House Offset reinvents New York renovation aesthetics

January 10, 2022 by  
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Overlay Office has renovated a 19th-century New York City townhouse to create House Offset. Located in South Slope, Brooklyn, the three-unit condominium uses classic design and sustainable materials that reinvent and enhance common contemporary renovation methods. It features increased natural light, open floor plans that maximize interior space, and outdoor spaces for each apartment. While the house underwent significant interior transformations, much of the exterior design was left to preserve the building’s relationship to its surrounding neighborhood context. The front façade is painted with two shades of black paint , with rounded arch shapes over a few windows. This feature is a callback to scalloped windows and roofs common in the neighborhood. 1903 New York house gets an eco-friendly makeover The lower third of the street-facing elevation is clad with shou sugi ban , a charred timber cladding that provides weathering and pest resistance. This visually complements the black brickwork above. The stoop at the entry forsakes traditional materiality and instead uses dark terrazzo stairs to reinforce the color scheme of the front façade. House Offset’s residential units comprise two bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths, as well as generous living spaces. Each apartment also has a private outdoor patio with patterned tiling, synthetic turf, and powder-coated metal railings. On the ground level, the patio leads to the backyard, while on the top floor, residents have access to the roof deck. The primary interior finishes are black and white and serve as elegant monochromatic backgrounds for brightly colored and richly-patterned furniture and fixtures. Overlay Office worked closely with suppliers for customized architectural details. These include suppliers like Durat, for the 100% recycled plastic “ terrazzo ” solid surfaces, and Watermark Brooklyn for the colored kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures. The designers also referenced the scalloped pattern from the front façade in interior details, ranging from the rounded edges of solid surfaces to the barrel-vaulted ceilings. Overlay Office challenges ubiquitous renovation aesthetics through thoughtful design choices in the project. The attention to materiality and bold patterns and colors accentuate the townhouse without sacrificing elegance. Instead of a conventional refurbishment project, the simple yet effective customizations expand the vocabulary of the building and create a homey space for residents. + Overlay Office Images by Ryan Lahiff , courtesy of Corcoran

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Morocco Pavilion is a rammed earth wonder for Dubai Expo

August 13, 2021 by  
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Casablanca-based architects Oualalou+Choi are showcasing traditional Moroccan  design and building techniques in the best way possible, by tackling an ambitious 4,000-square-meter rammed earth facade for this year’s Dubai Expo. The Morocco Pavilion is one of the largest rammed earth structures in the world, according to the designers, and will help push the technical and creative limits of traditional building materials into the contemporary age while continuing to pay tribute to the country’s unique culture and landscape. Rammed earth construction consists of taking natural raw  materials  such as earth, lime, or gravel — often collected from the building site itself — and compressing the mixture into stabilized, flat panels. The Morocco Pavilion consists of 22 stacked rectangular volumes designed to emulate typical rammed earth villages in Morocco. Completed in August 2021, it is set to open to the public by October 2021. Related: Marjan van Aubel’s solar roof couples renewable energy with beauty The pavilion itself comprises 14 separate exhibition spaces, including a traditional Moroccan restaurant, a tea room, a street food space, a shop, an event space, an office space and a lounge. These spaces congregate around a landscaped inner  courtyard  and are connected by a singular street beginning at the structure’s top floor and descending to the bottom floor. There’s also a 15-square-meter elevating platform in the building’s eastern core that provides alternative methods of travel, bringing up to 50 people at a time from the ground to the seventh floor. The 4,000-square-meter, 33-meter-high rammed earth facade isn’t just convenient by sustainable design standards, but also plays a role in  passively  regulating indoor temperature conditions once completed. Additional construction methods used in the design of the building, such as wooden interior facades that double as sunscreens, help give the Morocco Pavilion  LEED-certifiable  standards. What’s more, after the conclusion of the Dubai Expo, the pavilion will be repurposed into a housing complex complete with separate apartments, an 80-square-meter swimming pool, a fitness club and a community lounge.  + OUALALOU + CHOI Via ArchDaily Images by Archmospheres, Oualalou+Choi

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Morocco Pavilion is a rammed earth wonder for Dubai Expo

This Living Vehicle can take you completely off grid for a month

October 30, 2017 by  
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HofArc’s new Living Vehicle may just be the future of off-grid living thanks to its dynamic combination of glossy aluminum cladding, eco-friendly materials and self-sustaining features. The stunningly sophisticated home on wheels was built with low-impact materials meant to last a lifetime, and it can be equipped to go off grid for weeks at a time. HofArc’ s founder, Matthew Hoffman, has spent years living and designing modern, mobile living spaces . The Living Vehicle design is the result of years of fine-tuning small spaces so that they make little impact on the environment, but without sacrificing on comfort. Related: Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living The 215-square-feet long camper is clad in ultra-glossy aluminum – a durable, long-lasting, and recyclable product. No only aesthetically pleasing, this shiny facade also helps reflect light and heat, aiding in the trailer’s energy regulation. The high-quality aluminum, along with superior engineering, provides a strong, rigid frame for the RV that can withstand even the most rugged off-road expeditions. Designed to go off grid for weeks at a time, the camper is equipped with ample energy production and storage features including four 150-watt solar panels , four 12-volt lithium ion batteries, and a 3000-watt power inverter. It also comes with a 100-gallon tanks for water storage. Thanks to its ultra-strong insulation, the LV is a comfortable living space all year round. The LV’s interior is not too shabby either. Using many of the tried and true space saving techniques found in RV’s, the LV design goes further on comfort. The kitchen has enough space for a full-sized refrigerator, sink, and stove. An island with counter top is handy for food preparation and provides extra storage space . The living area is light and airy thanks to the large windows. And for sleeping space, there are enough convertible beds to sleep six. Although currently not an option, the HofArc team hopes to modify the current design over the next few years so that the LV can produce its own water and food, therefore converting into a 100% self-sustaining home on wheels . + Living Vehicle + HofArc Via Treehugger Images via Living Vehicle

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This Living Vehicle can take you completely off grid for a month

Groundbreaking Passivhaus development features ultra-green homes that you can actually afford

October 24, 2017 by  
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UK-based architectural firm Hamson Barron Smith have built a ground-breaking Passivhaus development in Greater Norwich, UK. The Carrowbreck Meadow project includes 14 ultra-sustainable homes, which have been designed to pay homage to the local rural barn vernacular found in the area. The Passivhaus development is the largest of its kind in the area, but will also serve as a benchmark for sustainable building everywhere because 43% of the development is comprised of affordable housing. Built in the traditional barn style, the Carrowbreck Meadow homes are clad in a mix of white render and black-stained timber. The A-frame roofs are covered in either slate or red roof tiles. Wood used in the construction was 100% locally sourced from sustainable northern forests. Additional sustainable features include using low-carbon materials where possible such as the insulation in the roofs, which is made out of recycled newspaper. Local contractors and subcontractors were also hired for the job to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. All of the homes are installed with electric car charging points, rainwater butts and PV connection points. The master plan also includes a unique waste management system that facilitates reusing and recycling processes for the homeowners. Related: Passivehaus Container Complex Proposed for Leeds Waterfront Located in a heavily wooded lot, the positioning and orientation of the homes was strategic in order to take advantage of solar gain in the wintertime and avoid extreme heat in the summer. The homes are installed with an abundance of windows that let in natural light , but are equipped with venetian blinds and brise soleils to provide shade. A heat recovery system provides fresh filtered air throughout the structures. The green building materials and low energy features used in the development, as well as the homes’ integrated thermal bridges and draft-free building envelopes – which is five time over the strict passivehaus regulations for airtightness – have earned the project a full Passivehaus certification . However, the fact that the development includes a high number of affordable homes really makes the Carrowbreck Meadow project unique. By offering 43% percent of the property as affordable housing, the architects hope to not only provide locals with sustainable and energy efficient options, but one that fosters a strong inclusive atmosphere as well. The Carrowbreck Meadow development design was recognized with a RIBA Eastern Region Design Award in May 2017. + Hamson Barron Smith Images via Hamson Barron Smith

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MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

October 24, 2017 by  
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Could flexible architecture be the future of urban design ? Prolific Dutch architects MVRDV just unveiled one very colorful hotel whose nine rooms can be transformed into a variety of configurations. The funky hotel – called (W)ego – is an example of how flexible architecture can help urban areas adapt to diverse needs quickly and effectively — whether it’s making room for growing families, providing student housing, or creating shelters for refugees. The 30-foot-tall hotel is the center of the firm’s Dutch Design Week installation called The Future City is Flexible. In it the firm proposes a new urban design model that is suited to the “users’ most elaborate fantasies.” The hotel has a total of nine rooms, each of which is designated by ultra-vibrant colors and quirky features geared to a variety of tastes. Related: Fully-furnished shipping containers form unique prefab hotel in Manchester The life-sized installation allows visitors to negotiate with each other in order to find the perfect living space of their dreams. The interactive method is based on the idea of creating a participatory process in order to achieve true happiness, “Through gaming and other tools, (W)ego explores participatory design processes to model the competing desires and egos of each resident in the fairest possible way,” explains MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. The hotel, which is currently on display in Eindhoven, was created in collaboration with The Why Factory , the firm’s own research lab that studies how cities across the world will deal with issues such as climate change and population growth in the future. + MVRDV + The Why Factory Via Dezeen Photography by Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV unveils futuristic hotel whose rooms can be configured in countless ways

Switzerland’s NeighborHub wins first place in the Solar Decathalon 2017

October 14, 2017 by  
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This past week, eleven teams of students designed, built and presented futuristic houses at the Solar Decathalon 2017 . The competition took place in Denver , and though the challenge was simple it was by no means easy: create a super-efficient sun-powered building that seamlessly integrates green building technologies into its design. The winners of the highly-anticipated event were just announced this morning – and Team Switzerland’s NeighborHub took first place! For the first time in history, the winners of the Solar Decathalon won prize money. First place received $300,000; second place won $225,000; third place took home $150,000; fourth place won $125,000 and fifth through eleventh places each received $100,000. 1st Place: NeighborHub by the Swiss Team First place in the Solar Decathalon 2017 was awarded to the Swiss Team ‘s NeighborHub. The NeighborHub isn’t a home at all – rather, it is a collaborative community space. The team designed the eco-friendly space to serve as an educational resource, specifically for suburban neighborhoods. At the NeighborHub, residents can learn about seven sustainable themes: renewable energy, water management, waste management, mobility, food, material choices, and biodiversity. 2nd Place: reACT by University of Maryland The University of Maryland’s reACT House (Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology) took second place. It’s a smart, sustainable home that can adapt to different needs and environments . Not only is the self-sufficient home beautiful, it produces clean energy, clean water, and nutrient-rich foods — all the while automatically adapting to homeowners’ habits. 3rd Place: RISE by University of California, Berkeley, and University of Denver Students from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Denver collaborated to develop RISE . The affordable and sustainable abode is designed for urban infill lots in Richmond CA, and it can be stacked and expanded like building blocks. The prefab solar is home is incredibly flexible, with a scalable size, customizable floor plans, and moveable walls. 4th Place: SILO by Missouri University of Science and Technology Finally, fourth place was awarded to the Missouri University of Science and Technology for their SILO House (Smart Innovative Living Oasis) . The light-filled home combines high-tech, energy-efficient technology with traditional farmhouse vernacular. Best of all, this futuristic house lets you control all systems remotely via a smartphone. Related: 11 Solar-powered homes that show the future of architecture Each team presented an incredible futuristic home that incorporates solar and energy-efficiency technologies. Congrats to all of this year’s teams, and we can’t wait for the return of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathalon in 2019. + Solar Decathalon 2017 + Solar Decathlon Coverage on Inhabitat Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

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Architects seek to give eternal life to a temporary wooden market hall in Stockholm

October 13, 2017 by  
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Years ago, Swedish architecture firm Tengbom created a temporary market hall for Stockholm’s Östermalm district while the permanent market was being renovated. Since its installation, however, the modular wooden building – constructed with sustainable and cost-efficient materials – has become quite popular among the locals, prompting the architects to find a permanent use for the beautiful building. Currently located on Östermalm’s Square in Stockholm, the modern wooden structure served as a temporary market space while the Tengbom team renovated the original market hall. The base of the building is clad in vertical strips of untreated pine, while the upper floor is covered in translucent polycarbonate sheeting that allows natural light to flood the interior. The building has a modular mounting system composed of steel brackets that allows for easy assembly and dismantling – a feature that will come in extremely handy when it’s time to move the building. Related: Temporary Market Hall made from sustainable materials pops up in Stockholm The first proposal for the building’s new use envisions a youth house that would be located near the Skärholmen’s shopping district. With a strong focus on physical fitness, the center would offer various activities that appeal to youngsters such as dance, climbing and skating. The center would serve as a community meeting point where young adults – girls in particular – can have a secure place to be active year round. The second proposal calls for a cultural center that would be located between the suburbs of Risse and Ursvik. The building would have space for art exhibitions and performances, as well as areas for various activities that would be geared to locals of all ages. The third idea is an open-air public bath, complete with a sauna and heated pools . The bath would be installed directly across from a sports center in Eriksdal, in central Stockholm. The building would provide a social place for the community that, according to the architects, would not only prolong the bathing season, but also extend the connection between the city and the water. + Tengbom Architects

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Architects seek to give eternal life to a temporary wooden market hall in Stockholm

New super concrete makes buildings strong enough to withstand magnitude 9 earthquakes

October 12, 2017 by  
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Recent natural disasters such as hurricanes in the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico have laid bare the need for more resilient buildings. Fortunately, researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have developed a sprayable, eco-friendly concrete that makes the exterior of buildings as strong as steel and able to withstand unforeseen disasters . The material is called Eco-friendly Ductile Cementitious Composite, or EDCC – and it’s is predominantly comprised of an industrial by-product called fly ash. Said UBC Professor Nemy Banthia, “The cement industry produces close to seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. By replacing nearly 70 percent of cement with fly ash, we can reduce the amount of cement used. This is quite an urgent requirement, as one tonne of cement production releases almost a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” The final product is very similar to steel. It is durable, malleable and much more ductile than ordinary concrete. To test the invention, researchers sprayed EDCC on concrete block walls about 10 mm (one-half inch) thick. They then simulated a magnitude 9 earthquake — the same strength of the earthquake that rocked Tohoku, Japan, in 2011. “The results of these tests have been amazing,” said UBC engineering Ph.D. candidate Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki. “We can shake the wall extensively without it failing.” The video above shows that the unreinforced wall collapsed at about 65 percent intensity. In contrast, the reinforced wall withstood full intensity shaking and flexing. “A 10 millimeter-thick layer of EDCC … is sufficient to reinforce most interior walls against seismic shocks ,” said Soleimani-Dashtaki. EDCC is already on the market – in British Columbia, Canada , the product has been designated as “an official retrofit option.” The product is growing in popularity, as it is more cost-effective than major structural renovations or the steel bracings often required for earthquake protection. Plans are already in motion to reinforce the walls of an elementary school in Vancouver, B.C., and to upgrade a school in the seismically active area of northern India . With this technology, the costs of retrofitting buildings is cut in half. Said Banthia, “This can be very easily scaled to other projects. It costs about half of what other retrofit strategies would cost.” Via Metro News Canada , Engadget Images via UBC Civil Engineering Department, Pixabay, YouTube

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Boston man crosses harbor in a pumpkin boat

October 11, 2017 by  
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Tis the season… to get nuts with pumpkins . Christian Isley of Boston , Massachusetts took infatuation with that adorable, orange squash to a new level; he made a boat out of his homegrown pumpkin and sailed across Boston Harbor. “If there’s something odd to be done, he’ll do it,” said Steve, the squash sailor’s father. “Once he puts his mind to something it gets done, no matter how crazy it is.” Appropriately on the morning of the first day of October, Isley the Younger took a ride in his 520-pound vegetable boat, carved by himself and reinforced by wooden planks, foam, screws, and rope. Boston Harbor itself is a story of success for its historic restoration after decades of neglect and pollution . By the 1970s, the Boston Harbor and the feeding Charles River were toxic. After the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) was compelled by the courts to clean up the region’s water in the 1980s, the rich coastal ecosystem recovered rapidly. Today, the Harbor is swimmable and the Charles is teeming with life. Related: How to cook a whole pumpkin (seeds, guts and all) Native to North America , pumpkins are an excellent source of Vitamin A. The “classic pumpkin” variety is the Connecticut Field; Isley’s boat was made out of an Atlantic Giant. Grown in Belgium , the largest pumpkin ever weighed 2,624.6 lbs, setting the record in 2016. Prior to setting his prize-winning gourd vessel onto the open waters, Isley informed the United States Coast Guard of his plans. Although they expressed their wish that Isley not take the plunge, they did not stop him. Although the cucurbit ship did face some choppy seas , it navigated quite smoothly. “It’s a [expletive] journey,” Isley shouted as he finished the first leg of his adventure. Isley, thanks to his years of experience with boats, completed the quest, as friends and family cheered him on from nearby vessels. “That’s victory right there,” said Isley. “Absolutely. [Expletive] yeah.” Via the Boston Globe Images via the Boston Globe

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Boston man crosses harbor in a pumpkin boat

This gorgeous ‘Tree House Tower’ was built using repurposed timber and old ship materials

August 29, 2017 by  
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When architect Jason McLennan isn’t busying working on Leonardo DiCaprio’s new eco resort off the coast of Belize, the talented designer is enjoying some amazing views from his five-story “tree house tower” on Seattle’s beautiful Bainbridge Island. The home, which was built in 1978, was constructed out of reclaimed timber and outfitted with various repurposed ship materials. The three-bedroom, four-bathroom house is located on a secluded lot surrounded by a wall of 200-foot cedar trees on one side and the Puget Sound on the other. The home was built in 1978 by an unknown architect, who used salvaged wooden posts – which reportedly date back more than 100 years – in the construction. Related: Delightful treehouse residence weaves through a forest in Thailand The bohemian-inspired interior, which is well-lit by an abundance of large windows and skylights, is filled with repurposed trinkets taken from an old ship. Many of the windows were made out of old portholes and the home’s various brass doorknobs were repurposed from an old sailing boat. McLennan’s architectural studio is on the top floor where he has used the lush natural setting of the island as inspiration for his building designs, “It’s just nature’s paradise,” he said. “Everything is nestled in the trees, so the trees are intact and the ecosystem is intact. You do feel like you’re in a special place when you’re there.” Although the interior of the house is undeniably incredible, the outdoor space is definitely the heart of the home. Perennial gardens surround the outdoor areas, which include a massive outdoor chimney, covered dining area and lounge, Koi pond, fruit orchard, and even a basketball court. Of course, there are plenty of secluded nooks located on the grounds for solitude amongst the beautiful lush foliage. + Jason McLennan Via Dwell Photography by Eric Hecht  

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This gorgeous ‘Tree House Tower’ was built using repurposed timber and old ship materials

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