MINIMOD is a modular home designed and built for relaxed, off-the-grid living, designed by MAPA Architects, situated in Maquiné – Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. This 290 square foot (27 square meters) module proposes an innovative, intelligent and sustainable alternative of dwelling. Starting from a minimal module, MINIMOD invests in customization, design and sustainability. The production is carried out in a prefabricated manner and enjoys the steel frame system technology, which lets the client adapt the space to his needs, choosing among different finishes, as well as automation options.
Depending on the composition of the modules, MINIMOD can vary the uses ranging from a compact refuge for weekends, a small showroom for events, up to hotels and inns, combining a larger number of modules. The modules are 100% prefabricated and elevated to a determined place by truck or disassembled into smaller pieces and taken to the ground for final assembly.
The expansion and addition of new modules can be performed either at initial installation or in the middle of the process, according to the needs and budgets of the client.
MINIMOD is more than a product of design, is more than a house. It’s practicality combined with comfort, it’s economy allied to nature, it’s a unique experience of housing and contemporary living.
MINIMOD centralizes production and reduces the emission of CO2 in the atmosphere. The home features a rainwater harvesting mechanism through the green roof. The house is slightly elevated to avoid moisture from penetrating the interior. Ventilated facade gives thermal and acoustic comfort. When night falls, this modular home uses LED lamps to illuminate its interior.
The MINIMOD enjoys the benefits of dry construction technology: quick, clean and efficient. Entirely manufactured and pre-modulated it is easily adaptable to customer needs. Mounted and manufactured in accordance with the premises of the project, it can be transported entirely or in parts.
Photos: Leonardo Finotti
The Confluence House is the primary residence designed by Incorporated Architecture for a young couple in Harlemville, New York. The home has been developed for the award of a LEED rating for residential construction by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The form and orientation of the house is optimized to enhance heat gain in the winter and keep the house cool in the summer. Cross ventilation moves through the transom windows on either side of the house. Other green aspects of the home include solar panels, environmentally friendly kitchen cabinets, FSC certified windows and doors, bamboo floors, low flow plumbing fixtures, recycled glass tile, low VOC paints and sealants, and soy based insulation. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were also engineered to comply with the LEED rating system and Energy Star for Homes system.
Photos: Courtesy of Incorporated Architecture
The Thorncrest House is a new modern family home that has been designed by Altius Architecture in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. The 6,500 square foot home was designed in 2012 to accommodate the large family of six as well as to entertain their guests. Private spaces are arranged to allow for an open concept space with double height living room surrounded by a catwalk. Particular attention was paid to natural daylight exposure at the basement walk-out, easing its transition to grade via a sunken pool, deck and grass terraces. Shading is provided by deep roof overhangs and cantilevered volumes. The homes distinctive blue zinc cladding and Spanish cedar accents create a unique street presence.
The home also encompasses the following sustainability features: program and spatial optimization, passive solar heating, natural ventilation and passive cooling, natural daylighting, high performance envelope design, radiant heating, low energy light and appliances, water conserving appliances and fixtures, indoor air quality and non-toxic materials and finishes.
Photos: Greg Van Riel
Zero Energy House, designed by Levy Art & Architecture, is the first home in San Francisco, California that is completely self-powering and carbon neutral. The architecture has been developed in conjunction with the mechanical systems and landscape design, each influencing the other to arrive at an integrated solution. Working from the historic facade, the design preserves the traditional formal parlors transitioning to an open plan at the central stairwell, helping to define the distinction between eras. The new floor plates act as passive solar collectors and radiant tubing redistributes collected warmth to the original, North facing portions of the house. Careful consideration has been given to the envelope design of Zero Energy House in order to reduce the overall space conditioning needs, retrofitting the old and maximizing insulation in the new.
The Bar piece is produced by SieMatic cabinets, it is walnut. The cabinets are a wood textured laminate, also by SieMatic. The stair is open to above and takes up an area about 6′-6″ x 10′-0″. the floor to floor height is 10′-6″.
Central skylights above staircase.
View from master bedroom.
Exterior stair back yard to first level.
Solar powered hybrid electric heat pump.
The size and layout of the house you choose to reside in will vary depending on important factors such as your lifestyle and needs and most certainly be dictated by budget as far as most people are concerned. The structural layout of a property is basically down to the skills of the architect but the impact of that design is felt in the home’s interior. The question that many people who are considering building their dream home ask is should you build a single or double level home?
House design trends have a tendency to change but there are two dominant forms that remain constant throughout the ages and that is the single storey and double storey home.
Both styles have their respective pros and cons to consider and there are certainly trends developing in the Australian housing market which are not just being influenced by design choices but also by environmental aspects such as the need to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible.
Whether you choose to build a single or double storey property, you will still want to consider the environmental impact and maybe incorporate some current trends into your overall design brief such as including natural lighting and a greater sense of connection between the outdoor and indoor spaces.
When it comes to a single storey design you are more likely to be looking at a sprawling layout plan so that you can fit all your essential requirements into the interior design.
One of the most obvious drawbacks of creating a single storey property is the amount of land that you will need to accommodate the property you want without compromising on your garden space. The need for a larger plot can very quickly eat into your total budget and there are other important considerations besides the cost of land to consider.
The cost of building a single storey home could work out more expensive than a double storey as the increased roof size and larger block size will add to your build costs. Natural light is also quite hard to come by in comparison to a double storey property although natural climate control can be more efficient in a single storey property.
What you often get with 2 storey home builders is a relative plethora of interior design aspects and choices that you may otherwise have to forgo or compromise on with a single storey design.
A good example of this would be the ability to alter interior roof heights by use of double storey voids and installing multi-level windows, allowing the opportunity to draw in a significant amount of natural light and create a strong sense of openness within the property.
A double storey property will require a smaller land parcel which will help lessen the impact on your overall budget and is particularly relevant in high-density areas where restrictions may apply and where the cost of land to build a single storey property could therefore be cost-prohibitive too.
Taking up less plot space with a double storey property will give you a larger garden area and whilst ventilation and natural light are generally more efficient in a double storey home, it can be harder to ventilate compared with a single storey one, which brings the possibility of a cooling system into play, which can have an effect on your carbon footprint if it is installed.
Two storey homes can often have a larger carbon footprint than their single storey counterparts but this can be misleading as it can often be simply down to their overall size rather than a question of their efficiency.
The decision to build a single or double storey has to be made after weighing up a considerable number of factors and both styles have their respective pros and cons, so choose a good designer to make sure you get the most out of your building plot and get the chance to live in the house you really want.
The opinions and views expressed in this story are not our own but that of the guest contributor to this post — William Dawson likes to keep on top of housing trends. He also loves to write informative articles to post on a variety of blog sites.
Photo Sources: 1. Arc Design Group, 2. Locati Architects, 3. Dennis Mayer Photography, 4. Stuart Parr Design, 5. LDa Architecture & Interiors, 6. Natural Balance Home Builders, 7. Real Estate Australia, 8. Pinterest, 9. Robert Bailey Interiors, 10. Allen Associates, 11. Markay Johnson Construction, 12. Sothebys Realty, 13. Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, 14. Moore Architects, 15. Nest Architectural Design, 16. Infinity Homes Northwest, 17. Loucas Zahos Architects, 18. Felix Raspall, 19. Soldano Luth Architects, 20. Norris Architecture, 21. J. Brown Builders, 22. Alan Mascord Design Associates, 23. Ron Rosenzweig Architectural Photography, 24. Windsor Companies, 25. Coates Design Architects, 26. Paul Moon Design, 27. MW Johnson Photography
A House in the Woods is a certified LEED Silver house designed by William Reue Architecture, located on a densely forested lot at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains, New York. Nestled on 8.5 acres, the 4,800 square foot residence is the result of the studied relationship between two opposing geometries – a long sculptural wall clad in weathering steel and a mass of stratified bluestone that appears to have emerged from the boulder-strewn earth. Locally-sourced materials and strategic siting stitch the house into the natural world while contributing to its sustainability for the modern one.
The design for A House in the Woods was grounded in the owner’s desire to build an artful home that responded to her values of order, beauty, and environmental stewardship. The structure’s uncomplicated geometry is enriched by the boldness of its materials, resulting in a balanced composition that is both sensuous and refined. The house is a personal refuge that takes its design cues from the colors and textures of the natural landscape.
The site boundary is defined by a series of Norway spruces, the singular element guiding visitors to the secluded entrance. The curved Cor-Ten wall is heroic, yet pragmatically justified as it carves a modest entry court that amplifies the sound of the stream running parallel to the house. The wall also operates as a spine that organizes the interior spaces into a series of cinematic portals to the landscape. The character of the minimalist interior is profoundly impacted by the changes of the wooded site from season to season.
The high performance thermal envelope consists of 14 inch thick Structural Insulated Panels and quadruple-pane windows constructed with FSC-certified wood. The house employs a direct-exchange geothermal heating system, energy recovery ventilator (ERV), rainwater harvesting system, and many other sustainable building technologies. With a HERS Index of 44, A House in the Woods is over 55% more energy efficient than a typical new home. The project was certified LEED-Silver in February 2013.
Photos: Steve Freihon
Caruth Boulevard Residence is a modern LEED Gold designed home by owner and architect Tom Reisenbichler, located in Dallas, Texas. When the architect built his 8,300 square foot family dream home, he was determined to prove that being environmentally friendly does not have to rule out luxury. “You can do luxury without being wasteful,” says Tom Reisenbichler, an architect with Perkins+Will who primarily designs hospitals and medical buildings. There is no shortage of either eco-friendly strategies in this three-story home, from photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to flooring made from recycled television tubes and countertops of recycled mirror glass, materials were chosen carefully; ninety percent of them are recycled or reclaimed.
In our world where many associate sustainable (green) design with a bohemian lifestyle, while others consider luxury wasteful, this house is designed to prove they are not exclusive. Integrated tightly into the large iconic trees on the site, this house uses traditional home proportions to blend with the neighborhood. The horizontal lines of the design tie the home to the land, while the roof and balcony reach into the trees making them integral to the home.
The design concepts emphasize the entertaining lifestyle of the owner / architect, with open plans that integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. The first level uses a central core (wooden box) as the main organizing element around which public spaces flow. This LEED Gold designed home features many sustainable strategies, from photovoltaic solar panels and recycled materials to native plants that are drought tolerant, every detail of sustainability is considered.
The couple, who entertain frequently and have welcomed nearly 3,000 guests since they moved into the University Park house last January, made sure that the residence works for gatherings both large and intimate. With its open concept, expansive rooms and walls of glass that slide open to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, the first floor is a hostess’ dream.
What really wows guests, Reisenbichler says, is when they flip up the wood panel on the living room wall to create a serving bar from the wine room off the kitchen. Opposite the bar is another showstopper: an 8-foot-long gas fireplace that is positioned halfway up a stone wall. “It appeals to so many people, even if they’re not a modernist,” Reisenbichler says.
The spare design and hard lines of the architecture are softened by visual textures, richly colored rugs and warm wood walls, including teak that was salvaged from a monastery in Thailand.
“Most of the home’s finishes are pretty neutral,” Reisenbichler says. “It’s the art and furnishings that bring life to the space.” The art, including oversize sculptural pieces, canvases and African jewelry, is a collection of memories from the family’s travels juxtaposed with works from North Texas artists.
The six-bedroom, 10-bath house, includes mother-in-law quarters on the second floor. Rooms are full of sleek leather furniture, chrome accents, animal hides and graphic prints.
Photos: Bret Janak
The Hollywood Hybrid home has been designed by Marmol Radziner, located in the Hollywood Hills above Runyon Canyon, California. Set into a sharply down-sloping site, the home required substantial foundation work, including the construction of a large retaining wall. The resulting home combines prefab with site built construction. The ground floor is comprised of two large rooms built into the foundation while the two stories above are entirely prefab.
A long pool runs parallel to the house, overlooking Runyon Canyon. Two levels of decks and large sliding glass doors make the views accessible from every level of the home. The residence is targeted for LEED gold certification.
Responsible materials are used throughout, from the insulated glass to the denim jean insulation. Solar panels generate electricity and can feed excess power back into the grid. Decks, large sliding glass doors, and well-placed shading devices allow for cooling cross ventilation and seamless indoor-outdoor living.
Photos: Courtesy of Marmol Radziner
The first floor spaces were expanded and joined so that dining and gathering can occur “anywhere and everywhere.” The kitchen became the nexus of all activity, joining the living and dining spaces on the first floor to the study/ loggia and entry hall on the half-level below. The new living space is tall and spacious with terrace doors, windows, skylights and a light shelf on the south wall, welcoming in abundant cross ventilation and natural light. The L-shaped addition embraces a new cypress deck that floats across a grass terrace to a stone wall and rock garden, creating a unifying transition to the outdoors. This main level addition and the second floor addition, perched as a treehouse, embrace the backyard and capture the traversing daylight.
Descending from the kitchen at an angle to the addition, a reclaimed walnut stair the full width of the loggia leads down to a study with a honed concrete radiant floor, bamboo casework, and a Paperstone desk.
A second-floor master bath designed as a retreat, a connecting entry hall and new play room adjacent to the study, and a new bedroom and bath carved from an enclosed garage round out the plan. Throughout, the use of smart envelope design, passive solar gain, radiant heat, high insulation values, water-saving fixtures, and low VOC/formaldehyde-free materials complete the sustainably-minded, balanced design.
Soleta ZeroEnergy One is a sustainable home designed by FITS (Foundation for Inventics and Sustainable Technologies), located in Bucharest, Romania. It is part of an initiative called the Soleta zeroEnergy, which seeks to create self-sustainable homes.
Soleta zeroEnergy is a new concept of premium eco homes, developed by the Justin Capra Foundation for Inventics and Sustainable Technologies (FITS). The finalized functional prototype of this concept, Soleta zeroEnergy One, is in Bucharest, Romania. Following the architectural and constructive concepts of this prototype, a whole family of Soleta homes, with multiple functionalities and of different sizes, easily adaptable to a host of destinations, such as home (permanent use or vacation), office, kindergaden or sport/fitness joints was developed.
Affordable and versatile, with minimal energy consumption, low running costs and positive eco-impact, Soleta concept is a viable alternative solution for conventional housing construction technologies. Soleta homes are defined by an unusual architecture, enclosing a bright, healthy, fully monitored environment.
The pillars of Soleta concept can be summarized by four fundamental principles:
1. Reducing energy consumption, by minimizing loss and employing energy-saving measures.
2. Using renewable energy forms such as geo, solar, wind, hydro and so on.
3. Creating the most efficient way of using conventional forms of energy, when renewable energy sources are not available. In order to reduce pollution, a set of active measures, such as tree planting, garbage recycling, etc. are employed.
4. Creating a modular living solution architectural concept which allows increasing the comfort and functionality by adding future modules at any time after erecting the building, without interfering with the structural integrity of the building.
zeroEnergy concept. Ecology.
In the last few years, studies has shown that many of the low-energy homes constructive solutions creates a serious discomfort for their inhabitants. These homes are over-insulated, the costs for a healthy interior environment are sky-rocketing and the home-environment interaction is lessening. The ancestral link between nature and home is currently missing. In stark contrast, Soleta zeroEnergy employs a series of energy-efficient technologies that minimizes loss and provides the necessary energy for the home (zeroEnergy concept) using renewable sources (sun, wind, hydro, geo, etc.), without adversely impacting the environment.
Therefore, the exterior sides of the home, directly exposed to the elements (walls) are kept to a minimum and high-efficiency window panels that provides natural lighting (free sunlight) are used. Soleta homes comes with: natural ventilation system, integrated forced ventilation with energy recovery system, thermal energy storage integrated in floor, LED lighting and rainwater storage and treatment system. For further economy, a smart energy, climate and ventilation monitoring and managing system (KNX) is used. Reducing energy consumption by up to 45%, this system can also be remote controlled using a mobile phone or a similar device.
For heating and warm water production, there are many solutions available:
A combined system of solar heat collectors – water-water heat pump;
High efficiency wood or wood pellets stove – solar heat collectors;
Air-air heat pump – solar collectors.
Soleta homes are built using natural, locally available, renewable materials, with the exception of polyurethane thermal insulation and plasterboards for the interior walls finishing (the latter could also be replaced by plyboard, made from natural wood.) The structure is made of glue-laminated wood, and the roofing is also constructed of wood: traditional shingle tiles. The floors are constructed of pinewood, thermally insulated with yet another natural material, cellulose. The stylish exterior walls are made of white-painted spruce wood planks.
Soleta zeroEnergy One
Soleta One is the first Soleta ZeroEnergy concept home built in Romania.
Soleta zeroEenergy One has a particular and innovating architecture. Besides the 48 sqm. interior, a suspended under-roof sleeping area with 9 sqm. (96 sqft) and an exterior terrace with 22 sqm. (237 sqft) are built as an integrated, fully functional unit. Currently, Soleta One is FITS’s showroom, and we welcome daily visits. Soleta One is located in Bucharest, Romania, in the front of the U.S. Embassy.
Photos: Courtesy of FITS