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design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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Partly Hidden Beach House with Unobstructed Sea Views in Norway

Partly Hidden Beach House with Unobstructed Sea Views in Norway | sustainable architecture |
Split House is a peculiar beach house partly hidden under ground. The house's two levels are made of natural materials. Each level enables lovely sea views.

The Oslo-based architectural studio JVA designed a beach house that folds into the landscape. Located near the sea, the residence is partly hidden under ground, allowing unobstructed sea views for the neighbours. Capturing the best panoramic views, the house offers a unique living experience.

The roof is covered with grass and can be also used as a terrace whilst large expanses of glass enable panoramic views to relax and inspire. The interior feels light and airy, opening up to the landscape, with transparency playing a key role in this project, providing an incredibly warm and bright environment.

Betty Fitzgerald's curator insight, April 15, 11:41 AM

I love the uncluttered approach to this beach house. And the sleek contemporary siding combined with the natural curving cobbled walk is perfect. Can I live here!?

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Tea Houses by Swatt Miers Architects

Tea Houses by Swatt Miers Architects | sustainable architecture |

The Tea Houses are places where one could retreat into nature- there are three, each with its own purpose: meditation, sleeping and ‘visioning’ or creative thinking.

Each tea house is designed as a transparent steel and glass pavilion, hovering like a lantern over the natural landscape. Cast-in-place concrete core elements anchor the pavilions, supporting steel channel rim joists which cantilever beyond the cores to support the floor and roof planes. With its minimal footprint, the design treads lightly on the land, minimizing grading and preserving the delicate root systems of the native oaks.

Emeric Nectoux's comment, January 9, 12:22 AM
Beautiful! I'm a big fan
Betty Fitzgerald's curator insight, January 9, 5:51 PM

My humble glass and wood greenhouse is my go to Tea House. Everyone needs a personal place to quietly be. And tea is always recommended. 

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'Integrated into the Landscape' - BIG Set to Build Blåvand Bunker Museum

'Integrated into the Landscape' - BIG Set to Build Blåvand Bunker Museum | sustainable architecture |

Set to transform a former German WWII bunker carved into the banks of Blåvand, Denmark, BIG’s Blåvand Bunker Museum is a 2,500 square meter museum that will include four independent institutions: a bunker museum, an amber museum, a history museum and a special exhibitions gallery.

“Contrary to the existing closed concrete lump, the new museum will, in its architecture, function as an open heart integrated into the landscape,” Bjarke Ingels described. “The museum is in every way the opposite of the militant history with its more closed, dark and heavy features.”

“Organized around an open central square, the galleries allow much light and will give magnificent views to the surrounding countryside,” he continued. “The bunker is a war machine without holes for doors and windows and rejects all humanity. In contrast, the museum is integrated into the landscape and invites visitors inside.”

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Tyrolean Festival Hall Reflects the Dramatic Landscape of the Austrian Alps

Tyrolean Festival Hall Reflects the Dramatic Landscape of the Austrian Alps | sustainable architecture |

A concert hall carves its own niche in the Austrian Alps while bowing to the neighboring midcentury playhouse and the breathtaking landscape.

In the picturesque Austrian village of Erl, where the rugged Alps descend to meet the undulating valley below, a striking, angular structure, the Tyrolean Festspielhaus, or Festival Hall, pierces the landscape that inspired it. “We conceived of the building as tectonic plates shifting over one another,” says Sebastian Brunke, a project architect from the Viennese firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects. “The opening between the two plates forms the foyer, which glows at night and through which the Alpine landscape flows like a carpet.” Reflecting the mountains above, the upper volume's sharply pointed cantilever juts out almost 100 feet.

Lola Ripollés's curator insight, October 10, 2013 6:57 AM

Me gustaría asistir a algún concierto allí.

Como gesto arquitectónico, me parece de una fuerza increíble. Además encaja perfectamente posándose en el paisaje e integrándose en él. Arquitectura o escultura?

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Two Passive Solar Gain Houses in Porthtowan by Simon Conder Associates

Two Passive Solar Gain Houses in Porthtowan by Simon Conder Associates | sustainable architecture |

Two passive solar gain houses built into the side of a hill in the English coastal village of Porthtowan on the Cornish coast by Simon Conder Associates.

The new buildings, which are partly buried in the hill to avoid obstructing views from properties higher up the slope, have a reduced impact on the landscape. Both are built into the 1 in 7 slope of the hillside, so the houses are single storey on the road side and two storey on the seaward side.

The two adjacent sites face south and this orientation creates two passive solar gain houses to minimise both the use of fossil fuels and energy costs. This has been achieved partly by fully glazing the southern elevations of the two houses and partly by using highly insulated, high mass construction for the remainder of the two houses.

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Blending With The Landscape: The Waiatarua House in New Zealand

Blending With The Landscape: The Waiatarua House in New Zealand | sustainable architecture |

Waiatarua House, a residential project in Auckland, New Zealand, designed by Hamish Monk Architecture, interacts with the outdoors, while providing a comfortable, beautiful sanctuary for its inhabitants.

“One of the design challenges was to insert a bold (in size and placement) intervention into a sensitive bush reserve whilst still maintaining a sense of modesty and poetic. The desire was to seek out a quiet architectural expression, one that is devoid of excessive articulation and noise; a silent witness to its surroundings.”

Visit the article link for more photos and information.

Five Fitness Pune's comment, July 3, 2013 3:21 AM
design is good
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The Non Program Pavilion by Jesús Torres García

The Non Program Pavilion by Jesús Torres García | sustainable architecture |

Located in Spain, near the Mediterranean Sea, this small pavilion is surrounded by a remarkable landscape. The construction is defined by the relation between the landscape and the structure on the field.

The structure developed itself as a flower, subscribing to Oscar Niemeyer’s approach. The whole project has been composed in the concept of “how to build in natural landscape?” The non-program pavilion disappears in the landscape, attempting to erase the division between the intervention and the area. This concern of integration reaches the point where the landscape generates the architecture itself.

The non-definition of the program has a wide range of uses, such as providing environmental awareness, doubling as an exposition hall or music hall, and providing activities support for the wider community. The interior space is as free as the liberty of program, furnishing the space with the energy of each use...

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Caterpillar House by Feldman Architecture

Caterpillar House by Feldman Architecture | sustainable architecture |

San Francisco-based Feldman Architecture have designed the Caterpillar House.

The design for the Caterpillar House, sited on the softly rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Preserve, sought to accentuate a connection to the land.  Having lived in a Cliff May home, the client came to the project with a love of modern ranch houses and looking for an environmentally-conscious response to a beautiful site.

The Caterpillar House implements sustainable elements while exploring a contemporary version of the ranch ideals: massing that is low and horizontal, an open plan with a strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, and main living areas which center informally on the kitchen...

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Stacking Green: A Green Facade House

Stacking Green: A Green Facade House | sustainable architecture |

This house, designed for a thirty-year-old couple and their mother, is a typical tube house constructed on the plot 4m wide and 20m deep. The front and back façades are entirely composed of layers of concrete planters cantilevered from two side walls.

The height of the planters are adjusted according to the height of the plants, which varies from 25 cm to 40 cm. To water plants and for easy maintenance, automatic irrigation pipes inside the planters are used. Named “Stacking Green”, this tropical and unique house has façades filled with vital greenery.

The structure is a frame widely used in Vietnam. There are few partition walls in order to keep the view of green façades from every point of the house. During the day, the light varies- in the morning and afternoon, sunlight enters through on both façades, creating beautiful shadow effects on the stone walls. 

The green façade and roof top garden offer protection from direct sunlight, street noise and pollution. Natural ventilation also allows the house to save a energy in the harsh climate of Saigon. With an ecological approach, the design references the bioclimatic principles of a traditional Vietnamese courtyard house...

Diana Rivera's curator insight, February 25, 2013 10:50 PM

This is a great way to interpret house plants into you home without taking up esential space in your home.  This also implements simple beautification and beautiful greens to bring good energy to the home.  With this unique building design friends and family will be shocked and overwhelmed with the beautiful lighting the plants shading will bring into the home.

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Oakpass Residence by Heusch Architects

Oakpass Residence by Heusch Architects | sustainable architecture |

The Oakpass Residence in Beverly Hillls resembles a sleek modernist box wrapped in floor to ceiling glass, 12 feet above the ground on 10 narrow columns. The structure was elevated to not only circumvent the stringent  setback requirements, but to minimize the impact of development on the beautiful natural site, heavily wooded with oak trees.

This resulted in more light for the interior spaces, views from every room, and more privacy. Also it created a space underneath the house- part carport, part Zen garden. The pool is also elevated on 3 columns and the heavy exterior west facing concrete wall acts as a passive solar heat storage element.

The interior and exterior spaces blend seamlessly into each other due to the use of frameless floor to ceiling glass and a continuity of materials from the inside to the outside.

View more images of this minimalist, passive and site-responsive home at the link...

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Modular Eco-resort Integrated into the Portuguese Landscape

Modular Eco-resort Integrated into the Portuguese Landscape | sustainable architecture |
Seven suspended micro-houses — each one resulting from a different combination of three modules — delicately hover above the ground in the Portuguese eco-resort of Parque de Pedras Salgadas.

Portuguese architects Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Diogo Aguiar have recently completed the set of houses in the north of Portugal. The small dwellings are suspended on pillars, completely integrated within the surrounding nature.

Designed in a modular, prefabricated system with different combinations of the same three modules — entrance/bathing, living, sleeping for an extremely flexible solution, able to adapt to diverse spaces within the park, creating different morphologies and diverse dialogues with the surrounding nature.

Each of the houses features a large window framing a specific view of the park, bringing the surrounding nature inside, and linking the interior to a balcony and ideal resting space. Each dwelling's cladding evokes local, vernacular construction techniques...

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Rural Sustainability: Off the Grid Home in Ontario

Rural Sustainability: Off the Grid Home in Ontario | sustainable architecture |
For this rural Ontario home, building sustainably was less about high-tech gizmos than learning to truly love the land.

The 925-sq-foot house blends into the landscape with a steel shed roof and siding; it looks like a high-design little brother to the barns on the surrounding farms, and its energy footprint is equally subtle: Designer Lisa Moffitt built it with an array of sustainable features that take the simple home off-grid...

Read about these features and learn more about this contemporary green project at

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Huangshan Mountain Village: sustainability grows in the Chinese landscape

Huangshan Mountain Village: sustainability grows in the Chinese landscape | sustainable architecture |

MAD has unveiled plans for a towering village of apartment blocks beside the Huangshan Mountains in eastern China. 

Inspired by the topographical layers of the landscape, the buildings will have organically shaped floor plates and will emerge from amongst the treetops on a site beside the Taiping Lake.

The high-density village features low-rise residences that echo the contours of the surrounding topography and offer unequalled access to one of China’s  landscapes.

The site of verdant scenery and limestone cliffs have long inspired artists and offered sheltered spaces for contemplation and reflection, contributing to its UNESCO Heritage status. Composed in deference to the local topography, the village provides housing, a hotel and communal amenities organized in a linked configuration. As its form evokes the geology of the region, the village blurs the boundaries between the geometries of architecture and nature.

For residents, the apartments will be a quiet retreat –  all have spacious balconies which overlook the lake. Communal amenities and walking paths encourage residents to explore the landscape. Each floor is unique and accessed from shared social spaces, creating a seamless balance between private and public spaces. The same serene design sensibility of natural environment extends to the interiors, with the use of local materials and the incorporation of plants and greenery enhancing comfort and well-being, while simultaneously setting up a closer connection with local culture...

François Lanthier's comment, November 19, 2012 4:48 PM
Love it! Where do you find all thins great information?
association concert urbain's comment, November 19, 2012 4:55 PM
association concert urbain's comment, November 19, 2012 4:55 PM
Via Lauren Moss
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A Desert Oasis by assemblageSTUDIO

A Desert Oasis by assemblageSTUDIO | sustainable architecture |

There are two ways to live with Las Vegas’ harsh climate. The first, epitomized by the hermetically-sealed tract houses ringing the Strip, rejects the reality of the desert in favor of air conditioning and architecture evoking far-off places.

The second strategy embraces the environment for what it is, and looks to the natural world for cues about how to adapt. In their tresARCA house, assemblageSTUDIO took the latter approach. Glass and granite punctuated by a folded steel screen surrounding the second-floor bedrooms, tresARCA’s facade is a meditation on the resilience of the desert landscape.

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Australia's Angophora House by Richard Cole Architecture

Australia's Angophora House by Richard Cole Architecture | sustainable architecture |

Angophora House was designed by Richard Cole Architecture, and it is located in Waverton, a suburb on the lower North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

“Built over an escarpment in a densely urbanised heritage conservation area in Waverton, the form of this house responds to the difficult site using the elements of cave, platform and canopy. On entering the house from the upper road, one passes through a curvaceous enclosing concrete wall with rooftop garden over.

Two platforms launch into the space of the valley, extending out from the anchoring escarpment. Insulated timber moveable walls transform the space from warm and enclosing to open and unimpeded. A sheltering timber lined roof opens to the north, falls in response to the slope of the land and captures framed views of adjacent Angophora trees.

The escarpment is retained, raw and open to the rooms of the lower ground floor. A dramatic lift takes the owners to the garage on the street below.”

Quince's curator insight, December 17, 2013 12:11 PM

"Utilizing the elements of Cave , Platform, and Canopy"  I haven't heard that one before, but I like it! Very nice open design

Lola Ripollés's curator insight, January 8, 5:50 PM

Preciosa casa en Sydney, con un uso magistral de la madera y el hormigón y una increíble fluidez entre el exterior y el interior.

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A Geometric Desert Home in Phoenix

A Geometric Desert Home in Phoenix | sustainable architecture |

At the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, a geometric home by Wendell Burnette opens up to the surrounding desert landscape, while maintaining the property’s natural vegetation and rocky ground surface. 

A lone saguaro marks the southwest corner of Thomas and Laura Hyland’s property, which is situated adjacent to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. The structure’s main living volume is elevated and faced in glass, overlooking a descending pathway that leads to a pool tucked into the site...

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House D by HHF architekten

House D by HHF architekten | sustainable architecture |

Located in Nulgar, Switzerland, House D by HHF Architects has an oriention parallel to the landscape, making the view a matter of prime importance- aross more than 180 degrees, vistas include verdant land with mature fruit trees.

The design accentuates the site with a few simple moves: The main level is an open space – with the kitchen as well as dining and living areas – and alongside a concrete core, the stair to the upper and lower floors. The space is entirely glazed and blends seamlessly with the space outdoors. The outdoor space itself is an oversized terrace overlooking a pool. Because the terrain slopes downward slightly, the wood deck is elevated, which protects the main living space from the curious glances of passers-by.

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Paramount - Alma Residence by p l a s m a studio

Paramount - Alma Residence by p l a s m a studio | sustainable architecture |

This project was conceived to fulfill a two-part problematic: (1) Residence Alma--a Tyrolean guest house with 6 holiday apartments from the 1960s adorned with a pitched roof--was due for a common circulation and service core, and (2) the project architect, Ulla Hell, was looking for a new home for her young family of five in the mountain community of Sesto, Alto Adige.

The result: an under-utilized roof space gave way to an angular crown, connected to a ground floor reception space and architectural office by the host’s renovated spine.

Calin Birzu's comment, September 18, 2013 1:40 PM
Lauren, I find out, that your projects is very good. I like it. I m an artist (restorer), and I think that architecture is an art conception. Thanks
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Seamless and sustainable architecture in Big Sur, California

Seamless and sustainable architecture in Big Sur, California | sustainable architecture |

Set into the hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California, this retreat, seamlessly integrated into the landscape,was designed by Carver & Schicketanz Architects.

Built as a vacation home, the key elements were to build as least disruptively to the landscape as possible and minimise visibility of and from distant neighbors.

In the words of the architects, "We wanted the home to blend with the land, and give the clients a perfect retreat. We accomplished this by cutting a wedge into the gentle hillside and using this space to accommodate multiple functions (garage, laundry, powder room, pantry, mechanical room) underground. As a result the native meadow rolls onto the northern part of the house and ties the building to the landscape. Therefore the house is barely visible to the uphill neighbors."

Sustainable features include hydrotech roofing system planted with native grasses for insulation and minimising aesthetic impact on environment, thermal mass from limestone flooring, rainwater harvesting and cross-ventilation.

Selene Wong's comment, February 25, 2013 7:34 PM
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Sonoma Mountain House by Nielsen Schuh Architects

Sonoma Mountain House by Nielsen Schuh Architects | sustainable architecture |

The Sonoma Mountain House is organized to enhance this experience of drama and discovery, as an integral part of daily life.

A single fold in the uplifting roof allows the house to pan across the immediate setting, and expand outward, while embracing the upslope. A continuous deck extends the from the pool along the length of the house, bridging over the driveway to the guest house. The curved terrain drops abruptly where the guest house tower floats over the slope.

Guests arrive to find they are in the treetops. Spaces that occupy the sheltering structure are open and flowing, so that boundaries dissolve both inside and outside. Materials and finish balance comfort and refinement with the rustic setting. An exuberant structural framework knits into the forest surrounding the house...

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In Harmony with the Environment: Wind-dyed House, Japan

In Harmony with the Environment: Wind-dyed House, Japan | sustainable architecture |

Wind-dyed House by acaa in Yokosuka Kanagawa, Japan

From the architect:

A residential building located halfway up a cliff, overlooking the ocean. Thick clumps of trees that grow along the slope of the land surrounding the house cast a series of organic silhouettes that make the slope seem to come alive. We decided that the appropriate form to build would be as low-lying as possible, while also allowing the architecture to become embedded in the surrounding landscape according to the contours of the terrain. This would allow us to minimize the impact of the building on its environment.

The design of the walls plays an important role in creating the overall sense of presence that a building projects. As such, we also tried to prevent the walls of this house from becoming surfaces that would obstruct or impede movement and sight. Glass and screens along the enclosed perimeter of the house gives the second floor of this residence a certain transparency. Slender, deep-set eaves cast deep shadows on the facade of the building, softening the impact of the building's physical presence in relation to its environment.

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Connected to the Landscape: Contemporary Home in Andros, Greece by Klab Architecture

Connected to the Landscape:  Contemporary Home in Andros, Greece by Klab Architecture | sustainable architecture |
The country house in the island of Andros sits on a remarkable site of hidden and evident beauty.
With the sloping topography dominant, architects had to follow the path between the trees and to execute a design that would maintain the site as much as possible. The decision was to create a very open house with a protected inner courtyard, designed to maintain privacy and to protect from the elements. The house is situated vertically, with stone retaining walls creating a barrier between the inner space and the country road, allowing views of the city and the sea.
Coming from dense cities, the design highlights the calmness and serenity of the countryside and allows inhabitants to be as close to nature as possible. Large windows bring the outside in, making this beautiful design a house for all seasons...
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Biophilic Design at the High Line: 510 West 22nd Street by COOKFOX Architects

Biophilic Design at the High Line: 510 West 22nd Street by COOKFOX Architects | sustainable architecture |

COOKFOX designs a biophilic office building along the High Line that looks to connect with nature and serve as the next version of the sustainable workplace...

While One Bryant Park—the firm’s groundbreaking Platinum LEED tower—distinguished itself on the city skyline with a glacial, shard-like glass profile- 510 West 22nd Street responds directly to the neighboring elevated-rail-turned-urban-park and seeks to connect tenants with the landscape.

The building’s glass curtain wall has dark metal mullions that reflect the High Line’s steel structure and brise-soleils that reduce glare and mitigate heat. The building also has a High Line of its own with a rooftop garden, complete with mobile planters on train tracks.

Inside, high ceilings, abundant daylight, and an under-floor ventilation system create a healthy environment. Views were optimized by cantilevering the floor slabs, making way for unbroken expanses of glass on the perimeter. Operable windows provide access to fresh air and let in the sounds of the birds who live in the High Line’s birch thicket just outside.

510 will seek a LEED Platinum rating, banking not just on the energy saving measures of its high-performance envelope and efficient mechanical systems, but on the strides it takes in establishing an environment conducive to the health and well-being of its human inhabitants...

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Prefab Connected to the Land: House for Gudrun, Austria

Prefab Connected to the Land: House for Gudrun, Austria | sustainable architecture |

With a tight budget, focusing on the most necessary in terms of floor space and construction was essential for this residential project in Austria. The result is a two-room-apartment of prefabricated timber elements on a concrete foundation.

A large living space, two small bedrooms and the entrance are organized around a central core containing the bathroom and technical installations. Four large openings create unique views into the surrounding landscape. According to their orientation – private or public, varying in size and position, with or without parapet, each deeply cut opening has its own characteristic.

A large window to the west offering an idyllic view of the landscape and an entrance leading to the neighbors and outdoors. Sitting on the wooden terrace, the homeowner finds peace and nature, receiving regular visits of neighbors and even those from local rabbits, foxes and deer...

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Sustainability in Sonoma: Green architecture at Stryker Sonoma Winery

Sustainability in Sonoma: Green architecture at Stryker Sonoma Winery | sustainable architecture |

This beautiful, family-owned winery on a 32-acre site in Geyserville, California is noted for its red wine offerings as well as its stunning surroundings and spectacular views, not to mention an architectural design that features green strategies and sustainability as key design elements.

Reflecting Stryker Sonoma's 'bold but thoughtful' philosophy, the design expresses this spirit with a distinctly contemporary aesthetic that references the rural characteristics of the site, creating continuity between the natural and built landscapes.

Designed by Sonoma-based firm Nielsen : Schuh Architects, the winery building incorporates sustainable strategies and passive design concepts at the 12,600 square foot working facility. An environmentally-responsive and site-inspired design serves the needs of the program with minimal development impact to the existing vineyards. The design also conveys the the winemaking processes that occur within it through the thoughtful application of local materials, the incorporation of varying levels of visual transparency, and an environmentally-sensitive site layout.

For more images and to learn more about this beautiful, sustainable destination in Northern California, check out the complete article at the link...

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