Proposed Paris Building Renovation is Really Out There

French architect Stéphane Malka has a very interesting proposal for how to renovate an old apartment building in Paris. Plug-in City 75, as the project is named, calls for attaching a series of wooden boxes to the building’s façade, which will have the dual function of increasing the interior space of the apartments, as well as make the structure more energy efficient.

Malka came up with this idea because the local building codes do not allow for extending buildings upward, but extending them outward is allowed. He has already designed the wooden boxes to be used for this purpose. They vary in size and are all prefabricated off-site. The building that is to get this interesting facelift is located in Paris’ 16th arrondissement, and was build in the 1970s.

The prefab boxes to be used will be lightweight, and built using sustainably-sourced wood. Plans call for them to be mounted onto the building’s facade. The occupants of the building will be able to decide what they want to use the added space for, such as a lounge, balcony or a loggia. The renovated building will also have a green façade, thanks to the greenery planted along the boxes.

According to Malka’s calculations, these new additions to the façade will reduce the building’s energy expenditure from the current 190 kWh per sq m (10.8 sq ft) per year to 45 kWh per m2 (10.8 sq ft) per year. That’s quite a reduction, and it will be interesting to see if these numbers are achieved in practice. The Plug-in City 75 project will be completed mid-2018.

Overall, this is a great example of an old building renovation done right. This project will boost energy efficiency and create larger living spaces in one go, which should be the goal of urban renovation projects worldwide, if we are to successfully reduce our carbon and energy footprint.

Tiny Minimalist Home Made of Wood

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It seems like tiny homes are gaining in popularity all over the world. The lovely minimalist one pictured above was designed by a Seoul, South Korea-based firm The+Partners and DNC Architects. It’s primary aim is to act as supplementary housing for visitors of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be hosted in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do. But it could also easily be a full-time tiny home.

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This tiny home measures 213 sq ft (20 sq m) and is made of wooden modules. In fact, wood covers most of the surfaces inside the home, giving it a cozy, cabin-like feel. It features an open living area, a small kitchen, a loft bedroom, and a very well-sized bathroom. The home also features ample glazing throughout, which floods the interior with natural light.

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The bedroom is accessible via a set of cleverly designed stairs, which feature an interesting alternating tread design allowing it to take up less space. It also features ample storage space. The kitchen is quite small, but the bathroom is another story. It’s quite large for a tiny home, has wooden flooring and an open shower, as well as a toilet and sink. The homes will also feature a blackened shou shugi ban exterior.

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They haven’t disclosed how many of these they will be building to serve as housing for the Olympics. They did reveal that they chose this minimalist design so that the surrounding natural landscape would remain as unspoiled as possible. This tiny home is part of a wider project called The Tiny House Of Slow Town, the aim of which is developing the town without over-building. The tiny homes will also be built using as little materials as possible. Though not explicitly stated, they will most likely keep these houses in place even after the Olympics are over, and rent them out as a hotel of sorts.

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A Smart Tiny Home

Generally, tiny homes are all about going back to the basics, meaning they don’t feature a lot of modern, cutting edge technology. But Covo Tiny House Company has changed all that with their new model, the so-called Covo Mio tiny home. The latter features lots of smart tech, including lighting that can be controlled with a smartphone app, a smart door lock, and an Amazon Echo.

The Covo Mio rests atop a 26 ft (7.9 m)-long double-axle trailer and measures a modest 330 sq ft (30 sq m). It also has a cleverly positioned storage compartment, which is attached to the rear of the house. Most of the interior space is taken up by the lounge, kitchen and dining area. The sitting area features a sofa and a TV, while the kitchen is equipped with a stainless steel cooktop and oven, as well as a 7 ft (2.1 m)-long breakfast bar, which serves as the main eating space. The tiny home also features a bathroom, which is fitted with a toilet and a shower.

The home also features two lofts, one that is intended to be used as the master bedroom, and the second for storage. Both are accessible via a ladder. The tiny home also features ample glazing, which lets in plenty of natural daylight and aids ventilation.

The basic model is being sold for $59,999 and features all of the above. But what differentiates this tiny home from others on the market are the high-end smart technology features which are available as an upgrade. These include LED lighting throughout, a Schlage Z-Wave door lock, and a Bluetooth sound system, which are all connected to a Wink Hub and can be controlled with a dedicated smartphone app. Optional upgrades also include an efficient mini-split heating-and-cooling unit, a Nest thermostat, USB charging ports, an Amazon Echo, a 50-inch TV, and a sitting/standing working desk. The home features a standard RV hookup for electricity, while an off-the-grid package is also available, and includes a solar power system and a composting toilet.

These extras, along with other upgrades such as a walnut butcher block countertop, raise the price of this home up to roughly $100,000.

Treehouse Made to Co-exist in With the Trees That Surround it

Once upon a time, treehouses were considered just a play room for kids, but lately they have been gaining popularity as vacation houses and even-full time homes. And for good reason, since it’s hard to imagine a more fun way to live then up in a tree. The South African architecture firm Malan Vorster have recently completed this great example of treehouse architecture. It is located in a Cape Town, South Africa suburb.

The home has one bedroom, and was placed on stilts on the highest point in the clearing where it stands, in order to provide the best views. The layout of the home is quite interesting. The core of the structure is a square, while there are also a total of four semi-circular bays jutting out. The center of each of the circles features a four-part column and a circular ring out of which steel arms branch out to support the floor beams above. They used laser-cut and folded Corten steel plate for these, and they made it look a lot like a tree, in an effort to find that balance between man made things and nature.

These steel arms support the timber floor beams, as well as the facade glazing and the building envelope which was made using western red cedar. Brass components were used to create the connections between the steel and the timber. They also left all the materials used in the build untreated to allow them to weather naturally just like the trees that surround the home. The contrast between the metal and wood is also quite striking, and really brings to mind the complex relationship between man and nature.

The treehouse features plenty of glazing, which allows the residents to feel like they’re part of the nature surrounding it. The contrast between the metal and wood is also quite striking, and really brings to mind the complex relationship between man and nature.

 

Raised Shelter for Hikers

The summer hiking season is in full swing in Europe and now there is a new place to rest on your travels. The UK-based architecture firm Studio Weave, working with the Bruit du Frigo collective, has recently built this lovely hiking shelter near Bordeaux, France. The structure is raised off the ground and rests atop a weathered steel platform. And anyone can stay in it for free.

The shelter is named Le Haut Perché and is a part of the so-called Les Refuges Périurbains project, under the auspices of which many other shelters in the Bordeaux area were recently built. The main aim of the project is to make the exploration of the less famous areas around Bordeaux more appealing by offering a network of free shelters.

Le Haut Perché is located in a gorgeous spot surrounded by trees and streams, while it is also very close to the main water source of Bordeaux. The structure is clad in timber, while the designers drew inspiration from the water towers in the vicinity. The shelter is raised off the ground on weathered steel stilts and one must climb up a set of stairs to gain entry.

The interior is very basic. It consists of just one room with a large mattress that can sleep up to six people. I’m not sure how appealing this sleeping arrangement is, as I would definitely not want to be stuck sleeping in the middle. There is no electricity, or running water, as well as no toilet. But there is a toilet nearby, so that part is taken care of.

If you wish to stay at Le Haut Perché, or another of the free-to-stay Les Refuges Périurbains shelters, you need to make a reservation on their website to get the key. It appears that anyone, no matter where they are from can stay in one of these shelters.