasting building materials. According to the architects, “The interior and exterior are a play on the contrast between two angles of internal organization, the contrast between warm and cold materials and a considered contrast between architecture and landscape.” Related: Solar-powered modular retreat design in Melbourne inspired by the local landscape The exterior and interior are made with a number of contrasting materials, namely concrete and wood. Using extensive concrete in the floors and walls was strategic to creating a tight thermal mass while in-slab hydronic heating further helps regulate the interior temperatures year-round. Using a system of cubed volumes, which contain two angles within the layout, the Two Angle House was strategically designed to provide stunning views of the ocean. Additionally, the design saw the home’s large concrete blade wall “stretched” from east to west to take advantage of optimal passive solar gain throughout. This allows the structure to not only benefit from a natural heating and lighting system, but it also reduces energy usage substantially. The roof was also equipped with solar panels to provide much of the building’s energy . Much like the outdoor space and wraparound deck, the interior is focused on the amazing sea views, which can be found from virtually any angle inside the home. In fact, just opening the front door leads the eye to the sea at the other side of the house. Large floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors naturally brighten the interior and open up the living space to the outdoors, creating a seamless connection to the natural surroundings. + Megowan Architectural Via Dwell Images via Megowan Architectural

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A solar-powered seaside home embraces contrast and scenic views

Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

February 13, 2019 by  
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As today’s urban planners are struggling on how to integrate renewable energy into existing infrastructure, some forward-thinking architects are making the task much easier. Beijing-based firm Margot Krasojevi? Architecture has just released a design that would see an existing oil rig in South Korea’s coast converted into a futuristic lighthouse hotel whose organic flowing form would be installed with pivoting turbines to harness tidal energy to power the hotel. The lighthouse hotel is slated for an area off the coast of mainland South Korea near the island of Jeju, which is only accessible by boat. Currently there is an existing oil rig floating in the water, which will be repurposed into a large platform support for the lighthouse hotel. Related: This futuristic energy-positive hotel will harness power from the tides The hotel’s design will be comprised of multiple flowing volumes made out of layered aluminum surfaces and a series of partly inflated membrane sections. These materials were chosen for not only their durability, but also their light weight. In case of emergency or rogue waves, the airlock sections split apart and float. Wrapped around the structure’s main core, a number of flipwing turbines will harvest the tidal power. As seawater crashes over surfaces, the turbines will pivot in accordance with the wind and wave motion, converting kinetic water energy into electrical energy. According to the architect, the turbines will generate enough clean energy to run the hotel and the structure’s desalination filters. Any surplus energy will be stored. The lighthouse hotel’s interior will have three main sections, the guest rooms, the lobby and various social areas. The lantern room, which is at the top of the hotel will have a Fresnel glass lantern that projects light rays out to the sea. The refracted light will also beam through the interior of the hotel, creating a vibrant, light-filled atmosphere. + Margot Krasojevi? Architecture Images via Margot Krasojevi? Architecture

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Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

A renovated Toronto home boasts energy savings of over 50%

February 13, 2019 by  
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Blending East Asian and Western influences to reflect the client’s Asian-Canadian background, the Echo House is an elegant renovation and expansion project that follows ecologically sustainable principles. Designed by local architecture firm Paul Raff Studio , the home, which covers an expansive area of 11,140 square feet, is set on a two-acre property in the Bridle Path neighborhood of Toronto , Canada. Improvements to the existing structure as well as new high-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation systems have led to over 50 percent savings in the home’s energy consumption. Inspired by the “eastern philosophy of harmony with nature,” the Echo House was designed with strong connections to the environment. Large full-height glazing, open spaces and optimized views of the outdoors strengthen these bonds, while strategically placed openings allow cooling cross breezes and sounds of birdsong to filter through the interior. Garden views were of particular importance and are articulated by walls of glass and huge sliding doors that completely open up the garden-facing side of the home, creating a seamless indoor-outdoor living space. “The name Echo House originates from its design aspirations and listening: be it the echo of birdsong or trees rustling in the wind,” Paul Raff Studio shared in a statement. “The homeowners say, ‘It is an expansive house, but almost all the spaces in it are intimate in size, and they all lead to the living room. It is like a sanctuary at the center of the house.’” The large living spaces were important to the clients, a cosmopolitan family that loves to cook, entertain and host large family gatherings. Related: Beautiful cedar-clad Bridge House crosses a ravine in Ontario Ecological sustainability was also important for the homeowner and architects. Consequently, the renovated building exterior has been sheathed in a very high-performance insulation envelope, while new energy-efficient systems have greatly lowered the home’s energy consumption. Reclaimed Douglas fir was used for the Korean art-inspired exterior wood screens that give the house a sculptural effect. + Paul Raff Studio Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame

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A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home

February 13, 2019 by  
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Vilnius-based IM Interior has proven once again that great design doesn’t need a lot of space. The architects recently revamped an old garage in the Lithuanian capital into a stunning micro home clad in a weathered steel. The 226-square-foot space was also completely made-over with a warm birch wood interior cladding and recessed lighting to create a modern and comfortable living space. While many critics argue that micro housing is not a feasible solution to soaring real estate prices around the world, the micro home trend continues to grow, much to the delight of minimalists. Regarding IM Interior’s recent project, founder Indr? Mylyt?-Sinkevi?ien? explained that the inspiration behind the micro garage was to demonstrate another way of life. “I wanted to show how little a person needs,” he said. Related: Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining Located in the Lithuanian capital, the ultra tiny home was really built from nothing but a skeleton structure. Connected to a dilapidated building that had been vacant for years, the corner garage was a forgotten piece of property. To breathe new life into the space, the architects clad the compact structure in weathered steel . They also added new windows and a new door to convert the empty garage into a truly comfortable home. Although the weathered metal exterior gives the design a cool,  industrial vibe on the outside, the interior living space by contrast is bright and airy. The living area, dining room and bedroom are all located in one open layout. Two large narrow windows, one over the bed and the other in the kitchen, frame the urban views. Recessed lighting was installed throughout the home, which is clad in warm birch wood, to create a soothing atmosphere. To maintain a clutter-free interior, custom-made furniture provides plenty of concealed storage space. Sitting under the large window, the bed pulls double duty as a sofa , which is also surrounded by built-in storage. Additional seating is found in the hanging wicker chair, adding a bit of whimsy to the design. Like most of the living space, the kitchen is clean and minimalist  but was built with plenty of counter space. The bathroom, although quite compact, features triangular black and white tiling, further lending to the modern aesthetic. + IM Interior Via Dezeen Images via IM Interior

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A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home

Brilliant home made out of cascading concrete planter boxes grows more than 40 types of edible plants

January 31, 2019 by  
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Built for a retired couple who loves to grow their own food, this home design by Kuala Lumpur-based firm FormZero is comprised of several concrete blocks planted with more than 40 types of edible plants on every floor. With various patio spaces that double as mini home gardens , the Planter Box House oscillates between garden, farm and living space. The home’s overall design was heavily influenced by Kuala Lumpur’s vernacular. Being that the area is a tropical region, the homes are often built with split bamboo, a practice that goes back to the area’s indigenous people. By using bamboo as form work for the concrete cladding, the architects not only paid homage to the local history and culture, but ensured a durable design that would last years. Using the two durable and low-maintenance materials added extra resilience to the design so that the three-story home could withstand heavy rain storms and local pollution. Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain In addition to the home’s resilient features, the architects worked closely with the homeowners to create a design that would enable the couple to grow their own food . Accordingly, the design is a 3,650 square feet building that spans over three stories, with every level outfitted with various concrete planters that provide ample space for growing a variety of plants. A custom-made irrigation system, a joint endeavor between the couple and the architects, enables the boxes to store and reuse rainwater. The cascading design was a strategic feature that helps each box enjoy optimal natural light , but also adds a system of natural air ventilation throughout the interior. On every floor of the home, large sliding glass doors that lead out to the balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows create a strong connection to the exterior. All-white walls and minimal furnishings, along with the abundance of greenery, will allow the homeowners to enjoy a healthy, self-sufficient lifestyle as they age. + FormZero Via Archdaily Photography by Ameen Deen via FormZer

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Brilliant home made out of cascading concrete planter boxes grows more than 40 types of edible plants

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport incorporates natural fibers into body design

January 18, 2019 by  
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A race car made from flax and hemp? Count on Porsche to pull that off. The second generation Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is built with the typical handling and speed capabilities you would expect, with one very different component—body parts derived from natural composite materials. A first in the racing world, Porsche has sourced natural fibers from agricultural byproducts such as flax and hemp fibers to create the doors and rear wing on the cars. With sustainability in mind, the Porsche company set out to find a substitute for standard carbon-fiber frames while ensuring similar performance, weight and control. But don’t think for a minute that a sustainable design can’t whip past the competition. In addition to decreasing the car’s carbon tireprint, the goal was to increase performance over the original design . The new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport brings with it a 40 hp increase over the predecessor as well a redesigned driver’s cockpit that includes a welded-in safety cage, racing bucket seat and six-point harness. The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport comes equipped with a 3.8-liter flat-six, 425 hp engine. Even with upgrades, the newer design is a lightweight at around 2,900 pounds. Related: Large scale 3D Printer capable of printing a motorcycle Two models are available. The “Trackday” is designed for amateur race drivers looking to hit the track with safety in mind and some aid from automatic systems like ABS, ESC and traction control assistance systems that ensure forgiving handling at the limit and can be deactivated. The “Trackday” costs just over $150,000. The “Competition” model targets professional circuit drivers with adjustable shock absorbers, a high-capacity safety fuel tank for less pit stops, an integrated air jack system to aid the pit crew and a quick-release racing steering wheel adopted from the 911 GT3 R that ensures a range of adjustment options for the individual needs of the drivers. The “Competition” model runs around $179,000. + Porsche Images via Porche

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High-rise living in Utrecht to be transformed by a sustainable vertical village

January 18, 2019 by  
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A trio of high rises are expected to outreach Utrecht, Netherlands’ tallest building and be a beacon of sustainable urban living in the historic city. The MARK Vertical Village, designed by a consortium of architects and developers, won a recent high-rise development contest and the team plans to break ground starting in 2021. The residential buildings will surround an urban forest and feature extensive greenhouses at their pinnacles. Urban agriculture will also be integrated into every level , making fresh fruits and vegetables widely available to all residents and dramatically reducing their food chain and carbon footprint . The buildings themselves will be climate neutral, meaning their everyday operation will not emit greenhouse gases. This is an important feat, considering buildings and construction account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Related: “Vertical village” built almost entirely of wood to rise in Paris In addition to biodiversity, the complex also encourages social and economic diversity. About 60 percent of the residences will be reserved for renters, with the remaining available for ownership or senior housing with at-home care options. The more than 1,125 residences will be listed at a variety of rent scales, which aims to address rising concerns about affordable housing in the city. In response to frequent criticism that high-rise living generally promotes feelings of isolation , the MARK purposely encourages a collective lifestyle and sense of community . The design features numerous communal spaces such as restaurants, pools, shared laundry facilities, gyms, work spaces and artist studios. Residents will also have extensive bike facilities and a fleet of 100 shared cars. Construction for the innovative high-rise complex is expected to finish in 2023. The three buildings will be 80 meters (262 feet), 100 meters (328 feet) and 140 meters (459 feet), which is 28 feet higher than Utrecht’s current tallest building — the Dom Tower. “We all realize that if we build something higher than the Dom Tower, it also has to become something special,” chief architect Alderman Klaas Verschuure said in a statement. The Netherlands-based consortium of architects, designers and developers behind the project includes Karres en Brands , Stadswaarde , Koopmans Bouwgroep , J.P. van Eesteren , KCAP ; Geurst and Schulze . + MARK Images via Karres en Brands, Studio A2 Vero Visuals, de Architekten Cie, KCAP and Geurst & Schulze

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New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting

January 14, 2019 by  
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While most libraries tend to be filled with nothing more than books, the new VAC library (an abbreviation of the Vietnamese words for Garden, Pond and Cage) in Hanoi is teeming with koi fish and greenery. Vietnamese firm Farming Architects has built the the new open-air library with an impressive aquaponic system to teach the kids about urban farming. Located in a Hanoi neighborhood, the VAC Library is an immense structure comprised of wooden frames with various cubicles filled with books. However, within the almost 600 square feet library is an integrated production system that was designed to teach kids about sustainable food production. Related: URBANANA is Vertical Banana Plantation That Would Bring Tropical Fruit Farming to Paris According to the architects, the library is designed to show children how energy from land, air, water and solar energy can be harvested in order to be completely self-sufficient even within an urban context, “The aim is not only to produce an effective use of natural resources but also favorite experimentation in using different types of plants and animals in the urban environment.” At the heart of its design, the VAC library relies on aquaponic systems to provide a sustainable model. The structure’s fish pond provide nutrients to the plants, which in return purify the water. Built with energy conservation in mind, the system runs on a few pumps powered by solar energy, which also provides the electricity for the lighting system as well. In addition to its impressive sustainable systems , the VAC library is a center of learning. Besides reading the many books on offer, local children enjoy learning about the way that the fish in the ponds are so vital to the vegetable planters and so on. There are also chickens on site whose eggs are used for meals and their waste used as fertilizer for the center’s gardens. + Farming Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An via Farming Architects  

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Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

January 11, 2019 by  
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Located adjacent to designated wetlands, the Tung House by Seoul-based firm Project Architecture  is a net-zero home that combines conscientious landscape design with energy efficiency. Along with a large photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels to provide power and heating, the home uses a number of passive features to achieve its  net-zero energy use . At 2,900 square feet, the Tung House is a fairly large structure but relatively small in comparison with other homes in the area. One of the reasons that the size was restrained is its location. The home is built in Lincoln, Massachusetts on a strictly preserved site adjacent to designated wetlands. The size limitations imposed by the local government presented a challenge to the architects, who met the restrictions head-on with a gorgeous angular design that aesthetically gives the home a unique character while simultaneously achieving net-zero energy use . Related: This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes At the heart of the design are the geometric features. The roof, which is comprised of various planes, was used to give the home ample space for the photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels . The rooftop solar panels provide sufficient power and heating to the house, and in the summer months, any additional energy is transferred back to the city’s local grid. In addition to making room for solar panels, the multiple roof planes provide several overhangs that shade the interior living space during the warmer months and help provide natural light and heat during the wintertime. Inside, the architects wanted to create an open layout that offered a seamless connection between the living space and the outdoors. From the front door to the upper level, multiple large windows offer views of the serene backyard. Naturally lit by sunlight , a loft-like living room and open kitchen are on the ground floor, which is connected to the upper floors through a mezzanine level. The interior design scheme of all-white provides a contemporary elegance throughout the home, enhanced by the various angular ceilings. + Project Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Project Architecture

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An adaptable timber house celebrates recycling in Ecuador

January 11, 2019 by  
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Ecuadorian architecture firm Natura Futura Arquitectura has teamed up with Frontera Sur Arquitectura to develop an inspiring example of social architecture in the town of Huaquillas, Ecuador. Dubbed La Comuna, the project is a double-story timber structure that not only provides a local family a place to live but also a safer work environment for them to continue their recycling business. The building was constructed with six easily replicable modules that take inspiration from the local vernacular with its “chazas”, or latticed screens. Commissioned by a foundation and private company, the architects were asked to create a live-work building that would also be held up as an inspirational landmark for the city, which suffers from a reputation of poor sanitation. To that end, the design studios created a two-story building with a community-facing ground floor that houses the recycling workspaces, while the upper level houses the private living spaces. The structural system is based on a 3-meter-by-4-meter module, with each floor made up of three modules. “’La Comuna’ becomes a milestone for the city, due to the transformation process it had, with a history of unhealthiness and contamination,” the team explained in a project statement. “The project communicates a discourse through its facade with a message, generating reflection between the private and the public through architecture and recycling. The wood is used by the tradition of the existing buildings in the area, the application of shafts or lattices contribute in the construction of the building.” Related: LOT-EK upcycles 140 shipping containers into an apartment complex in South Africa In contrast to the open workspace in the ground floor, the living quarters on the upper level are screened off for privacy. The operable timber latticed screens were also designed to spell out the word “RECICLA” (recycle) when closed. Inside, the home is engineered for flexibility with walls set on wheels and movable furniture that give the family freedom to reconfigure their living quarters as they please. + Natura Futura Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Natura Futura Arquitectura

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