Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

May 19, 2017 by  
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This minimalist bath house allows inhabitants of Karlshamn, Sweden, to enjoying the sea all year round. White Arkitekter designed the timber-clad building to age naturally for low-maintenance facilities that straddle both the water and the land. The town’s first bath house was carefully situated to soak up as much sunlight as possible all winter long, while protecting visitors from the chilly winter winds. Local organization Kallbadhusets Vänner (Friends of the Bath House) worked with local sponsors and the municipality to realize a project which would allow people to enjoy the sea all year round. Kallbadhus is located along a beach promenade, close to the public swimming hall . Sitting at a height of three meters above sea level, the sharply angled timber-clad volume straddles solid land and water while offering views of the sea. Related: Tiny Norwegian Prefab Bathhouse is Clad in Sustainable Kebony Wood Two glulam beams provide structural support for a small bridge that links the building to the beach. A common room with an adjoining terrace is flanked on one side by the women’s sauna and the by the men’s sauna on the other. The architects designed the saunas to receive optimal amount of sunlight while simultaneously offering protection from the wind. The exterior cladding is treated with a grey-pigmented oil which allows the wood to age naturally. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News

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Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

Minimalist Leyda House takes inspiration from local farmer’s huts

May 19, 2017 by  
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When Chilean architect’s Alfredo González Briceño and Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen were contracted to build a country home in Chile’s Leyda Valley, they were inspired by the fertile nature of the well-known wine-producing region. Using the panoramic views of vineyards as a focus for the home’s layout, the architects designed a timber-clad minimalist structure tucked into the rolling hillside with optimal light to enhance the incredible views of the landscape. Using the area’s agricultural atmosphere as inspiration, the architects based the home’s simplistic design on the “ephemeral shelters” commonly found on the nearby strawberry fields, “We saw on these light constructions a very strong formal guide, with a very impressive visual value, on how this low-cost countryside house could be solved.” The team decided to forgo the typical bells and whistles found in weekend homes, instead choosing to focus on a simple, but strategic design that would showcase the home’s natural setting. Related: Chilean Folding House allows owners to control the temperature to adapt to the season Tucked into the rolling hillside of the valley, the elongated home is clad in dark timber, creating a no-fuss monolithic figure that melds easily into the landscape. The home faces the south, which allows for spectacular views of the vineyard-covered valley that leads to a coastal mountain range in the background. Large windows in different shapes and sizes are found throughout the design, including multiple openings in the roof that allows light to flood the interior – as the architects describe it – with “a gentle sunbath.” On the interior, the two bedrooms, each with its own bath, are located at either end of the home, and separated by the living and dining areas. The interior ceiling and flooring are covered in light wooden planks, further creating a strong connection to nature. + Alfredo Gonzalez Briceño + Ignacio Rojas Hirigoyen Via Dwell Photography by Rodrigo Daza  

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Minimalist Leyda House takes inspiration from local farmer’s huts

Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space

May 19, 2017 by  
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An 18-year-old from Tamil Nadu in India has built what experts are hailing as the “world’s lightest satellite.” Bonus: NASA’s going to send it into space. Rifath Shaarook’s 1.5-inch cube weighs a mite 2.2 ounces—lighter than many smartphones. “We built it completely from scratch,” Shaarook told India’s Business Standard . “It will have a new kind of on-board computer and eight indigenous built-in sensors to measure acceleration, rotation and the magnetosphere of the Earth.” The satellite beat more than 86,000 entries from 57 countries to win Cubes in Space , a design competition organized by education nonprofit iDoodle with the support of NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium . Shaarook named his design KalamSat after A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, India’s former president and a famous aerospace scientist in his own right. Related: Egyptian teenager creates next-generation quantum space propulsion system Come June 22, NASA will send the cube on a four-hour suborbital spaceflight, where it’ll operate for 12 minutes under microgravity conditions. Shaarook currently works as lead scientist at Space Kidz India , an organization in Chennai that promotes science and education for the country’s youth. Via BBC News

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Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space

This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

May 12, 2017 by  
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This beautiful prefab house by Antony Gibbon Designs is made up of six modules that can be configured in an endless number of ways. Each unit has one or more open sides that can be attached together, providing the opportunity to build an incredible variety of layouts. The closed sides of each module are clad in charred wood siding for an elegant, low-maintenance facade. Called the Moduu House, it is comprised of six different variations of a single staggered form. Each module measures 2.5 x 2.5 meters with one or more sides ‘open’ to allow each unit to be connected onto another increasing the interior space. The structures can be connected in a wide variety of spatial sequences to create the house you want. Related: These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k Traditional Japanese charred wood cladding known as Shou Sugi Ban cover the exterior of the house, giving it a natural appearance. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow ample natural light into each structure, with the option of adding sliding doors for direct access to the terraces, also available as modules. + Antony Gibbon Designs

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This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

Green makeover transforms cedar-clad Virginia house into a lifelong retreat

January 26, 2017 by  
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A few easy steps has transformed a normal Virginia home into a charming, lifelong retreat. A couple approaching retirement commissioned Thrive Architecture to renovate their Hickory House into an accessible home that uses less energy than it did before. The architects expanded the existing space to include a living room, bedroom, bathroom, dressing room and laundry, all organized on a single story. The main sitting area offers views of the surrounding forest. Related: Gorgeous cedar-clad house boasts stunning mountain views in Canada Three types locally-sourced hardwoods were used for the interior, including Hickory. This choice of materials complements the exterior cladding, dominated by ship-lapped oiled cedar . To make the house more energy efficient, the team added air-tight spray foam insulation, LED lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures. + Thrive Architecture Photos by Ansel Olson

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Green makeover transforms cedar-clad Virginia house into a lifelong retreat

Discreet new home in North Carolina acts like a gateway to the surrounding wilderness

January 5, 2017 by  
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The cypress-clad Carolina Hillside House perches over a thick forest near North Wilkesboro’s Kerr Scott Lake, providing stunning views of untouched nature. ARCHITECTUREFIRM designed the building as a habitable gateway that connects an abandoned logging road, the only access to the house, with the surrounding wilderness. The house is located above North Wilkesboro’s Kerr Scott Lake and is accessed by an abandoned logging road. Clad in untreated cypress that acquires a beautiful patina over time, the house blends into its wooded surroundings. Related: Snøhetta’s New Library at North Carolina State University Aims for LEED Silver A large opening separates the main living area and sleeping quarters, forming a sheltered patio with a beautiful outdoor fireplace . This space provides sensational views of the surrounding forest and allows the owners to enjoy the outdoors even during harsh winters. + ARCHITECTUREFIRM Via Uncrate Photos by James Ewing

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Discreet new home in North Carolina acts like a gateway to the surrounding wilderness

Old Dutch farmhouse gets a modern makeover with locally-sourced materials

December 2, 2016 by  
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Architect Jeanne Dekkers converted this brick farmhouse in the Dutch village of Banholt into a beautiful family house and studio. The team renovated the existing building with spruce-clad extensions that line the edges of an inner courtyard, resulting in a bright and airy space with a gentle environmental footprint. The farmhouse is located on the outskirts of an agricultural region in the Netherlands . The architects converted a former shed into a studio space and connected it to the new carport, creating a layout that resembles that of traditional farmhouses of the region. The additions are separated from the existing brick structures thanks to horizontal timber cladding. The old horse stable was transformed into a light and modern living space with an office. Two large openings made of Iroko wood frame the landscape and let the light inside. A stainless steel core containing the kitchen, bathroom and toilet occupies the central area of the building. Two round staircases clad in wood connect the ground floor with the second floor. Related: Historic Belgian farmhouse renovated into a modern solar-powered home The team collaborated with local artisans through the project, prioritizing local materials and local building techniques. They also reused some of the original materials, including old steel ledgers, roof tiles and bricks. + Jeanne Dekkers Architecture Via Dezeen Photos by Holly Marder

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Old Dutch farmhouse gets a modern makeover with locally-sourced materials

Scientists blend photosynthesis and quantum physics to improve solar cells

December 2, 2016 by  
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Four physicists at the University of California, Riverside decided to blend photosynthesis and quantum physics to work towards greener solar cells . Plants effectively regulate energy flow from the sun, but since current affordable man-made solar cells hover around just 20 percent efficiency, the scientists decided to take cues from vegetation. Current solar cells require feedback controllers and voltage converters to manage fluctuations in the amount of energy streaming from the sun, and end up wasting loads of energy. Their lack of efficiency is one hurdle standing in the way of mass adoption. But plants don’t need such hindering mechanisms. The UC Riverside team decided to reevaluate solar energy conversion in light of both photosynthesis’ efficiency and quantum physics principles. Related: Newly discovered form of spiralized light breaks everything quantum physics says about photons The physicists created what UC Riverside calls a novel kind of quantum heat engine photocell, a device that assists in the sunshine-to- electricity conversion process. Their new photocell draws on two quantum mechanical photocell systems that absorb either one or two colors of light, allowing the photocell to alternate between absorbing light at high and low power. According to UC Riverside, this innovation could allow a photocell to “convert varying levels of solar power into a steady-state output.” For UC Riverside assistant professor Nathan Gabor, who took part in the research, the journey to a better solar cell started in 2010 with the simple question, “Why are plants green?” He found out no one truly understands why, and decided to search for an answer. His quest, drawing on his physics background melded with deeper study into biology, may unlock the secrets to a more effective solar cell. The journal Nano Letters published the physicists’ research online in November. Via University of California, Riverside Images via Nathaniel Gabor and Tamar Melen and Pixabay

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Four major cities pledge to ban diesel cars by 2025

December 2, 2016 by  
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Air pollution plagues many large cities , and now four major metropolises are taking a stand. At the C40 Mayors Summit ending today in Mexico City, Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, and Athens pledged to ban diesel cars by 2025. They also urged car manufacturers to take action, saying they will provide incentives for their residents to walk, bike, or drive alternatively-fueled cars. Air pollution leads to three million deaths every single year, with most fatalities occurring in cities, according to the World Health Organization. As diesel cars pump out contaminating fumes, the four cities decided to remove those vehicles from their cities. In addition to carbon dioxide, cars emit nitrogen dioxide and tiny particles, worsening air quality especially in congested urban areas. Related: 6 brilliant smog-eating designs ridding cities of air pollution According to The Guardian, it’s not precisely clear if the pledge will include a total ban, or if it will simply ban cars from some areas of the cities, and if so, exactly which areas. But such a move could be especially beneficial for Mexico City, which just this year banned over one million cars in an air pollution crisis. Mexico City mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said in a statement , “It is no secret that in Mexico City we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic.” Public transportation , like the subway and bus system, will be expanded, according to the mayor, as will bicycling infrastructure. Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis indicated he wants to take his city even one step further by removing every car from Athens’ center. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo challenged the car industry to take pollution as seriously as the four cities. “Today, we…stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes – particularly for our most vulnerable citizens,” she said. “Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.” Via The Guardian Images via Mike Norton on Flickr and Pixabay

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Sustainable home in Cornwall is wrapped in steam-bent wood

October 25, 2016 by  
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Tom and his wife Danielle bought an existing lodge located in the woodland at Trevano near Heslton, and designed a timber-clad extension that blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. It is linked to the original cottage and outbuildings which the architects restored and modernized. Raffield translated his passion for sculptural design and sustainable materials  into his newest design-the biggest one to date-which promises to become his masterpiece. The timber-clad extension uses an innovative take on steam-bent furniture and lighting. Related: Students Construct a Dramatic 10-Meter-High Steam-Bent Lookout Tower at Helsinki Zoo “We wanted to build a house with the same consideration and attention to detail we put into our furniture and lighting,” said Raffield. “The experience of building your own space and creating pieces to put inside has been incredibly liberating. Then being able to share that experience is both nerve wrecking and incredibly exciting,” he added. The project recently appeared on the UK Channel 4 TV show “Grand Designs”. + Tom Raffield Via World Architecture News

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