Have a small space that just doesn’t seem right for your hip, modern lifestyle? Can’t afford a big space, but want to stop short of living in the suburbs? Setmund Leung Kam Biu has designed an apartment that moves – literally. The rooms move around on mobile tracks (except the kitchen and bath) akin to track lighting or sliding doors. So, today’s bedroom could be tonight’s dining room.
The point is making the most of small spaces while keeping an open living area. When you’re done in the bedroom, roll it out of the way so there’s more room in your living space. When you’re done cooking, slide a door over the kitchen so it’s out of the way.
It appears that these places come with top-of-the-line appointments like stainless steel, full-sized appliances and BR-111 exotic (i.e. rainforest) wood floors. I checked out BR-111. They pride themselves on selectively harvesting in the rainforests under strict government guideline and stringent reforestation policies, but there are other issues like cutting roads and burning fossil fuels to get the wood out (and for what purpose? To have an exotic floor?). Check out their dedication to the Amazon here.
Here’s a prefab that caught my eye: a modern home made of one of the planet’s most sustainable materials – bamboo. Not surprisingly, it’s another innovative concept from Montreal-based Gau Designs.
It’s only a concept – but after looking at these photos, I’m ready to sign on the dotted line and move in. Sure they had me at “sustainable”, but the building’s design takes comfort and functionality to another level. Two levels, to be exact. From the green roof to the spacious rooms, which are lined with textured bamboo along the walls and floors and interrupted only by large picture windows (view sold separately, I imagine).
When we think of modern green architecture, its normal for most of us urban monkies to dream up a very cleanly designed glass box. We think of the glass as a way to connect with the environment around us, while maintaining that safe distance, which city living grinds into us. The Chen House embraces the modern box, but flatly rejected the idea of barriers. The Firm Architects C-Laboratory, designed the Chen House to embrace the country side, building it on an old Japanese cherry-farm in North-Taiwan.
By Catherine Slessor The Architectural Review: Conceived as a meditation on the decline of Finnish rural life, the project – punningly entitled Land(e)scape – involved hoisting a trio of redundant timber barns on to spindly stilts to make them look as though they were walking out of the countryside and migreating to the city. In a final nihilistic flourish, the structures were set on fire and transformed into blazing memorials to the loss of a pastoral idyll.
Casagrande is now in partnership with Taiwanese architect Frank Chen, and together they recently completed a house in the north of Taiwan, near the Datun Mountains. Set on farmland next to a river and surrounded by tree-covered hills, the remote, rural site has echoes of the walking barns project. Yet for all its bucolic charm, the environment can be harsh, with intense heat in summer and frequent typhoon winds, componded by periodic flooding from the river and seismic activity.
What do you get when you combine the ever popular shipping containers with old airplane fuselages? A Mobile Dwelling Unit, of course. The brainchild of LOT-EK, this brilliant architectural design has been on the market since 2002, and is the model from which other module-based designs are now being based. Led by Ada Tolla and Guiseppe Lignano, LOT-EK’s mission is to blur any boundaries between art, architecture, information and entertainment. Their groundbreaking approach to design and architecture is redefining the way we as a populace interact with industry and technology.
But there is a glaring problem with this design. It’s just plain ugly. Which is too bad, because MDU is the same firm who designed the Puma City mobile store made from multiple containers and that one is pretty cool. Well, except for the use of the orange again. A colorist should really talk with these guys. They use orange in hazard area’s for a reason, its a bit disturbing.
A house on the hills of Los Angeles, designed to suck in solar energy. The passive solar Tree House by L.A. based architects, Standard designed this concrete and wood passive solar house. The house responds to its site and the city through its transparent southern exposure. The large ash tree literally envelopes the house, creating a microclimate to which the project responds. The house employs passive solar design and other low tech methods of climate control even as the open south elevation allows panoramic views of the Los Angeles basin. A partially concealed post and beam structure modulates the exterior and allows openings to span from floor to ceiling. The second floor bears on thin stainless steel columns and cantilevers over a concrete deck, which in turn cantilevers over the slope. The horizontal layering of the roof and floors extends the interior and engages the space under the tree. The strong horizontal projections also provide visual balance to the immense trunk and limbs. Redwood siding clads the overhangs and defines the transition between the inside and out.
The horizontal layering of the roof and floors extends the interior and engages the space under the tree. The strong horizontal projections also provide visual balance to the immense trunk and limbs. Redwood siding clads the overhangs and defines the transition between the inside and out.
When I asked architect Matt Allert who the ideal inhabitant was for the Dwelling Dock, his super-green pre-fab home, he responded instantly — “Everyone!”
The Dwelling Dock is a green housing concept for which Allert was the recipient of the Cascadia Emerging Green Builders Award, a prize awarded to up-and-coming green architects. I caught up with Allert in his offices at Callison architectural firm to talk about the Dwelling Dock, green building and the climate crisis in general.
“I entered the competition and I was looking to do something that went way beyond what I considered ‘the green band aid’,” says Allert. “I was looking for something that was more fully integrated a way of living.” Not limiting himself to green buildings, Allert researched various kinds of infrastructure in order to come up with a basis for his concept.
Allert notes, “I saw other industries, and I noticed a hydrogen fueling station for the car and thought ‘Hey, wouldn’t that be cool if a house could do that.’ If you had infrastructure that was built — a dwelling — and you could store that power, water, heat all those things the framework or infrastructure naturally collected in the environment in your unit, which is pre-fabricated, and you just plug into that like a car in the fueling station.”
If your a green hearted Monkie like me, the city of Austin is the only city in Texas to live in. That is if your actually already in Texas. Austin is a very green minded city surrounded a mob of land grabbing oil men. When the Austin community tried to protect their ground water and prevent sprawling developments, the Governor (George Bush) stripped them of their rights and gave a green light for developers. Those developers quickly exploded the population size and yes, ruined Barton Springs.
But things are not all doom and gloom. Austin is also the home of Mega Organic grocier, Whole Foods and the city is inching it’s way back to the green side. Here is a great example. The Annie Residence by the Bercy Chen Studio.
Casa 205 on a hillside in Vacarisses, Spain. designed by H Arquitectes.
The setting of the project is a plot with steep slopes and a great amount of trees and bushes. The aim is building a house without causing any serious impacts on the land. The house will be built on a natural rocky platform. This platform will also be used as either the exit or the garden of the house. The architects and the property developers have agreed on minimizing land movements in order to build the artificial landscaped platforms. The target is to make good use of the existing land shelves. This will allow us to preserve the natural physiognomy of the wood. The only uneven area will be the path ramp, which will cross the piece of land diagonally. This artificial ramp will communicate the street with the different plot levels.
The inner layout of the house is based on a lineal sequence of rooms of different proportions linked to the structure. There are great sliding opened areas, which will provide both harmony and versatility. The house can work as an open-plan space or as individual, closed spaces.
“zeroHouse” I gotta say, the name doesn’t thrill me. In this age of crappy no-calorie sodas that taste like metal or underfed actresses with no curves who can fit into a size smaller than 1, the word “zero” connotates that something vital is missing or that the product is somehow subpar. And who wants Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Here’s a new definition of ghetto fabulous. Have you ever fantasized about sleeping in a park like a stowaway with no running water, electricity or a bathroom? Well, if you’re a visitor to the Austrian city of Linz, your dreams can come true. You can spend a night (or more) at Dasparkhotel, where you’ll sleep in a recycled concrete cylinder set in the middle of a beautiful flora-filled park on the banks of the Danube river.
Each individual hotel room pipe comes with a bed, linens, a light and a side table as well as an eye-catching mural by local artist Andreas Strauss, who helped transform these concrete pods into functional accommodations. A restaurant and communal bathrooms are nearby.
House M is a contemporary response to a changing cultural environment in the Netherlands which is characterized by a growing demand for monumentality, solidity and enclosure as dominant aesthetic values to be expressed in the architecture of the private house. In response to this, we positioned the house as it were a wall between front and back garden, separating the introverted street facade from an extroverted garden facade.
The kitchen, dining room, living room and office space are located on the ground floor in a continuous space which opens-up towards the sunny back garden. On the street side, the house appears rather closed and monolithic. Two volumes reach out from this mass in an expressive way, providing the entrance and the garage space, defining the sculptural monumental image of the house as seen from the street, creating an interesting visual dialogue with the neighbouring houses built in neo-classical style.