If living in an apartment is your excuse for not having a garden, you can always move to China and take up residence in Knafo Klimer’s Agro-Housing. It’s about as sustainable as a building concept can be, from the construction materials to the design. Plus each unit has its own greenhouse.
Your own personal greenhouse. In an apartment.
Designed to make multi-complex living more enjoyable and self-reliant, even in crowded cities, Agro-Housing was among the winners of the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing. It’s basically a high-rise apartment building with plenty of personal space for the growing of food — which is good news for the Chinese, since a UN report estimates that 50 percent of their population will be fighting for city space by 2010.
Everyone knows its de rigeur amongst the really rich to purchase their own private islands. From Johnny Depp’s island in the Bahamas to Mel Gibson’s Mago Island in Fiji, David Copperfield’s magical Musha Cay to the British Virgin Islands owned by Richard Branson, these big spenders can relax knowing their beachside antics won’t appear in next week’s US Weekly. But don’t think Robb Report jetset don’t have a conscience, rumor has it they are now considering sharing an island. How very socially responsible.
Nurai Island is located northeast of Abu Dhabi, the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates. The island promises to be the travel destination for the rich and famous with the construction of “a boutique luxury hotel resort with 60 suites, 31 beachfront estates and 36 water villas”. Speaking of the latter, “the multi-storey water villas alone will span 515 square meters each, and comprise three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a private rooftop garden with spa pool, private infinity pool, multiple decks, outdoor barbeque area, gourmet kitchen and concealed service quarters”.
Why is Europe so far ahead of the US in their re-thinking of urban environments? Maybe it’s because most of our cities grew up in the automobile era while Europe’s major cities have been around for millennia. But even that difference can’t explain why the best new green ideas come from Europe – take Madrid’s air tree for example.
The “tree” looks a bit goofy, like a giant glass hollow Slinkie. But don’t let its looks fool you. It’s designed to be a heat sink for major cities, providing cool places on ordinarily heat-absorbing stretches of pavement. It provides shade, and the air temperature differential creates a light breeze. It also provides free electricity to the grid (from an array of solar panels) and the real trees enclosed in the glass structure absorb CO2 and produce oxygen.
“If people are going to change their lifestyles to be more green, I think the alternatives have to be exciting and fun,” says artist and designer Michael Jantzen when asked about the frequent use of wind in his work. It’s a comment that immediately jumps out, and then later strikes me as an apt thesis of sorts for his vast body of intriguing work, whether wind-utilizing or not.
Jantzen’s designs have gained national attention for their exploration of alternative energy as a standard architectural feature; his projects have graced the pages of Newsweek, Wired, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful and other publications. While all environmentally beneficial, forward-thinking concepts merit mass public attention in my mind, something about Jantzen’s projects always manage to stand out.
Despite my strong aversion to clutter, I’d hardly consider myself a minimalist. Conceptually, I’m all for it as I like basic and I like fundamental. But in terms of design, I find that most minimalism is just too darn minimal for my taste.
Take for example, Curiosity Inc.’s C-1 House in Tokyo. It’s an amazing structure with custom furnishings so minimal that the entire house and its innards seem to fade effortlessly into one another. It’s like a house you might visit in a dream if you were a character in a Fellini movie. So seamless is it all that it’s almost as if none of it exists. (If I’m sounding philosophical here, it’s no accident.)
I am Catherine Holliss the designer in charge of the interiors and the materials on the project.
The architect, Whitney Sander and I collaborate on the choice of finishing materials and other details for the building. That means that I present materials and ideas for the flooring, the wall coverings, the kitchen cabinets, the fixtures, the bathrooms, the exterior finishes, colors, and the list goes on. I like to think that this level is where the texture gets added to the ‘canvas’ of the architecture.
The clients, Joanna and Thomas are passionate about green, eco-friendly materials and solutions and so are we – it has been a marvelous collaboration from the very beginning.
Hello and thanks for visiting the site. My name is Whitney Sander, and I am the architect of the House for a Briard. I have been working in architecture since 1974, and have been on my own for almost twenty years. My firm designs residential and commercial projects that are contemporary in design and green in ethos. We search for the leanest, most up-to-date materials for our projects, most of which are actually strikingly beautiful. I always try to start simply in each prjoect, because complexity will necessarily follow. I also give each project “good bones:” a regular rythm of structure which means it will be simply built. This means that many of my projects show columns at regular intervals, and walls and spaces move around them.Designing this house has been a magnificent experience. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
What’s the best accessory for the modern green home office?
Designed by Yves Behar and more than three years in the making, the Leaf Light from Herman Miller is a sensually designed LED table lamp that, according to Behar, fuses “technology with humanity.” And while I would normally dismiss such an assessment as highly portentous, in this case I think it’s entirely fitting.
While most lights simply illuminate their surroundings (let’s face it: you turn it on and you turn it off, it either lights up the room or it doesn’t – there’s not a lot of gray area there), the Leaf actually enhances your personal space. Dimmable by a simple hand move, its thin, compact design allows for maximum lighting concepts: the lower part swivels 180 degrees, providing a wide range of local coverage, while the upper part can be folded down to light up your desk or raised up and aimed at the wall to create an ambient mood throughout the room.
If you believe the conventional widsom that prison sentences are for designed solely for rehabilitation (as opposted to retribution), Austria’s Leoben Justice Centre may very well be the leader in turning lives around. If you believe that those responsible for heinous crimes deserve to suffer in squalor, wretched conditions, however, you might want to stop reading this and go rent a Linda Blair prison movie.
Those of us who’ve toured Alcatraz in San Francisco can imagine the cold, harsh, unfeeling reality facing years of hard time. You committed a crime and now you must pay for it by enduring isolation, bad food, prison fights and being somebody’s bitch for twenty-five to life. If you exhibit good behavior, you might one day see the sun again. But is the system doing you any favors? Is the daily misery of life in the slammer inspiring you to make better, more law abiding choices in the future?
Has TrailerWrap bitten off more than they can chew? The concept of environmentally responsible housing re-fabricated from abandoned mobile homes is one thing, but their aim to alter the public’s opinion of trailer parks through design seems quite another undertaking.
But not to me. Having been raised in a cozy Midwestern college town, I grew up with a bit of a trailer park fantasy. It seemed the perfect alternative to overly spread-out suburbia – its own tiny encapsulated world within another, bigger world. I also liked the notion that you could enjoy the comfort of your home just about anywhere on the continental land mass so long as your vehicle had a hitch on the back.
Nature shouldn’t be a spectator sport. There’s nothing like living, sleeping, breathing and playing amongst Mother Nature’s finest to feel a real connection to the earth. Treehouses epitomize this. They’re the perfect place for children to let their imaginations run wild, a place adults can seek solitude (or possibly some rumpy pumpy), a place creative types can seek inspiration and house guests, possible accommodation.