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Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category


The Q-House is located in Northen Spain and it was designed by asensio_mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldaz and it was finished in May 2009. The building is organized in three bands that are arranged around a central circulation core. These three bands maintain a prevailing orientation in the northeast-southwest direction to secure maximum daylight in every room.  While the bands configure and organize the different rooms, the circulation core underpins a switchback pattern of shifting orientations with the gradual vertical movement through the house.

qhouse Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldaz

The house is clad in dark “composite” panels that have been customized with digital fabrication techniques.  These customized panels are used to articulate sections of the house volume in order to introduce legibility to the overall form. These panels offer a range of different surface consistencies and patterns to the house that reflect the sites changing light conditions in multiple ways, producing an ever changing range of texture and tones.

qhouse2 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldaz

The house is a conscious exercise in developing an alternative domestic environment to the surrounding villas of the new suburban neighborhood.  The solutions for the development so far have typically been compact villas located on abruptly leveled gardens, irrespective of the complex topographical condition of their sites.  Our ambition for producing an alternative domestic atmosphere is developed by constructing a more explicit relationship between the house and garden with the existing conditions of the steep site.  This organizational strategy for the house sought to register the difference in topography within the parcel by organizing a series of terraces that configure the framework for a landscape with differentiated characters.

qhouse7 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldaz

This deliberate geometric configuration affords multiple readings of the outline of the house while facilitating a rich experiential lifestyle within its volume and landscape.  Specific organizational and material strategies were developed to produce different volumetric and perceptual readings that change with the different vantage points towards and within the house.

qhouse6 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldazqhouse5 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldazqhouse4 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldazqhouse3 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldazqhouse44 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldazqhouse9 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldazqhouse8 Q House by asensio mah in collaboration with JMAguirre Aldaz

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Glidehouse2 architecture
Michelle Kaufmann Designs made the most gorgeous prefab houses. Each one was solar ready with other renewable energy system options possible such as geothermal, wind generator or hybrid systems. Each of her designs encouraged clean simple living and each was built in a factory, using the most modern and environmentally friendly building methods and materials.

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The gorgeous Glidehouse was  an example. Mass-produced, planet friendly, low carbon prefab design we all could relate to.
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It was nationally recognized as a contemporary, sustainable residence, setting the standard for pre-fabricated architecture. From design to construction, these high quality prefab homes were designed to harmonize with nature for clean, green, healthy living and to stand the test of time. The Glidehouse home proved that a low maintenance, sustainable residence can be high-quality, well designed, and cost effective.
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Sadly, all that’s not enough. Her company Michelle Kaufmann Designs folded a few months ago after the economic apocalypse.
But creativity just pops up again. Here’s a few pieces from a set of building blocks she’s just created for her friend’s new son:
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They just happen to build a toddler-sized chair… and many other things. As she says on her blog, building blocks were her favorite toy as a child.
Creativity never dies. These are the new shoots of something yet to come.
Via Michelle Kaufmann’s blog

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At the first glance, the building looks more of a Lego construction empathizing with a succinctly evasive structural design. When you peep closely into it and try to notice the exterior facets, you come to know how remarkable this visibly simple design is. Dubbed as Lanserhofwiese’ project, the residential colony by the Austrian architects Wimmer Zaic Architects covers an area of 74 000 sqm. Various buildings maintain a respectable distance marked by free spaces of ways. The buildings follow a distinctive pattern wherein after every three stories, the next seems to do some trickery in extending out of the normal order. We really appreciate the energy saving design having large windows and the glass lift tower. Well, strangeness is an added advantage since the solitaire-like model was never expected to be simple. Outlandishly imposing architecture, we must say! – via

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Waterfall diy
Ever consider a waterfall in the living room? I thought not. But there are very good reasons to  consider one. If you live in a hot and muggy climate and want to build a new house that is naturally comfortable  and energy efficient, this is one simple and carbon neutral way to do it.
Normally, flowing water does not take moisture out of the air. But add just one ingredient to your indoor waterfall and, presto; cool dry air is made from hot and muggy air.
The ingredient?

The secret ingredient is calcium chloride added to the water. Calcium chloride, a salt, is a desiccant, just like table salt and the grain of rice that you put in the shaker to keep it flowing freely. It is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water molecules from the air by absorption or adsorption.
This liquid desiccant system is a wet flowing feature that can suck the moisture out of your indoor air using almost no energy. The water wall idea was first used by University of Maryland students to turn a functional mechanism into an aesthetic feature in their LEAF House in the DOE Solar Decathlon. To recycle the desiccant, the water is evaporated, re-concentrating the salts to pull more moisture from the air in its next cycle. To keep energy costs low, they used solar hot water heaters for the evaporation cycle. Then once the desiccant is concentrated again, it is ready to do more work pulling water out of the air.
These systems have been used in the commercial and manufacturing sector for many years. Complex piping in commercial buildings (running on carbon heavy fossil fuels) also use desiccant systems to remove mold growth and other consequences of moist air.
Desiccant use in commercial A/C systems is not a lovely thing. A waterfall is. And it is a very planet friendly low carbon cooling system.
Image from Flikr user BamaWester
Via GreenerDesign

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office diy
Here’s a great way to cut the carbon and the calories at the same time. Work at home to cut the carbon of the commute, and build your home-office in a treehouse to climb up into, to cut those calories!

Peter Frazier, a customer experience consultant, had put on fifty pounds from working in an office, and was getting fed up. Finally he decided after years of gaining weight with the typical sedentary lifestyle, to make a radical change. He built his own very simple treehouse office in the woods, complete with green roof on top.
To justify the building expense, he designed it to do double duty as a guest bedroom as well. Sited as it is in the forest overlooking Chuckanut Bay in Washington, it is, as he says:  “a guest house that keeps ‘em coming back, and an inspired meditation room.”
office2 diy
As he puts it, his motivation was:
“Like many in the computer industry, I graduated from college thin and fit, but since then, through years of all-nighters, sitting in front of my screen for long hours, and a rich diet I became overweight. I went from 190 to 242 pounds as I grew into each role: graphic designer, user interface designer, customer experience researcher, businessperson, husband, father, and community member. Last Fall I said, “Enough already!”
Recently I decided that working standing up would help me live a more active life. It’s worked. Along with meditating, running, hiking, and kayaking, working standing up (with hourly interludes of push-ups, sit-ups or yoga) I’ve dropped 30 pounds. My thinking is clearer for longer and you’re more likely to find me with things in perspective.”
office view diy
Although it is a treehouse, this freestanding office is actually downhill from his house, sited so that it is part of the view from his living room. So he put a green roof on top to make it blend in beautifully into the forest, as well as to help keep the indoor climate temperate, summer and winter. What a terrific office!
+ Peter Frazier’s Flickr Stream
Via habitat

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nightingale house 1
High in the hills, above the famous Sunset Strip and overlooking West Hollywood, CA, The Nightingale House by Marc Canadell showcases flawless design and 9000 square feet of pure luxury. By blending styles – from Empire to modernism, from pop art to minimalism, and using some unique pieces of furniture, designer Canadell created a great eclectic interior for this modern home. The house’s exterior however is much easier to describe – clean lines, cubic volumes, white facades and lots of glass, complemented by negative edge pool and outdoor fireplace. This Hollywood mansion is currently for sale for the humble $18 million.

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minas gerais 1
Sitting on a hilltop in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and facing a vast valley, this award-winning contemporary mountain home is a great example of how rational modern design and Nature’s beauty can distinguish and highlight one another at the same time. Geometric shapes oppose the landscape’s organic forms, and the bold white-red-orange color scheme makes the building stand out even more amid the surrounding greenery. Designed by Ulisses Morato of Morato Arquitetura and influenced by Portuguese colonial architecture, this beautiful single house is built on three levels and uses the steeply sloping plot the best way possible. As for the views to the valley – one word: breathtaking.

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