Recycled Shipping Container House

It’s been awhile since we reported on a cool new shipping container home, but this awesome piece of cargotecture easily makes up for that. It’s called Kin Kin Container House and it was built using a disused shipping container that was already on the property when owner Troy Walker purchased it. Most of the interior furnishings are also made from recycled materials, so it’s an all-around winner. The home is located in Kin Kin, Queensland, Australia.

The shipping container forms just half of the total living area of this home. Troy began the transformation by first cutting out one of the longer sides of the container and he used the pieces to build a bathroom. The rest of the components of the home are also salvaged or recycled and include 1970s era jalousie windows and hardwood poles, as well as a bathroom sink and a fire pit that he constructed using a stainless steel beer keg.

The home has no insulation. The interior walls are finished with plywood, with many of the steel elements left exposed. The home is also covered by a large roof which shields it from the sun and therefore keeps the interior cooler. Troy located the recycled building materials online and at local salvage yards, which he admits was a very time consuming and even costly process.

The home features elements of so-called passive design, with the overhangs letting in the sun in the winter but blocking it out in the summer. It measures 967 sq ft (90 sq m) and features a spacious open plan living, dining and kitchen area, as well as a loft bedroom that has plenty of head room and is big enough to fit a king sized bed. The loft is accessible via a ladder. The home also features a spacious bathroom with a tub, toilet and sink.

The home is fitted with a hybrid solar power system, while the place is kept airy and cool thanks to the bi-fold glass doors and louvres. There is also spacious outdoor deck.

Troy is renting out the cabin via AirBnb and a single night’s stay costs about $70.

Water Filtration Using Wood Fibers

 

One of the key components of living off-the-grid is an effective method of water filtration, and a team of researchers at the Swedish KTH Royal Institute of Technology has uncovered a simple and affordable way of doing that. They have developed a technique to filter water using wood fibers.

The main aim of this project is to provide clean water in refugee camps, though the method could easily be used in any setting where a green and off-grid water filtration is needed.

The team created a new material out of wood fibers and a positively-charged polymer, which binds bacteria to its surface. In this way, the bacteria in the water are removed and the water is purified. Another use for this new material is also prevention of infection, since it can be used in bandages and plasters.

However, the main aim of this project is providing an affordable and easy to use filter for a portable water purification system, which isn’t reliant on electricity. All that’s needed for it to do its job is gravity, which forces the water through it. The bacteria is removed from the water by the material, while the filter itself doesn’t cause any toxic chemicals to enter the water as is the case with many currently used on-site water filtration options.

The filter they created works on the basis of the positively-charged polymer attracting the negatively charged bacteria and viruses in the water. The bacteria which are stuck to the surface of the polymer in this way cannot get unstuck or reproduce, and they eventually die. No chemicals or antibacterial agents are used in this process, which also means that creating bacterial resistance is not an issue.

Disposal is also easy, since the wood filter can simply be burned once it is no longer effective.

The City of Nanjing Will Soon Get a Vertical Forest

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When architect Stefano Boeri first came up with the concept of the so-called Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), that is two skyscrapers clad in greenery, many people believed it would remain just a concept and never see the light of day. But now, a third Vertical Forest is to be built in Nanjing, China.

The Nanjing Vertical Forest, as the project is called, will consist of two skyscrapers rising from a shared podium. One will be 656 ft (200 m) high and the other 354 ft (108 m). Apart from apartments they will also house a hotel, office space, a green architecture school, restaurants, a conference hall, an exhibition spaces, and retail space. The taller skyscraper will also have a private club on the roof, and the smaller one will have a rooftop swimming pool.

Together, the buildings will be clad in 600 tall trees and 500 medium-sized trees that will be sourced from 23 local species. The façade will also feature 2,500 cascading plants and shrubs in concrete planters that will be integrated into the units’ balconies. It is estimated that all this will absorb 25 tons of CO2 annually, an produce around 132 lbs (60 kg) of oxygen per day.

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A lot of concrete will be used to construct the towers, so it’s still debatable just how sustainable these Vertical Forests actually are. But giving city dwellers a chance to have a garden in their apartment will definitely improve their quality of life.

The Nanjing Vertical Forest is being financed by the Nanjing Yang Zi State-Owned Investment Group and will be completed by 2018. Boeri is also busy improving his original designs for the Vertical Forest and hopes to see more of them built around in China in the near future, in cities such as Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou, Shanghai and Chongqing.

Unique New Roof Concept for Arid Regions

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Water is growing scarce in many regions of the world, which in turn leads to food scarcity as well. To combat this problem the Iranian firm BMDesign Studios has come up with an innovative concept for a new type of roof, which would effectively collect rainwater and funnel it to be used for various purposes.

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The solution they’re proposing is a double-roof that has a bowl-shaped component, which is used for collecting rainwater. This design is also specially adapted to areas with low precipitation where the little water that falls also evaporates very quickly. The bowl-shaped roof is designed in a way that allows for even the tiniest quantities of rainwater to form bigger drops that can be successfully harvested before evaporating.

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The main roof of the home atop which this concave part would sit is also slightly domed, meaning that during the sunniest part of the day only a small part of the roof is exposed to direct sunlight, while the airflow between the two parts is also increased, which keeps the interior of the house cooler. The bowl part of the roof also provides extra shade.

They are estimating that a school building fitted with 9,935 sq ft (923 sq m) of this type of roof would allow for the collection of 7,396 gallons (28 cubic m) of water. The water collected in this way would be stored in tanks placed between the walls of the building, which would have the added benefit of passively cooling the interior. In this way, a lot of the carbon footprint of using air-conditioning would be offset. They are also proposing the construction of several “wind towers”, which would be used to introduce fresh air into the buildings topped by these new roofs.

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They are currently still working on perfecting their design with the aim of increasing the efficiency of water collection even further. Overall, it’s great to see architects using traditional methods and applying them when seeking modern solutions.

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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