Unusual Designs

Unusual Designs

You’ve Never Seen A Pre-Fab Cabin Quite Like This

Pre-fabricated architecture has taken the world by storm in the last decade, and it’s easy to see why. Build a house in a factory and piece it together on a plot of land hundreds of miles away, all in a matter of weeks? Count me in. There are, however, limitations to this type of construction, forcing architects to adhere to a box that will fit neatly on the back of a flat bed truck.

The thing about Swedish designer Torsten Ottesjö? He isn’t really into limitations.

Ottesjö works for Cargo Collective, who aimed to take pre-fab to the a-typical limit. They ended up with an organic, curvilinear form that flies in the face of everything we’re used to seeing in factory-built structures. The cabin is inspired by an abundant native fish, and consists of a single open space that slithers its way through the landscape. Local wood species are draped inside and out, further tying this one-of-a-kind modular building into it’s final resting place.

Young Couple Used Recycled Windows To Build This Incredible Glass House

Chipped paint, faded finishes and dingy old glass didn’t stop this couple from up-cycling an array of discarded windows and salvaged wood into unbelievable DIY home. The unique facade is the focus of a home that they build entirely out of recycled materials – a project that cost them only $500!

Photographer Nick Olson and designer Lilah Horwitz designed and built this low-cost cabin retreat among the picturesque West Virginian mountains. They aimed to construct a space that would act as a vessel to fuel both of their creative endeavors. It had to be unique, inspiring, and above all else – cheap.

“We were able to make it a reality because we are first artists and creators. We had to be resourceful to do it cheaply,” explained Nick.

A nearby abandon barn provided plenty of charm and salvaged materials to draw design cues from (not to mention free resources). While the cabin isn’t their primary residence, the couple frequents it as much as they can to recharge their creative batteries and marvel at the collective potential of their efforts.

 

Disgusting Old Cave Turned Into A Seriously Luxurious Home

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23-year-old Alexis Lamoureux’s story is a familiar one. The French national from a picturesque French village on the banks of the Loire River was left scrambling after losing his bartending job at a struggling local bar. He and his girlfriend faced few options pitted against soaring housing prices that plagued many European nations.

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Where Alexis’ story goes from there? Not so common. An opportunity presented itself in the form of what some would describe as a troglodyte home that was once owned by his great aunt. Call it what you will, it’s basically a decrepit old network of hallways and rooms carved into the side of a mountain. In other words, it’s a cave. Add in 25 years of neglect and a heaping pile of garbage and you’ve got yourself the situation Alexis found himself in after purchasing the home from auction for the towering sum of 1 euro.

The transformation that took place next is nothing short of astonishing as you can see.

It’s Alive! This Home Uses Compost For Climate Control

A collection of crafty and clever students at Japan’s Waseda University have developed a way to utilize the natural fermentation process of straw to heat and cool your home. On the interior, pre-fabricated acrylic boxes are stuffed full of common straw. The straw is left to ferment and compost, naturally giving off a staggering amount of heat – up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit!

The design of the home is fairly simple – meant to be more of a shell for experimentation than a display of architectural ingenuity. It serves its purpose well enough to showcase this nontraditional building technology, and the exterior is also clad in straw, showcasing its use as an effective weather barrier.

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The fermentation is a result of a low-odor composting technique called “bokashi” (meaning “fermented organic matter”). The process happens over a four week period, so the real downside to this type of system would be the maintenance. If anything, the project is an example of what is possible using natural processes in building tech.fermenting straw2 The acrylic boxes are placed strategically throughout the interior so as to provide each space with the appropriate amount of heat.fermenting straw3 In the summer, the dormant straw that has already been composed acts as a natural insulator – keeping the home passively cool. They will even release moisture, which acts as a natural cooling mechanism. fermenting straw4 This floor plan shows where the boxes are hung on the interior walls.fermenting straw5

Designed by Masaki Ogasawara, Keisuke Tsukada and Erika Mikami, the students hope the prototype ushers in new and interesting investigations into natural building technologies. Their “Recipe to Live” house is certainly an example of the possibilities as we move towards a move eco-conscious society.

Images by Waseda University.

A Good Home Is Made Great With An Up-Cycled Spartan Trailer

A well-designed home with large open spaces, contemporary materials, and plenty of natural light can be a very good thing. But sometimes, there needs to be something truly unique as a focus for the home to be considered great. This is the notion architect Andrew Hinman took to heart when he designed this Texas home around a re-used Spartan Trailer.

The shimmering silvery cladding of the now immobile recreational tube is presented prominently in the composition of the home. Functionally, it operates in much of the same way it always has, only now it acts as a focal appendage to the sleek glass and steel enclosure that engulfs it. The architect wanted to celebrate the use of a recycled component in the context of a well-crafted modern structure.

spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-1 A massive shed roof towers over the trailer and the interior space adjacent to it. A large sun room occupies this space, acting as an extension of the living quarters of the trailer.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-2 An exterior soaking tub ties the home in with it’s desert surroundings, emulating the feel of camping that the trailer once embraced.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-3 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-4 The space adjacent to the trailer opens up to the sunny desert vista.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-5 Looking back at the trailer from the interior, it maintains its original aluminum sheen.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-6 As you can see, stepping inside the trailer is like stepping through a portal into the past.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-7 The rest of the home feels quite new and contemporary, sitting in contrast to the retro presence the trailer provides.spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-8 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-9 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-10 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-11 spartan-house-by-andrew-hinman-architecture-12

Photos by Paul Bardigjy.

Sleek Forest Home Where The Forest Is Actually In The Home

Building a home often means flattening the plot of land set to be developed, effectively destroying what made the site interesting in the first place. However, when trying to design something truly beautiful we find that architecture can only be as good as the land it embraces.

Meet the Casa Corallo by Guatemalan based architecture firm Paz Arquitectura. Rather than uprooting the trees that natively inhabited the building site, they literally designed the home around the natural vegetation. Towering trees flank, loom, and even pierce through the home in a way that blends existing and new in elegant symbiosis.
casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-1 Two trees frame the entry of the mostly concrete home. The harsh material was used to provide ironic contrast between natural and man-made.casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-2 casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-6 The home spill down the natural slope of the hillside as a stone path melts together with low brush.casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-8 The interiors are highlighted by tree trunks that climb up through the floors. In many cases, the location of the trees dictated the spatial organization.
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While the home is large and imposing, the choice to involve the trees so prominently in the design speaks to the sensitivity the architect had towards the land.

9 Most Amazing Green Roofs In The World

Green roofs have plenty to offer. Not only are they architecturally interesting, they have a drastic effect on reducing a building’s carbon footprint. Covering any roof in a thick layer of properly drained vegetation naturally insulates the interior, but also absorbs heat that would typically be reflected back into the sky, preventing all kinds of ecological problems on a large enough scale.

Architects have taken notice, and are beginning to embrace green roofs as a focal point of their designs. Here are 9 green roofs that will knock your socks off (which is good, because no one wants to walk on grass with socks on).

1 | 8 House | Bjark Ingles Group (BIG)

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BIG is known for going…well…big! This green roof is no different. The symmetrical shed roofs provide the perfect opportunity for the dual cascading green carpets that meet at an exterior courtyard at the base of the structure. (source)

2 | CR Land Guanganmen Green Tech Showroom | Vector Architects

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When a green roof isn’t enough, why no couple it with some green walls? Vector Architects have left no exterior sufrace naked, creating an extruded square shell that naturally protects the interiors from swings in temperature. (source)

3 | California Academy Of Sciences | Renzo Piano

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If I didn’t use ‘undulating’ and ‘elegant’ in the same sentence to describe this one I’d have an angry gathering of former architecture professors burning me at the stake (not literally). Mr. Piano is a master of his craft, and this is one of the truly iconic contemporary buildings in the Western Hemisphere. (source)

4 | Marcel Sembat High School | archi5

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High school has changed a lot since my day. This beautiful structure is highlighted by the (don’t say undulating…don’t say undulating) faceted curvilinear roof structure (nailed it). (source)

5 | Beijing Capital International Airport | Foster + Partners

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In a stroke of perfect irony, visitors to the world’s most industrial, pollutant contributing city are greeted with one of the world’s most sprawling green roof. China is no stranger to environmental paradox, as they are a leader in sustainable development, yet continue to degrade the planet through their bustling industry. (source)

6 | School of Art, Media, and Design | CPG

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Two interlocking sloped green roofs wrap around a central public space in this project by Singapore based firm CPG. The roofs are accessilble to visitors, providing a lush carpet to make a picinic and take in a view of the surrounding Nanyang. (source)

7 | Villa Bio | Enric Ruiz-Geli

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Spanish architect Enric Ruiz-Geli designed this home intented to reflect the landscape of the area. Even though it’s surrounded by homes that are less-than-camouflage, the green roof acts as a bridge between natural and man-made.(source)

8 | Chicago City Hall | City of Chicago

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In 2001, the City of Chicago tasked a team of architects, landscape architects and engineers to design and build a 38,800 square feet of green space. It is an initiative that makes great strides towards covering our cities in  well-manicured lawns. (source)

9 | Vancouver Convention Center | LMN + DA with MCM

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A lush carpet of green velvet covers this convention center, which sits in a prestigious waterfront site in the heart of downtown Vancouver, BC. The architectural team created a man-made peninsula that mirrors the surrounding landscape. (source)

A Wartime Bunker Is A Good Place For A Home, Right? Right!

Netherlands based architecture firm B-ILD have transformed this decrepit, ancient war-time bunker into a cool, rustic-chic getaway. I’d be the first to keep my arm down in a show of hands of people who thought a dank old bomb shelter would make a good place to reside, but seeing this project might have just changed my mind. It’s an unorthodox adaptive re-use project that, at first glance, doesn’t have a lot going for it. Upon closer look, that’s exactly what the architect used to craft a majestic underground dwelling.

The ironic thing is that B-UILD’s additions are minimal and strategic, allowing the weathered board-formed concrete walls to define the aesthetic of the space. It’s a move that pays off in the end, turning the very thing that made the space desolate into what makes it shine. The bunker is small, occupying only 118 square feet of floor area. As a space saver, the sleeping area deploys barracks-style bunk beds; an appropriate nod to a common war-time building type.

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5 Reasons The Legoland Hotel Is The best Vacation Option For Families

Have you ever wondered which hotel would be best for a family vacation with your two young children? The search is over. Just recently the much anticipated Legoland Hotel opened. The structure sits in Winter Haven, Florida and is styled to look like legos.

Let’s step inside, shall we?

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“From the minute you walk into Legoland Hotel, you can see it’s totally designed and built for kids,” said Legoland spokesperson Julie Estrada.

The hotel includes 2000 hand built Lego items, like a massive grunt guarding the moat, waiting about to smash you.

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You can eat at Bricks Family Restaurant, where everyone can enjoy a healthy and fresh meal.

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Enroll the kids in a “Master Brick Building” and head to the pool to sip a cocktail.

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Vibrant scenes like this won’t leave your kid wanting for imagination or claiming they’re “bored”.

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Just check out the bed! The kiddos won’t have any trouble hopping in there around bedtime.

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They have boys and girls options so there’s no arguing over who gets which.

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Did we mention cocktails under the sun?

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Can’t you summon your inner child and go floating on a lego block?

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Small House With A Yard/Doghouse Floats Down The Thames River

Airbnb just listed a home, complete with a yard that has green grass, an apple tree, and a doghouse. Doesn’t sound that interesting you say? Well, consider that it also floats down the Thames.

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This 70-ton, two story home includes two bedrooms, a working bathroom, living room, and all the usual amenities you’d expect to find in a house. The home will cruise past neighborhoods like Chelsea, Westminster, and Canary Wharfy until May 22.

image © mikael buck / airbnb