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15 Impressive Green and Recycled Homes

29 September 2010 4 Comments

We are living in a time when being eco friendly is not an option anymore, but an attitude and a behaviour that one must have. Caring about the environment is nowadays a must if we care about our destiny not just as individual human beings, but as a society and a civilization as well.

Now mix that eco friendly behaviour with a bit of creativity and courage and what will you get? Some of the most impressive structures ever built to serve as homes:

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are inhabited houses?

Well, we all can, but some people don’t have to pretend anymore. Planes are just as easy to use as any other material when thinking to build a house. This Boeing 727 carried in the past passengers for South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines (Columbia). Today it is suspended on a 50 foot pedestal on the edge of the National Park, in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

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The teak panel covers the entire interior cabin that was transformed into a suite with two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchenette, a dining area and a foyer – all featuring an ocean view. Instead of being cut into pieces or oxidizing on an aircraft cemetery, this 727 now stands as a symbol of permanence and innovation.

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Look out to those fire towers. Or are they mountain houses?

While being quite remote and relatively isolated, they are definitely part of the homes with the best views in the world! Just imagine how great would it be to enjoy the serenity of a 360 degrees vista, that goes hundreds of miles deep into the nature. Now compare it with a view on your window that features other buildings, traffic, and noise. Which one would you prefer?

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You automatically should not worry about eventual fires in the forest, since all these structures are made out of steel and stone. Even though they are recommended for those who love great views, people with fear of heights should think twice before visiting or buying such a house.

Who said recycled containers are not habitable?

Nowadays there are some architects that like to think out-of-the-box and more and more people that would like to live in a slightly different house. This is also the case of Claire Helene Drouin and Jean Marie Sanchez, two architects that built a new home made of 15 containers.

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After its completion, you would not even notice that the house is made of recycled materials. And the best thing is yet to come: when the inhabitants get bored in Marseille, France, they could literally take their homes and move wherever they want, since this house is mobile! Building houses out of recycled containers seems to become one of the newest trends in green homes, since this kind of material is cheaper and can be easily found around any harbour.

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The ship that isn’t wreckage or a museum exhibit

This unique type of vessel can be seen on the shore of Lake Erie, in Ohio. It was saved from being scrapped at the Port of Cleveland in 1986. Benson Ford, as the ship was called, served the waters of the Great Lakes for fifty years. Nowadays, the ship serves as a private luxury residence for an Ohio couple. Getting the ship up on the shore was a long and assiduous procedure, but Benson Ford will now safely guard Lake Erie for a long time from now on.

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In the past a weapon shelter, nowadays a science fiction home

If you ever considered living high, but under the earth surface, this might be the best option for you. A reminiscence of the Cold War in the US, this silo was built in the ‘50s as part of a defensive system against a Soviet attack. After the Cold War was over, most of these storerooms are now abandoned and filled with water. But Bruce Franciso and Gregory Gibbons had the brilliant idea to transform one into a luxury home, accessible by car and by plane. This amazing house is part of a 105 acres estate where there’s also a hangar, a living room with a breathtaking view and a porch.

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Underground you will find an ex-launch control room transformed in a two level house with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and open living area with a kitchen and a spiral stairway.

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Gray grain bins once, modern homes now

For those in the countryside that might find the old farmhouses a bit too classic for their taste: why not trying a grain bin? Of course, we’re talking about converted grain bins.

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The cost of transforming such a grain bin into a liveable house could start at 7,000 US dollars with a 18 foot diameter structure. Keep in mind that such a procedure will only confer a limited number of doors and windows (depending on each bin), since they can directly affect the strength of the structure. If you’re planning to create your own personal bin house, you should always pre-check with an engineer or an architect your plans, for safety reasons.

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It might look like a church, but it is actually someone’s home

You have arcades and nice walls in most houses, but you will rarely find vaulted ceilings and stained glass. An Englishman managed to apply one of the most impressive residential projects in the world, by choosing an old church in the countryside as his next home. On the inside you’ll find a long hallway, a huge living room and two bedrooms.

Now, let’s decide what the oddest thing in the whole picture is: putting the master bed right in the apex of the main volume or having a graveyard instead of a lawn?

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Abandoned oil platforms – an ideal spot for hotels and luxury homes

An abandoned oil platform is probably not the best thing to see as an environmentalist. As our oil resources are running lower and lover, in the Gulf of Mexico there will soon be at least 4,000 of such sites that will not serve anyone. Since it’s better to reuse than throw away, why not transform them into luxury condos or hotels? Although this is still a newbie project, an idea like this could be soon implemented.

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The existing oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico sum up a total surface of 80 million square feet that can be used to create futuristic residential areas. These self-sufficient buildings might very well be “America’s Dubai”.

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Recycled billboards – the new compact dwellings?

This eco-friendly alternative to housing is a suggestion made by an architects’ company based in Denver, Colorado. Compact living is a concept that crowded cities will have to face in the near future, if they will continue to expand. With their convenient location, billboards can make a perfect, liveable area for next generations.

The houses of the future enjoy a superb view of the urban, busting jungle. Even though might be not such a good idea for those suffering from fear of heights or people struggling with claustrophobia.

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Neither a boat, nor a ship – a floating house

This fresh approach appeared when rebuilding New Orleans, after being devastated by the Katrina hurricane. The design was brought up by Brad Pitt’s green building foundation, Make It Right. These new homes will be built in such a way that they will float, instead of being destroyed when flooding occurs.

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The homes will also be equipped with batteries, so that it will keep everything running for a maximum of three days. The houses will have a “range” of maximum 12 feet, the owners of the project studying the possibility of applying the idea on a larger scale.

It won’t fly, but you’ll feel like a pilot

Made from parts of a Boeing 747, the Wing House in California is the dream of every aviation enthusiast. The 63-foot-tall airplane is being turned into a livable area by architect David Hertz, who plans on adding 125-foot-long wings on top of the construction. The Wing House is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year for a very lucky Californian woman. The cockpit will be transformed into a meditation room, while the first-class cabin will act as a guest house; in the lower half, endangered species will find a safe refuge.

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Knock knock! Who is it? A wooden truck/house!

This wonderful crafted wooden caravan was created by Heather and Ivan Morison, two British artists. The converted truck was once a fire engine that proudly served the British Army, named the Green Goddess.

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After being customized, the truck is now equipped with a stove and a sink in a tiny kitchenette, pot plants and shelves filled with hundreds of science fiction books. Most of them are H. G. Wells books and the Goddess can be seen driving around Folkestone, a city where Wells lived for ten years. Although the Morrisons did not invent the time machine, as Wells did, they have invented a method of escaping our times.

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Living high in Colorado

Located in an isolated area accessible only via snowmobile during the winter season, at 10,000 feet above sea level, the wee Ski Chalet is a cozy haven embedded into a ski resort with a eco-friendly design. The 1000 square foot house owes its low environmental impact to the structured insulated panel wall systems and passive solar sitting, the heat being stored into its concrete floor. During the summer, the ample eaves make the house cool and comfy. The wee Ski Chalet is the winner for the 2008 AIA Colorado Award for Sustainable Design.

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The green home overlooking the Aegean

The Greek style has always been a source of inspiration for many architects throughout the years – it’s clean and simple design make it attractive and exotic. The Kavouri Residence in Greece is the child of PLDP Architects of Austin and Portland and was built in the Piraeus, overlooking the Aegean Sea. Kavouri was built on the structure of an old house with many of its old elements, achieving high levels of sustainability without the use of much energy. The existing walls were used, along with whatever material could be salvaged from the foundation excavation.

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The house where the sun always shines

This architectural wonder is in fact a cylindrical structure that rotates in order to track the sun. The rotation and all the appliances in the house are powered by solar energy, through the panels on the roof. Moreover, the house produces six times more energy than it needs!

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Designed by the German architect Rolf Disch, the house spins on a central axis all year long. The conical structure has two major sides – an insulated one, for less heat gaining in the winters and one used during winter, to get the maximum passive heat available. This is a concept that conveys not just a great human comfort, but a green strategy that represents a new start for all the eco-friendly houses around the world.

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4 Comments »

  • Ahmed said:

    Good work, but some are really quite expensive to have/build, so to Go Green one should have some bucks first.

  • John Sharpe AE FRIBA said:

    Bright people, bright ideas, bright results. These are examples of thoughtful domestic architecture away from the traditional. No doubt costly but well worth the effort. Brilliant

  • hiscax said:

    excellent article, really enjoy this web site especially the green focus, continue on it.

  • Peter said:

    Great article, I loved the one that was an old plane.

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