We spend more and more time indoors, glued to our computers and tablets. One solution to this is certainly changing our habits, but another is also living in a home that allows more contact with the world outside it. And that’s exactly what the recently unveiled Breathe house, designed by the NYC firm SO-IL offers. The design of it may be a bit “Haute Couture” but it is still a great idea.
Breathe is being marketed as an active living experience home. It is narrow and three stories high, and instead of traditional walls, the home is wrapped in a breathable, light-permeable skin of “purifying fabric” which lets in and filters light and air.
The home was designed in collaboration with MINI Living and erected on a 538 sq ft (50 sq m) lot. The home has a minimal carbon footprint, and features a modular steel frame that divides the home into six living spaces. There is also a garden on the roof, which is fitted with a rainwater collection system that provides water for the household.
The ground floor features a kitchen that opens into the outdoors. A spiral staircase leads from this level into the lounge and work area, and further up into the sleeping area. Semi-opaque screens separate the different spaces of the home, offering privacy while at the same time letting in light and air.
The skin covering the home is reusable, and made from a translucent PVC mesh, which creates a sort of microclimate inside the home. It filters in light, while also filtering air since it’s coating captures dust and dirt and prevents it from entering the home. At the same time, these walls do not keep the outside out, meaning that inhabitants can still experience everything that goes on around them.
Breathe features a flat pack design, so it is easy to both assemble and disassemble it. It is also easy to transport it to just about anywhere. It is not, however, suitable for all climates and locations. The main aim of the design was to challenge traditional ideas about what housing must be like, and instead offer a solution that could bring us all closer to nature. It is certainly innovative.
The tiny house firm Escape has just released the so-called Traveler XL Limited, which is an upgraded and expanded version of their 2015 model of the same name. The new model is bigger than the original and can sleep up to 10 people, which is very impressive for a tiny house.
The Traveler XL rests atop a triple-axle trailer an is 30 ft (9.1 m) long. The interior measures 344 sq ft (32 sq m). the home features plenty of large windows, which let in lots of light making it appear even more spacious. Much of the ground floor is taken up by the living area, which includes a sofa bed. Next to this is the kitchenette, which features regular sized appliances, including a fridge and a range cooker. There is also a good amount of counter space and a sink.
The bathroom is located on one end of the tiny house and is big enough to contain a 5 ft (1.5 m)-long tub, which is impressive. It also has a toilet, sink and cabinet, and enough space to install a washer/dryer unit.
The standard configuration of the home has 2 bedrooms. The master is on the ground floor, with enough headroom to stand up in. The second bedroom is in a loft, which is accessible via a ladder. The company offers the option of adding a second loft, which is large enough for several beds. In this case, and with the sofa bed, the house Is big enough for ten people to sleep in. This would get a bit cramped, I imagine, but is still quite a feat to get that much sleeping space out of a tiny home.
They also offer a number of add-ons to take this home off-the-grid. They offer two solar power packages. The first has a 500 W solar panel array, which is connected to a 200 Ah battery storage unit. They also offer a version with a 1 kW solar panel array that is linked to a 400 Ah battery storage unit. The home can also be ordered with a normal RV hookup for electricity, and customers have the choice of installing a composting toilet.
The standard version of the Traveler XL Limited costs $78,500.
As more and more people decide to downsize to a tiny home, it has become imperative that these homes be made as cold-proof as possible. The Quebec, Canada-based firm Minimaliste recently completed this luxury tiny home for a client, which is exactly that. Apart from being very well-insulated, it also features many other comforts usually reserved for larger houses.
The so-called Sakura home measures 380 sq ft (35 sq m) and was built on a gooseneck trailer. it features a living area, which can easily be converted into a dining room. This is done with the help of modular sofa pieces that can be moved around, and a coffee table that is designed to open up into a 22 by 60 inch (56 by 152 cm) dining table, which can seat up to four people. The home also features a large bedroom and a bathroom big enough for a tub.
The kitchen runs along two facing walls, and is equipped with a fridge and stove. The bedroom is in a loft, which is accessible via a storage staircase. There is additional storage under the bed, and there is a lot of headroom in this area. There is also a second loft which can be used as a sort of reading nook and provides access to the cedar roof deck, through a skylight.
The home is also equipped with a number of sustainable features such as a composting toilet, hydronic radiant heating in the floors, a Lunos air exchanger with a heat recovery system, and a three-level water filtration system. Water passing through this filter goes through a pressure regulator, a big sediments filter, a fine sediments filter, and lastly through a water sanitizer, so pretty much any kind of water can be filtered using it.
The Sakura is a luxury home with many add-ons, so the price tag reflects that, since it cost a whopping $102,000.
A team of professionals at ETH Zurich have started work on a house which will be digitally fabricated at nearly all stages of the construction process. The so-called DFAB House is being crafted at the NEST building near Zurich in Switzerland. Designing and constructing it will be a team effort between architects, robotics specialists, materials scientists, structural engineers and sustainability experts, as well as local contractor Erne AG Holzbau. One of the main aims of constructing this house is putting sustainable technologies developed in labs to real-life use to test them.
When completed, DFAB House will measure 2153 sq ft (200 sq m). The ground floor walls are being built by a 6.6 ft (2 m) tall robot with a toolhead that is used to bend and weld 0.24 inch (6 mm) steel rebar to construct the mesh wall framework. This is then filled with a specially formulated concrete which hardens so that it does not leak through the gaps. This process will result in a curved wall, while the robot used to build it is autonomous and moves around on caterpillar tracks. The ceilings of the house will be constructed using a 3D sand printer.
The so-called Smart Dynamic Casting method will be used for the ground floor façade. This is a new slipform construction method which allows for complex structural elements to be built without needing concrete molds. A team of robots will be used to construct the building’s upper floors, using prefab timber elements.
Apart from providing apartments and work spaces for guest researchers and NEST partners, the house will also be fitted with a range of smart home and IoT technologies, including innovative systems that communicate with and learn from each other, as well as other energy control systems. The DFAB House is expected to be finished by the summer of 2018.
Bamboo is a very sustainable building material but it is often passed over, primarily due to its vulnerability to insect infestation and moisture. However, other properties give it an unparalleled potential as a very durable, and versatile building material, so it’s nice to see big projects such as this sports and assembly hall in Chiang Mai Thailand, being constructed using it. The sports hall is the work of the local firm Chiangmai Life Architects and the actual design was inspired by the lotus flower.
Chiangmai Life Architects have been using bamboo on various of their projects, which include villas, offices, homes and schools in the vicinity of the Thai city of Chiang Mai. This sports and assembly hall was commissioned by the Panyaden International School and can house up to 300 people.
The structure is quite impressive and uses passive cooling techniques with the help of natural ventilation to keep inhabitants comfortable in this hot and wet climate. The hall measures 50 ft (15 m) across and is quite high. According to the architects, the carbon footprint of this building is 90 percent lower than that of a comparable structure that was built using traditional construction methods.
The space will be used to host basketball, volleyball and badminton games, while it also houses three smaller volleyball and badminton courts for practice. There is also a stage which is used for school assemblies and can be lifted and lowered automatically. There are also several balconies for parents and other spectators lining the courts.