A 1972 Airstream becomes a bright, 198-square-foot home for a family of four

October 16, 2018 by  
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Minimalist living in a tiny home is quite common for a couple, but when designing a compact space for a family of four (plus a fur baby), strategic planning is essential. When Colleen and Zachary Cashio purchased a 1972 Airstream trailer that was just 31 feet long, they knew they had a big renovation project on their hands, but they took it head on with some impressive DIY skills. Today, the Steady Streamin’ Cashios is a space-efficient, sophisticated home, which was handcrafted to meet the needs of the family. At one time, the Cashio family was following the path toward the “American Dream” when they had a revelation — they needed to simplify . The couple realized that they wanted to teach their two kids about the importance of enjoying life and experiences without the distractions of material things. Related: Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals The big chance to renovate their lifestyle came in the form of a 1972 Airstream Sovereign. Naturally gifted in the DIY department, the ambitious couple did all of the work on the Airstream conversion themselves. After buying the trailer, they gutted the interior and started with a hollowed-out shell. In the process, they did find a few structural issues, but they were able to take off the shell and fix some of these problems thanks to Zach’s welding skills. The trailer was then outfitted with a new electrical system (thanks to Colleen’s father and father-in-law) with LED lighting , new ultra-efficient windows and an elastomeric reflective rooftop coating to insulate and cool off the Airstream’s interior. Once the basics were all in place, they began to layout the design  of their new living space. They decided to go with a black and white color scheme that added a contemporary feel to the living space. All-white walls and natural light open up the compact space, and strategic storage was installed wherever possible to curb clutter. The living space is light and airy with a sofa nested into the curved shape of the trailer. The sofa has ample storage underneath for kids toys, magazines and more. The kitchen, which is quite large for a tiny home of this size, was installed with a black and white backsplash and wooden countertops to add a modern touch. The bedroom, which fits a king-sized bed, is located past the kitchen and bathroom. You can follow the family’s journey in their sleek, minimalist Airstream home on their website or Instagram . + Steady Streamin’ Cashios Via Apartment Therapy Photography via Colleen Cashio

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A 1972 Airstream becomes a bright, 198-square-foot home for a family of four

Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

October 12, 2018 by  
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A dazzling neon green light show is illuminating the night skies in Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s latest large-scale art installation, the Space Waste Lab Performance. Created as part of the Space Waste Lab , the performance uses real-time tracking information to render the space waste floating above our heads visible with bright green LEDs that follow the movement of the drifting waste. The series of live installations kicked off on October 5 in the Dutch city of Almere and aims to call attention to the problem of space waste as well as sustainable upcycling solutions. According to Studio Roosegaarde, there are currently more than 29,000 items of space waste  — approximately 8.1 million kilograms worth — floating around the earth. Classified as objects greater than 10 centimeters, the waste comprises anything from parts of broken rockets to chipped-off satellite pieces. The drifting junk poses a danger to current satellites and can disrupt digital communications, however there is no clear plan on how to fix the growing issue. In response, the Dutch design studio launched Space Waste Lab with support from the European Space Agency to bring attention to the issue and find ways to upcycle the waste into sustainable products. The Space Waste Lab Performance that launched early this month marks the first phase of the living lab. Created in compliance with strict safety and aviation regulations, the large-scale light show uses cutting-edge software and camera technology to track pieces of drifting space waste in real time with high-powered, neon green LEDs that project a distance of 125,000 to 136,000 miles. “I’m a strong believer in cooperation between technologists and artists,” said  ESA Director Franco Ongaro about Space Waste Lab. “Artists not only communicate vision and feelings to the public but help us discover aspects of our work which we are often unable to perceive. This cooperation is all the more important when dealing with issues like space debris, which may one day impact our future and our ability to draw maximum benefits from space. We need to speak in different ways, to convey not just the dry technological aspects of technology, but the emotions involved in the struggle to preserve this environment for future generations.” Related: Daan Roosegaarde unveils mind-expanding 295-foot SPACE installation in Eindhoven Space Waste Lab will be open to the public at Kunstlinie in Almere until January 19, 2019 and is complemented by the “Space @ KAF” exhibition next door. The Space Waste Lab Performance will be exhibited after sunset on the nights of October 5 and 6; November 9 and 10; December 7 and 8; and January 18 and 19, 2019. The surrounding street and commercial lights will be turned off at those times to enhance the experience. Phase 2 of the program begins after January 2019 and will study ways to capture and upcycle space waste. + Studio Roosegaarde Via Dezeen Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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Studio Roosegaardes laser light art tracks floating space waste in the sky

Eco-friendly Scarborough Home is designed to follow the sun

October 9, 2018 by  
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Set into a steep hillside in Christchurch , the Scarborough Home makes the most of its challenging location by embracing site-specific design. The modern family home is the work of New Zealand architectural practice Borrmeister Architects , which capitalized on the property’s stellar ocean views with a pavilion-like design. Modestly sized at 250 square meters, the breezy, passive solar dwelling also boasts environmentally friendly features including solar panels, rainwater retention tanks and a sculptural roof designed to follow the arcing path of the sun. Building on an extremely steep hillside required the architects to implement a strict 1.2-meter grid that informed the massing of the three-story Scarborough Home. On the basement level, stone walls anchor the home to the ground and appear like a natural extension of the rock face. In comparison, the upper two levels take on a more pavilion-like feel with massive walls of high-performance glass sheathed behind cedar sliding screens to mitigate unwanted solar gain. A lightweight, sail-inspired roof tops the building and is supported by two tree-like timber and steel structures. The open-plan living areas — including the kitchen, dining area and lounge — as well as a study and bathroom are placed on the top-most level. Three bedrooms, bathrooms, a sauna and the laundry room are located on the floor below. Outdoor living is emphasized with large connecting decks, a swimming pool, an outdoor shower and a vegetable garden. Related: Post-earthquake passive solar home is built around resilience “The brief was for a relaxed, playful home open to the sun, capturing the views to the beach and to the uphill park, whilst also providing shelter from the prevailing winds and incorporating easy driveway access and parking,” the firm explained. To meet the client’s wishes for an environmentally conscious home, the architects used locally sourced, low-maintenance, natural materials for construction. In addition to solar roof tiles and a  rainwater harvesting system, the Scarborough Home includes automatic overhead louvers and an ultra-low emission log burner. + Borrmeister Architects Images by Sarah Rowlands

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Eco-friendly Scarborough Home is designed to follow the sun

A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

October 9, 2018 by  
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Italian design office Carlo Ratti Associati has unveiled designs for the Greenary, a renovated farmhouse that will be designed around a large, leafy, 50-year-old Ficus tree. Rising to a height of nearly 33 feet tall, the perennial tropical plant will anchor the main living area while the various living quarters will be arranged around the upper canopy. The adaptive reuse project is the first step in CRA’s competition-winning master plan and factory for Mutti, one of the leading tomato brands in the world. Located in a bucolic region in Italy’s “Food Valley” close to the city of Parma in northern Italy, the new Mutti master plan “strives to integrate nature and the built environment,” according to the architects. The Greenary will serve as a private residence located a few hundred meters from the new Mutti factory, a massive building that will process up to 5,500 tons of tomatoes a day. Both buildings will be designed around the concept of biophilia and connection with nature. “The Greenary is not a treehouse or a house on a tree, but a house designed around a tree,” explained Carlo Ratti Associati in its project statement. “Life unfolds in sync with that of a 50-year old Ficus, a perennial tropical plant housed in the middle of the farmhouse south hall. All around the tree, a sequence of interconnected rooms creates six domestic spaces — three above the entrance, three below it — each of them dedicated to a specific activity: from practicing yoga to listening to music, to reading and eating together.” Related: Thousands of tomato-sauce jars to turn into “tomato architecture” at Mutti In addition to the Ficus tree, which thrives in indoor environments, the house will feature a mainly timber palette, from the structural beams and stairs to the various furnishings. Large windows will flood the interior with natural light while framing views of the rural surroundings. Completion for the master plan is slated for 2023. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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A giant tree grows inside CRAs renovated farmhouse proposal

Former businessman bicycles down the Thames River to stop plastic pollution

July 31, 2018 by  
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Dhruv Boruah, a former management consultant turned environmental hero is cleaning up the Thames River in London on a floating bicycle. The endeavor, named The Thames Project , is more about striking up conversations with passersby and raising awareness than it is about removing all of the plastic waste from the canals — an impossible feat for the one man show that is Boruah. The self-constructed rig, made up of a bamboo bicycle with yellow floats on either side, a rudder and a pedal-powered propeller in the front, has retrieved thousands of kilograms of plastic waste since beginning the project in 2017. “It’s a great conversation starter, and then I can tell them about my work, the plastic and how it all starts here in the canals,” he told CNN while on one of his “off-road cycling” missions. Related: A massive five-ton plastic waste whale breaches in a Bruges canal The 35-year-old philanthropist was impassioned by a yacht racing expedition from London to Rio de Janiero that left him thinking a lot about the dangers of plastic pollution . It was on this undertaking that Boruah had learned of the fortunate rescue of two turtles who were tangled in plastic in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. “Plastic is now in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat,” he explained. “You have to care because it’s about you, your health and the health of your children. Why are we destroying this planet for them?” Boruah’s bicycle nets are often filled with single-use plastic items such as styrofoam containers and water bottles. These get broken down into tiny microplastics over time that not only pollute the oceans, but also affect our air and food. When he is not striking up conversations with curious onlookers, Boruah is working with councils, businesses and communities to educate and encourage them to take action against plastic pollution. + The Thames Project Via CNN Images and video via Dhruv Boruah

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Former businessman bicycles down the Thames River to stop plastic pollution

This gabled home wraps around an existing pine tree in Mexico

July 31, 2018 by  
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The magnificent pines of Mazamitla, Mexico are more than just scenic background for this single-family home—one of the trees has been integrated into the architectural design itself. Architects Alessandra Cireddu and Carlos M. Hernández of Barcelona-based design practice Espacio Multicultural (de) Arquitectura (EMA) crafted the ‘House Around a Tree,’ a single-story abode punctuated by a mature pine tree. The house further embraces the landscape with its use of natural materials and an outdoor, cantilevered terrace that opens up to northwest-facing views of the village below and forest and mountains beyond. Set on a steeply sloped site, the House Around a Tree matches its narrow and linear plot with its rectangular mass. Measuring over 65 feet in length and nearly 20 feet in width, the home has an introverted appearance at first glance—a thick, nearly 10-foot-tall wooden door marks the entrance and, along with the opaque stone side wall , insulates the home from outside street views. The home interior, however, is an entirely different story. Stepping past the entrance takes visitors into an airy void punctuated by the mature pine tree, while large glazing on the southwest side of the home brings sweeping landscape views into the living spaces and bedroom. Related: A cypress tree grows through this hillside home in Los Angeles “The gable roof evokes the geometry of the traditional houses of the region, which is trimmed by a void which contains the pine,” explain the architects. “The natural location of the pine divides the house into 2 areas: the first one on the east side where the main room with bathroom and dressing room is located and separated from the rest of the house; the second one on the west side where we find the public areas, two bedrooms and a wooden volume containing the wet areas (laundry, half bath and full bathroom) that breaks with the constant linearity of the project both inside and outside.” + EMA Images by Patricia Hernandez Fotografia

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This gabled home wraps around an existing pine tree in Mexico

Couple convert a 20-year-old bus into a solar-powered tiny home on wheels

June 25, 2018 by  
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After buying a gutted 1998 Thomas Vista 3600 on Craigslist, couple Nicholas and Heather spent the next year renovating it into their dream tiny home on wheels, lovingly named the Vicaribus . Doing all of the work themselves, the ambitious DIY-ers managed to create ample living space, a dining room, an office, a guest bed and storage in just 120 square feet of space, which runs on solar power . After deciding to move out of their conventional “sticks-and-bricks apartment” and into a converted bus , Nicholas and Heather knew that strategic planning was the key to creating a comfortable tiny home. The couple bought the old Thomas Vista bus with the seats already ripped out, so the first step to their DIY bus conversion was to outline a building plan that used every inch efficiently. Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel To create ample living space that would be flexible for years to come, the couple built a modular furniture unit with movable pieces. The couch’s two armrests double as shelving systems and additional storage is located within the seating. The most ingenious component is found in the middle of the sofa, which is a rolling ottoman that turns into a fold-out table. The ottoman moves and can be used as a desk, additional seating or a footrest. The result is space saving furniture that can be converted from a couch into a dining or working space in a matter of seconds. The couple’s enviable DIY powers did not stop with the impressive multi-use couch. Moving on to the kitchen, they used an unfinished solid wood door to build their kitchen countertop. Heather used a dry brushing technique to create a sophisticated, marble-esque look. The rest of the tiny house’s interior is a bright space, flooded with natural light thanks to the decision to keep the vehicle’s original windows. Although the couple managed to work within a tight budget, they knew that the tiny home’s energy system was no place to cut corners. From the beginning, Nicholas and Heather wanted to live off the grid, so they chose to install two 165W solar panels with custom-made brackets next to the rooftop deck. Working with a smart battery, the array is enough to meet their energy needs. + Vicaribus Images via Vicaribus

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Couple convert a 20-year-old bus into a solar-powered tiny home on wheels

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

Brooklyn Grange announces a new location in a former WWII shipyard

May 15, 2018 by  
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Inhabitat is thrilled to announce that New York City urban farming group Brooklyn Grange is launching its first location outside the city — at Kearny Point in New Jersey. The location holds its own storied past: a former World War I and World War II shipbuilding yard in an industrial area that’s spiraled downhill, Kearny Point is undergoing redevelopment under recycling corporation Hugo Neu . Inhabitat caught up with Brooklyn Grange COO and co-founder Gwen Schantz and Hugo Neu CEO Wendy Neu to learn about the project’s emphasis on not only economic revitalization but also the restoration of local ecology . At Kearny Point in New Jersey, Brooklyn Grange will help with  landscaping , converting just under three acres of sod into a native meadow. In addition, the group will help transform about an acre of former parking lot space into a demonstration garden, complete with a vegetable patch and children’s play area, as well as host plant sales and educational workshops. Although none of these gardens will be on rooftops, Brooklyn Grange does plan to host green roof workshops using a Kearny Point roof. Related: 6 urban farms feeding the world Schantz told Inhabitat, “We know what these industrial spaces can become and how they can be reinvented. We’ve seen the evolution of the Navy Yard. When we talked to the people at Hugo Neu about their vision about Kearny Point, we really got it. It resonated with us.” Neu is one of the people behind that vision. She told Inhabitat that Kearny Point, which is between the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, was once a main economic driver for the area as “one of the most productive shipbuilding facilities in the world.” During World War II, 35,000 people worked on the 130-acre site. But after the war, the shipbuilding industry died in the United States. Hugo Neu acquired Kearny Point in the 1960s and dismantled ships, but that operation shut down around 1985. Until recently, Kearny Point was an industrial warehouse distribution facility. “ Hurricane Sandy was a defining moment for us because we were approximately four feet underwater. We’d never had any kind of issue with flooding. My late husband and I know climate change is coming and the environment is changing dramatically, and we had to think about what we were going to do with this site,” Neu told Inhabitat. After her husband passed away suddenly, Neu joined forces with Steve Nislick, former Edison Properties CEO, with the goal of doing “something transformative.” The new vision for Kearny Point includes offices for startups, coworking spaces, and a waterfront opened to the public. “The opportunity to take a heavy industrial site like this and integrate all the new technology – wind, solar, stormwater – and be able to show we can have people growing businesses without having to harm the environment but also actually improve it at the same time is, to me, a very compelling opportunity,” Neu said. Brooklyn Grange is “an indication of just what the possibilities are.” The project’s native meadow serves as a prime example. According to Schantz, when people try to convert land into meadows or gardens, they sometimes kill what’s growing there with pesticides . Brooklyn Grange is taking a more natural approach: they’re suffocating grass and enriching the soil with the help of recycled materials , such as leftover cardboard from a nearby shipping company and wood mulch from a local tree service, both of which the urban farming group inoculated with blue oyster mushrooms. Once this process is complete, they’ll plant native flowers and grasses. “Our approach is, let’s take this strip of land which has had a rough history along a railroad track, it has not been loved the way it could be, and give it a new lease on life and make it a place where insects and birds can feed and nest, and restore it the way it might have looked before there was a shipyard here,” said Schantz. How will Kearny Point handle natural disasters in the future? Neu said that not only are they raising the site up two feet, they’re creating at least 25 acres of open space and putting in bioswales to boost the site’s resiliency. “We’ll have underground parking that will serve as reservoirs for water that comes onto the site. We’ll remove as many impervious surfaces as possible, which is huge in terms of the amount that gets discharged into the Hackensack, and we’re going to do everything to improve the quality of what gets discharged,” said Neu. “I want to minimize our impact as much as possible. We have to be able to figure out how to have people prosper without destroying the environment and further degrading it.” Brooklyn Grange’s first plant sale will be Sunday, May 20, from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. “We’re really excited to be reaching out to our neighbors across the river,” Schantz said. “We know there’s already a culture of gardening here in the Garden State, and so we’re excited to bring some of our urban farming techniques and our general mindset of sustainable, organic gardening to the local community and hopefully get people excited about growing their own food .” + Brooklyn Grange + Hugo Neu + Kearny Point Images courtesy of Valery Rizzo

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Brooklyn Grange announces a new location in a former WWII shipyard

The bitter better place

April 25, 2018 by  
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There is no need to apologize for being relentless in our work, or vociferously clear about the consequences of inaction.

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The bitter better place

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