Svalbard Global Secure Seed Bank on the Norwegien Island of Spitsbergen

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The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a safe storage for the seeds of literary all the plants in our planet. It can withstand a nuclear strike, and aims to preserve crops in the face of climate change, war and natural disasters. The facility is managed by the Nordic Genetic Resource Center and protects crop diversity by safeguarding spare seeds that belong to the other 1400 seed banks found worldwide.
When full, the vault will hold 4.5m samples – an estimated two billion seeds – from all known varieties of the planet’s main food crops, making it possible to re-establish plants if they disappear from their natural environment or are obliterated by major disasters. That’s why the facility is also called the “Biodiversity Doomsday Vault”.
The seedbank is 120 metres (390 ft) inside a sandstone mountain on Spitsbergen Island,and employs robust security systems. Seeds are packaged in special four-ply packets and heat sealed to exclude moisture. The facility is managed by the Nordic Genetic Resource Center, though there are no permanent staff on-site.
via croptrust.org

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Hillside Coastal Home In Spain by Anna Podio Arquitectura

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This secluded modern house in Cala Canyet, which is situated between a coastal road linking Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Tossa de Mar near the small town of Santa Cristina d’Aro, Spain was designed by Anna Podio Arquitectura.
The home enjoys 180 degree views of the Mediterranean Sea. Its open plan, large windows and the infinite pool on the main level bring the sea fully into the home.
The façade cladding is made of natural limestone and a large format of porcelain tiles. Energy efficiency was achieved with cross ventilation between different levels, home automation systems and solar energy.
via annapodio.com

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Cliff Dwelling by Specht Architects. Austin, Texas

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Suspended on a narrow limestone ridge halfway down a cliff overlooking Lake Austin, this home builds upon the frame of an existing 1970s-era structure. The renovation re-works the processional sequence into and through the house making it habitable for an elderly couple, enhancing engagement with the dramatic site, and incorporating elements that have personal importance to the owners.
The original entry was via a dangerous exterior ramp that ran from street level down to a front door, 25’ below. One now enters via a light-filled pavilion that overlooks the lake and opens onto a large rooftop herb garden. A sequence of stairs, supplemented by an elevator, descends through the three levels of the house, revealing views of both the lake and the limestone cliff.
Materials incorporated into the house include flooring that the owners salvaged and saved, furniture made from a collection of industrial parts, and stone from a quarry they frequented during vacations.
via spechtarchitects.com

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Two Hulls House by MLS Architects. Nova Scotia, Canada

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This project is situated in a glaciated, coastal landscape, with a cool maritime climate. The geomorphology of the site consists of granite bedrock and boulder till, creating pristine white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. The two pavilions float above the shoreline like two ship’s hulls up on cradles for the winter, forming protected outdoor places both between and under them.
This is a landscape-viewing instrument; like a pair of binoculars, first looking out to sea. A third transverse ‘eye’ looks down the coastline, and forms a linking entry piece. A concrete seawall on the foreshore protects the house from rogue waves.

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Scottish Ruin Tranformed into Modern House by WT Architecture. Isle of Coll, UK

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This mid-1700s house on the wind-whipped Scottish Isle of Coll has been revitalized by a contemporary renovation after being abandoned for 150 years. WT Architecture was tasked with the unusual challenge of integrating a crumbling ruin with a modern, environmentally sensitive home. The White House’s fractured facade forms the perfect bookend for the new building, contributing great character and history while protecting the new home from the brutal Atlantic winds. Step inside and you’ll find yourself firmly in the 21st century – the home features sweeping banks of glass that face the breaking ocean, open living spaces, and locally sourced low-impact materials.
The massive stone walls of the original home were doomed to failure as they were set on top of a sandy foundation and further eroded by treasure hunters searching for buried gold. A century later the home was abandoned to the whims of the coast until a couple decided that it would be the perfect backbone for a new house. The first job was to firm up the home’s stone walls and foundation. The new home huddles within the confines of the immense walls and branches out with a glass-lined living room at the home’s core. The other wing is buffeted by a large dry stacked stone wall. Lighter materials such as wooden beams and steel provide basic building elements while reducing the energy needed to ship materials to the site.
via wtarchitecture.com

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House on the Cliff by F Silvestre Arquitectos Alicante. Spain

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The house on the cliff is definitely something else. It was designed by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos from Valencia who have managed to make it look like it respects the surrounding nature, while still proudly keeping its own integrity and boasting its bold form.
The 242 sq m house is in Toix Mascarat, Calpe, Alicante in Spain. It is made entirely of concrete, but the walls were covered with stucco which made it bright white. This feature emphasizes the unity of the entire house – even though its shape was dictated by the extremely uneven natural surface – but it still represents the traditional architecture of the entire area. Its most prominent feature is the 60 ft balcony that provides excellent view of The Mediterranean Sea.
The lowest floor features a swimming pool terrace that offers a stunning view of the sea. Actually, the sea is visible from almost any point of the house. Even the stairs have been placed outside enabling the inhabitants to move from one level to the other while observing the scenery. The rest at the top of the stairs, right next to the door positioned within the outside wall, is another viewpoint.
via fransilvestrearquitectos.com

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Hut on Sleds by Crosson Architects Whangapoua, New Zealand

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On the shore of an idyllic white sanded beach in New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula rests an elegant hut. Closed up, the rough macrocarpa-cladding blends into the landscape and perches quietly on the dunes, as passersby wonder how it could possibly function for a family of five.
Designed to close up against the elements, the hut measures a mere 40 square metres and rests on two thick wooden sleds that allow it to be shifted around the beach front section. This innovative portability is a response to the ever changing landscape that line the beachfront in this coastal erosion zone.
Within the hut, the ingenuity reveals itself further as no nook or cranny is overlooked. Every available space has been utilised, right down to the secret individual cubby holes hidden in the children’s bunk room.
For these clients it was all about the real essence of the hut; small, simple and functional. The hut comes to life when the enormous shutter on the northeast facade winches open to form an awning, revealing two-storey high steel-framed glass doors that form the main entrance. The hut then transforms into a sun drenched haven, opening up to the views of the surf and the distant Mercury Islands.
The mezzanine bedroom is accessed by climbing a wall-mounted ladder through a closeable hatch, it shares the same view as downstairs through the huge glass doors. Climb the ladder again and you arrive on a roof terrace which catches rainwater for the gravity tanks behind.
From the industrial style fittings to the quirky furnishings, this whole structure plays with the idea of the most egalitarian of Kiwi recreations and embraces and challenges the image of the traditional Kiwi bach. Small, simply and elegantly self-contained, this tiny elegant hut strips holiday living right back to basics.
via crosson.co.nz

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1221 Broadway by LakeFlato Architects. San Antonio, Texas

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Lake|Flato’s task was to find the best use for 19 concrete superstructures spanning three city blocks that were built 15 years ago and then abandoned. “The trend in San Antonio is big, blocky buildings without sequestered space for community,” says David Lake, FAIA, who likened the puzzle to a Rubik’s Cube. “We wanted to make a place with a strong sense of purpose and identity.”
Part of a 350-acre master plan to reinvigorate the downtown and river area, the new compound is a standalone destination for urban living. Concrete, metal, and stucco-clad buildings with varied balcony types give the sense that it was built over time, and big projecting arbors and patios help the buildings meet the street gracefully. They’re ringed with five courtyards, each with its own color and character, for swimming, grilling, and outdoor theater. The multilevel outdoor bridges connecting the units with the garages also supply a bit of theater. “Some people are walking two city blocks from the garage to their unit, so it has to be fun,” Lake says. “There are incredible views of downtown, and people meet and talk on bridges.”
via lakeflato.com

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Summer House by Studio Arthur Casas. Sao Paulo, Brazil

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This summerhouse near São Paulo was built for a couple with three grown-up daughters. It had to conciliate the dichotomy between framing astonishing views to a golf course and woods towards the dark south and seeking abundant light on the street side, towards north. The solution was to arrange the spaces following the latitudinal axis of the plot in a manner that would provide framed views to the landscape and bring the sunlight altogether.

The house is divided in two sections: on one side there are four bedrooms for the daughters and guests. They open towards a long corridor with a glass wall facing south and are protected by wooden louvers in front of a dense garden facing north. On the other side, social areas form one single common space integrated with the surrounding context. The dry climate of the region led to the creation of a small pond that embraces the house. It is 50 centimeters deep, containing fishes and plants able to keep the water naturally clean. Several rocks create a particularly astonishing atmosphere and part of the pond was deepened to be used as a swimming pool.

The wood flooring in the private areas is replaced by rough stone in the common areas. The living room has a high wood ceiling of 3.6 meters that brings warmth to the house and extends to the outside, connecting interior and exterior. A lower wooden volume next to the living room holds a powder room and a cellar. The horizontality of the space is highlighted by a succession of layouts that comprehend an entrance hall, a living room with a hearth and a dining room, all along the exterior terrace. A continuous zenithal slit that lightens the opposite side of the space is a technical prowess with no beams crossing its path. The connection between both spaces is enhanced by glass doors that slide within the walls and disappear from view. Further, next to this room, a gourmet kitchen and a home theater can also be integrated through sliding walls. Outside, the wooden deck conceals a Jacuzzi underneath the floor. Next to it, a ground hearth made of stone stands as the perfect spot for gathering on clear nights.

via arthurcasas.com

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Villa N by GHA in Liguria, Italy

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The villa plays with the cultural landscape of the Ligurian terraces becoming part of it.The natural stone facades have large openings facing the valley and the sea.

The villa is composed of two half subterranean volumes arranged on a single floor, following the morphology of the ground and creating a noble central entrance which leads one side to the large open space living with dining area and kitchen and to the other are 5 bedrooms which all benefit from a private outside space and views over the sea. The sun deck situated in front of the living room opens up to the 4x14m infinity swimming pool overlooking the magnificent valley. The corridor and service areas are all naturally illuminated by large openable skylights.The Villa incorporates a pantry, laundry, storage rooms, technical service rooms and external storage in the garage with 2 parking spaces

Significant containment walls create a continuity between the building, the interior and the external surrounding. The garden patio and the sun shading canapies create an mediating filter between inside and outside. The green roof contributes to the harmonic insertion into the landscape and minimizes the visual impact of the building. To increase the natural environment, the house is surrounded with mediterranean essences. The permeability of the terrain is maximized by using a combination of gravel and timber surfaces.

The highly isolated subterranean shelf and the efficient control and use of solar and renewable energy, reduces significantly the energy consumption of the building while obtaining a superior house comfort, bringing the building up to Passivhaus standards.

via gha4u.com

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