A few new details have come to light regarding the skyscraper Solar Carve Tower designed by Studio Gang planned in New York City. Plans for the tower were first revealed back in 2012. This unique tower was designed in a way that doesn’t obstruct the view of the adjacent buildings, or cast shade on its surrounding area. Construction will begin soon.
The Solar Carve Tower will be a mixed-use building that will be 213 ft (65 m) high and have a total floorspace of 166,750 sq ft (15,491 sq m). The building will also have a huge rooftop garden, while most of the floors will also have private terraces. They are aiming to achieve the LEED Gold certification, though they have not announced how they plan to get it. It will most likely be though sustainable features such as water efficiency, solar power, use of recycled materials and others.
The building will be constructed in NYC’s meatpacking district directly over the High Line. To achieve the no-shade casting objective, as well as not to obstruct anyone’s view, the building looks like it had chunks of its façade carved out, though the end result is a very interesting addition to the NYC skyline. Airflow and ventilation were also a consideration in the design.
The fact that skyscrapers are casting too much shadow is a real concern in NYC and something that has led to residents protesting in the past. Many projects do not get the go-ahead precisely because of this. And it is certainly nice to see architects starting to work around this problem, as they did in the case of the Solar Carve Tower. Bringing sustainable tech and more greenery to the city is also a bonus.
They estimate that the Solar Carve tower will be completed and in use by early 2019.
Living in small urban apartments can get very cramped very fast. But a lot of people aren’t willing to forgo living in the city center, and that is where clever multipurpose furniture units come in. We’ve seen a lot of them pop up in the last few years, and this one, created by German designer Nils Holger Moormann is one of the best. He designed and built it in collaboration with B&O Group and the prototype shows that it does have lots of potential to free up living space.
The unit is basically a cube, which functions as a room within a room. The top part of it, accessible via a set of stairs, acts as the bedroom and is large enough for a queen-sized bed. The stairs leading up to it have built-in drawers for storage.
The cube also serves other functions such as providing eating, working and reading space, each of which has one side of the unit dedicated to it. The cube also has space to store dishes, books, and even a bike. It also features fold-down parts, such as the blackboard, which can be used as an extension of the kitchen counter or a dining table. The hollow part inside the cube can be used as a storage area for a variety of items, which goes a long way towards keeping the rest of the apartment clutter free.
The cube is built out of wood and designed in a minimalist way so that it will blend seamlessly with practically any décor. It’s also a great way to create a loft in a studio apartment without actually having to go through complicated construction work.
There’s no word on price yet, since this unit is still in the prototype stage. But so far, it looks like this will be a welcome addition to the lineup of multipurpose furniture units that are already available.
The tiny house maker Tiny Heirloom recently completed another unique and luxury tiny home. This one is called Rocky Mountain Tiny Home and is used as a vacation cabin by a family of four in Colorado. The home features some clever design solutions, which make the family’s stay there as cozy and comfortable as possible.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home was built atop a 28 ft (8.5 m)-long triple-axle trailer, but since it features overhanging lofts the total length of it is 32 ft (9.7 m). the exterior is clad in wood and metal, which gives it a rustic yet modern aesthetic. The home features a lounge area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and two bedrooms. There is also a home office, which is separated from the rest of the home by a sliding door.
The kitchen is quite spacious and features a mini-dishwasher, a range cooker, and a fridge. It is fitted with a copper sink. There is also a skylight in this area of the home, which is operated by a touchscreen display that’s mounted on the wall. The lounge is at one end of the home, and is equipped with a dining table on wheels, which allows it to be moved to where it’s needed.
The bedrooms are located in the two lofts and each is accessible via a storage stair. The master bedroom is quite spacious, while the children’s bedroom is big enough to fit two twin beds, which are separated by a bookcase to give each of the kids some privacy. There are skylights in both the bedrooms too.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home also features a rooftop-mounted solar panel array, which is connected to batteries and an inverter. A propane-powered mini-split system takes care of the heating and cooling needs, while they use a tankless gas water heater for getting hot water. The home is also fitted with LED lighting throughout. It cost about $125,000 to build.
Even when you work from home, it’s important to have your own workspace or office, which is separated from the rest of the living areas. Still, it’s sometimes hard to have that, especially when living small. But architect Petr Stolín from the Czech Republic came up with a very clever way to achieve this work/living separation. His so-called Zen Houses are made up of two volumes, one of which is used just for working, while the other for living in. He was inspired by the simplicity and minimalism of traditional Japanese architecture in creating them, hence the name.
Each volume of the Zen House is 9.8 ft (3 m) wide and they are made from simple and, for the most part, recyclable materials such as chipboard, wooden beams, plywood, raw metal and rubber. The two volumes are clad in transparent acrylic panels. The interior is also very Zen-like. The office part of the home is all painted white, which has a calming, energizing effect, while the living part of the home is done up mostly in black, which is intended to promote rest and relaxation. It reminds me of the ying and yang concept, which might have been part of the architect’s intention when choosing the color scheme. Both the volumes have a mezzanine level, which increases the floor area of the spaces yet still keeps the interior open. The two volumes also feature large windows, which links them visually. They are connected by a wooden deck, and this area between the two volumes is perfect for outdoor lounging.
Having your home office this clearly separated from your living spaces is a dream from many freelancers and work-from-home entrepreneurs. It’s hard enough to leave the job behind at the end of the day, and when you work from home, this becomes even harder. And the overall design and color choices for this home are in themselves very inspiring.
The recently unveiled Gapahuk cabin was designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and the leisure home builder Rindalshytter. It can be equipped to operate completely independently of the grid, and comes in a prefabricated package, meaning it can be built virtually anywhere.
The Gapahuk is a single story structure and has 968 sq ft (90 sq m) of interior floorspace. The interior is well-laid out, with most of the space taken up by a large open plan living/dining area and kitchen. The home also features three bedrooms, a spacious bathroom with a shower and toilet, and another separate toilet. The home also features a large covered outdoor deck, and plenty of storage areas, both inside and out.
Judging from the renders, the finished home will feature ample glazing, while most of the interior and exterior surfaces will be clad in wood. While the basic version is intended to be hooked up to the grid, it would also be easy to install the necessary tech to take if off-grid. according to the firm, the cabin’s sloping roof is ideal for installing solar panels, while it also protects from both the sun and from high winds. The home is heated by a wood burning stove, while it would probably be relatively simple to install a composting toilet, and a couple of water tanks and a water filtration system. Since the home was designed in Norway, it is probably safe to assume it offers comfortable living conditions even in the harshest climates.
The Gapahuk is probably the closest thing you can get to a professionally designed, high-end prefab home at the moment, and as such also carries a hefty price tag. It costs roughly $156,600 (1350,000 NOK) which does not include construction, or any of the off-grid features.