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.
Giving old buildings new life is one of the pillars of sustainable living, so it’s always great to see such renovations take place. A great example is this recently renovated windmill in Suffolk, United Kingdom. The windmill is about 125 years old and was just a ruin for a long time, before the local firm Beech Architects turned it into a cozy guesthouse.
The windmill was unused for several decades, during which time it fell to ruin, yet still retained it’s status as being an important landmark in the area, which is why it was not torn down. The renovation took some out-of-the-box thinking and resulted in a guesthouse with a spacious living/dining area, two bedrooms, and a bathroom, some of which are inside the modern, zinc-clad structure at the top of the windmill.
They first had to make the structure habitable, and they started the process by adding insulation panels to the exterior in an effort to keep the interior walls in the original condition, as well as to protect the building from further decay and take advantage of the thermal mass of the structure.
The newly added pod on top of the structure features a machine-cut Kerto timber rib system that is intended to strengthen it against the wind. The Kerto system, made by MetsaWood of Sweden, is constructed out of laminated veneer lumber (LVL). More precisely, it is made from 3mm thick rotary-peeled softwood veneers which are glued together in order to create a continuous sheet. The end result is a very strong and dimensionally stable material. This framework was covered by more than 200 panels of zinc to create the pod. Due to the round walls of the structure all the interior furniture had to be custom made.
The owners live next door to the structure and have plans to rent it out. While it is fantastic that an old structure was given new life here, I have to agree with some of the critics who are saying that it now looks too “alien”. The resulting structure looks nothing like the windmill it used to be, and all the black and metal cladding make it look like something out of a futuristic movie. But that’s a matter of personal preference and aesthetics, and the renovation is an awesome example of adaptive reuse done right.
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.
Using recycled and reclaimed materials when building homes and other structures is slowly, but surely catching on. One recent example of just how great such an endeavor can prove is the home in Mumbai, India, which was designed by the firm S+PS Architects. To construct this home they used reclaimed doors, windows and even pipes, which they salvaged from several demolition sites in the area
The home is located on a hill and they left the traditional style of it pretty much intact. The whole home is built around a central courtyard, which offers great natural ventilation and light, as well as privacy for the inhabitants. The facades of the living and dining area were made from salvaged materials. Most of the repurposed windows used in this area of the home are fully operable, so they can let cool air into the home at need. They also reused old fabrics to upholster furniture, while the flooring is also recycled from salvaged Burmese teak materials.
The walls of the central courtyard are finished with tile samples, or more precisely the leftover stone pieces, which they collected from a local stonecutter’s yard. The metal pipes used in this area are also repurposed, and they serve the function of conducting the water to a rock garden lining the wall. They were made to resemble bamboo stalks, which is a nice touch.
The columns of the roof were repurposed from a 100-year-old home, which was demolished nearby. They also installed a solar power array on the roof which greatly offsets the home’s electric bills.
Using all these repurposed and recycled materials allowed for a cost-effective renovation in this case, but it also went a step further in proving that using such materials doesn’t necessarily take away from the aesthetics of a home. Quite the contrary, this home is modern design at it’s best and a great example of what can be done using reclaimed materials.
Living in a mobile home is a dream for many, and there are many ways of living that dream. Filmmaker Felix Starck and musician Selima Taibi are a young German couple hailing from Berlin, and they recently transformed a yellow school bus into a cozy and quite comfortable home for themselves and their dog Rudi. They plan to live in it full time, while traveling from Alaska to South America.
They used a 39-foot long 1996 Thomas International school bus for the purpose, which they purchased online for $9,500. Once they had it, they moved to the US and began the conversion process, dubbing the entire project Expedition Happiness. It took them 12 weeks to create a home out of the bus. Since they had next to no prior construction experience, they got help from online forums and communities, as well as another couple from North Carolina who had also successfully converted a school bus into a home.
Apart from repurposing a school bus, they also used a number of other salvaged and repurposed materials, such as pallet wood. The interior is nicely spaced out, with a sizable sitting area and dining/work table at the front of the bus, behind the driver’s seat.
The kitchen is also quite large, and features an angled counter, stove, sink and a refrigerator. The cupboards offer plenty of storage space. They split the bathroom into two halves along the middle of the bus, which is quite an interesting solution. The toilet is located in one half, and the shower in the other. They tiled the latter with handmade tiles.
They built the bed themselves, and put large storage drawers underneath it. They also placed it right under the emergency escape hatch in the roof of the bus, which makes for a great skylight. The bus can be hooked up to the grid, but it also features a solar power array on the roof.
The couple has already started their journey and vlog about the experience regularly.