Luxury prefab Costa Rican home features dramatic wing-like roof

June 25, 2020 by  
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In a remote jungle on the hilltops of Costa Rica’s Santa Teresa province, San José-based architecture firm  Studio Saxe  has completed Santiago Hills Villa, a luxury home that embraces nature in more ways than one. To ensure that all rooms of the villa have access to ocean views, the architects created a zigzag floor plan that turns the bedrooms and living spaces sideways to face the shoreline. The unconventional home, which resembles a series of interconnected villas, is topped with a large white roof that protects the interior from unwanted solar gain .  Given the project brief’s emphasis on a connection with nature, Studio Saxe sought to minimize the home’s environmental footprint. The architects decided to  prefabricate  the home’s light steel frame off-site to minimize site intervention and ensure quality construction for the remote property. The use of a steel frame with sturdy I beams allowed the architects to install full-height glazed openings with enough support for the angular roof.  “Every space in the home has been angled to view the ocean, and this twist creates a geometric relationship between the roofline and the spaces that became the primary element of design that both addresses the need for large overhangs (for  climate control  and comfort) but also generates a literal connection between the view and every space,” Studio Saxe explains on its website. Related: Costa Rican surf hotel gets stunning new athletic center Contrasting with the lush green surroundings, the minimalist and modern home is predominately white, serving as a canvas that reflects the changing colors of the jungle. In addition to featuring incredible views and a reduced site impact, Santiago Hills Villa also embraces nature with its adherence to  passive solar  principles. The home is oriented to take advantage of winds for natural cooling, while the wing-like roof’s long overhangs protect the interior. The roof is also engineered to allow for rainwater collection. + Studio Saxe Images by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Luxury prefab Costa Rican home features dramatic wing-like roof

Peaceful floating villa in Australia runs on solar energy

May 1, 2020 by  
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Australian architect Chuck Anderson has created a beautiful, solar-powered floating villa that has us dreaming of brighter days. Anchored just north of Sydney’s Palm Beach, the Lilypad is meant for those travelers who are looking to spend a little down time on serene waters while staying true to their sustainable lifestyles. Engineered with sustainability and luxury in mind, the Lilypad is a two-story floating villa with a wraparound porch and a gabled roof. Clad in timber, the guest home runs on solar power and is made with eco-friendly materials that help it respectfully blend into the water on which it floats. Related: Sail your worries away on this solar-powered floating tiny home The floating home itself is marked by an expansive front deck, which includes plenty of space to take in the views while sunbathing, dining al fresco with the barbecue setup or enjoying a relaxing massage. From the open-air terrace, large sliding glass doors open completely to the interior. On the ground floor, a large living room with ample seating and a fireplace connects to a fully equipped kitchen and wine cellar. A set of stairs leads to the upper floor, which includes a king-sized bed and a spa-like bathroom. A contemporary interior design, highlighted by ample natural light, creates a soothing atmosphere that is guaranteed to help you to disconnect. The idyllic floating villa, which is available to rent starting at just over $1,000, also includes several added amenities. For meals, guests of the Lilypad will enjoy a continental breakfast as well as chef-prepared lunch and dinner delivered throughout the day. For those looking for a little action and adventure, the guest house comes with paddle boards, fishing gear and additional active travel equipment. As an extra bonus, guests will have full access to a 24-hour concierge who can arrange for on-site massages as well as picnic setups on a nearby beach. + Lilypad Images via Lilypad

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Peaceful floating villa in Australia runs on solar energy

Eco-friendly coffee range uses cork to reduce plastic waste

May 1, 2020 by  
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These days are filled with stress and anxiety, but it’s also time to take pleasure in the small joys of life — such as a good cup of coffee. For coffee-connoisseurs, designer  Samson Chung  has just released a new collection of coffee and espresso makers called Kork Kafeware that, thanks to its sleek combination of stainless steel and  cork accents, lets you sit down to enjoy a superb cup of joe, slowly and sustainably. According to designer Samson Chung, the Kork Kafeware collection design was inspired by the need to slow down our hectic daily routine to leisurely enjoy a proper cup of coffee. As our world has been forced into a mandatory slow down these days, now is the perfect time to appreciate the joys of freshly brewed sustainable coffee . In his own words, “Sometimes life needs to slow down to enjoy the moment and this perfectly embodies what the Kafeware range is about; Good things come to those who wait.” Related: Stylish coffeemaker repurposes used grounds to grow fresh mushrooms As for the design itself, the collection boasts a Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic with clean lines and uncomplicated shapes. The makers are clad in a sleek,  minimalist combination of polished stainless steel and sustainable cork handles, bases and gaskets. Using cork allowed the designer to forgo the plastic that normally is used to make these parts. A sustainable material, cork is incredibly durable and heat-resistant. The sustainable coffee range includes a French press, espresso maker, goose-neck kettle, and coffee grinder. In addition to being a sustainable and beautiful material, using cork also adds quality to the items. Lightweight cork lids make it easier to load the coffee grounds, while the cork gaskets create an airtight seal, keeping the coffee as fresh as possible. Additionally, the cylindrical cork handles are weighted to ensure that the lids stay securely shut despite the high pressure needed to brew your daily joe. + Samson Chung Via Yanko Design Images via Samson Chung

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This luxe, solar-powered, prefab home was completed in 6 months

April 24, 2020 by  
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High-end luxury meets energy efficiency in the Jesolo Lido Pool Villa, a 320-square-meter Venetian villa in the Italian seaside resort of Jesolo. Designed by Milan-based architecture firm JMA , the holiday home was prefabricated, installed and furnished in just six months. The high-performance building envelope has been engineered to guarantee near net-zero energy usage throughout the year. Located on a compact plot, the Jesolo Lido Pool Villa makes the most of its small property size by emphasizing indoor-outdoor living and a sense of openness with long sight lines. The open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen are flanked by floor-to-ceiling glass that open up the home to outdoor terraces on either side. The larger of the two spaces, located on the west side, features a long swimming pool that takes up the entire length of the terrace as well as two square planting beds and an olive tree next to the basement stairs. The smaller terrace on the east side includes two planters and another olive tree.  Related: Prefab Danish home was built from CLT and weathered steel in just 3 days Despite extensive glazing, the Jesolo Lido Pool Villa manages to minimize energy loss thanks to the use of argon-gas insulated glass and 31-centimeter perimeter insulation. The prefabricated timber structure also avoids thermal bridges and boasts flexible and anti-seismic benefits. The interior is bathed in natural light during the day — a 4-meter roof overhang protects against solar gain — and is illuminated with LED fixtures at night. A 10 kW rooftop solar array powers the home’s electricity needs. While the house is designed for indoor-outdoor living, the architects made sure the villa could be comfortably used in the cold winter months. A radiant floor heating system installed throughout is powered with an electric heat pump that draws energy from the photovoltaic panels. The luxurious interiors were also designed by JMA and include seamless audio/visual walls, a custom-designed, solid-surface kitchen and motorized roller shades that disappear into the dropped ceiling to maintain a sleek, streamlined appearance. + JMA Images via Jacopo Mascheroni

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This luxe, solar-powered, prefab home was completed in 6 months

Grade II listed Victorian home undergoes a green renovation

April 24, 2020 by  
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London-based firm Will Gamble Architects has breathed new life into a dilapidated building in the small village of Gretton, U.K. The complex consisted of a Grade II listed Victorian house, a disused cattle shed and a set of ruins of a former parchment factory. Although the project presented several challenges, the architects managed to strategically incorporate the existing structures, as well as several reclaimed materials found onsite, into the new design in lieu of complete demolition. The Parchment Works House represents the best of green renovation that incorporates a deep respect for the past. Because the project involved restoring a Grade II listed Victorian home, the architects had to work within several building restrictions. Buildings listed as Grade II are legally protected from being demolished, so the designers were forced to get creative with a redesign. Related: A Victorian cottage gets a stylish and sustainable makeover The original plan called for renovating the home while incorporating the  disused cattle shed. The adjacent complex, which only had stone walls remaining and was in complete ruins, was initially going to be demolished. However, Will Gamble Architects saw the value in incorporating the ruins into the new design via a “sensitive but well-conceived intervention.” With a new green renovation plan underway, the project centered around using what was onsite for construction. Working within the focus of creating “a building within a building”, the process began by inserting two modern volumes within the complex’s existing structures. Using the old masonry walls as an envelope, the new house consists of a modern interior wrapped solidly in the site’s history and rural setting. The two volumes are clad in a blend of weathered steel, oak and reclaimed brick. Additional materials found onsite were also upcycled for use throughout the Victorian home, enabling the architects to save on costs and make the renovation more sustainable. The interior of the home is thoroughly minimalist and modern. Each room is filled with natural light. The kitchen is the heart of the home and doubles as a space for gathering. Despite the house’s modern design, the interior stone walls were repaired and washed in lime to create a mottled effect while the exposed ceiling beams were repurposed from the old cattle shed for a striking contrast between past and present. + Will Gamble Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by John Dehlin via Will Gamble Architects

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Mecanoo unveils stunning glass lake house that harmonizes with nature

December 14, 2018 by  
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Dutch firm Mecanoo has just unveiled Villa on the Lake — a stunning example of contemporary home design that sits in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings. Tucked against a lake near the U.K. city of Lechlade, the cube-like home features facades of floor-to-ceiling glass panels and a massive rooftop terrace that offers optimal views over the water. At just over 6,000 square feet spanning three floors, the Villa on the Lake is a mammoth of a home. Despite its large size and predominantly glass facade, however, the bold design creates a strong harmony with its all-natural forest and lake surroundings. The entrance is connected to a long bridge that winds through the lake’s edge of thick forest. Curving the bridge allowed the architects to avoid felling trees, leaving the landscape in its natural state. Related: Mecanoo to update Washington’s MLK Library with massive green roof According to the architects, the home was designed from the inside out, so the homeowners could enjoy unobstructed views from anywhere in the home while still maintaining a sense of privacy. Glass panels make up the front and side facades, giving off the appearance that the home is floating on the water. Inside, white walls and sparse furnishings, along with an abundance of natural light, brighten the space. The main living area is on the second floor while the bedrooms and private areas are on the top floor. A large staircase joins the three stories, one of which is actually underwater. The sunken basement houses a cinema, game area, bar and wellness spa. Of course, for truly enjoying the stunning panoramic views, the home boasts two open-air terraces . The rooftop terrace is more than 800 square feet, and the second deck, which leads out from the living space, wraps around the home’s volume, hovering just over the water. + Mecanoo Via Archdaily Photography by Mariashot.photo and Blue Sky Images via Mecanoo

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100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability

June 18, 2018 by  
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Luxury travel doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. At Six Senses’ new Fiji Resort , visitors can indulge in five-star comforts and minimize their stay’s carbon footprint. Crafted by Auckland design firm Space Studio , this 24-villa resort on Malolo Island is powered entirely with solar energy and promotes environmental awareness throughout. Opened last month, the Six Senses Fiji comprises 24 villas, two restaurants, a lounge, a library, welcome and guest service areas and a spa. The development will soon include a total of 60 privately owned residences — 11 of which have already been completed. The five-star resort blends contemporary design with elements of traditional Fijian culture, which is celebrated in the handiwork and artwork produced by local villagers, the Rise Beyond the Reef charity and the local material palette of grass cloth wallpaper and timber. In addition to cultural awareness, Six Senses Fiji also turns its spotlight on sustainability. The 100 percent solar -powered resort is equipped with its own water filtration plant on site so that staff can bottle water in glass and eliminate single-use plastic bottles. Reusable containers can be found in places like the on-site gourmet deli, and guests are encouraged to return those containers for reuse. Food waste is turned into compost for the resort’s farm and garden with a worm-based septic system. Recyclable waste is sorted in the resort’s “recycling corner,” after which the items are shipped to Denarau Island on the return barges that bring food supplies twice a week. Related: Experience bliss at a luxury Indian spa nestled in a former coffee estate “We also try to have as little waste as possible by creating a lot of our own homemade tonics and bitters using local produce and shrubs, so there’s no waste to begin with,” said Karen Morris, Six Senses Fiji director of sales and marketing. “We’re growing our own kombucha, so we don’t need to ship it in, and we’re creating our own tepache, a fermented pineapple drink.” A luxurious night at Six Senses Fiji starts at $870. + Space Studio + Six Senses Fiji Images via Six Senses Fiji

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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 modern log home in Finland is heated by the earth

May 11, 2017 by  
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This may look like a traditional log home, but unlike other homes, it can withstand harsh winters and freezing temperatures down to -30°C (-22°F) without a huge impact on the environment. Finnish architecture firm Pluspuu Oy designed the Log Villa house in Finland as an energy efficient modern residence for cold climates that offers optimal living conditions thanks to a well-insulated envelope and the use of geothermal energy. The Log Villa sits near a beautiful lake in Central Finland and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Thick laminated timber logs constitute the envelope and features three-layer glued pine as the outer layer. This allows the structure to withstand extremely low temperatures. Although the design references traditional log buildings of the region, the villa’s envelope has no overlaps or visible cross corners. Related: Four-Cornered Villa is an Off-Grid Minimalist Retreat in Finland Geothermal energy is the main source of heat, which is pumped out of a well drilled in the ground. During the summer, when temperatures can go up to 30°C, cool air is pumped from the ground into the building. Triple-glazed thermal glass and blown-in wood fiber insulation make the envelope airtight and contributes to the ecological construction approach. + Pluspuu Oy Via Archdaily Photos by Samuli Miettinen

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This modern log home in Finland is heated by the earth

8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list

May 11, 2017 by  
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Need an escape but don’t want to harm the environment in the process? There are hotels throughout the world centered around sustainability – from a seaside resort in Thailand that grows 100% of its produce to a self-sustaining vacation spot in Mexico. Featuring beautiful design and eco-friendly accommodations, these hotels allow you to satisfy your wanderlust in a conscious way. Hit the jump to check out the eight green hotels we’ve rounded up, and get your adventure started. Blue Lagoon hotel connects with Icelandic landscape When you think of Iceland , you probably think of the famous Blue Lagoon , colored via minerals in waste – but safe! – seawater from a nearby geothermal plant. But you may not know there’s a new resort, the Moss Hotel, under construction there, perched near the pools. The resort design is meant to connect seamlessly with the landscape. Visitors can explore lava corridors and waterfalls in a subterranean spa , and a new restaurant will feature seasonal and local ingredients. The 62-room hotel will open this fall. Related: Solar-powered cylindrical treehouse in Mexico is made with sustainable bamboo Thailand resort grows 100 percent of its produce Traveling to Thailand ? Look no further than The Tongsai Bay Hotel . The hotel was constructed with the environment in mind; not even one tree was cut down to make room for the family-owned resort. 66 species of birds and wildlife reside within the hotel’s 28 and a half acres. The resort also grows 100 percent of its produce , with food waste getting a second life as fertilizer. They practice radical reuse; a few examples include reusing old bathtubs as planters and old sheets as napkins. 121-year-old warehouse on Singapore River given new life as chic hotel An old Singapore warehouse – that once acted as an opium den – got a second chance as the classy Warehouse Hotel . The waterfront warehouse is 121 years old, but Zarch Collaboratives gave it new life with a design inspired by its industrial past in 37 rooms and a double-height lobby. The hotel kept some original elements of the warehouse like its peaked roofs and renovated others like the louvre windows. Self-sustaining Mexico resort incorporates permaculture principles Near Tulum, Mexico rests a self-sustaining, eco-luxe villa that’s the stuff of travel daydreams. The resort designed by Specht Architects is cooled in part by large cutouts in the walls and insulated with native plants adorning the roof. Solar-powered , the villa collects and filters rainwater for use. It even utilizes constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment. Not only does the hotel boast impressive sustainability but stunning bay views and gorgeous modern design as well. Switzerland visitors enjoy connection to nature in open-air hotel Brothers and artists Frank and Patrik Riklin took sleeping under the stars to a whole new level with their one-room, open-air hotel in Switzerland – with no walls or roof. Visitors to the second reincarnation of Null Stern (the first being a nuclear bunker turned luxury hotel) may not have access to a bathroom but do have a butler for the night who will bring breakfast in bed. The minimalist experience provides stunning views of the Swiss Alps . Sweden’s famed Treehotel welcomes Snøhetta-designed 7th room amidst the pines Treehotel , a collection of designer treehouses in Sweden , recently welcomed their 7th room designed by Snøhetta . The cabin is lifted over 30 feet above ground and immerses guests among the enveloping pine trees – Snøhetta said their goal was to bring nature and people closer together. Massive windows and skylights afford opportunities to gaze at the Northern Lights, and a pine tree print across the bottom of the cabin makes it appear invisible from underneath. Locally sourced, natural materials comprise spruce-clad Swedish hotel As you might guess, there’s more than one eco hotel in Sweden. Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture designed Öijared Hotel with a similar aim of blending the buildings into surrounding nature . Locally sourced and natural materials were used in the hotel’s 34 prefabricated rooms. Natural wood materials inside add to the earthy aesthetic. Whimsical hotel in Romania built with sand and clay In Romania , a storybook hotel built of clay and sand, hearkens back to both ancient stories and ancient building techniques. The Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor , designed by owners Razvan and Gabriela Vasile along with eco architect Ileana Mavrodin , includes 10 rooms and was constructed without drawing on any modern building techniques. Natural materials , shaped by local craftsmen, give the hotel a fairytale feel. Images via Blue Lagoon , Laura Mordas-Schenkein for Inhabitat, Warehouse Hotel , © Taggart Sorensen, Null Stern , © Johan Jansson, Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture , and Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor

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