A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

April 4, 2019 by  
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Oslo-based firm Atelier Oslo has created a beautiful home for a pair of artists who wanted to enjoy a peaceful retreat on the remote Norwegian island of Skåtøy. Built into the rocky landscape, the design for the House on an Island was inspired by the couple’s desire to find a place for contemplation in nature. The 7,500-square-foot glass cube features a prefabricated timber frame enveloped by a loosely gridded timber facade that filters the sunlight into playful shadows throughout the interior, emitting the calming feeling of sitting under a swaying tree. The home was built on a rugged landscape characterized by smooth and curved rocks that run down to the coastline. Although the rocky terrain was challenging, the architects managed to use it to their advantage. Using the large rocks as a base, the architects laid a concrete foundation that wraps around the rocks to mark the home’s layout, resulting in various split-levels that follow the contour of the natural topography. Built on a slight knoll, the home’s frame is made out of prefabricated timber . Related: Prefab CLT pavilion cleverly encourages dialogue at a Vancouver TED conference The main volume is a cube-like shape comprised of massive glass panels partially covered with a timber “netting.” The timber panels, which were made from heat-treated wood that will turn gray over time, covers the rooftop and drops down over the front facade. This system allowed the architects to truly embed the home into its natural surroundings. The timber slats are placed far apart, allowing filtered natural light and playful shadows to emit a calming atmosphere throughout the interior. The living space of the two-bedroom home is an open layout with modern furnishings. Again, using the home’s natural materials to enhance the atmosphere, Atelier Oslo emphasized natural wood and concrete for the interior design. Exposed wooden beams run the length of the ceilings, and concrete flooring gives the space a fun, industrial feel. Concrete was also used to craft an impressive fireplace and adjacent stairwell (which doubles as a bookcase) that leads to the top floor. + Atelier Oslo Via Dezeen Photography by Ivar Kvaal and Charlotte Thiis via Atelier Oslo

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A prefabricated timber facade envelops a gorgeous glass home on a Norwegian island

A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal

March 21, 2019 by  
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Porto-based firm  Diogo Aguiar Studio has breathed new life into a granite wine cellar by topping it with a minimalist holiday home complete with a natural green roof planted with native vegetation. Located in Guimarães, Portugal, the brilliant Pavilion House is a timber-clad micro home  with large windows that connects the residence with its bucolic surroundings. Working in collaboration with Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs , the architects placed the unique micro home on an existing granite wine cellar that sits on a small hill. Although the minimal building size certainly restricted the floor plan, the elevated structure allowed the architects to maximize the home’s stunning views, which are comprised of expansive vineyards to the front and a dense forest backdrop. Related: A dilapidated garage transforms into an industrial-chic micro home The home is clad in thin timber panels to create a modern log cabin feel. The cube-like volume is punctuated by four large windows that look out onto the surrounding landscape. The house was also installed with a green roof planted with native vegetation to blend it into its natural setting. The architects outfitted the micro home with just the basics: a small living space, kitchenette and bath. Keeping true to its minimalist roots , the beautiful design features a living room that doubles as a sleeping area with a fold-out bed. Both the kitchen and small bathroom with a skylight can also be completely concealed behind bi-fold doors. Plenty of storage is also incorporated into the walls. According to the architects, the inspiration for the  design came from its idyllic setting . “Pavilion House is a guesthouse. The only true requirement was to emphasize the sense of recollection in the forest, a refuge from urbanity,” lead architect Diogo Aguiar told  Dezeen . “The idea of creating ??a log cabin was behind all the project decisions — it is a wooden minimal house in the mountain.” + Diogo Aguiar Studio + Andreia Garcia Architectural Affairs  Via Dezeen Images via Fernando Guerra

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A micro home with a green roof sits atop a granite wine cellar in rural Portugal

Jet black lakeside home in the Netherlands designed to embrace the surrounding nature

January 18, 2019 by  
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Located just south of Amsterdam, the Vinkeveense Plassen is known for its incredible lakes and surrounding nature. When one family approached Dutch firm, i29 Interior Architects and Chris Collaris to build a home in the idyllic area, the designers created a beautiful 592-square-foot home strategically designed to embrace the incredible natural surroundings. Situated on a elongated island plot next to the lake, the home was designed with an inside-out strategy to make the most out of the limited square footage. The compact building lot enabled the architects to create a plan that would both reduce the project’s footprint and make the home more energy efficient. Working within those parameters, the designers chose a layout that includes four modules that house the living room,  kitchen/dining room, three bedrooms and one bathroom. A central, open-air patio connects the separate living spaces and creates a strong link with the exterior. Related: Curvaceous geothermal-powered home “floats” on a French lake The orientation of the home was at the forefront of the design. Being so close to the water, the architects wanted to make the most of the views and the natural sunlight . By dividing the home into four modules, the home was able to take advantage of the panoramic views and natural sunlight, reducing the home’s energy use in the process. The exterior of the home is clad in jet black timber panels , blending the home into the heavily forested lot. Large windows were embedded into the wooden facade to enhance the design’s minimalist feel. The landscaping around the home includes a lot of large trees that provide natural shade, and a lovely open air deck provides space for entertaining or dining al fresco. In contrast to its all-black exterior, the interior of the home is bright and airy. Large sliding glass doors and various windows allow natural light to flood the living spaces. Each volume has a distinct height and dimension, so the interior spaces are clearly defined. All white walls with light wooden hue accents and minimal Scandanavian-inspired furnishings give the space a fresh, modern aesthetic . + i29 Interior Architects + Chris Collaris Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Ewout Huibers  

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Jet black lakeside home in the Netherlands designed to embrace the surrounding nature

A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest

August 15, 2018 by  
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Barcelona- and Mexico City-based firm  Cadaval Sola-Morales has just unveiled Casa de la Roca, a beautiful, dark timber home topped with a green roof  and located in a remote forest in Mexico. The single-story structure features a jet-black facade crafted from felled trees and finished with a living roof to help camouflage the home into the peaceful, secluded forestscape. When designing Casa de la Roca, the architects were focused on one objective: to create a home that would easily blend into the landscape for years to come. Acting accordingly, the architects chose materials based on durability. The structure, which sits on a low-maintenance concrete foundation, is clad in reclaimed timber from local felled or dead trees. Related: Living trees grow through the ceiling of Cadaval & Sola-Morales’ Tepoztlan Lounge in Mexico The exterior walls were then coated in black paint to add longevity to the structure. “We used paint (and not dye), to add another layer of material protection; dye tends to lose its qualities over the years,” the architects explained. “It is black, responding to the desire to blend in with the landscape, seeking a certain anonymity in front of the vegetation and exuberant views.” The dark exterior essentially allows the home to hide deep within the forest , but that wasn’t enough for the architects. Once the dwelling was constructed, the team finished the entire roof with vegetation, creating an even stronger connection between the man-made and natural. According to the architects, the home’s layout of three long hallways that converge into the main living space was also inspired by the landscape. The team wanted the house to have three private lookouts at each end to provide distinct views of the forest. The three “arms” of the home come together at a central point, which is also where people can come together and socialize . The interior space is both elegant and welcoming. A minimal amount of furniture is spread out over the open-plan living room, so the main focus is always on the incredible nature that surrounds the home. Extra large floor-to-ceiling windows and doors allow optimal natural light into the home, while also creating a seamless connection to the forest. + Cadaval Sola-Morales Via Wallpaper Photography by Sandra Pereznieto

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A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest

Antony Gibbon’s Flux House appears to float on the water’s surface

March 19, 2018 by  
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Architect Antony Gibbon  has unveiled yet another incredible structure – this one designed for a future world where homes float on water . The circular Flux House features two rings of thin timber panels , equally spaced around the frame in order to illuminate the interior with a soft diffusion of natural light. Four walkways provide access to the home, which has a large swimming pool at its center. The main house is designed to sit upon a large body of water, creating the effect of being surrounded by a modern-day moat. The timber slats in the facade not only let in natural light, but allow for light to reflect off the water and into the structure. Related: Antony Gibbon’s Lucent House is a serene minimalist retreat made of glass and stone The interior maintains the home’s  circular shape , with the living and dining areas on one side and the bedrooms on the other. The swimming pool, accessible from any room, serves as the focal point of the building. The Flux House design is conceptual at the moment, but, like most of Antony Gibbon’s designs , it could very well be used as a private home or off-grid resort. + Antony Gibbon Images via Antony Gibbons

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Antony Gibbon’s Flux House appears to float on the water’s surface

This off-grid cabin in the pristine Alaskan wilderness can only be reached by sea or air

March 1, 2018 by  
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If you’re looking for a luxurious off-grid retreat in the middle of nowhere, you’ve come to the right place. Located on Alaska’s remote Alexander Archipelago, the spectacular Hidden Bay Retreat is a three-bedroom timber home with a copper roof that sits on the water’s edge. Stunning views of the pristine wilderness and wildlife can be enjoyed from the home’s covered porch or better yet, from the infinity-edge hot tub. At 2,382 square feet, the home is a large space, built for maximum enjoyment of the surrounding nature. Constructed out of old growth Western Cedar , the home combines the best of rugged exterior materials with a sophisticated interior design. The copper roof was built with oversized eaves that extend out over the roof to create a series of covered terraces. These seating areas are prime wildlife viewing areas, but the infinity-edge hot tub is definitely the best place to catch the bald eagles and ravens that commonly soar around the home. Related: Lakeside cabin made out of reclaimed wood is as idyllic as it gets The interior design was also created to blend a bit of rustic with sophistication. Timber panels line the walls and an abundance of windows lets in optimal natural light and offers stunning views from the chimney-warmed living room. A double-height ceiling opens up the main living space, which leads to a chef’s kitchen and dining area. Three bedrooms are located on either side of the elongated structure and there is also a large, six-person sauna for those bone-chilling Alaskan winters. The landscape around the home, which opens up to the rocky shore of Hood Bay, has been left in a natural state to fully appreciate the beauty of the untouched wilderness and wildlife . The natural ecosystem is home to a variety of animals from bald eagles and snow geese to brown bears and deer. The waters are filled with a variety of fish and, further up the bay, Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, and Sea Lions are regular sites to see. If this all sounds like your cup of tea, it can be yours for $2.5 million (!). + Hidden Bay Retreat Via Uncrate Images via Sotheby’s International Reality

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This off-grid cabin in the pristine Alaskan wilderness can only be reached by sea or air

Beautiful cedar home stands high on stilts to accommodate heavy snowfall in Japan

September 13, 2017 by  
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Fukushima-based firm Life Style Koubou has embedded a beautiful vacation home in the middle of an evergreen forest with stunning mountain views. Built at the base of Mount Bandai in Japan, the One Year Project is made from locally-sourced cedar and it’s set on high stilts to allow snow to gather around its base. The two structures that make up the home are connected by a bridge and separated by use. One building holds a wet area with the kitchen and bathrooms, while a living room with a cozy fireplace is located in the dry building. The entire structure was built using cedar, but the dry building has floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy 360-degree views of the amazing scenery. Related: Life Style Koubou’s House In Itsuura is a timber treehouse-like home in Japan The area around Mount Bandai is known to get quite a lot of snowfall in the winter, so the architects built the home on stilts to accommodate the snowfall. The white stilts, which run up through the interior of the buildings, are embedded into large rocks that sit on the ground underneath in order to reduce the building’s pressure on the land . The strategic design lets the homeowners enjoy the natural area without damaging the landscape. + Life Style Koubou Via Contemporist

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Beautiful cedar home stands high on stilts to accommodate heavy snowfall in Japan

Amsterdam is transforming a prison into a green energy-generating neighborhood

September 13, 2017 by  
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A brighter, solar-powered future is coming to Bijlmerbajes, a former prison complex in Amsterdam . The Dutch government tapped OMA to design a masterplan of the 7.5-hectare site, as well as a significant portion of the 135,000-square-meter mixed-use development. Designed in collaboration with FABRICations architects and LOLA Landscape , the new masterplan will transform the prison complex’s iconic six towers into Bajes Kwartier, an energy-neutral development powered by renewable energy and built largely from recycled materials. Built in the 1970s near the Amsterdam Amstel railways station, the Bijlmerbajes prison complex is a well-known urban landmark that permanently closed in June 2016. The former prison’s six linked towers and administrative building are located in the geographic center of Amsterdam’s new urban development, making it ripe for rebirth as a vibrant civic and cultural space. The new 7.5-hectare Bajes Kwartier development will conceptually preserve Bijlmerbajes’ “island character” and reuse building materials. Prefab elements from the existing walls will be recycled as cladding for the new residential buildings, while prison bars will be recycled into balustrades, and cell doors reused as edge panels for pedestrian bridges. Bajes Kwartier will become a mostly car-free environment and focus on elevating the pedestrian and cyclist experience. The masterplan includes approximately 1,350 residential units that include rentals and luxury condominiums, with 30 percent set aside for affordable housing. All but one of the prison towers will be demolished and the remaining building will be transformed into a “green tower” with a vertical park and urban farming . The centrally located administrative building will be turned into an arts and design center. The mixed-use development will also comprise a restaurant, health center, school, parks, water features, and underground parking lot. Related: OMA gets green light for their first major public building in the UK All the new buildings will be energy-neutral thanks to superior insulation and energy saving design, as well as hookups to solar power, wind power, and biomass power . Nearly 100 percent of the existing building material will be reused or recycled. The project is scheduled to begin in early 2018. + OMA Via ArchDaily

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Amsterdam is transforming a prison into a green energy-generating neighborhood

The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber

June 15, 2017 by  
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The beautiful Yoshino Cedar House , located near Osaka, was built by local carpenters and craftsmen with sustainable cedar harvested from the nearby mountains. The community-run retreat was created through a collaboration between Airbnb designers, Samara and architects Go Hasegawa . The team sought to foster the local community while providing a much-needed source of income for the town. The cedar retreat’s design was part of the 2016 event, Kenya Hara’s House Vision , an exhibition that showcases community-led housing projects that aim to help small towns boost their economies. Like a lot of rural areas in Japan, the small town of Yoshino has an aging population that is dwindling by the day. For years, the town’s principal industry was sustainable forestry , but without young workers working to enter the workforce, the town’s only economic boost these days is its annual cherry blossom festival. Related: Circular garden walkway cuts straight through Japanese timber home From the start of the Cedar House project, the architects and designers worked with locals every step of the way. Local foresters, woodcutters and carpenters collaborated on the process, from harvesting and cutting the timber to its construction. According to the architects, the design of the Yoshino Cedar House, which is technically owned and operated by the community, was meant to pay homage to the area’s local traditions as well as foster new relationships between residents, “Every detail of the structure inspires connection to the people of Yoshino and their underlying traditions.” Located on the bank of the Yoshino River, the structure is clad on the interior and exterior in warm-hued cedar planks whose intricate patterns create a calming, peaceful environment. The bottom floor, with a single table built into the floor, houses the living and dining space. An open staircase leads to two separate bedrooms on the second floor. The simple, uncluttered rooms have one mattress and a small table and are beautifully illuminated by natural light coming through the structure’s A-frame window. Since its inauguration, local townspeople take care of the Airbnb retreat ‘s rental operation and all proceeds are used to support the community. + Go Hasegawa + Samara Via Dwell Photography via Airbnb

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The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber

Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

June 15, 2017 by  
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U.S. President Donald Trump may believe coal is the future , but newly-released statistics by BP Statistical Review of Energy state otherwise. According to the data, global coal production fell by an astonishing 6.2 percent last year — the largest annual decline on record. Additionally, consumption decreased for the second year in a row, dropping 1.7 percent. In wake of these findings, it should come as no surprise that once again, renewables were the fastest growing energy source, growing by a whopping 12 percent — a statistic which represents the largest annual incremental increase in output on record. The report , entitled “Energy markets in transition: BP Statistical Review shows long-term shifts underway,” concluded that the oil market is declining because fast-growing markets are shifting “towards lower carbon fuels as renewable energy continues to grow strongly and coal use falls.” The report also showed that the shift from coal is widespread. The UK, for instance, consumed 52.5 percent less in 2016, the U.S. experienced an 8.8 percent dip in consumption and China’s reliance dropped by 1.6 percent. Evidence to support these conclusions abound. For instance, the UK recently experienced its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution. India also intends to halt all coal plant production in the near future, as renewable technologies have become more affordable. Related: U.S. coal production dips to lowest point in 35 years due to rise of renewable energy sources Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, said, “Global energy markets are in transition. The longer-term trends we can see in this data are changing the patterns of demand and the mix of supply as the world works to meet the challenge of supplying the energy it needs while also reducing carbon emissions . At the same time markets are responding to shorter-run run factors, most notably the oversupply that has weighed on oil prices for the past three years.” As was previously mentioned, renewable energy was the fastest growing of all energy sources, increasing by 12 percent. Though solar, wind and other renewable energy sources provide only 4 percent of the world’s total energy, the increase represents almost one-third of the total growth in energy demand in 2016. Despite certain leaders’ opposition to renewable energy investments, it seems clear the future is green and that consumers will continue to invest in energy sources that are beneficial for the environment, wildlife, and future generations – and their bottom line. + BP Statistical Review of Energy Images via Pixabay

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Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

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