Architecture (117)

Urban Treehouse 63-Unit Apartment Building in Italy

…The undulating structure creates a transition from outdoors to in, holding 150 trees that absorb close to 200,000 liters of carbon dioxide an hour. This natural absorption brings pollution protection to its residents, helping to eliminate harmful gasses caused by cars and harsh sounds from the bustling streets outside. The trees’ seasonal progression also creates the ideal microclimate inside the building, steadying temperature extremes during the cold and warmer months…

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Timber Owl Cabin in the French Countryside

Imagine hiking through the greenery around Bordeaux, France, and coming upon a magical little house in the shape of three owls. We’re guessing you’d want to stay awhile, and that’s the point. Les Guetteurs (The Watchers) is one of six oddball, off-grid huts in the Refuges Périurbains (Peri-urban shelters), a program intended to draw curious guests to discover new areas on the edge of the city (a similar project has also taken hold just outside of Copenhagen.)

Designed by Candice Pétrillo and constructed by the French workshop Zébra3/Buy-Sellf, the building was made to resemble a group of small, ground-nesting owls that live in the wetlands around the structure. From the exterior, the timber building looks like a huddle of three owls, their eyes made of large round windows and feathers made from long strips of bent plywood and shorter plywood shingles…

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Nonagan Yurt Treehouse



I spent the weekend at Mountain View Air B&B building a canted-wall nonagon yurt treehouse! I worked with SunRay Kelley, Bonnie, Bob-O, and Tyler Smith. This was such a fun project. I spent one weekend helping assemble the walls for the kit; SunRay and his team did the rest during the week; and last weekend, we built the platform and erected the nonagon yurt.

–Travis Skinner

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The Temple of Promise Built for Burning Man

Temple of Promise, the unbuilt temple for Burning Man 2014

Lloyd,

Humans’ first large structures were long houses. Simple pit houses with a circle of lengths of branches or trees were expanded for larger groups by taking those same short spans and arranging them along a line: a Long House. These basis structures are indigenous to almost all ancient cultures. I felt that the temple at burning man needed to be a reference to our most ancient structures; well before the rise of organized religions. These were spaces for the first assembly of a tribe. A time when we all knew each other, when we all built the building, and we all shared risks, adventures, celebrations and solemn moments. The Temple of Promise was about simplicity of sharing as a group.

When I was 15 or 16, I found Shelter in the local library on the same shelf as Frank Lloyd Wright. The two sets of images gripped my and never let go. Wright’s work was both art and craft mixed with aspiration, while Shelter was accessible, immediate and endearing. My copy of Shelter was worn at the edges within a year was very quickly pile of loose but revered pages. Thirty years later, after working in the trades, completing architecture school, and working in the East Coast, Europe, Asia and Australia and moving to the West Coast, I opened boxes of old possessions. Shelter greeted me from the pile. You can only imagine my joy when I realized that it was written and published just a few miles from where I now called home. I can never fully express the joy and insight Shelter has given me. It gave me a direction and remains a strong reference in my life.

Thank you, Lloyd Kahn,
–Ross

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Layout of Pages on Last Home in Our Book, Small Homes

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Staircase between the two units, in the backyard. Photo by Lloyd Kahn

Just did layout of the last home in our next book, Small Homes: The Right Size. It’s a two-family home converted to a duplex in San Francisco. Downstairs is Jay Nelson, his wife Rachel Kaye, and their daughter Romy; upstairs is Dalia Burde — all three are artists (probably Romy too).

This is what’s called a tenants-in-common agreement, where two parties buy a home together. Listen up, people looking for homes in cities, here’s a way to cut costs in half, with the important prerequisite that you’re compatible (and remain so) with each other.

Want to get it done!

Next we’re working on the front matter and back matter, as well as the all-important, the big kahuna — the cover. We’re probably changing from a single home on the cover to a collage of 14 photos. I’m going to put up our cover choices here for general feedback pretty soon.

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Prefab Homes Made in California

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britespace-avava-systems-4-jpg-650x0_q70_crop-smartunknown-2California-based AVAVA Systems is one of these companies offering high-end, flat-pack, prefabricated small homes with an emphasis on ease of assembly, sustainable materials and seismic strength. The company’s flagship product is the Britespace, which comes in three sizes: 264, 352 and 480 square feet. They all use AVAVA’s innovative framing system, which is not only strong but is relatively simple to put together, taking only a matter of weeks, rather than months, to completely build the home. Incidentally, the system was first successfully tested by founders David Wilson and Michael Kozel during the Burning Man arts festival in 2005, to show that it could be a better alternative to the 150-year-old stick framing system…

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