Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sunset Magazine Modern Cottage, June 11, 2009
The Sunset Magazine Modern Cottage
by Danielle Rago

Known for showcasing the latest innovations in architecture, construction, design, and green-building practices on the West Coast, Sunset magazine’s Idea House program recently debuted its latest project, the Modern Cottage, this past weekend at the magazine’s annual Celebration Weekend. Created and designed by Norwegian architect Casper Mork-Ulnes, Co-Founder and Director of Design of the San Francisco-based pre-fab building company Modern Cabana and Co-Founder and Director of Building, Nick Damner, the house incorporates green design with affordable living spaces.

Offering a creative and sustainable solution for extending living spaces, the Modern Cottage allows people to “do more with less,” says Ed Deleski of Modern Cabana. Composed of two small spaces, a 10-foot-by-12-foot and 12-foot-by-25-foot model, adjoined by a TimberTech deck, the house maximizes space by using both outdoor and indoor areas to their fullest.

Designed and constructed for sustainability, individual homes are assembled on-site using locally sourced FSC-certified clear inland cedar siding panels from Natural Forest Distribution with recycled denim insulation. According to Deleski, “all of our models use standard sized pieces of lumber which virtually eliminates waste.” Inspired by architect Mies van der Rohe, metal details were added to the exterior of the building to provide visual contrast to the cedar siding as well as promote energy efficiency. The angled metal roof is waterproofed with recycled tire rubber and is available with an integrated solar laminate to power the unit. Metal embellishments trickle down the facade to create corrugated partitions and even an outdoor shower.

Once inside, the space is decorated with a simple palette, clean lines and eco-friendly finishes and materials including Benjamin Moore’s no-VOC Natura paint and engineered bamboo flooring from Armstrong. While the interior boasts a kitchen, bathroom and all-purpose room, don’t forget the exterior spaces, designed by Peter Whiteley of Sunset magazine, which feature a multipurpose deck, cool outdoor room, and lounge area complete with sculptural plantings and a vertical green wall designed by Flora Grubb Gardens that is comprised of low-water succulents of varying shapes, textures, and colors.

The models on display at Sunset are upgrades that price at $16,375 and $72,500 (including appliances), respectively. The Modern Cottage is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays June 12 through July 19 at Sunset Headquarters, 80 Willow Road, Menlo Park, California.


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Legos & the Taj Mahal

From Web Urbanist
Lego Imitates Art: 25 Fabulous Recreations
Posted: 10 Jun 2009 06:21 PM PDT
Artistic Architecture
(images via: rawartint, jeffsmith02)

We have Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, to thank for creating the first Lego block in 1932. If it were not for Christiansen’s skill and imagination, the world would have missed out on enjoying the fabulous Lego creations we see today. Legos were wooden until 1940, when the company began also producing them in plastic. The love of Legos has endured the test of time and these toys have fans of all ages around the world. These popular and versatile toys have also become an artistic medium. Aside from creating amazing original works of art, artists have also recreated famous artwork using Lego blocks. ...

The Taj Mahal is an amazing work of art in itself. A replica of this grand and universally admired structure was recreated in Legos and was a masterpiece. Models of other famous buildings and structures have also been built from Legos, such as Washington D.C. landmarks and the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. ...

More at

Monday, June 8, 2009

15 Amazing Monasteries, Sanctuaries and Abbies

Web Urbanist. Written by Steve on February 22nd, 2009 - Topics: Abandonments, Architecture, History, Travel, Various

Regardless of your religion, temples, cathedrals and churches express mankind’s eternal desire to create heavenly castles on earth. The 15 examples described here showcase the best of the best, and if these immaculate constructions instill a sense of wonder and amazement it is perhaps because they were built by people with a vision of something above and beyond this mortal world.

Brilliant Buildings: 136 Amazing Approaches to Architecture

Posted: 07 Jun 2009 12:04 PM PDT

Our homes are our castles… that old maxim dates from the days when one’s abode was a slovenly hovel, a well-mannered manor house or even an actual castle. The same goes for public buildings, apartment blocks and factories. Our buildings are the covers our enterprises - and ourselves - are judged by. These 136 brilliant buildings show, in so many ways, that when it comes to architecture skyscrapers reflect our soaring imaginations.

St. Andrews Cathedral, Scotland
(image via: Undiscovered Scotland)

Though the United Kingdom boasts many beautiful cathedrals, it is the ruined ones that captivate one with a sense of poignant charm and echoes of turbulent times past. St. Andrews Cathedral hasn’t held a mass since 1559 when the howling winds of the Reformation did what centuries of winter gales could not: bring down Scotland’s largest cathedral. The ruins of the main cathedral (consecrated in 1318) and associated outbuildings evoke a sense of eerie majesty and are, besides golf, one of the biggest tourist draws to this part of Scotland. ...