These ultra-durable camping pods are inspired by Quonset huts

June 14, 2018 by  
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Within the world of glamping, there are plenty of wide-ranging amenities meant to provide luxury and comfort. But one savvy Lithuanian company, Eurodita , is bringing the glory of outdoor living back to basics with its simple, but beautiful, wooden camping pods . Inspired by the shape of Quonset huts, these compact, self-sustaining structures are great options for backyard sheds or mountain retreats. The camping pods are available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest one measuring just 80 square feet and the largest at 185 square feet. The curved shape, which draws inspiration from the design of Quonset huts, offers a sense of spaciousness to the compact interior. Related: Loch Ness Glamping Provides Cozy Eco Camping Pods for Monster Watching & Outdoor Adventure The entryway is a tiny deck that can be used as a sitting space or barbecue area. A set of double doors with double-glazed grid windows flood the interior with an abundance of natural light . The layout depends on the size of the pod, but the smallest of the series can fit a double bed, a small sitting area with table and chairs and a folding bench. Although they do not come equipped with bathrooms or kitchens, washrooms can be installed upon request. Buyers can also order electrical connections. Made from rot-proof Nordic spruce, the tiny wooden cabins are fully insulated thanks to the extra thick logs used in their construction. The pods are weather-resistant, waterproof and built to survive long-term in extreme climates. They are ideal for a variety of uses, from sheds and guest studios to off-grid retreats tucked into remote areas. Additionally, these sweet little cabins can be delivered in flat packs or fully assembled to almost anywhere in the world. + Eurodita Camping Pods Via Apartment Therapy Images via Eurodita

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Frida Escobedos 2018 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London

June 14, 2018 by  
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Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has unveiled this year’s Serpentine Pavilion —a dark and porous envelope that wraps around an inner courtyard with a shallow pool of water. Located on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, the temporary summer pavilion is built with walls of concrete roofing tiles stacked together in a staggered formation on steel poles. The open voids in the stacked tile walls give Escobedo’s pavilion a sense of lightness by allowing natural light and views to pass through. At 38, Escobedo is the youngest architect ever tapped for the design of the annual Serpentine Pavilion. She is also the first solo woman selected for the commission since Zaha Hadid , who designed the first pavilion in 2000. For the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion, now in its 18th iteration, Escobedo took inspiration from domestic Mexican architecture and British materials. An enclosed courtyard —a common feature in Mexican houses—forms the heart of the pavilion, which comprises two rectangular volumes set on a north axis in a nod to the Prime Meridian, a global standard for time and geographic distance. In contrast, the outer walls of the pavilion are aligned with the Serpentine Gallery’s east facade. Escobedo designed lattice-like walls of British-made cement roof tiles that take inspiration from Mexico’s traditional breeze walls, known as celosia. The mirrored underside of the canopy and the triangular pool on the ground reflect the movement of light and shadow to heighten visitors’ awareness of their surroundings. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today “My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the express of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms,” Escobedo said. “For the Pavilion, we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.” The Serpentine Pavilion opens June 15 and will run until October 7, 2018. + Frida Escobedo Photography © 2018 Iwan Baan

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Frida Escobedos 2018 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London

These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design

May 30, 2018 by  
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Located just north of Joshua Tree National Park, two tiny cabins clad in weathered steel give off the impression that they’ve been abandoned in the beautiful desert landscape. But, in reality, the Folly Cabins ‘ humble facades conceal a complex system that makes these tiny structures, created by architects Malek Alqadi and Hillary Flur, powerhouses of off-grid design. Alqadi says that he has been fascinated with creating sustainable systems since his days as an architectural student. After visiting the Joshua Tree area, he was inspired to convert his dream into reality by building a pair of tiny houses that operate completely off the grid . Alqadi and Flur bought an abandoned single-story home that dated back to 1954, then began bringing their sustainable vision to life. They built two tiny cabins on the site, keeping them strategically separated to create a void that helps the structures blend into the surrounding environment. Related: Couple converts $7,000 Joshua Tree cabin into a sophisticated desert oasis The architects salvaged the original building’s steel cladding for the project and raised the pitched roof to expand the interior space. The main cabin, which is just 460 square feet, includes a living and dining area, a kitchen, a bathroom and a spacious sleeping loft. Along with adding more space, the high ceilings enable hot air to pass through the tiny homes’  solar-powered skylights . The smaller cabin has a ladder on its side that leads up to an open-air terrace, or “stargazing portal.” This beautiful little space is equipped with a heated queen-sized bed and is the perfect place to watch the stars in between sunset and sunrise. There is also a mini-fridge, a movie projector and bio-ethanol fireplace for guests to enjoy. The tiny cabins are powered by a freestanding “solar tree” that Alqadi and Flur assembled by themselves. “We dug a seven-foot hole to reinforce the solar tree. There was no way we were climbing up twenty feet to put panels on the roof in the desert sun in the middle of summer,” said Alqadi. “We could have dug a well,” he added, “but there was no promise we’d find water. So I spent my money on something we could rely on—using the sun as our utility company.” A open-air deck with a firepit juts out from the two tiny houses, providing an ideal space for guests to enjoy the spectacular night skies of Joshua Tree. The deck also has an outdoor rain shower and a soaking tub, which are both connected to the property’s greywater system . The Folly cabins are available for rent for short-term stays throughout the year. Although they are meant to be a place to completely disconnect, the tiny homes do have some modern amenities guests can choose to use. Alqadi says that the cabin’s design is “about allowing people to experience sustainability” and that he “added amenities and technologies, like Wi-Fi, to stay connected, but you have the option to completely disconnect and enjoy nature.” + Folly Folly Cabins + Malek Alqadi Via Dwell Photography by Sam Frost Studio and Brayden McEwan

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These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design

This super-insulated concrete "cabin" hides a surprisingly cozy interior

May 15, 2018 by  
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Brutalist-inspired architecture is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when imagining cozy countryside cabins, but two daring designers have created a 900-square-foot house — made primarily of concrete blocks — in the Catskills. The homeowners, architect Jason Shannon and designer Paola Yañez of J_spy Architecture , created the contemporary home with a cluster of three cubic volumes and a white metal box for the roof. The result is a high-end, modern and eco-friendly retreat that sits on six acres of beautiful grassy landscape. The house was designed to be a serene getaway, a place to escape the city and return to nature. While many people choose to “nestle” their country homes into natural surroundings, this design stands out among the expansive fields thanks to its modern, bold aesthetic. The three cubist volumes made of concrete blocks and large white top floor create a fun juxtaposition to the flourishing, organic background. Related: Prefab Pyrenees cabin minimizes site impact and building costs The interior of the home is contemporary with a welcoming feel. Large windows and doors framed in mahogany provide an abundance of natural light and stunning views. Although the concrete walls were left unfinished on the exterior, the interior blocks feature a polished facade. The main living space has a beautiful 14′ ceiling clad in birch plywood that is interlaced with fabric to help absorb noise. With concrete as the primary building material, the home is extremely energy efficient . A geothermal heat pump is connected to the home’s concrete radiant floor, which emits both hot and cool air. The upper floor, which is clad in white metal, hangs over the dimension of the house for two reasons: to provide passive solar heating and to create high ceilings. In addition to the concrete blocks and radiant heating, the home also has a tankless hot water system and a condenser clothes dryer. To create a tight envelope that reduces energy loss, the house was insulated with a spray foam in the walls and ceilings. According to the architects, the efficient home is not only a reflection of how they live their personal lives, but also depicts their work ethos. Shannon explained, “This was our chance to say, ‘Let’s design the house as modern as we think we would like to be in the rest of our work.’” + J_spy Architecture Via Dwell Photography by Amanda Kirkpatrick

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This super-insulated concrete "cabin" hides a surprisingly cozy interior

DIY tiny cabin is made out of old skateboards and a horse trough

March 12, 2018 by  
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When it comes to DIY , sometimes just one simple tool can make all of the difference. Nick Orso spent two years researching, planning, and building an eco-friendly tiny cabin on wheels . Using a simple Excel spreadsheet, he created the final design to scale for the “Tiny Cabin That Excels.” Built with reclaimed materials such as old skateboards and a salvaged horse trough repurposed as a water basin, his beautiful timber cabin – which also includes a composting toilet and tankless water heater – may be compact, but it comes with a lot of character. Nick Orso’s mobile cabin is located in a picturesque lot near a historic estate just out of Center City, Philadelphia. With large french doors and plenty of windows, it makes a perfect woodsy retreat. That said, since it’s built on a standard flatbed trailer, the mobile tiny home can be installed just about anywhere. Related: Escape Traveler is a tiny cabin on wheels that can be moved anywhere Orso built the cabin using quite a few reclaimed materials , such as an old horse trough, which was installed as the shower basin. His passion for skateboarding is also reflected throughout. In the kitchen, for example, he lined the side of the bar with recycled skateboards salvaged from a friend’s skateboard shop. Now, almost completely finished, Orso seems a bit hesitant as what to do with his cool cabin , “I hope to put it up in the woods as kind of retreat, and then who knows what that could lead to? It was a passion I had, he explains, “and I decided to throw away my free time and sanity to achieve it”. Via Urban Engineers Photography by Urban Engineers , and video by Urban Video Productions

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DIY tiny cabin is made out of old skateboards and a horse trough

California puts solar procurement on hold despite production records

March 12, 2018 by  
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California set two new solar power records this month, Greentech Media reported . But utilities seem to be slowing down their procurement of new capacity. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proposed utilities procure almost no extra renewables this year — but critics worry how this affects the State’s renewable energy targets. Solar energy is thriving in California. Power plants sourced 0.5 percent of electricity from solar in 2010 in the state, according to the Los Angeles Times , but that figure had risen to 10 percent last year. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric, the state’s three investor-owned utilities , which “comprise approximately three quarters of electricity supply” according to the California Energy Commission, are all ahead of schedule on clean energy procurement plans, and are on their way to meeting California’s mandate of sourcing 33 percent of energy via renewables by 2020. Related: The U.S. just generated 10% of its electricity from solar and wind for the first time But these investor-owned utilities didn’t procure any new renewable energy capacity last year, and CPUC has proposed they procure nearly none in 2018. Independent Energy Producers Association CEO Jan Smutny-Jones told Greentech Media, “They’re basically saying, ‘There’s too much going on; we don’t know what to do, so we’re not going to do anything for a while.’” The state is still setting records. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) saw solar serve a peak percentage of demand at 49.95 percent on March 4. The peak prior to that was 47.2 percent in May 2017. CAISO senior public information officer Anne Gonzales told Greentech Media, “The record is a result of a cool, sunny day. Because it was a weekend, and the weather was mild, the minimum load was relatively low, around 18,800 megawatts. Meanwhile, solar production was more than 9,400 megawatts.” The next day, March 5, CAISO set another record: solar production hit a peak of 10,411 megawatts. The record before that was 9,913 megawatts, set in June 2017. Smutny-Jones told Greentech the CPUC is “too absorbed in modeling”, adding, “For me, it’s a little hard to sit in a meeting and talk about 100 percent renewables when our chief regulator isn’t moving the ball.” Via Greentech Media Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr and Depositphotos

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Minimalist cabin in the Chilean mountains lets climbers escape the daily grind

March 2, 2018 by  
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Chilean architect Lorena Troncoso-Valencia designed a serene wooden refuge deep in the Chilean mountains. The architect – who specializes in sustainable habitats – created the wooden PV Cabin as a refuge for the many mountain climbers that come to explore the rugged terrain of Las Trancas, Pinto. Built on wooden piles, the 260-square foot cabin is raised almost five feet above the natural terrain to reduce its environmental impact. The design of the beautiful wooden cabin is geared towards the many active travelers that visit the region, known for its variety of extreme sports. Hikers, skiers, and mountain climbers often spend days or weeks exploring the adjacent mountain range. Related: Hike to This Beautiful Rustic Cabin and Take Refuge Deep in the Norwegian Mountains The 260-square foot structure is located on a small lot accessed by a winding road that juts through a deep forestscape. The rugged terrain limited the structure’s potential surface area , so the architect took the design vertical. The interior space was essentially doubled by expanding the space to double height, creating a wooden homage to the natural rock walls found out in the surrounding area. A glazed front wall floods the interior with optimal natural light and provides stunning views of the surroundings. On the inside, the living area, kitchen, bathroom and a small workspace are located on the first floor, with a “floating” sleeping loft on the second floor, reachable by ladder. Designed to be used as a temporary refuge by itinerant visitors exploring the area, the space is minimal but comfortable. Although the cabin design is a beautiful structure, the materials used in the cabin were also chosen for their resilience . A strong wooden shell that would withstand the harsh elements was essential, as was the asymmetrical roof, which allows for snow drainage. + Lorena Troncoso-Valencia Via Archdaily Photography by Cristóbal Caro / Lorena Troncoso-Valencia

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Minimalist cabin in the Chilean mountains lets climbers escape the daily grind

Antony Gibbon’s Helix House is a twisting tiny home that towers amidst the forest

December 4, 2017 by  
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Designer Antony Gibbon is known for his nature-inspired designs , each of which is more jaw-dropping than the last. His latest masterpiece is the Helix House – a beautiful twisting tower clad in wooden slatted beams that seamlessly blends into the forest. At just 100 square feet, the home is tiny, but the majestic design is straight out of a fairy tale. Like all of Gibbons’ designs, the Helix House was inspired by nature. The rising twisted form allows the structure blend in quietly with the surrounding forestscape. Clad in wooden beams, the home’s design is not only gorgeous, but the unique shape was also strategic to hiding all the structural support and access into the low-impact home. Related:Antony Gibbon’s Lucent House is a serene minimalist retreat made of glass and stone A tiny home in tower form, the one-bedroom home is less than 100 square feet. On the inside, the first floor has a kitchenette and a small bathroom. The second floor houses the bedroom, which has a beautiful glazed wall that provides natural light and stellar views of the surrounding environment. + Antony Gibbon Designs Images via Antony Gibbon Designs

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Antony Gibbon’s Helix House is a twisting tiny home that towers amidst the forest

Skylights stream light into tiny cantilevering home in German forest

January 13, 2017 by  
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We could all use more light in our lives, and good design provides. Dusseldorf-based architects Falkenberg Innenarchitektur have transformed a compact 1950s home in Germany into a stunning minimalist retreat . Tucked into an idyllic forest surrounded by the River Nethe, the renovated Haus Rheder II features three main essentials: light, air, and tranquility, lending a subtle sophistication to the arboreal design. From the start, the architects wanted to preserve the original character of the 65-year-old structure. Thankfully, the designers managed to keep the existing floor slab and terrace space that cantilevers over the river. To take advantage of the idyllic location, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors were installed that open up to the timber deck , offering amazing views of the surrounding Rheder country park. Related: Sophisticated minimalist house in Denmark lets you enjoy the outdoors even in the winter The interior space is 90 square meters of open space with scant furniture and virtually zero clutter. The heart of the home is the fireplace that sits in the middle of the living space. A ceiling-height partition separates the living room from the bedrooms and a small bathroom, all of which count on skylights for optimal natural light . Also on the interior is a technical room that acts as a control center for the home’s technology, all controlled by an app. The large windows and wooden deck help bring nature into the manmade space, but is further enhanced by the home’s reflecting pool on the southeastern side of the home. Sunlight streams into the living space during the day, further creating a seamless connection between the interior and the exterior. According to the architects, leaving the interior space open was essential to the renovation process, “The new, great task of our time is to leave the unimportant and to give more space to the essential. To feel connected with nature is an integral and essential part of our lives. It gives us peace and structure, space for thought and grounding in the hectic of our age.” + Falkenberg Innenarchitektur Via Archdaily Photographs by Thomas Mayer  

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Skylights stream light into tiny cantilevering home in German forest

Adorable Wild Thing Cabin is perched in the middle of a rewilding Latvian meadow

August 28, 2015 by  
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