Quirky Cabana: Little Retreat Blends into Sloped Landscape

Despite its colorful mix of materials, a simple and strong concept stands behind the design of this house: the idea of raising up the existing ground and making it into the roof, in turn intended to nurse native plants.
Set in central California, the building uses reclaimed bark (maybe a bit rough for facades, but it does make for a sustainable cladding system), which further helps the structure look like a part of its natural surroundings.

The structure itself is situated to take advantage of the down-slope view of the ocean,

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Low-Impact Sustainable Homes for Families in Remote Places

A team of students at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University have joined forces to find a simple but effective sustainable pre-fab home that can be transported anywhere, even to remote locations, and assembled on the spot. The homes aren’t luxurious by any standard, but they are strong enough to withstand harsh weather comfortably. The main part of the home – the middle module – contains a kitchen, bathroom, and dining area. The additional modules on either side contain an office, a living area and bedrooms.

The

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Curvy Solar House is a Cozy, Green, Shared Student Abode

Twenty-five students from Sweden’s Chalmers University designed and built a sustainable shared home that is meant to emphasize shared space while providing private spaces for the residents as well.

At only 60 square meters, you might not expect this small home to hold four residents comfortably. The secret to making this home work is to have the shared spaces do double duty. Built-in furniture in the middle of the home actually supports the private sleeping lofts above. The downstairs public spaces are spacious and the upstairs

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Low-Cost House: Hybrid Home of Cheap Cargo Containers

In practice building a whole house out of containers can prove challenging. In this design, part of the solution was to use containers as needed then frame with other materials around them.

The resulting structure, made for a family of seven, includes three containers and a series of semi-outdoor paths, walls and rooms situated around and in between them. These are contained inside a simple metal framework, spanned by doors, windows and translucent panels to create the needed degree of shade and insulation.

Having high

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Upcycle House Made of Textural Post-Consumer Materials

Two shipping containers are the foundation for a single-family home made almost entirely of reclaimed post-consumer materials. Imaginative reuse of waste products like aluminum soda cans, champagne corks and recycled glass have helped lower the carbon emissions by 86% compared to the average home.

Textural reclaimed materials contrast with white surfaces on the interior, including cork tile floors, bath tiles made of recycled glass and wall panels consisting of wood chips that are by-products of various processes and pressed together

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Low-Impact Prefab Vacation Cabin is at Home Anywhere

This modern prefab dwelling is adaptable to every location.It was designed for the hospitality industry as a kind of green alternative to large hotels. Atop the solid stone base, a shell of sustainable material houses only the basics: a bedroom and bathroom, along with a bit of storage space. The suite is a stylish refuge and easily adaptable to the cabin’s location. Two or more cabins can be grouped together to form a chateau perfect for an eco-friendly weekend getaway.

A series of metal poles “ties” the oversize eave to the

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Eco-Friendly Home Produces More Energy Than It Uses

One of the goals of eco-friendly construction is to create homes that not only use fewer resources than conventional homes, but actually produce more energy than they consume. The house, located in Kladnica, Bulgaria, is energy efficient while minimizing its impact on the picturesque mountainous surroundings.

The home was built on a solid concrete foundation with concrete supporting frames and garage roof, but the rest of the structure is lightweight steel and timber. Thanks to excellent insulation and sun protection, the home needs

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Solar panels

Solar panels can be used as your source of electrical energy. Aside from economy, it can also protect from fires and short circuits. Solar panels are placed on the roof facing the east to west in order to make sure that you will get enough solar energy. If you haven’t placed solar panels yet, make sure that your roof is designed with this provision. Pick a roofing material that will reflect radiant heat like a light-colored standing seam metal roof.

Source: http://homedesignlover.com/

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Flooring

Depending on the function of your room, you can choose from a variety of flooring materials like marble, parquet, granite, terrazzo, ceramic, wood and bamboo. But if you really want an eco-friendly flooring, it would be better to use laminated wood and bamboo especially for your bedroom.

Source: http://homedesignlover.com/

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Walls

Choose wall materials that can absorb solar heat like natural or fabricated brick. Bricks made up of sand, lime, cement and others are good for they are fire-resistant, absorb sun’s heat and have low water absorption. Some use ceramics for their walls which is also good for it is low in maintenance and could create an elegant look.

Source: http://homedesignlover.com/

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Roofing

Green roofing is cost efficient and attractive. Using a green roofing system can give extra insulation that helps keep energy consumption down. It can be used on some parts of the roof or for the entire roof. If you will not use green grass roofs, you can still go green by controlling storm water runoff with perimeter drains, gutters and subsurface drainage systems. You can collect rain water using rainwater catchment so that it can be used for washing clothes, flushing toilets, watering plants and irrigating landscapes. Do not use asphalt

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Layout

Most green homes have open design layouts in order to reduce construction cost. It also improves light and ventilation. It would also be easier to arrange your furniture if you have an open space. If you would like to have a touch of nature in some parts of the house, you can have them directly connected to an outdoor space for gatherings.

Source: http://homedesignlover.com/

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Rooms

Choose room locations by considering the mount of natural light and air that could enter it. You can also take into consideration the amount of heat that can enter your room in some time of the day. But you also have to consider the usage of the room in order to determine which ones will need enough heat and cold.

Source: http://homedesignlover.com/

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Windows

Windows should have wood or aluminum frames. Aluminum can be reused, free of toxins, energy-saving, cost-effective and free of cancer causing substances. The size of windows can be adjusted in relation to the mass of walls and floors that receives direct or indirect light. Place roof overhangs, canopies or awnings to shade your room from excessive heat. Try to determine the direction of prevailing winds and use casement windows on these areas for it can help hollowing out air that can give natural ventilation.

Source:

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Building Materials

If you are serious about having a green home, use materials that make your home environmental friendly. You can make use of cement, ceramics, bricks, aluminum, glass, and steel as the main raw material in building your home. Before, wood was the primary material for green homes but due to the issue on illegal logging, wood was replaced by mild steel and aluminum. Mild steel can be used for roof trusses, walling, ceiling and others. Mild steel is stainless, lighter, more robust, easy to install and would last longer. You can also use LED

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Building Orientation

It is important to consider how your home is positioned in the location you have chosen. Make sure that it is aligned on the east-west axis and the windows face true north or true south. For places with hot climates, place large windows at the north side to scoop in cool air and spread light. On the south side, have smaller windows and have shades for direct sunlight by using canopies and roof overhang. For cooler climates, minimize window sizes on the north side to minimize heat loss and larger windows on the south side to let more sunlight

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Site Conditions

Before you plan in making your home, you have to determine which site you would like to use. Observe if the area inspires you and suites to your wants. It should also be able to provide space for solar access, gardens, privacy, water and air. Since a green home is built to last, you need to look for a land you truly like where you can spend most of your time.

Source: http://homedesignlover.com/

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Brandt Aion Kitchen

Antoine Lebrun’s futuristic design is an eco-multifunctional kitchen incorporating electromechanical technology. Special plants developed by the aerospace industry with filtering and cleaning properties provide constantly renewable, clean water and soap. The unit also contains a cooking surface and sink. It even comes with an inbuilt dishwasher where dirty dishes can be put into the sink and professionally cleaned.

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I-Sopod

This revolutionary bath tub design is the handy work of i-sopod. Like a car straight out of a sci-fi film, this bath tub is constructed using doubled skinned GRP mouldings. Whilst open, the tub lights up like a Christmas tree using its in-built LEDs to create the perfect ambiance. The tub also comes with its very own mp3 player and has the latest filtration system.

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Affinity Chair

They say seeing is believing, but not when it comes to this next design. Ben Alun-Jones’ affinity chair attempts the impossible by re-creating the effect of invisibility by exploring light and space. Using one-way mirror film, plastic acrylic, LEDs and ultrasonic sensors the chair cloaks itself and blends into its environment. The futuristic feature also has the ability to interact with humans, by flashing LED’s the nearer you get to the seat.

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Arc Shower System

Designed by David Koo, this magnificent hi-tech shower is a capable of switching between normal mode and an energy saving mode by recycling hot water on site. This next generation water system is far more energy efficient then current day showers. The device comes equipped with a touch screen panel along with temperature and pressure control buttons.

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Toyo Isola S Kitchen Island

Created by Toyo Kitchens, this kitchen furniture can fit into any space. The innovative Ying Yang design is accompanied with three electric cooker rings, a sink and loads of space for all your kitchenware in the elaborate corrugated drawers. Like Ying and Yang this design fuses into perfect harmony, futuristic design and practicality.

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Ecotypic Bed

Designed by Arthur Xin this bed brings around the next generation of eco living/sleeping. Equipped with LEDs to help the plants grow, as well as speakers to play music that lull you to sleep, this bed also comes with its very own power-generating system. All activities such as weight lifting, in and around the bed are converted into energy, making it 100% eco-friendly. The main highlight of the bed is the integrated plants which are supported by a built in planter.

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Cloud

Award winning designers David Koo and Zheng Yawei have come up with this revolutionary concept design. Using magnetic force the base will levitate a soft upper cushion. This physics-defying couch could be the perfect place to drift off into dreamland after a long day at work.

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Kure Family Dining Table

Created by Turkish designer Faith Can Sarioz whose inspiration may have come from the animated show, the Jetsons, this dining table features the innovative concept of a sphere which can be cloesed to save space. Open, this pod-like dining table blossoms like a flower and seats six. It houses a light at the centre with a glowing blue light at the base.

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Concoon Bed

Wasserbetten has taken design to new heights with this amazing bed using innovative technology and incorporating a Yacht design. This bed would actually feel more at home in space than the bedroom. It contains built-in surround sound, therapeutic lighting, water bed sound and a water mattress to simulate the weightlessness of space.

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Z. Island

Designed for Scholtes by renowned Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid this futuristic prototype design features a touchscreen control panel, heating membranes, sound activators, aromatic scent dispensers, LED lights along with a multimedia entertainment system that comes with a flat screen TV and an Apple mac mini which would complement any modern day home.

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LEGO Architecture: The Best Kind of Architecture

Lego Architecture is a sub-brand and product range of the Lego construction toy, which aims to “celebrate the past, present and future of architecture through the Lego Brick”. The brand includes a series of Lego sets designed by ‘Architectural Artist’ Adam Reed Tucker, and each contain the pieces and instructions to build a model of a famous architectural building in micro-scale.

Lego is a medium that offers instant gratification. No matter how large a project is, it is a one-step process; there’s no gluey mess, sanding, or

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Let your Phone Control your Home

Samsung Wi-Fi-enabled washer and dryer: the latest in smart home technology

The electronics giant has equipped a 5.2 cu. ft. capacity WF457 front-loading washer with a Smart Control system, allowing users to stay connected to the washer without having to manually control it at the machine. Consumers can, via a smart phone application, monitor cycle selections, remaining time and finishing alerts, as well as remotely start or pause the washer from anywhere in the house.

August Smart-Lock: Turn Your

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Newport Tower, Newport, RI

Speculation has swirled around this stone structure in Newport’s Touro Park for centuries. Was it an observatory? A windmill? Nobody knows for sure. Twenty-eight-feet tall and estimated to be 500 years old, it’s curiously located and perfectly aligned with other points on the planet, including 5,000-year-old Stonehenge. Some archaeologists even consider the tower to be evidence of pre-Colombian contact in the Americas.

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Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Rennes-le-Château, France

The mystery of this church in southeastern France reaches far beyond Dan Brown novels. Bérenger Saunière, a priest in the village of Rennes-le-Château in the early 1900s, is believed to have discovered the treasure of the Cathars, a Christian sect founded in the 11th century, inside this clue-laden house of worship. The cache of gold is rumored to have been stolen from the Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70—and possibly connected to the legends surrounding the super-secret Priory of Sion, Knights Templar, Holy Grail, and the

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Porta Magica, Rome

It’s out in the open, but easy to overlook the mystery within Piazza Vittorio in Rome’s Esquilino neighborhood. The Porta Magica (“Magic Door,” a.k.a. “Alchemist’s Door”) is the only remaining entrance to the 17th-century villa of Massimiliano Palombara, who became obsessed with a recipe to turn metal into gold. Given to him by an alchemist, the recipe was written in a secret code that Palombara was unable to read. At a loss, he had the recipe inscribed into the door of his home, hoping that one of The Alchemists of Palazzo

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Coral Castle, Homestead, FL

Made from 1,100 tons of limestone boulders—bigger than those at Stonehenge—this structure, located just south of Miami, was built from 1923 to 1951 by a single man, a tiny Latvian immigrant named Edward Leedskalnin, as his home and an homage to the love of his life who left him the night before their wedding.

Mystery: How did he do it? The jilted man claimed he knew the secret to the pyramids’ construction. Other details—no mortar, precise seams, physics-defying balancing acts—have

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Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, Hjørring, Denmark

Jutting out from a desolate dune called Lønstrup Klint (cliff), this ghostly sentinel was built in 1900 but abandoned in 1968 after sands and sea began to devour it whole. The sturdy 75-foot-tall building will likely collapse from shifting sands and coastal erosion in the next decade—and it makes you wonder what other ancient Viking relics lie beneath the sand.

Mystery: The tower was built on a dune-less cliff 656 feet from the sea and nearly 200-feet above sea level, yet, despite rescue

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Yaxchilán, Chiapas, Mexico

This obscure fourth-century site, along the Usumacinta River at the Guatemala border, draped in thick strangler vines and echoing with shrieking howler monkeys, is a tourist-free standout among Mexico’s many ruins. Visitors approach by boat, then enter through El Laberinto (The Labyrinth), a limestone building with painted stucco panels and topped with decorative cresteríasdedicated to ruler kings like Moon Skull.

Mystery: Yaxchilán was mysteriously deserted in the ninth century, but

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Skara Brae, Orkney Islands,Scotland

Previously thought to be a Pictish village, this massive and mysterious Orcadian village on the Bay of Skaill is still being excavated—and changing everything we know about Europe’s pre-Celtic era in the process. The 5,000-year-old site predates the Egyptian pyramids. orkneyjar.com/history/skarabrae

Mystery: Even though the village was deserted thousands of years ago, the buildings at Skara Brae remain in good condition. Archaeologists don’t know why the last inhabitants left, although

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Renwick Hospital, Roosevelt Island, New York City

This abandoned Smallpox Hospital, replete with granite veneer, corbelled parapets, and mansard roofs, is a reminder of Gotham’s grisly past. Its 100 hospital beds once hosted quarantined immigrants suffering from the gruesome disease. An ongoing $4.5 million restoration project will open Renwick to the public in 2013, kicking off with an art project that includes giant butterflies hovering over the site.

Mystery: Renwick is currently illuminated at night by an anonymous patron, who

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Fictional Architects in Movies

Barack Obama wanted to be an architect, so did Brat Pitt. Hollywood can’t get enough of them. For architects, it is not important what we learn about architecture from the films, but rather, what the films may reveal about popular perceptions of architects.

The Complete List: (Is there anyone missing?)
Paul Newman in “The Towering Inferno”:
Keanu Reeves in “The Lake”:
Steve Martin in “HouseSitter”:
Woody Harrelson in “Indecent Proposal”:
Michael Keaton in “White

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Holman House

High atop a 230-foot seaside cliff outside Sydney, Australia, the 3,498-square foot Holman House is a palace fit for a rock star. The plan is open, maximizing the benefits of sunlight and sea breezes. The concrete core acts as a thermally insulated box, reducing need for heating, even in the mild climate. The lower areas are of rough stone, blending into the local rock. The interior furnishings are natural materials.

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X House

The design clearly pay homage to Phillip Johnson’s iconic Glass House, which is now more than 50 years old. Yet the goal of creating more seamless integration with the surrounding environment, as well as leaving a smaller footprint, are clearly as relevant as ever. The 4,090-square foot X House near Quito, Ecuador is like an expanded, updated Glass House, oriented around a central courtyard.

Designed by Arquitectura X, the X House is recyclable, and features water-saving fixtures and efficient evaporative cooling.

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Inverness House

Perched on a steep slope above Tomales Bay in Inverness, California, this unique home was inspired by the rustic character of its surroundings. Designed by Studios Architecture to flow with the natural contours of the hillside, the house is flooded with natural light. It is made with locally sourced pine and takes advantage of passive solar heating and cooling, supplemented with efficient (and cozy!) radiant floors. The 1,840-square foot home also features water-saving technology.

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Small House on the Oregon Coast

325 square feet
Obie G. Bowman, Chris Heath
Gold Beach, Oregon

This small, off-grid cabin was designed as a guest house, and visitors are rewarded with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Its “A-frame” shape helps it weather a demanding climate, including winds up to 90 miles per hour.

The small home is powered by solar panels and features gorgeous, locally sourced cedar. The dark concrete floor slab serves as a thermal mass that helps store heat during the day, releasing it in the evening.

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Watershed House

70 square feet
FLOAT Architectural Research and Design
Wren, Oregon

Built for a writer who wanted to channel his own inner Thoreau, the tiny Watershed House has got to offer some of the most stylish living available in 70 square feet. Reducing a cramped feeling, the cabin has lots of openings to let the light and the scenery in.

Watershed is built in a prefabricated process that reduces waste and disturbance to the site. The polycarbonate roof provides shading and diffuses the light, and the windows are double

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Joshua Tree House

387.5 square feet
Hangar Design Group
Mobile

Would you believe that this space-efficient design features two bedrooms, a kitchen and two bathrooms?

The small-but-comfortable house is prefabricated off site from recyclable metal cladding and wood. Several skylights provide illumination and ventilation, and the plumbing and electrical systems are designed to leave no visible mark on the terrain should the house be picked up and moved to a new vista.

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Getty’s new exhibition

Overdrive: LA Constructs the Future 1940-1990
Getty Center – Los Angeles
Through July 21, 2013

With Overdrive, at the Getty, we get an opportunity to see much of LA spread out before us in one place. This panoramic view should change the way we perceive its architecture and urbanism.

The exhibit shows how architects creatively interpreted the new conditions of Southern California’s multi-centered suburban metropolis, and how those concepts continued to evolve.

Overdrive is the story of a remarkable

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The London Bridge Tower,London

Nicknamed The Shard for its eight jagged vertical glass panels, this Renzo Piano–designed tower has offices, residential floors, and a Shangri-La hotel. Controversial since its completion in mid-2012, the 95-story skyscraper—built in an irregular pyramidal shape—is remaking the iconic London skyline. Visitors can take in the city from the viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor, situated at a dizzying height of 804 feet.

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

This immersive, slightly trippy garden fantasyland, opened in 2011, is made up of various botanical attractions designed as sustainable public spaces. Highlights include the “Supertree Grove,” a forest of 16-story-high man-made structures covered with living plants and boasting photovoltaic cells that harvest solar energy (the trees are spectacularly illuminated at night), and the Flower Dome, the world’s largest column-less greenhouse—air is cooled at the lower occupied zones through chilled water pipes in ground slabs, while warm

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Absolute World Towers, Canada

Another head-turning creation from the nonconformist minds at Beijing-based architectural firm MAD, these twin residential towers (completed in 2012) are so curvaceous in design they’ve been nicknamed the Marilyn Monroe Towers. Located in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, the skyscrapers—518 and 589 feet tall, respectively—twist 209 degrees from the base to the top, and have already won accolades from Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a nonprofit group of architects and engineers who named them the best tall

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Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi

Dubai typically hogs the limelight with its ambitious projects, but now Abu Dhabi is defying gravity with this glassy 35-story landmark—the world’s furthest-leaning man-made tower. The glinting 18-degree tilt (four times more than that of Pisa’s leaning tower) catches your eye among the city’s jumble of skyscrapers and cranes.

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Metropol Parasol – Seville, Spain

If you want to know what Alice felt like in Wonderland, head to Seville, where a trippy new pavilion has sprung up in the Plaza de la Encarnacíon. Undulating blonde timber structures with a honeycomb roof make up the world’s largest wooden building, known by locals as “Setas de la Encarnación,” or the Mushrooms of Incarnation. It’s home to an archaeological museum, a farmers’ market, and an elevated plaza with bars and restaurants.

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Lincoln Road Parking Garage, Miami

The modernist open-air structure designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron opened in 2010 and has become a hot spot for events, while hip shops and restaurants like Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack draw daytime crowds. Developer Robert Wennett refers to the trapezoidal house of cards as a “parking sculpture,” complete with an adjacent water garden and a Dan Graham–designed glass pavilion. The mixed-use venue was a winner of the 2011 T+L Design Awards.

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Hermitage Plaza, Paris

When you think of innovative 21st-century architecture, Paris isn’t the first city that springs to mind. But these ambitious Foster + Partners–designed twin skyscrapers will challenge that perception once completed. They are on track to become the tallest buildings in the EU, topping out at 1,050 feet, and will provide the business district of the city, east of La Défense, with a riverfront park lined with shops and restaurants. The towers are also energy efficient, with high-tech insulation and solar shading.

Launch Date:

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The 5 Lagoons, Maldives

Developers may just have landed on a viable future for this picturesque but low-lying Indian Ocean archipelago, which is threatened by rising sea levels: floating resorts. A master plan called The 5 Lagoons, a joint venture between Netherlands-based developer Dutch Docklands and the Maldivian government, aims to create five floating wonderlands made up of resorts and golf courses linked by underwater tunnels.

The first phase, The Ocean Flower, comprises 185 luxury homes along a flower-shaped quay in the prestigious North Male atoll.

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Spaceport America, New Mexico

This Foster + Partners-designed commercial spaceport in the New Mexico desert resembles, naturally, a spaceship. It is the future launch site of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic tours of outer space—slated for blastoff in late 2013. Twelve flight tests have been hosted since 2006 at the vertical launch area, and public launches occur on a regular basis, including the annual student launch project.

Once fully operational, the site will contain an airfield, launchpads, terminal/hangar facility, emergency response capabilities,

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Wine Museum, Lavaux, Switzerland

For sheer audacity, nothing beats these plans for a monument to the Lavaux wine-making region. Swiss firm Mauro Turin Architects envisions cantilevering the museum from the side of a mountain overlooking the historic vineyards (some of which date back to the 11th century)—a feat of engineering those ancient vintners would surely never have imagined. Visitors will walk along a glass and steel walkway jutting from a rock in the mountainside, with glass sides creating unbroken views over the vineyards and out to Lake Geneva.

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Ordos Museum, China

The copper-toned metal exterior and undulating shape of the Ordos Museum reflect the surrounding Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia. It’s the brainchild of the Beijing-based architectural firm MAD, known for fluid designs and imaginative urban solutions. The company intended the large-scale museum as “the irregular nucleus” for Ordos, a newly developed town that, as of 2011, already has its first architectural icon.

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Galaxy Soho Building, Beijing

Given China’s reputation for bold and speedy construction, it’s no surprise that 2012 marked the arrival of this cool new building in the capital city of Beijing. Designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid—the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Prize—this 18-story office, retail, and entertainment complex consists of four domed structures connected by bridges and platforms, crafted from aluminum, stone, glass and stainless steel. Inspired by nature, the flowing lines and organic forms create a lusciously harmonious

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Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas

Opened in December 2012, this 180,000-square-foot facility, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, is itself a feat of scientific ingenuity. His firm Morphosis Architects set a goal of creating an attractive urban environment that also adheres to green principles.

Hence features like a 54-foot, continuous-flow escalator contained in a glass-enclosed, tube-like structure that extends outside the building—along with landscaping (courtesy of Talley Associates) that includes a roofscape planted with drought-tolerant

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Tjuvholmen Icon Building, Oslo

Renzo Piano designed this arts and culture center, which debuted in 2012 along a little used harbor southwest of Oslo’s city center. Bridges link three buildings—a museum, office space, and culture center—across canals formed from reclaimed land, and a sculpture park gently slopes toward the sea.

The entire project was developed along a new promenade that starts at Aker Brygge and ends on the sea at a floating dock, providing unbroken visual contact with the water. It looks, from above, like a docked spaceship, with a curved

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Martello Tower Y, Suffolk, England

Cannons used to stand on top of the 30-foot high Martello Tower Y , a fortress built in 1808 to defend the east coast of England against a possible invasion by Napoleon’s French forces. Two years ago industrial designer Duncan Jackson of Billings Jackson Design and Piercy Conner Architects restored and revived the tower as a monumental base for a three-bedroom, roof-level contemporary residence with views of surrounding farms and shoreline. Entry is via the first floor, once an ammunition store.

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WWII Ruin, Hamm Westfalen, Germany

A five-story World War II bunker pockmarked by several air attacks but structurally sound provided a vertical, urban plot with great views for a residential penthouse built on top of it in 2008. As a historical landmark, the bunker remains unpainted and unchanged in stark contrast to the contemporary brick, wood and steel dwelling with cantilevered decks on top.

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Caveland, Festus, Missouri

Fred and Wilma Flintstone, meet the Jetsons. First a sandstone mine and later a roller rink and concert venue where Bob Segar and Ike and Tina Turner performed, the nearly three-acre property known as ‘Caveland’ was purchased on eBay in 2003. Its new owners, according to their web site, transformed the cave into a naturally insulated two-story, three bedroom home with a gently curving staircase, hardwood floors and 28 salvaged sliding glass doors on the façade. Most of the rock walls are still exposed in their natural state.

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Homes for sale: Monastery in Switzerland

Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Price: £8m
Is it a monastery? Or a warehouse? No, this is a four-bedroom, four en-suite bathroom apartment on the Quai Du Seujet with a panoramic view of the River Rhône and Lake Geneva. It is traditionally decorated inside, but this property has only one reception room.

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Homes for sale: Small Footprint in Italy

Location: Umbria, Italy
Price: £180,000
This is a tall story, but not a wide or deep one, as this is a small-footprint, two-bedroom, four-floor home in Umbria, Italy. The top of the house has views over the surrounding villages, but you won’t have room to swing a cat inside the property.

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Homes for sale: 16th-century Provence tower

Location: Provence, France
Price: £770,000
On the outside, this is an eccentric three-bedroom 16th-century Provence tower. Inside, it is even more unusual. Amid the beamed ceilings and terracotta floor tiles lies newly installed modern technology ranging from underfloor heating to remote-control gadgetry. The property also comes complete with an extensive olive grove, a mature garden and magnificent views over the striking Luberon region.

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World’s Smallest House – Only 1 Square Meter

Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel has created “One-Sqm-House” – probably the smallest house in the world. It’s a DIY wooden structure, which uses only one square meter of space and can be used as a dwelling place, mobile kiosk or even an extra room inside your apartment. Because of the flipping mechanism, it can be used both vertically or horizontally. It has a slide window and a lockable door. The house weighs only 40 kilos and has wheels, so can be moved around easily.

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World’s Slimmest House, Poland

Keret House is an art installation. Takes the form of an insert between the two buildings, representing different eras in the history of Warsaw. The site on which the house stands, is at its widest point 152 centimeters, and the narrowest – 92 centimeters.

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Transparent House, Japan

If you say you have nothing to hide, try spending a few nights in the see-through house located in Tokyo, Japan. Built by Sou Fujimoto Architects, this 914 square-foot transparent house was inspired by our ancient predecessors who inhabited trees. While the house offers plenty of daylight, expect no privacy here.

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Balconies

These are designed so that you could step out from your room above to enjoy the fresh air and views.

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Arcades

A series of arches supported by columns is called an arcade. An old architectural feature that originated in Rome. In the Mediterranean, the arcades sheltered walkways in town squares.
Courtesy: Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects. Austinarchitect.com (512) 796-4001

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Courtyards and Patios

The mild climate of the Mediterranean encouraged outdoor living, so the Spanish created lots of spaces to enjoy outside. The patios often had fireplaces which allowed you to linger outside late into the night.

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Ornamental Iron Work

Finely crafted wrought iron work graces stair railings, gates, window grilles and lanterns

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Tower-like Chimneys

A chimney is given grand treatment with moldings and little windows, among other details.
Courtesy: Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects. Austinarchitect.com (512) 796-4001

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Terracotta Roof Tiles

The red clay roof tops give the homes a warm, earthy, rustic look. Often the roof lines are multi-level to create interest and asymmetry

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Painted Tile

A beautifully curved passageway arch reveals another classic feature: Hand-painted tiles

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White Stucco Exterior and Walls

Fresh white paint covers roughly textured stucco — a hand-applied mix of cement, water and sand or lime. The result is an aged-looking Old World surface

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Curves and Arches

Curved steps and graceful archways add charm to the front.

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Shower Timer and Alarm

The average person will use anywhere between 5 to 8 gallons of water per minute while showering, and taking shorter showers is one way simple to cut down on excess water and energy use. But if you’re someone who finds themselves transported to another world when the H2O starts to flow, don’t fret, there’s still hope for you to meet your water-saving targets. The Efergy Shower Timer and Alarm is a clever little gadget that is able to monitor the amount of water going doing the drain as you lather up. Quickly and easily calibrate it to

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Remote Controlled Shades

While ample windows are a great way to bring natural light into a living space, they also are the cause of heat loss during the winter and heat build-up during the summer. Pair these two elements together and you’ll often find yourself needing to pump up the heat or cooling to keep your home comfortable. While many don’t think of blinds as anything more that a way to block out the sun, the reality is that an efficient set of shades has the power to cut your energy bill all year long. Honeycomb shades are your best bet when it comes to

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Wifi Programmable Thermostat

The average American household spends more than $2,200 annually on energy bills, and nearly half of that amount is part due to to heating and cooling. One of the easiest ways to dramatically cut down on this number is to install a programmable thermostat. Not only are they inexpensive (some cost as little as $25), but unlike their predecessors, they’re are intuitive, easy to use, and ever-programmable to meet changing needs and erratic schedules. Once installed they can save you about $180 a year — not to mention alleviate some

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Custom Dimmer

Cut energy usage and create some ambiance in the bedroom, family room or kitchen with the Maestro C.L Dimmer for Lutron. This sustainable, award-winning design is geared for use with incandescent and halogen bulbs, as well as dimmable CFLs and dimmable LEDs. This dimmer offers customizable delayed fade-to-off, which lets you leave a room before the lights go out. And we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: switching out incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy efficient ones have the potential to cut your energy bill by

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Occupancy Sensing Switch

We’re all guilty of it, forgetting to turn off lights.  If this is you, or someone you know (like your kids), consider employing Lutron‘s Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensing Switch (fun fact: they are the inventors of the dimmer switch!). The handy gadget adds convenience and energy savings to any room in your home by automatically turning lights on when you enter the room and off after a period of inactivity. Using a proprietary sensing technology to ensure lights stay on when the room is occupied, the sensor features ambient

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Solar Charger Kit

Many people would love to install a complete photovoltaic system to power their home, but they either lack the space or money to do so. One much less space-intensive—and inexpensive—alternative is the 16.8-Watt Solar Charger Kit from Voltaic. This handy system features a V60 battery that is able to charge everything from laptops to tablets to cameras to several cell phones at once, and its portable and lightweight design makes it easy to move around to wherever you need power. Moreover, if any of the recent natural disasters have

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Dwell (iPhone and Android – Free)

By keeping it simple with one-word sidebar categories like Ideas, Homes and Products, the Dwell app mirrors the elegance and subtlety of the very modern design it advocates.

Android

iPhone

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Space Planning Tool (iPhone only – $1.99)

We’ve all been there, you buy a couch and think it will fit, only to realize it is too large. With this app, that will never happen again! You can input room dimensions and create floor plans, make shopping lists, input fabrics/colors/finishes, and more.

iPhone

No android App yet

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Houzz (iPhone and Android – Free)

With over 200,000 high quality interior design images, Houzz is a one-stop shop for inspiration. With this app you have full access to their photo libraries and can save images to virtual idea books.

With Houzz, viewers browse photos of interiors by room type, style and geographic location. As a bonus, Houzz allows users to search for local professionals, such as architects, interior designers and contractors.

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Dream Home (iPhone – $0.99 and Android – $1.99)

This app contains beautiful high quality photos of fantastic interior designs to keep you inspired. There is no internet required, and they add more photos on a weekly basis. Slideshow navigation is very easy.

Android

iPhone

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HGTV to GO (iPhone only – Free)

Stay up-to-date with your favorite HGTV shows with this app that contains full episodes, short videos and photo galleries of inspiring and also do-able ideas.

iPhone

No android App yet

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Photo Measures (iPhone only – $4.99)

Take a photo of an object or room and write the measurements directly over it, thereby keeping all your measurements in one mobile place and removing the need for elaborate sketches.

iPhone

For Android use similar app D-Photo Measures (Free)

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The Home Depot (iPhone and Android – Free).

Finding supplies can be a hassle. With this app, you can research and purchase your tools, can search the store inventory to see what is in stock, can scan barcodes while in the store and you’ll have access to hundreds of Home Depot DIY videos/how-to’s

Android

iPhone

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Benjamin Moore Color Capture (iPhone and Android – Free)

Feeling inspired by the scene in front of you? Snap a photo with this app and it will automatically create a palette from a selection of Benjamin Moore paints. You can then save the search and add notes.

Android

iPhone

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Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap (iPhone and Android – Free)

Snap a photograph and instantly get matching Sherwin-Williams paint recommendations. You can store and share what you find.

Android

iPhone

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SketchBook (iPhone and Android – Free to $4.99)

Sketch your projects, ideas and inspirations with this pro-level digital sketchbook. Digitally capture your ideas as napkin sketches or produce artwork on-the-go.

Android

iPhone

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Max Bond, Jr. (1935-2009)

When J. Max Bond, Jr. was a student at Harvard, racists burned a cross outside his dormitory. Concerned, a white professor at the University advised Bond to abandon his dream of becoming an architect.

Years later, in an interview for the Washington Post, Bond recalled his professor saying, “There have never been any famous, prominent black architects… You’d be wise to choose another profession.” Fortunately, Bond had spent a summer working for African-American architect Paul Williams, and he knew that he

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Old Photographs of Los Angeles

I get thrilled every time I see old photographs of the city of Los Angeles. I think it has to do with the rapid growth and transformation of the city’s landscape over the last century. My favorite place to see old photos is the building and safety department in Beverly Hills, where some of the walls show old photos of famous street intersections. The changes that have taken place in the last 50 years are simply incredible.

If you are like me, you will most definitely enjoy the following links:
Los Angeles, before

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Online Permit Services for Los Angeles Residents

Whether you are a homeowner interested in knowing about your property or want to build or add to your property, this links from the LADBS are a great source of information.

Parcel Profile Report
A system that displays the zoning and other information of parcels within the city of Los Angeles.
Link

NavigateLA
A web-based mapping application that delivers maps and reports based on data supplied by various City departments.

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Dragsholm Castle – Denmark

Dragsholm Castle in Denmark was built in the late 12th century. Today it is a renowned hotel, but Dragsholm Castle’s biggest claim to fame is its alleged haunting of over a hundred ghosts. Legend has it that three of these spirits continue to demand attention: Grey Lady, White Lady and the Earl of Bothwell. Perhaps the most tragic of all, the White Lady, was a young girl who fell in love with a commoner who worked in the castle. The girl’s father found out about the lovers and ordered his daughter imprisoned in her room, never to be seen

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Chillingham Castle – england

Chillingham Castle in England is most famous for its ghosts and is marketed as the most haunted castle. The “star” ghost of castle is the “blue boy” who is sometimes also called the radiant boy. Legend has it that he haunts the Pink Room. Guests of the Pink Room have reported seeing blue flashes of light or a blue halo of light above their bed after a long loud wailing. The hauntings decreased or perhaps ceased after renovation work revealed two bodies, a man and a young boy who were both bricked inside a 10-foot thick wall.

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Edinburgh Castle – scottland

The Scottish fortress built high upon a plug of an extinct volcano dates back to the 9th century. Edinburgh Castle has been there since the 12th century. Although it appears impregnable, in 800 years, the castle has taken part in numerous historic conflicts and wars, having been besieged both successfully and unsuccessfully many times. Deep in the bowels of Edinburgh Castle, dark and damp dungeons lie hidden away that had been used for imprisonment and torture over the centuries. Additionally there was construction of the vaults in the

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Predjama Castle – Slovenia

A castle built within a cave, now that is brilliant in terms of defense and offense. In Slovenia, Predjama Castle is known to date back to at least 1274. In the 15th century, a renowned robber baron fled the revenge of the Holy Roman Emperor and settled his family in this castle fortress. There ensued a long siege in which the castle was destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1511 before being destroyed by an earthquake. The castle was once again rebuilt in 1567 and has a secret natural shaft that leads out of the castle for supplies as well as when

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