Eco-house in Chile thrives in every season

January 2, 2020 by  
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Karina Duque had a unique conundrum to overcome when it came to the design of the KDDK House. Located in Frutillar, Chile , the eco-home’s site had views of lush greenery, in the form of meadows and forests, that presumably made the property so attractive to the landowners. These green views, however, could only be found in the opposite direction of the sun’s natural course. In a region that often saw rainy weather, designing a house that could allow for high-quality indoor livability while avoiding a dark or gloomy interior in such a location was quite the challenge. First, the designer placed the home on the highest point of the property to allow for the best views while also creating the greatest potential for natural sunlight to filter indoors for the greater part of the day. Even better, the elevated building site as well as reflective windows and organically inspired colors and materials help immerse and disguise the home among its lush property. Related: An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest The architect took inspiration from the architecture of German settlers, turning to simple lines, an elongated volume, a gable roof and skylights for a contrasting yet relaxing design. This style came with another perk in the form of ample space for a loft that could store heat. The team used painted, locally manufactured zinc for much of the exterior and certified larch roofing for the access corridor. These materials contrasted and complemented the interior, which was painted bright white to make the spaces brighter on those gloomy days. Cellulose insulation (typically made from recycled paper fiber ) for the roof, walls and under the windows helps to maintain heat during cold days, and natural cross-ventilation regulates the indoor temperature during hot days. The addition of a combustion stove in the kitchen serves as a primary heat source during the coldest winter days. In the summer, the iron-and-glass screens fold open to reveal a pleasant outdoor terrace. + Karina Duque Photography by Fernanda Castro via Karina Duque

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The eco-friendly wellness guide to Savannah, Georgia

January 2, 2020 by  
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Savannah is just as beautiful as it looks in pictures. Since Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — both the book and the movie — came out in the 1990s, tourism has ramped up in this Southern town known for its 22 park-like squares, sultry summers and Spanish moss dripping from trees. But Savannah also has a modern overlay, thanks in part to the Savannah College of Art & Design, or SCAD, which has renovated deteriorating buildings and attracted talented youth from around the world since its founding in 1978. Today, this Georgia city of 145,000 appeals to visitors who appreciate history, art, ghosts, romantic architecture, Southern culture and a bit of quirkiness. Here are some sustainable stops throughout the city. Savannah outdoors The pace is slow in Savannah, especially if you visit in the summer. Walking around town, reading historic plaques in the squares and on the Savannah River waterfront, wandering into shops and talking with people is probably the best way to get a feel for the town. If you like a more structured outing, Savannah has a plethora of walking tours, with history, architecture and paranormal activity topping the list. It’s no wonder — Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah was established in 1733 and endured fighting in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Related: SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration In keeping with the paranormal and historical themes, Savannah has some of the country’s most beautiful graveyards. Bonaventure Cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, has the grandest monuments. The wide paved lanes are a nice place to stroll. Those who prize cardio workouts will enjoy an early morning visit to 30-acre Forsyth Park, where you’ll encounter locals running and doing walking lunges around the shady, 1.8-mile, figure 8-shaped loop. Historic mansions and monuments ring this flat course with a lovely fountain in the middle. Great Runs has also mapped a 6-mile running tour that hits every square and Forsyth Park. If you like to see places from the water, Savannah Canoe and Kayak offers tours of Little Tybee Island, or they’ll take you inland to see the forested creeks and wildlife of Skidaway Narrows. Because Savannah is only 18 miles inland from the Atlantic coast, many people also visit Tybee Island. This barrier island has wide beaches, a lighthouse and a fort. The League of American Bicyclists deemed Tybee one of the most bike -friendly communities. Several rental shops let you explore the island on two wheels. Wellness in Savannah Savannah’s many yoga studios include friendly Dancing Dogs Yoga right on the main drag downtown. Savannah Yoga Center offers events like learning to read tarot and pendulums, as well as a full schedule of yoga classes. Those who appreciate the healing power of felines will enjoy Pounce Cat Café and Wine Bar , where you’ll find approximately 20 adoptable cats cavorting or napping on any given day. If you’re pressed for time, you can get a 10-minute pass for just $5. Roots Up Gallery is an inspiring place to delve into Southern folk art . As the gallery’s website explains, the self-taught painters, jewelers, sculptors and potters they represent “possess a soulful style that is borne from within.” Vegan restaurants in Savannah The Fox and Fig Café is Savannah’s leading plant-based restaurant. The raw lasagna is deliciously flavorful, and the shakes, made with local favorite Leopold’s coconut ice cream, are very popular. You can even get a vegan truffle flight here. Kayak Kafé on Broughton, one of the main streets downtown, has clearly marked vegetarian and vegan dishes, including vegan tacos with walnut meat. Sit outside for optimal people-watching. People come to the Sentient Bean for espresso drinks and vegan chia yogurt in the morning, and plant-based dinners and local musicians at night. Wednesday nights, the Sentient Bean hosts meetings of the Psychotronic Film Society. Getting around Savannah When your feet get tired, you can hop on the DOT, a free bus that serves 24 stops in the Historic District and the Savannah Belles Ferry. It runs until midnight every day but Sunday, when service stops at 9 p.m. The Savannah Belles Ferry connects downtown with the convention center and Hutchinson Island. If you’re going farther afield, Chatham Area Transit serves Savannah and Chatham County. A shuttle bus service runs from downtown Savannah to Tybee Island in spring and summer. Uber and Lyft both operate in Savannah. Savannah eco-hotels How you feel about spectral visitors might drive your Savannah lodging decisions, because many of the hotels claim to have resident ghosts. The Marshall House generally wins accolades for being the most haunted, while the 1960s restored retro Thunderbird Inn might be the least. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa follows a long list of sustainability practices, including irrigating with gray water, organic waste composting and salt water pool and hot tub systems. The Kimpton Brice offers guests free use of bikes and supplies a yoga mat in every room. Images by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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A recycled brick wall runs through this breezy home in Australia

October 19, 2018 by  
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Bright, breezy and surrounded by nature, the Cedar Lane House is a place of peaceful respite on the southern coast of Australia. Sydney-based architect and photographer Edward Birch designed the light-filled residence at the base of a mountain in Meroo Meadow. Spread out across 280 square meters, the linear home is anchored by a recycled brick wall that runs the length of the building and imbues the interior with warmth and softness. The Cedar Lane House is organized into three pavilion-like spaces linked by a central east-west hallway. While indoor-outdoor living is celebrated with ample glazing and a natural materials palette, the views are deliberately obscured from the entrance to create an element of surprise when visitors turn the corner and see spectacular landscape vistas through the living room’s walls of glass. In addition to the whitewashed recycled brick wall, the home interiors are dressed in Australian hardwood, white surfaces and other minimalist materials to keep the focus on the outdoors. The open-plan living spaces — including a living room, dining area and kitchen — occupy the heart of the home and branch off to an outdoor terrace and an indoor lounge on either side. The easternmost side of the home is defined by a master en suite with an outdoor shower and a spa. Three additional bedrooms, a rumpus room and an outdoor courtyard are located on the west side. The arrangement of spaces makes it easy for the homeowner to close off portions of the house depending on the number of people staying. Instead of main water connections, the house relies on recycled rainwater , which is collected in underground tanks and re-circulated around the building. Related: Passive solar home stays naturally cool without AC in Australia “From the recycled bricks, rough oak floor to the zinc bench top in the kitchen, the internal materials are intended to be imperfect, to mark and scratch and to tell the story of the lives lived inside the house,” Birch said in a project statement. “As the timber cladding silvers and the wash on the bricks get eroded away, the house ages gracefully and settles into the landscape around it.” + Edward Birch Via ArchDaily Images by Edward Birch

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A recycled brick wall runs through this breezy home in Australia

The adorable Acorn tiny cabin is made of wood salvaged from an old mansion

October 19, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen a lot of tiny homes over the years, but the Acorn has to be one the most adorable designs we’ve ever come across. Created by the team from Ojai-based Humble Hand Craft, the sweet tiny home on wheels is built from reclaimed wood and felled trees, including the western cedar shingles that were salvaged from a mansion in Montecito, California. At just 16 feet long and 8.5 feet wide, the Acorn is one seriously tiny home on wheels, but its strategic and space-efficient layout makes the interior seem much bigger. Built on a trailer of the same dimensions, the Acorn takes us back to the basics of traditional cabin design with its warm facade of cedar shingles, a corrugated metal roof and a welcoming front porch. Related: This charming, solar-powered tiny home is handcrafted from reclaimed wood According to the builders at Humble Hand Craft, like most of their cabins, the Acorn was made out of wood salvaged from various sources. The Western Red Cedar shingles used to clad the small structure were reclaimed from an old mansion in California. The porch posts were made out of a dead tree that had fallen near one of the builder’s favorite hiking trails in Ojai. Much of the cabin’s interior, such as the trim and the front door, were made out of reclaimed redwood salvaged from a 5,000-gallon wine barrel found at a vineyard in Santa Cruz. The all-wooden interior creates a homey living space, enhanced with an abundance of natural light . A space-efficient layout was essential in designing the interior. To create more living space on the ground floor, a sleeping loft was installed on a platform. The living room, which is big enough for a small sofa and table, is kept warm and cozy thanks to the small wood-burning fireplace. The kitchen features a beautiful redwood countertop finished with a natural bio resin as well as plenty of storage and shelving to avoid clutter. + Humble Hand Craft Photography by Luke Williams via Humble Hand Craft

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The adorable Acorn tiny cabin is made of wood salvaged from an old mansion

Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park

October 19, 2018 by  
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In a bid to save the historic Gamla Lidingöbron bridge in Stockholm from demolition, Swedish studio Urban Nouveau has proposed transforming the structure into 50 luxury apartments topped with a High Line -inspired linear park. Created as part of a petition to protest the tearing down of the structure, the design aims to spark greater dialogue and media attention in hopes of galvanizing support for the bridge’s preservation. The design practice has also proposed using the sale of apartments to fund the restoration process. Built in the 1920s, the Gamla Lidingöbron bridge has served as a rail and pedestrian connector between Stockholm and the island of Lidingö. The City Council of Lidingö has announced plans to demolish the bridge in 2022 and thus far rejected Urban Nouveau’s proposal to repurpose the historic bridge on the grounds of potential “risks and delays.” The studio has launched a petition to counter the decision with the backing of the project’s master structural engineers Adão da Fonseca and Cecil Balmond who say the project is “both structurally sound and entirely feasible.” “Our architectural understanding of the bridge has inspired us to come up with a plan for saving Gamla Lidingöbron that not only creates a striking public park but in the process also saves the government a minimum of 113 million crowns (€11m),” said Urban Nouveau chief executive Sara Göransson. “We believe demolishing a landmark bridge like this is truly a backward step, particularly when we have a fully costed and technically sound alternative that means we can save the bridge and provide a beautiful park for the whole of Stockholm.” Related: Spectacular town hall doubles as a bridge in Denmark’s Faroe Islands In the  adaptive reuse proposal, the bridge could experience new life as a residential complex of 50 apartments embedded within the steel structure, while the bridge deck would be converted into a linear park with tram and bicycle access. Each apartment would be equipped with a private elevator and staircase for access. The west-facing apartments would feature double-height living spaces and glazed facades on either side to frame sweeping views of the water. + Urban Nouveau Via ArchDaily Images by Urban Nouveau

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Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park

UMD scientists invent new water-based battery that won’t catch fire

April 16, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of Maryland have invented a new  water -based zinc battery that is safer than a traditional lithium-ion battery, but which doesn’t sacrifice power or usability. The team utilized elements of older zinc battery technology with novel water-in- salt electrolytes to create a battery that is not prone to catching fire. “Water-based batteries could be crucial to preventing fires in electronics, but their energy storage and capacity have been limited – until now,” said study first author Fei Wang in a statement . “For the first time, we have a battery that could compete with the lithium-ion batteries in energy density, but without the risk of explosion or fire.” Their work was recently published in the journal Nature Materials . One of the new battery ‘s improvements over traditional batteries is its ability to overcome irreversibility, the phenomenon in which the charge delivered by the battery at its intended voltage decreases with usage, through a technique that changes the structure of the positively charged zinc ions within the battery. In addition to the battery’s application in consumer goods, it also could prove invaluable in extreme conditions such as the deep  ocean or outer space. Related: California’s desert battery could be three times the size of Tesla’s The saline aqueous nature of the zinc battery eliminates the need to replace evaporated water within the battery, a key challenge of traditional zinc batteries. “Existing zinc batteries are safe and relatively inexpensive to produce, but they aren’t perfect due to poor cycle life and low energy density,” said study co-author Chunsheng Wang in a statement . “We overcome these challenges by using a water-in-salt electrolyte.” The researchers believe that their invention and related discoveries could be applicable to a wide variety of energy technologies. “The significant discovery made in this work has touched the core problem of aqueous zinc batteries,” said study co-author Kang Xu in a statement , “and could impact other aqueous or non-aqueous multivalence cation chemistries that face similar challenges, such as magnesium and aluminum batteries.” + Nature Materials Via  TechXplore Images via John T. Consoli/University of Maryland

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UMD scientists invent new water-based battery that won’t catch fire

Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood

February 1, 2018 by  
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This quirky home in Chile adapts to the terrain to provide expansive views of a beautiful estuary on Chiloe Island. Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos wrapped Casa Pollo with reclaimed zinc plates, evoking the aesthetic of old warehouses in Chiloé. The house is composed of spacious areas that can accommodate large groups of people. These spaces are well connected with the outdoors, and a large timber deck that offers views of the canal. From the mainland, the house appears hermetic and opaque, referencing old Chiloé barns and warehouses . However the façade facing the canal is open and features large glazed surfaces. Related: Minimalist timber CML House in Chile features a unique pinwheel layout Reused native woods dominate the interior, creating a feeling of warmth and protection from the elements. The roof forms a sheltered area on the terrace to allow the occupants to fully enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. + Ortuzar Gebauer Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photos by Federico Cairoli

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Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood

Detox your troubles away in this new public sauna built of natural materials

June 5, 2017 by  
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Helsinkians and visitors take note—a beautiful new public sauna has popped up on a tiny island in the Finnish capital. Architecture firm OOPEAA designed the recently opened Lonna Sauna, a contemporary building constructed solely of natural materials. Built on a former military outpost in front of Helsinki’s city center, the timber sauna is an easily accessible escape that promises tranquility with a view. Commissioned by the Governing Body of Suomenlinna , the Lonna Sauna on Lonna island is one of several initiatives transforming the former sea fortress islands into recreational destinations. Accessible via a short waterbus ride from the city’s harbors, the new 190-square-meter sauna sits on the island’s southeast tip near six heritage-listed buildings that date back to Russian rule of the island in the 19th century. The wood-heated sauna was built as a continuation of Finland’s tradition of public saunas—a dwindling culture seeing recent renewed interest—with a modern twist. The log cabin -like building is constructed of handcrafted wooden logs left untreated and topped with a sculptural pitched roof clad in zinc . Related: Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun “The skillful use of larch in the furnishings and the large windows opening a view from the sauna loft into the archipelago create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere,” wrote OOPEAA. “The unique natural features of the Lonna island create a special and authentic atmosphere adding a new aspect to the experience of an urban public sauna. It brings together the calming and peaceful experience of the sauna ritual and the social aspect of the public sauna as a gathering place for people.” The Lonna Sauna is open daily from 2PM to 7PM throughout the summer. + OOPEAA Via Dezeen Images via OOPEAA and Lonna Sauna

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Detox your troubles away in this new public sauna built of natural materials

Handcrafted timber pavilion celebrates British and Japanese craft traditions

July 22, 2016 by  
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Completed as part of the Kingston University Degree Show 2016, the Seminar House Pavilion combines traditional craftsmanship found in British and Japanese culture. The students drew inspiration from their study abroad trip to Nagano and Tokyo , where they toured a variety of Japanese buildings , from a 16th century timber castle to a self-built concrete house. Fujimori also gave talks on the “Red School,” a term he coined to describe a group of Japanese architects recognized for the handmade aspects of their buildings. Related: Terunobu Fujimori’s Otherworldly Tree Houses Defy the Laws of Gravity The top-heavy Seminar House Pavilion comprises three tiers, each clad in different materials and partially constructed of recycled materials from the 2015 pavilion. Four zinc -clad “legs” support a middle section covered in around 1,000 sweet chestnut shingles. The topmost section is clad in Yakisugi, or Shou-Sugi-Ban, a type of burnt cedar wood commonly used in Japan for siding and decking projects. Students created the cladding materials in a series of workshops. Visitors can access the pavilion’s different levels via wooden ladders. The project will be open to the public during museum hours from summer to autumn. + Kingston University + Dorich House Museum Via Dezeen

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Handcrafted timber pavilion celebrates British and Japanese craft traditions

Amazing dragon-inspired cliff house in Spain uses the Earth to stay cool

March 14, 2016 by  
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