A Seattle midcentury home is restored to its original brilliance with a modern twist

September 3, 2018 by  
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When a young family reached out to Seattle-based design studio SHED Architecture & Design and interior designer Jennie Gruss for a redesign of their 1957 midcentury home in the city, the designers responded with a restoration that also integrated new, modern details. Named the Hillside Midcentury, the home saw an interior remodel that leaned heavily on a mix of natural timber and brick to create a homey atmosphere. Contemporary furnishings, clean lines and an abundance of glazing help give the home a fresh and youthful spirit. Originally designed by Pacific Northwest architect Arnold Gangnes, the existing home had a fairly open layout with an airy feel that embraced the outdoors and featured two floors with mirrored floor plans, a common architectural design in the 1950s. “[We] did not make any major structural changes but instead updated the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms to better align with the family’s living patterns,” the team said. Outside, the firm also added a large deck, updated patio and green roof. Timber wraps the interior with the original hardwood preserved in the living room and dining room. To break up the wood motif in the kitchen, the architects inserted maroon laminate cabinets from Beech Tree Woodworks for a splash of color. The exposed ceiling beams and datum are painted black to give a strong sense of structure to the house. Related: Old horse stable transformed into a chic art studio and guesthouse In addition to the updated materials and furnishings, some of the most notable changes can be seen in the updated floor layouts. On the basement level, the spacious living room was split up into a guest bedroom, mudroom and media room. Upstairs, one of the original bedrooms was converted into a large master bath, while the existing bathrooms were modified into a walk-in closet. Perhaps most impressively, the architects turned an old tool shed into an indoor swimming pool topped with a green roof . + SHED Architecture & Design Images via Rafael Soldi, exterior via SHED

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A Seattle midcentury home is restored to its original brilliance with a modern twist

Lush greenery grows in and around this breezy Indian home

September 3, 2018 by  
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When LIJO.RENY.architects  was tapped to design a modern house for the town of Tirur in the southern Indian state of Kerala — the name of which literally translates to “land of coconut trees” — there was no doubt that the region’s lush greenery would play a large part in the design. To bring nature into the home as much as possible, the architects used a grid layout that accommodates an indoor courtyard and outdoor verandas. This layout gave rise to the building’s name, the Regimented House. Numerous openings, long overhangs and perforated weathering steel screens provide shade and natural ventilation to keep the home cool in the region’s humid, tropical climate. Located on a 2.45-acre lot flush with trees and palms, the Regimented House shares the large property with an existing house owned by the client’s brother. The residents wanted a home that would provide a degree of privacy and autonomy, but they did not want the architects to erect a wall that would separate the new house from the brother’s house. They also didn’t want to be separated from the informal pedestrian path that divides the site and provides access to the main road. Thus, the architects crafted a decidedly contemporary home spanning 6,850 square feet that differs from the existing house with its long and linear form. “The simple yet formal nature of this built form, with the extended frontyard and backyard demarcated by hard landscape grids established a notion of a boundary, subtle nonetheless potent,” the architects explained. “Moreover, the grid layout was designed to accommodate landscaped courts of various types to ensure the essential blending in with nature as well as soften the otherwise bold presence of the built mass.” Related: Tsunami House is a green retreat perched high atop its own tower Designed to embrace indoor-outdoor living , the Regimented House comprises two floors organized around a central indoor courtyard with plenty of landscaping, including a vertical green wall . A minimalist palette and mostly white surfaces, punctuated by full-height glazing or openings, help keep the focus on the outdoor environment. The rooms of the house were also laid out for optimal natural ventilation. + LIJO RENY architects Via ArchDaily Images by Praveen Mohandas, Suneesh Suresh

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Lush greenery grows in and around this breezy Indian home

Unusual ellipse-shaped home celebrates a return to nature in Vietnam

August 22, 2018 by  
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There’s no question that the healing powers of nature can do wonders for our well-being, which is why the client behind the V4 House asked Hanoi-based design studio TNT Architects to create a home that felt peaceful and rural despite its suburban setting. In response, the architects created a dwelling that celebrates a return to nature with an immersive garden, swimming pool and unusual pavilion-like form. Located in Vietnam’s Nghe An province in the Nghi Loc district, the V4 House offers a strong connection with the outdoors as well as plenty of gathering spaces for visiting friends and family. Located on a spacious 2,000-square-meter lot in a quiet suburb, the V4 House’s built area only takes up about a quarter of the site with 900 square meters. The majority of the property is landscaped with gardens, including a fruit and vegetable garden. The living spaces are housed in a breezy, pavilion -like structure. Inspired by the traditional northern house vernacular, the main house features an elliptical roof supported by pillars and walls that delineate the interior rooms. The living room, dining room and kitchen are located on the west side of the home while the master suite, three bedrooms, bathrooms and storage are located on the other side; the wine cellar is tucked away underground. A spiral staircase leads up to the accessible landscaped roof that the architects liken to a “garden of Eden.” The roof offers plenty of entertaining space with outdoor furnishings and landscape views. Immediately south of the main house is the indoor swimming pool. Related: Beautiful bamboo arches breathe new life into a bland concrete building “Nowadays, most…people have gone too far away from the villages, so when we wake up in [a] noisy city, our original human ego desires a peaceful green countryside, tranquil forests and blue sky,” note the architects. “It’s the reason for us to create a new house based on the “Old man – new coat” spirit. This design is not only a home for man return to nature but also a place where people connect together.” + TNT Architects Images by Tri?u Chi?n

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Unusual ellipse-shaped home celebrates a return to nature in Vietnam

This eco-hotel in Costa Rica will be completely solar-powered by 2019

August 22, 2018 by  
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Good news for travelers who want all the comforts of a hotel, but without the accompanying carbon footprint: Cala Luna, a luxury hotel in Costa Rica , provides a green retreat that’s about to get even greener. While Cala Luna has already attracted attention for its sustainability efforts, the hotel has launched new initiatives that will make it completely solar-powered and carbon-neutral by 2019. Related to: Repurposed cargotecture dwellings keep naturally cool in Costa Rica Cala Luna was one of the first luxury hotel resorts to embrace ecological concerns and sustainability . Renowned for its far-reaching renewability standards and goals, the tropical sanctuary is devoted to the local neighborhood and surroundings and is proud to have the highest Sustainable Tourism certification (level 5) bestowed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT). Additionally, the hotel has a Programa Bandera Azul Ecologica (Blue Flag Ecological Program) certification, a government recognition for ecologically focused communities in Costa Rica. As if all this weren’t enough, Cala Luna recently announced its newest goal: attaining 100 percent solar-powered and carbon-neutral status throughout the hotel and villas by 2019. All of Cala Luna’s water heaters are already powered by solar panels, so the next step is solar power for the entire resort. According to Cala Luna general manager Federico Pilurzu, “Guests staying at our planet-friendly hotel can enjoy their vacation and know they are traveling responsibly. We are passionate about reducing carbon footprint, embracing our vibrant landscapes and promoting wildlife conservation. Sustainability is at the core of everything Cala Luna stands for.” From its inception, Cala Luna has been a pioneer in the inclusion of green efforts in all operations. These efforts include the use of LED lights , biodegradable toiletries and glass-bottled water in all their rooms and villas, endemic ingredients in spa treatments, and eco-friendly bamboo straws for beverages. Additionally, the staff is taught to implement green practices, and guests have access to free bikes to get around town. Besides providing an eco-conscious space for visitors to kick back and relax, Cala Luna actively participates in greening the local community. For example, the hotel leads farm tours that let guests learn more about the source of their organic meals and partners with local organization The Clean Wave to help with beach cleanups. Guests at Cala Luna can rest assured that their eco-retreat will not only help them get closer to nature, but help protect it as well. + Cala Luna Images via Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas

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This eco-hotel in Costa Rica will be completely solar-powered by 2019

Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

March 21, 2018 by  
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Aedas has unveiled plans for a soaring 656-foot tower that’s broken into two pieces held together by a series of ‘floating’ sky gardens and glass boxes. The architects drew inspiration from the Chinese character ‘?’ in the logo of the Taichung Commercial Bank. The 40-story high tower is a mixed-use development comprising the Taichung Commercial Bank Headquarters and an internationally-branded five-star hotel. Instead of stacking all the large functions such as the ballroom and swimming pool in a singular tower, the design creates two separate towers with a vertical void in the middle of the building. Related: Village-inspired office in Jakarta is topped with living trees and a green roof A series of transparent glass boxes house public exhibition space, sky gardens , a ballroom, a swimming pool, and conferencing facilities within the void. This plan enriches the building’s shape and creates a unique, iconic feature facing the main road. A terrace retreat at the rooftop features a restaurant and a VIP club long. Landscaped outdoor space and sweeping balconies provide magnificent city views for guests. Aedas’ design recently won the Tall Buildings category at MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2018. + Aedas Via Archinect

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Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

Lush green roof of native plants breathes life into a Texan cabana

February 28, 2018 by  
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This minimalist concrete-and-glass cabana looks as if it rose straight from the ground thanks to its beautiful green roof that ties it into verdant surroundings in Palmer, Texas. Dallas-based architecture firm Wernerfield designed the PTX1 Cabana, a simple and transparent structure that provides a strong contrast to the wild and colorful plants like yucca and sage that grow atop its roof. The rectangular pool house also doubles as a “remote” entertaining space with an indoor lounge, bathroom and exercise room. Built with clean lines and a restrained palette, the 1,372-square-foot PTX1 Cabana was designed with simple elegance in mind so as not to detract from the views of the main house that sits uphill. Full-height glazing wraps around the pool house to give it a sense of lightness while a concrete roof with deep overhangs protect against solar gain . White stucco was used for the exterior surfaces. Related: Spectacular wildflower roof grows atop a dreamy Texan cabana Retractable glass walls further minimize the distinction between indoors and out. A rectangular pool deck with lounge chairs and a fire pit separates the cabana from a lap pool fitted with colored lights. + Wernerfield Via Dezeen Photos by Robert Yu

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Lush green roof of native plants breathes life into a Texan cabana

Elevated glass-bottomed pool hovers over a second pool in the hip Wall House

September 15, 2017 by  
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An outdoor swimming pool with a glass bottom hovers above the second pool of this gorgeous residence in the Portuguese Riviera. Guedes Cruz Arquitectos designed the entire Wall House as a sprawling, open-plan house that embodies the principles of indoor-outdoor living, with so many gorgeous elements that it’s surreal. On one of its side, the residence features an expansive glass wall that can be opened to create a direct connection between the interior space, the garden and golf course. Wood slat coverings cover the concrete exterior walls and can be shut to provide complete privacy when needed. Related: Glass-bottomed sky pool will be suspended 115 feet in the air The most striking feature are the two outdoor swimming pools . The first is located on the ground level, while the second one hovers above the patio and has a glass bottom. The surreal visual effect of this bridge-like structure create unlikely visual connections between different levels of the house. + Guedes Cruz Arquitectos Via Dwell Photos by Ricardo Oliveira Alves

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Elevated glass-bottomed pool hovers over a second pool in the hip Wall House

This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

June 5, 2017 by  
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This underground holiday home in Greece is topped with a green roof that offers panoramic views of the Peloponnese peninsula. The owners commissioned LASSA Architects to design a house that would activate the periphery of the plot and provide a vantage point from which to observe the surroundings. The 1614-square-foot Villa Ypsilon is located in an olive grove in southern Peloponnese. A three-pronged concrete shell forms the roof and establishes three courtyards with different exposures to the sun. An eye-shaped swimming pool and sun deck are partially sheltered underneath a concrete lip that defines the green roof. Two other curved facades frame a sunken seating area and the main entrance to the building. Related: Take a Peek at a Stunning Secret Swiss Villa Hidden Into a Mountainside! “The design of the concrete shell and the courtyards’ orientation is such that it produces shadows at specific times of the day,” said the architects. “We are interested in the idea of form integration. That is, that form can be the result of overlapping and precise design decisions . . . in this case the vaulting concrete shell is structural, its bisecting axes frames specific views, its sloping [form] makes it walkable and its extent is a result of environmental optimization.” Related: Beautiful Underground Aloni House Blends in With The Earth Most of the structure is prefabricated, which significantly reduced assembly costs and construction time. The architects used a CNC machine to fabricate prototypes of the concrete shell and develop the final shape of the house. The use of locally sourced materials – such as concrete, terrazzo and marble – root the design in its cultural and geographic context. + LASSA Architects Via Dezeen Photos by NAARO

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This amazing underground house in Greece frames views of an olive grove

How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years

June 5, 2017 by  
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Want to know exactly what President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement means? Here are some projections of how climate change could alter our planet in the upcoming century. From rising sea levels to a thawing Arctic and bleached coral reefs , the Earth we leave to our grandchildren could be a remarkably different place. Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Gavin Schmidt told Business Insider we can’t stop global warming . It’s already in motion even if we were to curb all carbon emissions tomorrow. But Schmidt said it’s possible for us to slow climate change so we can better adapt to our changing world. Business Insider drew from several sources to examine what our world could look like – if nations do indeed stick to the Paris Agreement. Related: Several scientists predict the apocalypse will occur uncomfortably soon We’ll see more temperature anomalies – or how much a given temperature is off the normal temperature of a region. Greenland summers could be utterly free of ice by 2050. Tropical summers could have 50 percent more extreme heat days by 2050. Water resources will be impacted, with scientists predicting severe droughts will occur more frequently. Rising sea levels could also change life on the coasts of numerous countries, and unexpected collapses of ice shelves could erratically change sea levels. Oceans could rise two to three feet by 2100, which could displace around four million people even in the best case scenarios. Meanwhile oceans will warm as they absorb carbon dioxide and lead to acidification that threatens coral reefs – nearly all of tropical reefs could be harmed. Half of those tropical coral reefs are still under threat in best case scenarios. Schmidt said the 2100 Earth could be between “a little bit warmer than today and a lot warmer than today.” We have an opportunity now to curb emissions and slow climate change through solutions like renewable energy or carbon capture technology. We just have to take action. Via Business Insider Images via NASA , Andreas Kambanis on Flickr , and Matt Kieffer on Flickr

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How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years

World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

June 5, 2017 by  
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Could a new urban vacation trend take the trees out of treehouses ? The world’s first “cranehouse” has opened in Bristol and it’s every bit as spectacular as their conventional trunk-supported counterparts. Designed by vacation specialists Canopy & Stars , the tiny structure is hoisted by a cargo crane 26 feet over Bristol Harbor. What’s more, the low-impact wooden structure is completely carbon neutral, and it was built using sustainable materials . The “hanging basket” is a collaboration between Canopy & Stars and DIY company, B&Q, who decorated the space with a chic collection of sustainable furnishings. Touches of nature are found throughout the space, including walls inlaid with tree branches, a watering can shower, and a bed made out of a reclaimed tree trunk . Industrial hints such as copper finials, polished concrete, and natural vegetable-fiber mats complete the rustic, yet sophisticated interior design. Related: 9 treehouses you can actually rent for an off-the-ground getaway Along with a “living painting” by local artist Anthony Garrett, the design focused on creating a similar “multi-sensory experience” one might experience in a true treehouse. Scents of woodlands such as lavender, sage, and bark waft through the interior. Wild flowers are planted in recycled wooden crates on the exterior of the house and various pollinators were planted on the roof to attract bees and butterflies. Guests at Crane 29 will be able to enjoy the beautiful off-grid retreat by spending their time swinging in the indoor hammock and taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the harbor. Reservations, which run £185 a night, include a gourmet breakfast basket delivered to the house in the morning. Tom Dixon, managing director of Canopy & Stars, explains that the project was a labor of love for the company, “It’s taken three years of planning and design, and only three weeks of building, but we got there. What started as a dream has now become a reality,” said “We hope people enjoy their stays in this amazing building and wake up to the great outdoors feeling they are truly part of this pocket of nature in the city – a real natural high.” Crane 29 will only be opened to guests for just 100 days, but all of the profits from the rental space will be donated to the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth . + Canopy & Stars Via Telegraph Images via Canopy & Stars

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World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral

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