Cabins in the Canopy: 13 Modern Tree Houses by Baumraum

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Baumraum Treehouse Solling 1

Ranging from minimalist elevated meditation cabins to complex climate-controlled company meeting spaces, the many treehouse creations of German company Baumraum offer unconventional and often strikingly modern silhouettes in natural settings. Custom-designed and costing anywhere from $25,000 to nearly $200,000, these treehouses and treehouse hotels are places for adventure and retreat amongst the foliage.

Treehouse Halle
Baumraum Treehouse Halle 1

Baumraum Treehouse Halle 2

Baumraum Treehouse Halle 3

Stairs ascend through a hole in the roof of a garage on a German property, spiraling around an oak tree to reach the Treehouse Halle. Baumraum set this zinc and wood structure 11 meters above the ground as a sleeping and relaxation space, supported by two steel stilts anchored to the lower part of the tree. A double-sized bed peeks out a large window onto the surrounding landscape.

Almke Treehouse
Baumraum Treehouse Almke 1

Baumraum Treehouse Almke 2

A lucky scout group in Wolfsburg, Germany gets to meet at this elevated clubhouse constructed around a pine tree, with two almost-identical wooden volumes set at staggered heights within the forest canopy. The Almke Treehouse provides a place to gather, eat and sleep, with the lower volume full of bunk beds for eight.

Treehouse Djuren
Baumraum Treehouse Djuren 1

Baumraum Treehouse Djuren 2

An elliptical volume with egg-like sides seems to float above a wooded family property in Northern Germany, supported on a series of four stilts around two are oak trees. Sleeping benches covered in gray felt offer a comfortable perch from which to look out onto the trees.

Treehouse Solling
Baumraum Treehosue Solling 2

Baumraum Treehouse Solling 3

Baumraum Treehouse Solling 4

Treehouse Solling hovers above a pond like something out of a fairytale, an unusual two-story structure with a rounded roof punctured by a skylight. The treehouse serves as a sleeping place and observation point connected to a nearby forester’s cabin via a cable-suspended bridge. Like most of Baumraum’s structures, the outside is covered in zinc plating and the inside is lined with timber.

Treehouse in Belgium
Baumraum Treehouse in Belgium 1

Baumraum Treehouse in Belgium 2

Baumraum Treehouse in Belgium 3

This treehouse was envisioned as the perfect place for a paper company to brainstorm about sustainability among nature. Located in a forest in Belgium, the climate-controlled space is a lot more like a conventional building than most treehouses, containing a kitchen, lounge and restroom as well as a ventilation system and motion-sensor LED lights. It offers all the comforts of a meeting space within an office, but in an environment that’s a lot more conducive to creative thinking.

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SCADpads: Parking Garage Turned Tiny House Village

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SCADpads tiny house village 1

Just how livable can a 135-square-foot micro-house really be? That’s what an interdisciplinary group of students, faculty and alumni at Savannah College of Art and Design set out to learn with ‘SCADpad,’ an experiment that has turned a parking garage into a village of tiny houses.

SCADpads tiny house village 2

SCADpads tiny house village 3

The larger question that the team wanted to answer was, how can design change the world? SCADpad is an example of transforming an uninhabitable space into sustainable and efficient housing using the millions of parking spaces in the United States that are typically vacant at any given time.

SCADpads tiny house village 4

SCADpads tiny house village 5

SCADpads tiny house village 6

Each of the three SCADpad units has its own theme and visual identity reflecting the college’s global footprint, with a common green space fostering a sense of community. It took 10 months to design and develop the project, from its architectural footprint down to the remote home controls.

SCADpads tiny house village 7

SCADpads tiny house village 8

Artists from SCAD helped design and decorate the interiors, including large-scale paintings, making these tiny houses visually dazzling, but it’s clear that they’re pretty practical, as well.

SCADpads tiny house village 9

SCADpads tiny house village 10

Students, faculty and special guests lived in the SCADpads from April through June of 2014, documenting the experience on Instagram.


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Subway Cars to Churches: 15 Creatively Converted Offices

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Converted Offices Soccer 1

Anything from a graffiti-covered subway car to a Route 66 gas station can become the setting for creative modern offices. Architects and intrepid homeowners have converted junked buses into home offices, $20 construction trailers into backyard studios and subterranean garages into company headquarters.

Slice of an Old Bus Turned Home Office
Converted offices School Bus 1

Converted Offices School Bus 2

One creative thinker in Hungary saw something most of us wouldn’t when he gazed at an old bus sitting in a junkyard: a corner office. That is, a home office in the corner of his bedroom, made from a sawed-off section of the bus. A new paint job and working lights give the bus a fun update.

Former Steel Plant to Light-Filled Work Space
Converted Offices Steel Plant 1

Converted Offices Steel Plant 2

The existing shell of a former steel plant has become a wide-open industrial setting for the offices of engineering firm IMd, with sections in the two-story structure linked by foot bridges. Translucent volumes set within the large space provide quiet and private places to work and meet without sacrificing the spacious feel.

Underground Garage to Architecture Studio
Converted Offices Garage 1

Converted Offices Garage 2

Half-hidden by an overgrowth of ivy, all that’s visible of this architecture office from ground level are a few desks and some unusual lighting. Architect Carlo Bagliani remained an underground car garage as an inhabitable workspace filled with industrial accents. A long glass wall facing the lawn prevents the subterranean space from feeling dark and cramped.

Low Budget House-to-Office Conversion
Converted Offices Low Budget House

Austrian architecture firm Bad Architects turned a house in Innsbruck into their own office on a tight budget using sliding-wall systems made of foam to divide the interior spaces. The foam panels feature cut-out patterns that let light pass from one space into another, and give the office visual appeal from the street.

Graffiti-Covered Subway Cars to Rooftop Offices
Converted Offices Subway Cars 1

Converted Offices Subway Cars 2

Graffiti-covered subway cars (or ‘tube carriages’ as they’re known in the UK) were hauled onto a rooftop and stacked together to create offices for international arts charity Village Underground. The spaces are leased to creative small businesses and art-related start-ups, who’d naturally feel right at home in a reclaimed urban space decorated with vivid street art.

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No Sweat: 10 Abandoned Gyms & Deserted Fitness Centers

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned gyms & fitness centers

Gotta be at the gym in 26 minutes? Don’t get bent outta shape but no amount of blood, sweat or tears can rejuvenate these abandoned gyms & fitness centers.

Weight Of The World

abandoned European Health Spa Westchester New York

abandoned European Health Spa Westchester New York

abandoned European Health Spa Westchester New York

abandoned European Health Spa Westchester New York

abandoned European Health Spa Westchester New York

The long-abandoned European Health Spa in Westchester, New York has seen better days but on the bright side, the statuesque Atlas out front must enjoy having the weight of the world lifted off his shoulders. One wonders, though, who would – or COULD – make off with a massive metal globe? Obviously the gym worked miracles for someone before it shut its doors for good. A tip of the hat to Urban Landscaped for capturing the images above on a crisp, frosty day in December of 2010.

Aww, Phuket

abandoned Chalong Gym Phuket Thailand

When its American owner abandoned the Chalong Gym on Chao Fa East Road in Phuket, Thailand, members with pre-paid memberships likely cursed up a storm. Luckily for those eager to keep their bronzed bods buff for the beach, the gym re-opened under new management in July of 2009. All of this isn’t especially noteworthy but hey… check out the ridiculous amount of overhead wiring in the image above!

Ultimate FAIL

abandoned Ultimate Fitness Columbia SC

abandoned Ultimate Fitness Columbia SC

Ultimate Fitness, formerly located at 1603 Broad River Road in Columbia, SC, advertised “24 HOUR ACCESS TO OUR FACILITY”. Sounds legit. According to Columbia Closings, “This 24 hour gym was in Boozer Shopping Center on the Bush River Road side just a few slots down from Dunkin’ Robbins.” Yeah, they never stood a chance.

Unfitness Center

abandoned Asahi Sports Center Japan

abandoned Asahi Sports Center Japan

abandoned Asahi Sports Center Japan

Florian from Abandoned Kansai must have worked up one heck of a sweat exploring the abandoned Asahi Sports Center in the depths of an oppressively humid (aka typical) Japanese summer. No doubt the complex’s putrid green outdoor pool provided billions of mosquitoes – not to mention the odd, possibly rabid bat – that made his task that much more miserable. The things urban (and rural, in this case) explorers go through to make your net browsing experience so enjoyable!

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Fossilized Retreat: Log Cabin Remnants Recast in Concrete

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

concrete cabin cast shell

Using the existing logs from a previous cabin structure as formwork, this retreat manages to retain the scale and textures of its predecessor in a dramatically modern new building.

concrete cast remnant detail

Nickish Sano Walder Architects sought to preserve elements of this Graubünden, Switzerland holiday home, leaving visible the voids left by rounded horizontal wood walls, circular depressions of crossbeams and infilled chimney sticking out the top. Those familiar with the work of Rachael Whiteread may recognize this radical approach previously applied in an artistic context.

concrete cabin snow context

A description from the designers: “From a distance Refugi Lieptgas looks like a traditional wooden hut. Taking a closer look you will actually find that this cabin is made of concrete. The old barn that stood here previously characterises the appearance of the new building. By using the logs of the block construction as a formwork for the concrete a fossilized version of the old barn has been created. An unusual holiday home for two people – both romantic and modern.”

concrete cabin wood door

On the exterior, the only piece of wood visible is a newly-installed front door which serves as a stark contrast to its cement-colored surroundings. Inside, light wood trim is set against gray interior concrete and exterior stone.

concrete stone interior bath

concrete cabin modern interior

concrete stone shape design

Love it or hate the new incarnation, the previous structure literally left its impression on this replacement, all without leaving a physical trace in the form of its actual materials. Alas, the former life of the building is less visible on the inside – a missed architectural opportunity, perhaps.


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Casa Futebol: Design to Deploy Housing in World Cup Stadiums

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

converted football casa design

Imagine converting the circumferential spaces of sports stadiums into a plug-and-play system of modular residential units, leaving their open centers for use as open sports surfaces, green spaces or even mixed-use recreational, commercial and institutional purposes.

converted box office seats

converted stadium fifa cup

Architects Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux, the minds behind this radical design concept, note that the world’s most biggest football competition, set this year in Brazil, has left a series a freshly made and refurbished arenas in its wake.

google

Some of these World Cup creations will continue to be used for sporting and other events but others that may be demolished could be better suited to another purpose, turned into hybrid urban complexes.

converted adaptive reuse concept

From 1Week1Project: “Casa Futebol proposes a reappropriation of the stadiums renovated or built for the World Cup using modules of housing. It is not a question of denying the interest of Brazilians people for the soccer” but of also suggesting an “alternative in the face of a [housing deficit].”

converted exterior facade residences

In effect, the seating and box offices would be joined with domestic functionality, the degree of transformation and adaptation depending on the other usage still anticipated for the existing structures. Residences would face outward to enjoy views of their environments and could take advantage of existing amenities and circulation built into the surrounding structure.

converted residential detail closeup

“It is thus a question of replacing a part of the sets by prefabricated housing and of colonizing the outside facade. Casa Futebol proposes a human scale in these disproportionate constructions.”


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Casa Futebol: Design to Deploy Housing in World Cup Stadiums

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

converted football casa design

Imagine converting the circumferential spaces of sports stadiums into a plug-and-play system of modular residential units, leaving their open centers for use as open sports surfaces, green spaces or even mixed-use recreational, commercial and institutional purposes.

converted box office seats

converted stadium fifa cup

Architects Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux, the minds behind this radical design concept, note that the world’s most biggest football competition, set this year in Brazil, has left a series a freshly made and refurbished arenas in its wake.

google

Some of these World Cup creations will continue to be used for sporting and other events but others that may be demolished could be better suited to another purpose, turned into hybrid urban complexes.

converted adaptive reuse concept

From 1Week1Project: “Casa Futebol proposes a reappropriation of the stadiums renovated or built for the World Cup using modules of housing. It is not a question of denying the interest of Brazilians people for the soccer” but of also suggesting an “alternative in the face of a [housing deficit].”

converted exterior facade residences

In effect, the seating and box offices would be joined with domestic functionality, the degree of transformation and adaptation depending on the other usage still anticipated for the existing structures. Residences would face outward to enjoy views of their environments and could take advantage of existing amenities and circulation built into the surrounding structure.

converted residential detail closeup

“It is thus a question of replacing a part of the sets by prefabricated housing and of colonizing the outside facade. Casa Futebol proposes a human scale in these disproportionate constructions.”


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Stay on the Go: 13 Stackable, Movable Modular Hotel Designs

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Modular Hotels Main

These hotel rooms can be stacked on top of each other, swapped out for easy renovation and easily transported from one place to the next thanks to their modular design. From a shipping container hotel to floating hotel with detachable boat-like rooms, the 13 designs featured here are anything but stale and static.

Modular Bamboo Hotel
Modular Hotel Bamboo 2

Modular Hotel Bamboo 1

Using cheap and highly renewable bamboo as a sort of scaffolding, the ‘One with the Birds’ modular hotel concept by Penda stacks pyramid-shaped volumes high into the sky while barely making a mark on the ground below. The low-impact, tent-themed hotels would be easy and quick to reproduce and expand as necessary. Inspired by Native American tipis, the structures use X-shaped bamboo joints to hold horizontal bamboo rods in place, which support the flooring. Joints would be tied together with rope so the whole structure can be disassembled and reused in other projects.

Bayside Marina Hotel
Modular Hotels Bayside Marina 1

Modular Hotels Bayside Marina 2

Long, narrow two-story prefabricated cottages based on the form of the shipping container are grouped together along the seaside of Yokohama as the ‘Bayside Marina Hotel.’ The containers are staggered along the site to give each residence a different view. The units are fabricated in Thailand and transported to Japan, where they’re assembled on-site.

Botel Floating Hotel with Detachable Rooms
Modular Hotels Botel 1

Modular Hotels Botel 2

Ever wish you could detach your hotel room from the main building and move it somewhere else? With ‘Botel,’ not only can you do that, your hotel room is actually a boat. The concept by Ivan Filipovic enables guests to explore their surroundings autonomously while retaining access to all of the amenities provided by the core structure. Dock at the main part of the hotel to have dinner or go to a nightclub, or enjoy a little privacy in a separate area of the bay.

Shelf Hotel: Swappable Modules in a Frame
Modular Hotels Shelf 1

Modular Hotels Shelf 2

What if hotel rooms of various sizes, shapes and levels of luxury could simply be swapped out like objects on a shelf? The Shelf Hotel by 3Gatti, envisioned for Xian, China, sets little removable modules within a framework raised above ground level to preserve green space below. The modules would consist of hotels as well as homes and offices.

CitizenM Hotels
Modular Hotels Citizen M 1

Modular Hotels Citizen M 2

Now open in various cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Glasgow and London (pictured), CitizenM hotels provide affordable luxury by fitting compact yet comfortable rooms within a simple frame for an industrial, urban appearance. The shipping container-like rooms are stacked on top of each other like LEGOs and contain a king size bed, pod-like toilet, shower and sink as well as lighting and other functions controlled via iPad.

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Permanent Parklets: São Paulo Turns Street Parking to Parks

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

parklet drawing design detail

In a bold bid to change its urban landscape for good, Brazil’s biggest city has given a green light to citizen proposals to transform car parking spots into perpetual park spaces.

sao paulo permanent parklet

sao paulo mini park

Cities around the world have sanctioned micro-parks on a limited basis (often for temporary use during environmental days and green festivals), but this legislation makes the provision a permanent mandate for São Paulo.

parklet simple axon drawing

parklet construction guide diagrams

sao paulo tiny parks

The law comes with style and usage guides but a broad mandate, allowing for a potentially huge variety of programmatic functions starting with but not limited to open seating and leisure space.

 

parklet multi use spaces

sao paulo parklet example

Other possibilities include: small commercial vendors under tents or in shipping containers, public pools and restrooms, recycling receptacle centers and bike sharing racks. The argument, in part, is that the public gains a great deal of additional benefit from open space, which can be shared, over parking spaces that are used only by a few individuals at a time (and even then indirectly).

parklet space infographic images

Suzi Bolognese of SB Design Studio summarizes the shift: “The parklets programme fits in perfectly with São Paulo’s attempts to promote a friendlier pedestrian environment, and involves replacing a parking space or two with a new public area. Parklets can incorporate benches, chairs, tables, trees, and bike racks for the public to use and enjoy. São Paulo has loved parklets so much it has integrated them into city planning policy. Now as a result of Decree No. 55,405, São Paulo has rules for the creation and maintenance of parklets, the first Latin American public policy on the issue.”


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Abandoned Alien Homestead: Forsaken UFO House in Florida

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

UFOhouse_mainx

Painted pink and encrusted with graffiti, the abandoned UFO house in Homestead, Florida, has a backstory as mysterious as its otherworldly architecture.

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

abandoned Florida UFO house

abandoned Florida UFO house

Located in Homestead, Florida, the so-called “UFO House” (or “Alien House”) was built around 1974 when the town’s population was roughly 15,000. Forty years later, Homestead is home to just over 60,000 yet the UFO House, situated at 37350 Southwest 214th Avenue, is still remarkably isolated… as if the original owner wasn’t interested in having neighbors, EVAR. Credit Abandoned Florida for many of these crisp, clear & creepy images.

abandoned Florida UFO house

abandoned Homestead Florida UFO house

abandoned Homestead Florida UFO house

abandoned Homestead Florida UFO house

Lessee now, why would someone of obvious financial means in ’70s south Florida take steps to ensure exclusivity above and beyond the call? One doesn’t have to consult Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs to arrive at a plausible explanation and a decades-long rumor mill has helped fill in the gaps. The prevailing theory goes something like this: the original builder-owner was allegedly involved in drug trafficking using the front of being an exotic animal importer. The contraband was supposedly hidden in compartments built into the floors of the animal cages. Say hello to my leetle friend, Tony Montana the Tiger!

abandoned Homestead Florida UFO house

abandoned Homestead Florida UFO house

“My friend lived down a dirt road from this place,” relates someone who visited the UFO House around 1979. “It was out in the middle of agriculture fields off of Palm Drive as I remember. We used to ride her dirt bike down there to look at these exotic animals that were caged in back of the house, mostly big cats like tigers and jaguars. We had heard the rumors about it being a drug smuggler using the animals as a cover and one day when we went around the outside of the property a man came out of the house, jumped into a car (old Monte Carlo?) and chased us through the fields. We were terrified and he wouldn’t let up until he caught up with us (we were just 2 twelve year old girls tearing along these dirt roads on a tiny dirt bike). He finally caught us and told us not to ever go back there.” Thanks to Flickr user KACP (Kris Alan Carter Photography) for the above images.

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