A Former Factory Worker’s Cottage Converted into a Home

Renovating an existing building can sometimes be the greenest choice, and this revamping of a traditional worker’s cottage into a modern family home is certainly a prime example of this. The renovation was carried out by the Australian firm A For Architecture and the home is located in Melbourne, Australia. The house was once the home of a local factory worker and was built in the middle of the nineteenth century, along with hundreds of others just like it.

The original layout of the house featured many small rooms, and consequently a lot of walls. They started the renovation by first taking down a number of these dividing walls, to make the spaces more open. They kept the two bedrooms, which are located at the front of the house, but they moved the bathroom from the rear to the middle of the home, where it is now located next to the laundry room and a storage space. It was completely redone and is quite large, featuring a sink, shower and toilet. A third bedroom is located just above it.

The living area is at the rear of the home and opens onto the back garden. They also installed several skylights into the roof here to let in even more natural daylight. Apart from having a good connection to the garden, the clients also wished for a layout that would allow for both privacy, as well as spaces where the family could spend time together.

For this reason the architects kept the original layout of the bedrooms in the front, while the rest of the home is now basically one large space. Glazing was installed along the entire back wall of the home, which together with the many skylights makes the interior appear spacious, aids ventilation and lets in lots of light. They kept the existing brick walls, but added timber and concrete during the renovation to make it more robust and give the home that modern, industrial aesthetic.

All in all, this is a great renovation of an old building, and they managed to keep heaps of material out of the landfill while transforming it into a lovely family home.

Furniture That Blends the Old with the New


Traditional craft techniques have been in decline, and have mostly been replaced almost entirely by modern production methods. But in recently years we’ve seen some trends aimed at reviving some of them. Which is not a bad thing, since things that have been learned through trial and error and have stood the test of time deserve a place in the modern world.

Such is also the philosophy behind this gorgeous chair, which is the result of the collaboration between the UK-based designer Christopher Jenner and Felicity Irons, one of the last rush weavers in Europe.


They began their work by first reclaiming the necessary materials by foraging the banks of a river. The frame of the chair is made out of 28 sculptural components that were milled from English oak using 5 axis CNC. Each of these pieces is curved individually and then connected to the others, with the junctions highlighted by bringing together pieces with slightly different wood grains. The seat, on the other hand, was hand woven using Scirpus lacustris (a rush native to England and harvested locally by the river Ouse) by Felicity. The weaving process took 7 weeks, and she did not use any chemicals in the process. A series of mechanical oak dowels was then used to attach the seat to the wooden frame.


Only a limited edition of twelve of these chairs was made, as a way to show that modern techniques can easily exist side by side with traditional methods of making furniture to create a piece of furniture that is stylish, unique and practical. Given the care with which it was constructed, it will also very likely stand the test of time. The chair is available from Gallery FUMI, in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, where it can also be viewed.

Sustainable Airport Terminal Built in Norway

There is nothing very sustainable about air travel, but the airport terminals can be, as has now been proven by the architects of Nordic – Office of Architecture who designed and built a new terminal at Norway’s Oslo Airport. The new terminal is equipped with many sustainable and energy-efficient features and was built using recycled materials.

The new extension to the airport is basically a 984 ft (300 m)-long structure and it provides an additional floorspace of 1,237,849 sq ft (115,000 sq m). It was built using primarily recycled and natural materials, such as recycled steel, curved glulam beams, as well as concrete mixed with volcanic ash. The latter is thought to be more sustainable than regular cement, since lower temperatures are needed to mix it, and it is said to have a longer expected lifespan. The cladding and flooring is mostly oak.

The terminal is insulated to Passive House standards, while they also achieved the BREEAM “Excellent” sustainability rating, which is a first for an airport building. They will also be storing the snow collected off the runways in winter and using it to cool the building in the summer. The curved shape of the terminal also maximizes solar heat gain, while the generous glazing lets in ample amounts of natural daylight and eliminates the need for artificial lighting. Oslo only gets about 6 hours of daylight in the winter months, so I suppose artificial lighting will be needed then. As for heating, the terminal utilizes low-carbon technologies like district heating and natural thermal energy.

Overall, this is a great example of large scale sustainable architecture, which needs to become the norm going forward if we wish to preserve the planet.

Industrial Crane Turned into a Private Retreat

Seems that unique remodeling and repurposing projects are popping up everywhere lately, which is a good thing. And this one is every bit as cool as the helicopter turned into a hotel. it is an old industrial crane, which was once used for loading coal, that has been transformed into a private retreat. The project was undertaken by the Copenhagen-based firm Arcgency and is located in the city’s harbor. The aptly named Krane features a luxury multi-floor interior, complete with a spa, meeting room, and a private apartment at the top. It also features a lot of outdoor terrace space.

The first floor of the Krane houses the main entrance and reception area, which seems to have been made out of a recycled shipping container. V set of stairs leads up to the second floor where the meeting area is located. There is ample glazing in this area to create a very light-filled space.

The next level up is accessible via another staircase. This is where the large terrace and spa are located. The latter features several baths and a shower, and has windows that let in lots of light and offer great views of Copenhagen’s Nordhavn harbor.

The private sleeping quarters are located at the top of the structure, and measure 538 sq ft (50 sq m). They can be used to accommodate up to two people. The interior walls are black and the small apartment features a lounge, a kitchenette, a dining table, a double bed, and a bathroom. This area also has its own private terrace. One of the main aims of the designers was to maximize the amount of natural light entering the retreat, and they achieved this by installing ample glazing throughout.

The spa, meeting room and private retreat on the top floor can all be rented out separately, but there is no word yet on how much this will cost. This information will most likely be released soon, though.

Up-Cycled and Sustainable Home

Soon after architect Alexander Symes from Australia bought his first home, he realized that the maintenance tasks never end. To solve this, he carried out an extensive renovation, which resulted in Up-Cycle House, as he now calls it. The home features lots of recycled materials and was renovated with sustainability in mind. The house is located in Blackheath, New South Wales, Australia.

Up-Cycle House measures around 1,119 sq ft (104 sq m), and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with a large, open plan living, dining and kitchen area. The interior furnishings were kept light and clean.

The path leading up to the house was made from railway sleepers and rather unique brickwork, which makes it look like the home is still under construction. This is understandable, since the entire project was carried out by Symes, along with friends and family in their spare time. During the course of the renovation, which was completed in April of this year, Symes taught himself many building techniques. This resulted in a unique style of the home’s entrance, as well as the “solar pergola,” which is a sort of a solar panel-topped garden element that was constructed out of recycled bricks.

They used a lot of recycled materials for this project. The mosaic floors were made from tiles they collected from sample showrooms and recycled building centers, and the unique glazing came from construction waste of other projects and samples.

The existing external sliding door was re-glazed with glass samples and hey also added scrap hardwood to it. The interior glass door, on the other hand, was salvaged from another project, since it was measured incorrectly for that one. The kitchen cabinetry was custom made using timber flooring offcuts, while one of the room dividers was made from salvaged doors, and a recycled Jenga set made of timber.

All the tiling helps keep the interior cool in the summer, while they also added insulation under the floor and in the walls. They also added a reconditioned Norwegian Jotul fireplace, which is used for heating in the winter. The solar array helps offset the home’s dependency on the electrical grid for power, while they also installed a grey water filtration system.

Symes recently sold the home for an undisclosed sum.