A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

November 8, 2018 by  
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A dark and gloomy, non-insulated dwelling with zero views to speak of has been dramatically transformed into a bright and sustainable home thanks to the work of local architecture studio Urban Creative . Flanked by 6-meter-tall walls and set on a long and narrow lot in inner Melbourne , 2 Halves Make a Home is a three-bedroom family residence that comprises two structures centered on a light-filled courtyard that allows daylight to penetrate deep into the living areas. Bricks sourced from the original decrepit structure were recycled for the construction of the new home, which features repurposed and sustainable materials throughout, from low-VOC finishes to a solar photovoltaic system and green wall. Faced with a site only 5.5 meters in width, the architects knew that access to the outdoors and light were crucial to making the family residence feel comfortably spacious. To that end, a courtyard was inserted along with walls of operable double-pane glass that blur the line between indoors and out. In addition to allowing natural light to enter the home, the courtyard also promotes passive cross ventilation while the full-height glazing and adjacent masonry party walls help capture early morning solar gain for passive heating in winter. “The original brick party wall has been uncovered and cleaned back to expose its rich warmth throughout the main axis of the dwelling,” the architects explained. “Not only does this avoid the use of new materials to construct this facade, but both dwellings on either side of the party wall serve to insulate each other.” Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Aside from the renovated brick wall and reclaimed brick used for the ground-floor facade, other recycled materials were used wherever possible. Reclaimed timber was used from the stairs and floorboards to the repurposed internal solid timber doors and timber shelves in the living room. Instead of replacing the ground floor structural slab, the architects polished the concrete and added a hydronic heating system. Low-VOC materials and finishes, like Tadelakt — a Moroccan rendering technique based on lime plaster and olive oil soap — promote a healthy indoor living environment. The house is also equipped with a solar array and a rainwater harvesting system. + Urban Creative Photography by Jessie May via Urban Creative

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A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes

October 25, 2018 by  
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In sunny Santa Monica, local studio Minarc has unveiled one of its latest projects built from mnmMOD panels , its award-winning and patented prefabricated building system that yields net-zero energy efficiency. Dubbed the Dawnsknoll project, the 2,500-square-foot dwelling champions sustainability beyond just building materials. Positioned for optimal passive solar conditions, the single-family home also boasts repurposed and recycled materials throughout, high-performance energy systems and a healthy living environment. Inspired by the volcanic landscapes of Iceland , Dawnsknoll features a color palette evocative of the country’s dramatic vistas, from the bright, lava-like orange used in the multi-gathering space in the heart of the home to the swimming pool that echoes the color of blue lagoons. Iceland’s rocky landscape is further mimicked with translucent, glacier-inspired light fixtures, the abundance of concrete for the floors and walls and the dark-colored cabinets and shelving. “On the Dawnsknoll project, Minarc focuses on a couple of main concepts: sustainability, color and space,” the designers said in the project statement. “Our green practices and selection of sustainable products do not raise the cost of a house. We believe that building repurposed with recycled and reclaimed material should not be more expensive for our clients. Throughout this house, we recycled, repurposed and reused to its extent.” Related: These prefabricated mnmMOD wall panels could revolutionize the way we build In addition to the prefabricated mnmMOD panels — which are recyclable and resistant to fire and termites — the Dawnsknoll house features 90 percent reused furnishings. The designers aimed to “only use materials in their most organic form,” which meant no paint, tile or carpet. One of many recycled materials used was rubber, seen in the bathroom sinks as well as in the kitchen and juice bar cabinetry, where recycled rubber tires were used. Indoor-outdoor living was emphasized through operable glazed doors that also let in natural ventilation. Radiant floor heating and domestic water heating were installed as well. + Minarc Images by Art Gray

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This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes

An old warehouse is rehabbed into chic apartments in Montreal

October 25, 2018 by  
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A former industrial warehouse in Montreal has been reborn as an airy and modern residential development thanks to the work of local architectural practice Blouin Tardif Architectes . Originally built at the turn of the century, the building has shed its manufacturing persona, yet the adaptive reuse project retains traces of its industrial past with exposed beams, tall ceilings and a brick facade. Dubbed Monument, the renovated building consists of seven contemporary apartments. Located in the heart of Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal district at the corner of Colonial Avenue and Demers Street, the building was first erected in 1905 for The Saint Louis Preserving Company. A major overhaul and expansion was carried out in 1933 after lingerie company Grenier took over the building; the company left the location in 2012. To pay homage to the building’s long manufacturing history, Blouin Tardif Architectes followed a minimalist approach that preserved the existing frame and material palette of steel, concrete and wood while creating additional openings to increase access to natural light . Related: Old Sydney warehouse is transformed into an industrial-chic home Renovated to include a new third level atop the existing two floors, the three-story building comprises seven spacious units with parking spaces tucked in the basement. The three units on the ground floor consist of two- and three-bedroom layouts each with a fully wood-finished loggia. Above, the second and third floors house four residential units styled as penthouse-style townhouses with courtyards and terraces. The bedrooms, bathrooms and office are organized around a courtyard on the lower level, and the living spaces and a private outdoor terrace are located in the new extension above. Through the preservation of the building’s historical, architectural details, such as the brick masonry, and the addition of modern design elements, Blouin Tardif Architectes tips its hat to the former preservation company — which was known for making jams, pickles and hot sauce — as well as the lingerie company that called the building home for more than 80 years. + Blouin Tardif Architectes Photography by Steve Montpetit via Blouin Tardif Architectes

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An old warehouse is rehabbed into chic apartments in Montreal

Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool

October 25, 2018 by  
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Located mere steps away from idyllic white sand beaches on one side and a coconut grove on the other, this beach house designed by Studio Saxe is giving us major home envy. Situated on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline, the spacious 3,250-square-foot Villa Akoya’s beautiful aesthetic hides several passive strategies designed to reduce the home’s energy use and impact on the environment. The breathtaking location serves as the principal inspiration for the design. Built using traditional cinder block construction, the one-story home was was raised off the ground to create a continuous sight line with the ocean views. This feature also helped reduce the footprint on the landscape . Related: Triangular beachfront home is a dreamy retreat buried in the earth The beach house’s dimensions are divided into four separate horizontal roof planes that slant slightly upward, covering each of the three bedrooms plus the main living area. This strategy creates distinct volumes within the structure. Additionally, the flat wooden roofs extend out over the exterior walls to create large overhang extensions that shade the interior while creating several indoor-outdoor living spaces around the exterior. The interior layout includes several spaces that are open to the exterior, creating a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors. All of the bedrooms have their own outdoor spaces, and an all-glass wall in the living room slides completely open, leading to a wooden deck and a swimming pool . Concealed within the design are several passive features to create an energy-efficient beach house. The “elevated” roof lines create a natural system of air ventilation, cooling the home in the hot summer months. The abundance of windows and glass doors brighten the interior during the day, further reducing the need for electricity. The home also operates on solar-generated hot water and has a gray water system. + Studio Saxe Via Archdaily Photography by Andres Garcia Lachner via Studio Saxe

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Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool

Architect turns four shipping containers into an affordable and eco-friendly home

July 2, 2018 by  
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Architectural firm  Matt Elkan Architect has unveiled a beautiful home on Australia’s south coast, with a unique twist: it’s made out of four shipping containers. In addition to constructing the home out of repurposed containers , the firm included a number of sustainable features in order to make the shipping container house as environmentally friendly as possible. From the beginning, architect Matt Elkan worked with the homeowners to create a design that would reflect their vision of an eco-friendly family home . He also wanted to prove that great design doesn’t have to break the bank. According to Elkan’s project description, “This project was always about economy, efficiency and how to do as much as possible on a very limited budget. However, the scale belies the efficiency of program and generosity of the outcome. The client’s conviction from the outset was that good architecture does not need to be expensive, and this project attempts to prove the theory.” Related: Stunning shipping container home can be yours for $125k Although keeping the budget as low as possible was a priority, minimizing the home’s environmental impact was of utmost importance as well. There was no excavation on the landscape and the four shipping containers were laid out strategically to take advantage of natural lighting and passive temperature control. The architects used natural wood insulation on the flat roof, and they did not include any VOC finishes in the building. Additionally, the home has Low E windows and recycled HW doors. For water conservation, 500 liters of water can be stored on-site. The result of this strategic design? A beautiful 1,000-square-foot home that sleeps up to ten people. Unlike some shipping container homes , the design proudly shows the shipping container aesthetic throughout the exterior and interior. The home’s exterior was painted in a dark grey, and the doors were left in their original state with script that marks their weight and shipping details. The interior also proudly shows its industrial origins. The container walls were painted in a glossy white with a few accent walls made of blonde wood, which was also used for the ceiling and flooring. Sliding farmhouse-style doors give the home a modern touch. An abundance of windows throughout the home flood the interior with natural light and also provide a strong connection to the home’s gorgeous surroundings. Many of the floor-to-ceiling windows can be concealed by the large shipping container doors. The living space opens up to a wooden deck, further blending the home’s interior with the exterior. + Matt Elkan Architect Via Dwell Photography by Simon Whitbread

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Architect turns four shipping containers into an affordable and eco-friendly home

Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K

May 25, 2018 by  
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DIY home builds are never easy, and rarely cheap, but one ambitious couple managed to create a beautiful tiny home for under $10,000. Taylor and Steph Bode from Nomadic Roots created their sustainable 560-square-foot ‘Earthship’ mainly using reclaimed and repurposed materials. Inspired by the design principles of visionary architect Mike Reynolds and his company, Earthship Biotecture , the couple focused on creating a sustainable home that would employ passive and sustainable features to stay comfortable throughout the seasons, without air conditioning or heat sources. Related: Firefighter’s self-built tiny house is an earthship on wheels Once they found the perfect lot, the couple moved into a 14′ yurt while they slowly started the building process. To begin the project, they planned the home’s perimeters to maximize its potential thermal mass. Built into a south-sloping hill, the east, west, and north walls are buried underground , insulating the home and providing stable indoor temperatures. According to the owners, “The stylistic elements were secondary to creating a functionally competent structure that was well-suited for its environment.” To create the frame for the house, the couple cut down two young redwood trees from an adjacent grove. The siding and trim is crafted from old redwood fence boards. For the rest of the construction materials, Taylor and Steph scoured various sites to find discarded materials that could be reclaimed . They found new uses for countless thrown-away items such as automobile tires, glass bottles and aluminum cans. All of the home’s windows and doors were salvaged or found for free on Craigslist. Although the majority of the walls are buried, the many repurposed windows help flood the interior with an abundance of natural light . The couple created an earthen floor with a mixture of sand, clay, straw and water. After laying the mixture, they finished it with a hemp oil to create a warm, soft look. The Bodes used reclaimed barn wood for the interior walls, and they made or salvaged all their furnishings. + Nomadic Roots Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Taylor Bode via Nomadic Roots

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Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K

Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

October 10, 2017 by  
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Wish you could expand the size of your home without breaking the bank? A group of architecture students from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver created RISE, an affordable and sustainable housing solution that lets you do just that. Conceived for urban infill lots, the adaptable and scalable solar-powered home stacks together like children’s blocks and can expand up to three stories with up to five units of multifamily living. RISE—which stands for Residential, Inviting, Stackable, Efficient—was designed specifically for Richmond, California, a coastal city struggling with a shortage of affordable, sustainable housing. Flexibility is key to the RISE design, which boasts customizable floor plans with moveable walls and windows to meet the needs of diverse occupants. The moveable walls, installed on a track system, can roll to the sides to transform three-quarters of the interior into an open-plan area or can be used to delineate multiple rooms. Transforming furniture and modular cabinetry support this versatile floor plan. Modular, prefabricated construction makes the home scalable and stackable, and gives homeowners the ability to transform their home from a single-story family unit into a multigenerational dwelling. The house can be constructed efficiently without specialized labor. Sustainability is also an important factor to RISE, which is designed to achieve net-zero energy consumption and is powered by solar energy. Daylighting and access to natural ventilation is optimized throughout the home, while wool insulation helps lock in stable and comfortable indoor temperatures. A green wall of moss covers the north facade. RISE was completed as University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver’s entry to the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition, after which the home will be donated to the Denver Habitat for Humanity, which will install it on a permanent lot and sell it to a family in need. Related: Transformable solar building changes shape to teach people how to live sustainably “At $200,000, a single RISE unit is less expensive than 72% of homes in the city,” wrote the students . “Whereas this fact is significant, what really increases the affordability of RISE is that five units can fit onto a single lot that traditionally would host just one home. The RISE home’s stacked design and large open roof-deck spaces allows greater density and a lower price point per unit while preserving the open feel of a neighborhood home, which residents both need and desire to build community. Though designed specifically for Richmond, this approach would translate well to other urban centers that currently face a shortage of affordable housing.” + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Net-zero prefab home stacks together and expands like childrens blocks

Brilliant Tesla solar cell roof rotates to naturally cool proposed desert home in Iran

August 10, 2017 by  
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Tesla appears to be taking aim at revolutionizing homeownership and architects are taking note. Hot on the heels of Tesla’s eagerly awaited solar roof, Tehran-based BMDesign Studios created Alavi House, a home in Isfahan, Iran that’s to be finished with Tesla’s new and seemingly invisible solar cells. Optimized for solar, the Alavi House will produce more energy than it needs and feature a smart and operable double-skin to promote natural heating and cooling of the home. Named after its clients, the 550-square-meter Alavi House is proposed for a site at the foothills of the Zagros Mountain range at the edge of a desert . Due to the arid climate, the architects used the prevailing winds from the south and southwest to inform the roof’s sloped shape and direction. “With a roof tilted toward East, we can create effective zones of negative pressure at the climax of the roof helping to ventilate the building naturally through most of the year,” wrote the architects. “Controllable vents, at the climax of the roof have a sucking effect, together with the large openings to the south of the building. Air filters by flowing through a broken line of evergreen trees (Cedrus deodara) and over a pool in the outdoors and then by passing over an indoor garden of Snake Plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) which is known to be a great air purifier (NASA Clean Air Study) and over a pond.” Related: Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof The home is finished in concrete save for the double skin on the sloped roof that would be clad in the nearly imperceptible Tesla solar cells installed 30 centimeters above the roof. The operable double skin roof can rotate open to allow the sun to heat the concrete roof and warm the interior. Alternatively on colder days, the roof rotates close to provide shade from the sun, while simultaneously optimizing conditions for generating solar energy. The 194-square-meter solar roof would feature 104 solar modules capable of meeting a minimum of 29,000 kWh a year, far exceeding the average electricity consumption of an Iranian household. Insulated glazing wraps the building on the south side to let in natural light and frame views of the cherry orchard and mountains. Communal areas are placed on the ground floor and include a tv room, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom that are connected to an indoor landscaped area and pool next to the outdoor pool. The upper level contains two master bedrooms and library. + BMDesign Studios Via highsnobiety Images via BMDesign Studios

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Brilliant Tesla solar cell roof rotates to naturally cool proposed desert home in Iran

How one family thrives in the Arctic with a cob house inside a solar geodesic dome

December 31, 2016 by  
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Life inside the Arctic Circle is by no means easy, unless you’re a Hjertefølger. We first heard about Benjamin and Ingrid Hjertefølger four years ago when they began building Nature House , a three-story cob house wrapped in a solar geodesic dome . Located on the island of Sandhornøya in northern Norway , the ultra-green home was designed to enable the family of six to eek out a sustainable existence despite challenging climatic conditions – they even grow most of their own food. Inhabitat recently caught up with the Hjertefølgers, who have now lived in their home for three years, to learn about their challenges and victories. The Hjertefølgers, which translates to Heartfollowers, live in Nature House with their four children – they’ve added one to their number since Inhabitat last wrote about them . After constructing their cob home topped with one of Solardome’s single-glazed geodesic domes with the help of friends and neighbors, the family moved in on December 8, 2013. Related: Gorgeous Solar Geodesic Dome Crowns Cob House in the Arctic Circle “The house works as we intended and planned. We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house,” Ingrid Hjertefølger told Inhabitat. “The process changed us, shaped us.” The family had to design their home with extreme temperatures and wind in mind. It’s impossible to grow food in the dome in winter – Hjertefølger said there are three months without sun at Nature House – but the design does enable the family to grow food five months longer than they could outside. They grow apples, cherries, plums, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, squash, and melons. Growing their own food is just the beginning of sustainable living at Nature House. Hjertefølger said all of their grey and black water is reused for fertilizing and watering the plants they grow. The family composts food scraps. They make sure to use clean, biodegradable household products, as elements in those products could end up in the food they eat. The home will have a long lifespan too – Hjertefølger said cob “lasts forever if you keep it dry,” and as their dwelling is always covered with the glass dome, it hasn’t been worn down by weather. She also said there’s no need to paint or even maintain the cob structure’s walls. Improvements could be made to the house, but for the most part the family seems incredibly satisfied with the design. “If we were to build a new Nature House, the ideal thing would be double glass on the green house so that we could have a tropical garden and no dripping in the winter,” said Hjertefølger. “But that is a bit unrealistic because it is very expensive with all that glass.” She also said they’d like to make a few changes to how the plant beds are set up “to get more usable space and better placement for different plants.” Overall, though, the family says they thrive inside Nature House. “The feeling we get as we walk into this house is something different from walking in to any other house,” Hjertefølger told Inhabitat. “The atmosphere is unique. The house has a calmness; I can almost hear the stillness. It is hard to explain. But it would have been impossible getting this feeling from a house someone else has planned and built for us, or a house with corners and straight lines.” + Nature House Images courtesy of Ingrid Hjertefølger

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How one family thrives in the Arctic with a cob house inside a solar geodesic dome

Tatiana Bilbao’s $8,000 house could help solve Mexico’s social housing shortage

November 9, 2015 by  
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