Portuguese architects Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Diogo Aguiar have recently completed a set of seven houses for the eco-resort of Parque de Pedras Salgadas, in the north of Portugal. The small dwellings are suspended on pillars and delicately hover above the ground, completely integrated in perfect harmony within the surrounding nature.
Designed in a modular, prefabricated system which allows for different combinations of the same three modules — entrance/bathing, living, sleeping — the houses are extremely flexible, and able to adapt to diverse spaces within the park, creating different morphologies and diverse dialogues with the surrounding nature: occupying the empty spaces between the trunks of large trees in the park, and allowing each home to be unique.
The pitched roofs that characterize the intervention redefine the contours of the park’s boundaries. Inside each house, they create comfortable and dynamic, animated spaces. In each of the houses, one or more corners feature a large window framing a specific view of the park, bringing the surrounding nature inside, and linking the interior to a balcony designed to be an ideal resting space. Each dwelling’s cladding evokes local, vernacular construction techniques.
Pedras Salgadas Spa & Nature Park offers ecological self-catering bungalows with a modern decor. Guests can enjoy views of the surrounding nature from the wooden patio or relax in the separate spa center. All spacious bungalows have a fully equipped kitchen with a generous dining area. Pedras Salgadas’s spa offers a variety of relaxing treatments and massages. An indoor pool, a sauna and a steam bath are also provided. So take a Flight to Portugal and visit this amazing destination!
Prices range from $150 – $250, from here.
Photos: FG + SG
This mid-century era residence has been built with great flow and well-proportioned volumes in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Designed by Carver + Schicketanz, the project called for the need of an extra bedroom as well as a new kitchen and bathrooms. In addition, the goal of the architects was to modernize the outdated house technology resulting in a highly efficient home with supplemental photovoltaic power generation. The architects completed the first LEED-certified home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, reaching the highest level: Platinum.
Nestled into a suburban Seattle, Washington neighborhood, this slightly customized prefab house reflects its progressive and environmentally conscious community. The eco-friendly home was designed by West Vancouver-based studio PLACE Architects, with a character that is both friendly and approachable. The homeowners and their two children were downsizing from their 5,000 square foot home to this 2,476 square foot home with the core decision being the idea that we can all live in smaller houses with more outdoor spaces that are preserved for tree growth, play and outdoor activities.
The family has maximized every square inch of the available space in the home. Every functional zone has been clearly defined but offers multiple uses, which meant the home is more efficient and constructed with fewer materials and requiring less expended energy to heat and cool. The cabinetry in the kitchen and living room are formaldehyde free. The residence was assembled onsite from a kit, which took less than seven months to complete. The two car garage is comprised of natural wood shiplap siding and the chartreuse HardiePanel, which are all low-maintenance materials that were carefully detailed to resist the elements gracefully. Above the garage is an office for the homeowner to telecommute part of the week to save time and gas and allow more family time.
With sustainability in mind, all materials in the home are nontoxic and low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The home is equipped with low-flow plumbing fixtures to conserve water and with Energy Star-rated appliances. In-floor radiant heating is cost effective, running off the same boiler that supplements the heat for domestic hot water. The flooring is a structural concrete slab, which minimized the layers of material needed to finish out the space, cut down on waste and eliminated a layer of finish that would otherwise have to be replaced every 10 years or so. A solar-powered domestic hot water system heats the backyard lap pool.
Roll-up doors connect the kitchen and dining area to the outdoor patio and pool area.
The dining table, windowsills and stair treads came from a fir tree that was on the property prior to construction.
This 1950’s ranch house was brought into the 21st century and integrated with the landscape in Sands Point, New York, by studio Ohlhausen DuBois Architects. A glass pavilion for the daily living, cooking and dining activities was added to the original structure. This glass pavilion ties into a series of terraces, gardens, swimming pool and outdoor living spaces.
The addition of the glass pavilion allows the house to extend out into the property. The use of glass on three sides contrasts with the more closed nature of the original structure, which was converted to bedrooms, bathrooms, and a study. The gardens and outdoor living spaces were designed simultaneously with the glass pavilion and were conceived as extensions of the new indoor living spaces.
The architects incorporated sustainability into their project, which includes, “reuse the existing structure and as much of the landscape as we could, which allowed us to take advantage of the mature plantings and the good south facing orientation of the original house. Highly insulate the existing house and install high performance windows and glass doors. Minimize summer cooling with high performance glazing, deep overhangs, and good sun screening. Minimize winter heating with dark stone floors and a radiant heating system.”
The TuboHotel is an eco-friendly destination spot which came out of the need of having an inexpensive room for users. Made from recycled concrete pipes, the hotel was designed by T3arc in the outskirts of Tepoztlán, Mexico, with excellent panoramic views of the Sierra del Tepozteco. Located in a wooded setting of unusual features, the surrounding environment provides a unique natural environment.
The goal was to have the ability to build a fast and affordable hotel that offered lodging for Tepoztlan tourist. With a projection of 20 rooms, the first modules were built. The rooms (tubes) were placed in three modules stacked on top of each other to gain as much space as possible.
T3arc was commissioned to do a general plan and build the first three tubocretos modules then Tubohotel administration was responsible for building the remaining modules. The order of the tubes is random with respect to the topography. Construction took place over a period of three months.
Photos: Luis Gordoa
This private residence is situated at the Cliffs at Mountain Park at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, nearby Greenville, South Carolina. The mountain home has been designed by architecture studio Johnston Design Group in collaboration with interior designer Linda McDougald Design. The design of this refined 5,127 square foot, four bedroom and four and one-half bath mountain home is rooted in its natural surroundings. Boasting a color palette of subtle earthy grays and browns, the home is filled with natural textures balanced with sophisticated finishes and fixtures.
The open floorplan ensures visibility throughout the home, preserving the fantastic views from all angles. Furnishings are of clean lines with comfortable, textured fabrics. Contemporary accents are paired with vintage and rustic accessories. Interior materials include rustic oak floors, natural stone, concrete and wood countertops, full North Carolina Granite Fieldstone fireplace and select walls, river rock flooring and accents in the master bathroom and natural stone and ceramic tiles. The exterior facade is cladded with a cedar shake siding and natural stone veneer with cedar heavy timber detailing and cedar shake roof. The outdoor terrace features a full stone fireplace and built-in grill area.
To achieve the LEED for Homes Silver rating, the home includes such green features as solar thermal water heating, solar shading, low-e clad windows, Energy Star appliances, and native plant and wildlife habitat.
Photos: Rachael Boling Photography
Song Saa Private Island resort in the Koh Rong Islands, Cambodia is an eco-luxe escape spread over a pair of pristine isles, with thatch and stone villas dotted among the jungle canopy or lolling above the sea. This glamorous hotel features 27 suites with harmony, sustainability and world-class luxury as the core principles that underpin the design of the villas. Natural materials create a sense of synergy with the sea, the rainforests and the local culture. Everywhere you look there are references to the colors and textures of Cambodia’s traditional fishing villages with their pitched roofs and open plan living spaces.
Once inside your expansive thatched roof villa you will find recycled timber from disused fishing boats, furniture made from driftwood collected from local beaches and coves, earthy stone, polished marble walls and floors made from timber salvaged from old factories, warehouses and demolition yards around Cambodia and Thailand. But importantly, you will find every luxury waiting for you. Four-poster beds, Moroccan lanterns and carved statues add flair to the eco-chic space with over-sized baths and outdoor showers beside private decks and pools. Bespoke hand-crafted furniture made by local artisans. Each villa offers ocean views with their own private sea-view plunge pool.
The hotel also boasts a gym, spa and wellness sanctuaries positioned in the rainforest and along the shore, yoga and meditation center on the shoreline and beautiful gardens. The infinity-edge pool offers beautiful views, cleverly straddling the east and west sides of the island. The overwater, open-sided world-class restaurant and lounge are spectacularly positioned just off the island’s shoreline. For a romantic dinner for two, opt for a private beach cabana. A short stroll on the boardwalk will leave you perfectly positioned to take in dramatic sunsets, seascapes and starry nights.
Rates for a double room starts at $1,351 per night, which includes include all meals, house wine, beer and spirits, soft drinks, watersports, boat transfers to and from Song Saa, 15-minute foot massage on arrival and guided tours, from here.
In the foothills above Snoqualmie is a beautiful house built for two mountain guides not far from their work in North Bend, Washington. The 2,100 square foot residence has been designed by Johnston Architects and built by Tall Tree Construction, accommodating both professional and practical demands, but also fulfilling a deep desire to do what is right.
From the architects, “This house was built on site with many materials found, milled and crafted on the site. Blow-down trees from storms provided the logs that were milled into siding, fascias and trim. Large firs and cedars were felled, cured and processed to provide beams and some framing materials. A ground source heat pump supplemented by solar water preheating supplies energy to the house. To this, recycled materials, FSC certified materials, grey water recycling and other strategies are the basis of the soon to be achieved LEED Silver status of this house.
The historic fabric of this complex lies in the history of use of the land and indoor/outdoor occupation of forested space. The mud room, nearby wood storage, use of varied floor materials to shake off the debris of the outside, simple roof forms are all part of this solution. Rather than dig the house into its hillside, we bridged across for an upper floor entry, minimizing grading and other disruption to the existing environment. Two thousand native plantings were made to restore the forest floor upon completion. Even on a grey and rainy day this forest retreat is filled with light.”
What do you think, would this retreat be cozy enough for you to live in?
Photographs: Will Austin Photography
This incredible straw bale house is located two blocks from the ocean in Santa Cruz, California, designed by Arkin Tilt Architects. Their clients are avid surfers and professors of Biology and Environmental Studies, who wished to push the ecological envelope while providing a fun, comfortable house for their family of six, along with a second unit for rental or aging parents. The exuberant south facade and generous terraces play off the lively public space while taking advantage of the western shading of the creek-side sycamore trees. The street-side presence is more subdued with smaller glimpses of the lively spaces within through a thick, insulating straw-bale wall.
Combining cutting-edge mechanical technology with natural building techniques, passive solar strategies, and locally sourced elements, this house is designed for net-zero energy and minimal carbon footprint. Straw-bale walls wrap the north and west, while the wood framed south wall opens up to the sun, bringing daylight deep into the living space via extensive glazing. The spacious, naturally ventilated 2-story space is accentuated with the natural branching of a madrone tree, and counter-balanced by an intimate living space with a bay rotated towards the park.
Each space serves several functions, shifting and changing with the seasons as light and shadow play through it. To add a touch of wit, the exposed framing in the stairwell becomes a bookcase display, and a built-in bench off the upper hall marks the entry below. The building’s impact is reduced through the use of recycled and salvaged doors, interior windows, flooring and driftwood pickets, as well as a driftwood column at the entry. Open and intimate, flexible and efficient, budget-conscious, and playful in overall form and detail, this house speaks to the specificity of its place, reflecting the consciousness and vibe of its urban Santa Cruz site.
The spacious, naturally ventilated 2-story dining space is accentuated with the natural branching of a madrone tree.
Ground floor bay window provides seating and storage.
Straw-bale walls wrap the north and west, while the wood framed south wall opens up to the sun, bringing daylight deep into the living space via extensive glazing.
The exposed framing at the top of the stairs provides ample storage & display space.
A built-in bench off the upper hall marks the entry below. Exposed framing maximizes the storage and display possibilities.
Playful upstairs bathroom with recycled glass Vetrazzo countertop.
Internal bridge leads to master bedroom & overlooks dining area
The entry features a driftwood column.
Photos: Ed Caldwell Photography
Mount Ninderry is a home that was created by Sparks Architects to explore ideas of sustainable design and living within a modest budget, sited on the ridge of Mount Ninderry in Queensland, Australia. A lineal plan was designed to run along the contours to ease construction on a steep and challenging site. The entry to the building is essentially a hole in a long wall which slides through the landscape. The house is a simple box which ‘hangs’ off the northern side of this wall. The entry forms a breezeway to the house which funnels breezes down the length of the building. It also allows for a separation of the master bedroom from living spaces and other bedrooms, providing privacy in a small home. A self-contained unit and studio makes use of under-croft space that results from a need to excavate the site for rainwater storage.
The building is constructed of 9 prefabricated modules which sit on steel columns. ‘Solarspan’ roofing panels were incorporated to eliminate the need for secondary and tertiary roof framing. Structural glass portholes to the floors of the living area and bathroom allow access to the rainwater tanks. These can be lit up at night with a small reticulation pump providing delicate movements of light to the ceilings. The precast concrete rainwater tanks provide thermal massing with the walls of the tank being incorporated into the studio, en-suite and cellar spaces to the lower floor. A fourth precast tank is utilized as ‘plunge pool’. An array of photovoltaic panels is positioned on the carport roof to service the buildings energy requirements.
Photos: Roger D’Souza