Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Project: Afeka House
Architects: Bar Orian Architects
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Area: 4,650 sq ft
Photographs by: Amit Geron

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Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects

The Afeka House is a contemporary private house designed by the Israeli firm Bar Orian ArchitectsIt is located in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The design of this two story residence takes into account the climatic needs of each interior space. For this reason, each window is set for a certain interior function, acting as a frame for the shading system that accommodates the climate control in the house. It also allows a selectable degree of light filtering allowing the inhabitants to choose the amount of sunlight that the shades let in.

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Functionality and simplicity of materials were the starting points for planning this villa in a northern neighborhood of Tel Aviv. The house was planned as a basic geometric structure– a combination of two raw-concrete boxes on top of each other. Each box has seemingly random openings, and an external shading system that rotates and opens electronically, so that the dynamic façade change with residents’ needs, the time of day, and the weather.

The interior design brings in the same principles of simplicity and climatic efficiency, with the architecture now moving indoors. The interior planning is based on clear and simple movement around two raw concrete supporting walls, which echo the exterior. The staircase to the basement and first floor is located between these two walls. All household functioned emanate freely from this focal point. A spacious kitchen with oak cabinets and a stainless-steel cooking island, with an adjacent living room and dining room are on one side. The other side holds a library with a black-hardware workspace, and a parents’ suite facing the front garden. Up on the first floor are a service room and three children’s rooms, each with its own bathroom and roof terrace created by moving the upper box. A bright, functional hallway is placed between the two wings, hosting the parallel staircase.

The dominant design element in the house – as it is on its facades – is the exterior aluminum, Corten-finished shading system. Each window is set for an interior function, and acts as an interior frame from the shading system that has been positioned to accommodate sunlight and the climactic needs of each interior space. This system allows various degrees of light filtering, creating an additional layer that enriches the space and brings the tangible outdoors experience into the house. This layer changes continuously with the direction of the sun, the amount of opening of the shading system. At time, the rooms are flooded with shades of red, creating unique compositions inside and varying exposure outside. The interior, like the exterior, is not static. This house has life and movement every hour of the day.

Bar Orian Architects

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

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Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

Afeka House by Bar Orian Architects in Tel Aviv, Israel

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T-House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

Project: T-House
Architects: EKAR Architects
Location: Nonthaburi, Thailand
Area: 5,381 sq ft
Photographs by: Courtesy of EKAR Architects

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T-House by EKAR Architects

The T-House combines an office, a garment warehouse and a family residence in two buildings on a same plot.
It was designed by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand and it is a blend of Thai living habitat and western ideals. It is a mixture of tropical architecture with modernity, resulting in a simple form.
The heart of the house is located perfectly in the center of the main structure. It is composed of two staircases that cross each other, connecting all of the rooms.

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

An office, a warehouse, plus a residence for family expansion.
According to an initial requirement of the project owner, Khun Noppawarat Pornputhakul, the main functions of T-House were created to support her family business, a cloth wholesaller from Pratunam District. To maintain the circulations and routine of the old house in Nonthaburi Province, a new built needed to be not just only a residence for an expanding family plus a small garment storage, but also needed to include an additional space for a new office and prepare an area for a further phase of family extension.

‘Jai Baan or a heart of the house’ locating perfectly at the heart of this two-storey dwell. This centered piece is composed of two crossing staircases functioning to connect all rooms on the second level. One performed itself laying on a T-shaped layout. It ties the working spaces between two floors together; the main working area on the ground floor and the executive office on the second floor. Meanwhile, another staircase is working to connect the private spaces; living area, bedrooms, kitchen of the first floor, and two bedrooms on the second floor.

By stacking two T-shaped staircases, the designers intended to create the crossed circulation between two zones, the public zone and the private zone. As a result, an executive room on the second floor is able to view the activities of the habitant happened on the ground floor through the double-volume space. Two bedrooms on the second floor were also placed facing each other on the opposite sides. Both are connecting together with the bridge, thus the owner is able to see the working area down below at all time. Living space on ground floor was planned despite the criteria of owner’s mother who would like to have a traditional Thai living room, one that consisted ‘Tang or big wooden sofa bed.’ The designer, therefore, transformed the form of the olden Tang using the western-styled sofa to form a new different shape with multi-functions of sofa bed. The transformation of cotton is also brought to apply with the ceiling pattern to make the house more unique.

EKAR Architects

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

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T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

T House by EKAR Architects in Nonthaburi, Thailand

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Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Project: Baitasi House of the Future
Architects: dot Architects
Location: Beijing, China
Area: 322 sq ft
Photographs by: Wu Qingshan

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Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects

The Baitasi House of the Future is a modular home created by dot Architects in Beijing, China. This home was designed for the tech company Whaley who focus on smart homes. They’ve commissioned the Chinese studio to develop a compact modern home that can be suited to the changing lifestyles of its residents.
The most impressive features of this house is the movable furniture modules as well as fixed modules that accommodate foldable beds. This design enables the interior to be reconfigured according to the inhabitants’ wishes.

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future is located in a historic hutong area of Beijing. The client is a tech company focuses on the smart homes. The commission is to create an experimental house that suits the future lifestyles of young people.

Baitasi is one of the well preserved hutong neighborhoods. The original site had a 30 sqm house and a 80 sqm yard cramped with illegal building works.
When we talk about house we are talking about home. The house of the future should represent such a lifestyle of young people.

They can fluidly shift between work and home. Access and convenience are more important to them than ownership. The possibilities of home space outweigh its physical dimension. The boundary between home and society is blurred by the rise of the sharing economy, nomad workers and technology. Our lives are fragmented and can not be accommodated by a fixed layout.

The original house is wood framed. To minimise construction work and reveal the beauty of traditional Chinese wooden structure, we replaced the decayed roof and removed all the interior partitions. Two moveable furniture modules and one fixed module are placed under the new roof. With the moveable modules, the house can have four different layout options.

According to the needs of the residents, it can shift from a three bedrooms house to a small office. The facade can be open up to connect the living space and the outdoors.

The moveable modules are controlled by a smart TV. This TV system also controls lighting modes, curtains, security alarm and other home appliances.

Based on the strategy of minimal intervention, we use WikiHouse system for the only new built structure on site. It serves as the kitchen and toilet. The WikiHouse is an open-source project for building houses. It is lightweight and digitally fabricated. Its faster and cleaner construction process suits the crowded and noise sensitive neighbourhood very well.

Compared to many futuristic design, this tiny house is nothing close to future at the first look. But its humble appearance and user adaptive interior may reflect something about the future in the ancient capital.

dot Architects

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

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Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

Baitasi House of the Future by dot Architects in Beijing, China

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Keeping Yourself Safe From Theft This Winter

Winter is a time for giving, but unfortunately, some people in the world also take it as a time for taking. As the holidays begin to reach their peak, theft of all sorts will also be on the rise. Learning and implementing more ways to keep yourself safe in winter is the best thing you can do to cut down on your chances of being a target.

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Keeping Yourself Safe From Theft This Winter

Keep The Lights On

One way that burglars will know which house to target is by scoping out a location multiple times to see if the lights go on at night. If they don’t, it’s a definite sign that the occupants are away. To avoid this telltale giveaway that you aren’t around to protect your things, try out a light timer. This will automatically turn your lights on and off at the same time every day, whether it’s your outdoor lights or Christmas lights within the house. There are even apps and devices you can get to manually control your lights from your smartphone no matter where you are, creating the illusion of an occupied house.

Check Your Locks

Your locks are the biggest line of defense between you and anyone who’s looking to clean your home out. Make sure that you’re taking good care of them. You should do a perimeter check of your locks every now and then, making sure that they’re all tightly fit and that none of them have been damaged by age. Keep stock of whether or not there seem to be any signs of tampering as well, which can be a big tip off that your house has been scoped out.

Protect Your Car

Your home isn’t going to be the only thing thieves are scoping out this season. Theft from cars also rises as home burglaries do, and oftentimes, a car might be broken into in lieu of a home because it’s seen as an easier target. You can protect your car by ensuring that you have a working alarm if it’s broken into. Additionally, never keep any valuables in plain sight! This includes paperwork, packages, shopping bags, electronics, or even just the charge cables. That’s a surefire sign that you might have some valuables in your car, and it will encourage thieves to rifle through your glovebox.

Avoid Package Theft

One of the biggest concerns this holiday season is package theft. Burglars will often scope out homes to see if any unprotected packages have been left out on the porch, since stealing them is just a matter of walking to the door and scooping the box up. These days, installing a porch camera or a doorbell camera is one of the best ways to discourage thieves. They’re less likely to target you if there’s an obvious camera right by the door. Motion-detection cameras can also alert you anytime someone is moving in front of your door. There are even some camera doorbells that allow you to speak through a speaker system, which can scare potential thieves away.

Don’t Overshare

Stop posting your whereabouts and shopping spoils on social media! Social media platforms are a great place for robbers to scope out their potential targets. Through this, they have an idea of what to look for in a home and when the house itself will be left unguarded. As much as you might want to talk about the diamond necklace you just got or your upcoming week-long vacation, it’s best not to, since you could be giving a burglar an in.

Secure Your Windows

Some windows come with locks, but many don’t. If you want an extra layer of security, installing window locks can be a great way to do that. If you have sliding windows, it’s also possible to go for a low-budget solution instead and cut a wooden pole to fit the gap at the bottom of the window. When you place the pole into the gap at the base of the window, it will make it impossible for a burglar to pry the window open.

Get Flood or Motion Lights

Whether or not it’s better to leave your lights on or off during the night is a hotly debated issue. However, it’s generally agreed that motion lights are a great way to deter would-be burglars. It keeps your home relatively dark, unless something moves in front of the motion detection system. In many cases, this will trigger floodlights, which are bright and can cover an entire yard. Some floodlights are even bright enough to wake the occupants of a home, which is why many potential burglars will leave once they have been triggered.

Keeping Yourself Safe From Theft This Winter

Install A Security System

If you haven’t already done so, a tried-and-true way to secure your house is by installing a security system. Many systems will have strong and obvious alarms, and some will open a direct line with the police if a break-in has been detected. Some systems even offer 24/7 monitoring so that there’s a real person ensuring things aren’t getting sticky at all hours of the day. Capturing any intruder on video is also a huge asset if they escape since it can help police find them and get them off the streets.

Keep Things Hidden

It’s a tradition for many to keep their tree by the window, and to put gifts under it all throughout the month. However, this is essentially like putting valuables on display. It can make your home very attractive to thieves, especially if you have boxes under the tree that very obviously show what’s inside. Particularly attention-drawing are the electronic boxes, though any larger package, in general, can attract unwanted attention. This holiday season, try waiting to put your packages under the tree until it’s almost time to open them. Otherwise, consider moving your tree to another location to cut down on wandering, unwanted eyes.

Dealing with theft in the winter holiday is an extra stress that no one needs. Give these tips and tricks a try if you want to cut down on your chances of becoming a potential target.

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A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

Pre-Colonial

Even before the first settlers arrived, the Australian landscape was dotted with dome-shaped structures created by the land’s Indigenous population. Stone was the preferred material in colder regions, whilst cane frameworks were used in warmer areas.

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Unfortunately, Australia’s pre-colonial architecture is rarely discussed during conversations about the country’s architectural history. Settlers arrived with their own ideas about architectural beauty and integrity and their own technology, dismissing the structures which pre-dated their arrival by centuries.

Colonial Architecture

Following settlement, Australian architecture was heavily influenced by the structures colonial leaders were accustomed to back home. Architects demonstrated notable apprehension about creating a national architectural identify for Australia, a phenomenon not limited to Australia.

Spanish architectural styles could be seen throughout the Americas, whilst Dutch architecture could be seen across South Africa and South Asia, and Portugese trends in parts of India and Sri Lanka. British architectural styles can still be seen around Australia to this day and even persist in newer buildings, with ties between Australian and Great Britain remaining close.

Classic examples of British colonial architecture in Australia include the Georgian St. James’ Church in Sydney, Melbourne’s Gothic Collins Street, and the Victorian city of Ballarat.

Wartime Influences

Although construction work slowed significantly during the two World Wars, the structures built around this time began to diverge from the British colonial styles typical of early settlement Australia. It was around this time that the California Bungalow which, despite its name, was a style that actually originated in Bengal, India, offered Australians the experience of ‘cottage luxury’, with enclosed porches and exposed redwood beams. California Bungalows were hugely popular in Melbourne, Sydney, and South Australia, with each area bring its own unique take on the style, with red brick in Melbourne and limestone materials in SA.

Another major trend was French-inspired art deco design, focusing heavily on geometric shapes and, of course, classic enclosed balconies. Art deco fashion eventually made its way around the world, perhaps most famously ending up in Miami’s South Beach, and while the trend has largely fallen out of favour today, there are many reminders of the style to be found throughout Australia. Melbourne’s Mitchell House on Lonsdale Street, for example, demonstrates many well-known, traditional art deco features.

Finding an Architectural Identity

Up to this point, Australia was still very much borrowing ideas and trends from around the world, and had not yet cemented its own architectural identity. However, post-war migration, coupled with the great resurgence of Australian art in the 1950s, provided just what the country needed to find its own style.

Australia found its own identity in blending ideas, mixing trends, and juxtaposing styles; incorporating both domestic and international influences into a single vision that was both fresh and avant-garde, whilst often wearing its influences on its sleeve.

Classic examples include the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, constructed between 1959 and 1973 and designed by Danish-born architect Jørn Utzon, and Canberra’s Parliament House, built in the 1980s and designed by Italian Romaldo Giurgola. A country that prides itself on its multiculturalism, that pride is evident in the clash of styles and inspirations that make up Australian architecture.

The Future of Australian Architecture

Whilst Australian architecture has embraced modernity (and post-modernity, for that matter) and set as many trends as it has kept pace with, one of the most recent and promising trends in Australian architecture is the long overdue focus on traditional Indigenous styles.

Neglected for most of Australia’s post-colonial history, Aboriginal culture is slowly coming to the forefront of culture, evident in art, architecture, music, film, and in language. Much of the Indigenous influence in the world of architecture comes as a result of the first generation of Indigenous architecture students graduating from university architecture and design programs.

Contemporary Indigenous architects such as Andrew Lane, Queensland’s first registered Indigenous architect, Carroll Go-Sam, and collectives such as Merrima Design Group, who designed the Aboriginal Medical Service, incorporate different elements and symbols of traditional Indigenous culture into their work. Others, however, avoid referencing Aboriginal ancestors or making references to The Dreamtime, and instead use architecture as a conduit to explore themes of identity and place.

An Architectural Revolution

Australia’s architectural landscape is a reflection of its demographic landscape, a meeting of styles, tastes, trends, and influences blending and juxtaposing against one another. A drive through the streets of Melbourne can take you from the early colonial period, right through to the post-War period and beyond. Ultimately, Australia’s architecture is an illustration of its history and the result is a unique blend of styles, designs, and trends that simply cannot be found anywhere else. Australia is an architectural melting pot.

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

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A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

Author: Ryan Lewis is a director at Lovelight. He has a keen eye for detail, is passionate about quality and is also a huge lover of bikes. He is married to Naomi and he is proud father of two – Asha & Jack.

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Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Project: Knikno House
Architects: Architect Fabian Tan
Location: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Area: 2,700 sq ft
Photographs by: Ceavs Chua

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Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan

The Knikno House is made up of a pair of perpendicular gabled structures with contrasting concrete and surfaces painted in white that face towards a rear garden and pond.
It is designed by Architect Fabian Tan and it is located in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
The house is designed for a young family and it comprises of distinct volumes containing different functional zones, connected to each other.

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

This semi-detached house was rebuilt for a young family on a 60’ x 90’ piece of land. Laid out over two different levels, the lower section of the plot houses the car porch with a ramp and staircase, connecting it to the home which sits on the higher land area. The house consist of a single-storey open living space, which intersects perpendicularly to a 2-storey building with closed private rooms.

The dominant longitudinal upper floor from the front to the rear is a gabled form inspired by the client’s request for a modern interpretation of a barn. Its façade is made from modular grey concrete blocks, which in contrast with the predominantly white ground floor accentuates weight.

Upon entry, a corridor takes you immediately into the house with a choice of going to specific areas without walking through other spaces. On the left is the open linear living areas which expresses continuity through its inverted gabled timber ceiling that seeks to add warmth. This voluminous space opens itself through the front garden that shields the road view and the rear with a black koi pond & lounge decking. To add to this, it is also visually connected to the first floor corridor that serves as the entryway to the bedrooms. This creates a tranquil, bright and an unobstructed cross ventilated space.

The plan is ‘T’ shaped and creates precise experiences with the exterior and interior through a series of spatial geometry and symmetry. It is difficult to describe this home in a simplistic sense as its parts seem to mesh with each other, giving multiple repeated descriptions of spaces but hopefully, it will speak for itself in clarity to the present listener.

-Architect Fabian Tan

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

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Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

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Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

Property has historically been viewed as a good investment and prices have been rising for 30 years. In 2005, the UK average house price was £150k. Today, that figure has risen to £216k. The market experienced a sharp correction in 2009 when the global economic recession hit, but the overall trend is upwards. This trend looks set to continue.

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Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

In February of this year, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee told Westminster that he believed house prices would continue to rise over the next 50 years. Not surprisingly, many people view bricks and mortar as a smart investment and are keen to plough their spare cash into their home.

Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

Property Investment

Property investment has become a popular pastime. Home improvement shows such as Grand Designs, Flip or Flop, and This Old House attract millions of Prime-Time viewers. Adding value to our home by way of a new kitchen, stylish extension, or basement makeover is more than just a pipe dream for many. Spend £10k on a new kitchen and you could easily recoup the cost plus a healthy profit when you come to sell.

But, the question on many people’s lips is whether spending money on home improvement is the best investment they could make in 2018? The answer, as you might expect, is that it is not that simple.

Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

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Will Prices Continue to Rise?

Property prices are slowing down, but despite this, prices are expected to continue rising in 2018. Property Analysts expect regional property prices to rise by around 7% in 2018, even through Brexit uncertainty is putting a damper on the market. Buy a property in a popular city such as Manchester or Birmingham and you could realise even greater gains. Savvy property investors are snapping up suitable properties, renovating and improving them, and selling them on for a quick gain.

With interest rates still so low, borrowing money to fund a property investment venture is relatively cheap. The Bank of England increased the base rate to 0.5% in early November, but this is the first increase for a decade and it is unlikely to raise it much higher in the next 12 months.

Existing homeowners are well-placed to take advantage of the increase in property prices by renovating and improving their home, but it is worth remembering that renovation projects take time and effort. Not everyone wants the hassle of managing a property renovation project. If this sounds like you, an armchair investment strategy might be a better option.

Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

Online Trading

Online trading is an alternative to property investment and renovation. Some markets are showing phenomenal growth right now and smart investors are keen to cash in. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are historically viewed as too volatile for amateur investors, but the news that one of the world’s largest hedge funds is considering adding Bitcoin to its investment portfolio should calm it down. Investing in the bitcoin market or dabbling in forex is something anyone can do in their spare time, but it is worth trying out a demo account before you invest your savings.

Property flipping is a good investment, but if you need extra liquidity, have a go at online trading.

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Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Project: Syncline House
Architects: Omar Gandhi Architect
Location: Halifax, Canada
Photographs by: Ema Peter

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Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect

The Syncline House is a new project by Omar Gandhi ArchitectThis modern house is located in Halifax, Canada, on the only syncline in the city.
The three story house consists of two volumes clad in white, connected by a double-height space in the middle.

This stunning residence provides beautiful views of the Point Pleasant Park as well as an overlook of the city’s Northwest Arm inlet. The interior is bright and spacious, featuring minimalist characteristics.

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline ˈ(ˈsin-ˌklīn): a fold in stratified rock with younger layers closer to the center of the structure. The home sits on the lone syncline that runs through peninsular Halifax.

Located in the south end of Halifax, Nova Scotia for California-based Geoff and his husband, Nova Scotia-based James – the quiet, masculine modern form sits adjacent to Point Pleasant Park and overlooks the North-West Arm from Francklyn Street.

Sitting atop a concrete base which seemingly extends the rocky foundation, the home is composed of twin volumes clad in a textured, white Fibre C – a German-made fibre cement panel composed of raw materials including glass fibre, sand, and cement. The volumes vary in proportion as well as location, with one lunging forward slightly ahead of the other. The taller volume houses the public program including the gym, living room and kitchen, while the lower features the home’s sleeping and office amenities. At the forefront of both are walk-out decks facing the western ocean view, one from the living room and the other from the master bedroom. Wood-decked patios overlooking the city’s primary forested park in one direction and the open ocean waters in the other sit high atop the two primary volumes.

A central core between the two is fully glazed in black-framed windows and topped with a razor thin canopy, encasing a porous, wood-lined steel staircase which winds its way up through the home. Flanking the taller volume is a tall, wood-clad structure which includes a residential scale elevator and back-of-house spaces including a high-end audio control room. The wood cladding is scorched, locally-sourced clear spruce with a clear coat finish. Wood scorching introduces flame to surface, intentionally charring it before it is brushed to remove any loose carbon, providing both decay and flame resistance through the process.

The interior material palette is composed wide white oak flooring, an all-white wall treatment and header-less doors which span from floor to ceiling. Natural light is drawn into the primary social spaces through the double height atrium and great room spaces.

The home utilizes geothermal heat pumps as the primary source for heating and cooling. Energy requirements are supplemented by a rooftop field of photovoltaic panels. The entirety of the glazing utilized for the home is triple pane for both energy conservation and acoustic requirements. Automated blinds and recessed windows on the south west façade help to passively cool the house.

Omar Gandhi Architect

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

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Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Project: Malangen Retreat
Architects: Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur
Location: Tromsø, Norway
Year: 2017
Photographs by: Courtesy of Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur have designed a stunning cabin on the Malangen peninsula.
The Malangen Retreat is a contemporary family vacation home for weekends and holidays. It is located about an hour’s drive south from Tromsø, Norway and is positioned on a ridge that rises from a fjord. The location of the site opens up stunning views overlooking a natural opening in the nearby forest.

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen peninsula is an hour´s drive south of Tromsø in Northern Norway. The site is positioned on a ridge rising from the fiord below and overlooks a natural opening in the forest.

The cabin is laid out east to west effectively shielding the opening in the forest, which is only discovered once you enter through the large oak sliding door from the outside couryard. The clients had a clear wish for enough space to welcome family and friends visiting. To gather at the family retreat for weekends or holidays is a beautiful tradition, but the challenge is often that given a few days you also long for some privacy again.

Therefore we planned a main part and an annexe separated by the central covered courtyard which is where you enter their retreat through the oak sliding door. As a response to the cold climate and challenging weather the central courtyard functions as a winter garden, with a fireplace and outdoor kitchen. From here the retreat opens up to the natural clearing in the forest and from here you enter into either the main building or the annexe.

Each group of rooms are done as separate segments or boxes to achieve an additional layer of privacy, but also to enhance the main room´s contact to the clearing in the forest and the contact to the outdoors in the transition spaces in between.

The main part and the annexe are composed of two boxes each, the annexe comprised of utility rooms and the relax area with a sauna directly exposed to the view outside in one box and the guest rooms and an activity room in the second. The main part with entrance, children´s room and a small secondary living room in the first box, the main bathroom and master bedroom in the second. A few steps lead down to the open space kitchen an living room set low in the terrain and overlooking the fiord and the afternoon sun to the west. A dedicated exit from the kitchen lead to the south-facing outdoor area where the family enjoy their dinners on warm summer days.

The boxes are all made in wood with the exterior cladding (both indoors and outdoors) in cedar panel which was treated with iron sulfate and kept outside for months before assembly to achieve an even patina regardless of being outdoors or indoors. The interior surfaces are mainly in knot free oak to achieve a warmer contrast to the outside of the boxes. The boxes are all slightly elevated in relation to the in-between spaces. All the in-between spaces have a concrete floor to emphasize that these spaces relate to the terrain and the outdoors in a different manner.

The ceilings in these spaces are all made of oak slats that through the treatment with iron sulfate turn naturally black because of the high content of tannin. The airy and black ceilings retreat from the visual connection to the outside, while contrasting the visually cold of the outdoors and providing a softer acoustics at the same time. The sauna is only separated from the outside by a large frameless glass, underlining the secluded privacy of the clearing in the forest, the interiors custom designed in cedar.

A major part of the interiors such as the dining table, dining bench, beds, wardrobes, the fireplace and sliding door in the wintergarden, etc, are custom designed by Stinessen.

Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

Project: MA House
Architects: Cadaval & Solà-Morales
Location: Tepoztlan, Mexico
Area: 3,229 sq ft
Photographs by: Sandra Pereznieto

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales

Cadaval & Solà-Morales have designed the contemporary MA House in response to the lush nature that surrounds the site with vegetation, complemented by the comfortable temperatures all year long. Additionally, two neighboring mountains give this home located in Tepoztlan, Mexico a sight to behold.

The defining feature of this monolithic residence is its main construction material – stone. It was decided to use stone because it could be sourced locally, from the site itself. Additionally, it lowered the cost for maintenance.
The unique shape of the home influences the interior by filling it with natural light.

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

The commission of the house comes together with the explicit petition to use stone as the main construction material. The decision doesn’t respond necessarily to esthetic reasons but more likely to its common existence in the place, its little need for maintenance and its low cost for built square meter. Such premises are taken as a project challenge both in a structural, typological and esthetic way.

The MA house is set up in the outskirts of Tepoztlán, a small picturesque village of prehispanic origins, that has a colonial urban center. Located at 60 Km from Mexico City, Tepoztlán is well known for its sunny days, a comfortable temperature all year long, and its lush vegetation. Water is a key actor over the rainy season, time when nature demonstrates its intense vitality.

The project for the MA house responds to the search of a bright, wide and comfortable space built through a material that, at first, is hard and uncomfortable: the stone. With the presence of two major mountains on both sides of the plot, and two neighbors in the opposite direction, the house is a basic volumetric exercise: open the views and the main spaces to the mountains, and neglect the openings to the sides; and the definition of a central and open patio, a crack that defines the access of the house. However, this house doesn’t behave as a standard patio-house: typically, those are built through a central space around which all the relations and circulations take place; the MA house, meanwhile, develops all the circulations at its outer perimeter.

The house is a succession of spaces with differentiated uses that define the outer limit, a generic geometrical square. On top of such continuity of regular and perimeter circulations, the project overlays a second spatial strategy: the definition of a sequence of open and enclosed spaces; the exterior spaces -roofed patios-, intersect diagonally the volume and break with the rigidity of the perimeter performance.

The house is finally drawn as the addition of three pavilions unified by a unique roof, generating two covered patios; the roof is continuous, and rests on top of the structural stone walls that are the main asset of the house, the texture, a rough and imposing material that builds up the space, and reinforces the views and the power of nature. The house is a sequence of open and ever-changing relations with the nature; and always, as a backstage, the two immense mountains of Tepoztlán.

Cadaval & Solà-Morales

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

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