Tiny minimalist cabin in the Pyrenees uses natural materials

May 21, 2020 by  
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Although known as one of the most idyllic areas in Spain, the Catalan Pyrenees are also known for their rugged landscapes and harsh winter climate, both of which make construction very challenging. Barcelona-based firm  Agora Arquitectura  recently took on this challenge by building the Weekend Shelter — a tiny, minimalist cabin constructed out of carefully-selected natural materials that make the structure extremely  resilient. At just 430 square feet, the Weekend Shelter was designed to be a part-time refuge set in the remote area of Isòvol, Spain .  The region is known for its breathtaking landscapes and extremely harsh winters, which are marked by heavy snow and rain. Accordingly, the  shelter’s construction  is a complex combination made out of resilient and sustainable natural materials that can withstand the test of time. Related: These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours The structure was  prefabricated off-site  to save on construction costs and minimize environmental impact. Once the prefab pieces were delivered on-site, the cabin was assembled quickly. The first step was to elevate the structure off the landscape to protect it and add a flexible option to move the shelter in the future if necessary. The shelter design consists of three thermal layers. First, the frame of the structure is made out of concrete blocks to help create a strong barrier from snow and moisture. Then, a shell of oriented strand board was used to cover the main frame. To add an extra layer of resilience, the exterior was then clad in panels of expanded  corks  and topped with a rubber membrane, again creating an impermeable shell. Three large sliding glass doors lead to the interior, which is flooded with natural light. The interior walls, ceilings and flooring are all covered in  sustainably-sourced  plywood panels, which, according to the architects, help provide great thermal and acoustic protection to the living space. Throughout the structure, the cabin counts on several  passive strategies  to reduce its energy use. Being oriented towards the south ensures that the interior is illuminated by natural light. The glass doors are double-paned to limit heat loss during winter. Additionally, wrapping around the front walkway is a simple system of roll-up shutters that allow the residents to fully control the amount of shade and sun that enters the living space. + Agora Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Joan Casals Pañella

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Tiny minimalist cabin in the Pyrenees uses natural materials

Crowds fill national park for Yellowstone reopening

May 21, 2020 by  
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As some of the biggest national parks start to reopen, visitors reassure themselves that it is safe to be outdoors. But unfortunately in places like the ever-popular Yellowstone National Park, everybody is crowding in to see Old Faithful. On May 18, cars with license plates from all over the country filled Yellowstone’s parking lots and hardly a mask was in sight as people crowded together to watch the park’s famous geysers. Locals worry this could spread the virus to their communities. For now, only Yellowstone’s Wyoming gates are open. The Montana entrances remain closed. Tour buses, overnight camping and park lodging aren’t allowed. The park’s official stance is to encourage the use of masks in high-density areas. Related: Best practices for outdoor exercise during COVID-19 “We checked the webcam at Old Faithful at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday,” Kristin Brengel, senior vice-president of government affairs at the National Parks Conservation Association, told The Guardian . “Not much physical distancing happening and not a single mask in sight.” Cars from all over began lining up at 5:30 a.m. for Yellowstone’s noon reopening. Local Mark Segal said his was the only car he saw from Teton County. He worried about out-of-state visitors spreading the coronavirus to the local community. “What if everyone that leaves here goes and gets a bite in Jackson?” he asked. “This is exactly what we’re afraid of.” Montana and Wyoming have had fewer COVID-19 cases than surrounding states. Locals are divided on the issue, with some local business owners pressing the park to reopen and bring much needed tourism dollars, while others are more concerned about public health. Melissa Alder, co-owner of a coffee and outdoor store called Freeheel and Wheel in West Yellowstone, told NPR she’s feeling nervous. “We are fearful of the congregation of people that will come, and I don’t think we’re ready,” Alder said. “I mean, we don’t have a hospital. We don’t have a bed. We don’t even have a doctor full-time here in West Yellowstone.” Via The Guardian and NPR Image via NPS / Jacob W. Frank

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Crowds fill national park for Yellowstone reopening

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