A lot of times we get customers who will install cork in a single room and we applaud them for taking the first step into using sustainable materials. But when we get a customer who is willing to install cork in their entire home, we get really excited because the impact you get when you see cork all around you is a beautiful sight.
The Ellis Park house is a multi level home built by Altius Architecture in Toronto Canada. It is a contemporary style home that incorporates clean lines and boxy style with sustainable elements such as geothermal heating and cooling, passive solar design and daylighting strategy, recycled and reclaimed materials, passive thermo-siphon ventilation and a green roof. The design of the house includes open concept living spaces that take advantage of the large expanse of windows and the use of sustainable materials such as cork, reclaimed stone, birch and marine plywood, clay brick, copper and Douglas fir.
Description of the Ellis Park House by Altius Architecture
Located in Toronto’s Bloor West Village neighbourhood the Ellis Park House was conceived as an ecological urban home that places a bold emphasis on sustainability and contemporary living. The home was constructed on an overgrown infill site, just steps from Bloor Street, that was considered unbuildable because of its 45 slope and shallow depth. Where others saw obstacles the design team saw potential for an earth sheltered home, ideally sited in an urban context with good solar orientation and exceptional vistas over Toronto’s High Park.
The design and construction of the home provided the architectural team with the opportunity to experiment with various systems, materials and assemblies, providing real world experience and long term monitoring to verify theories and assumptions that could not be tested on private clients.
The enduring legacy of the Ellis Park House is that many of the design strategies that were novel at the time of its design have become standard in the firms current work. The house proved to the firm’s clients that reducing ones ecological foot print can be done with out compromising comfort, luxury or style and more importantly that sustainable practices really do pay for themselves.
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You wouldn’t think that onions and cork would have much in common but Benamor Duarte Architecture has connected these unrelated elements to create a interactive installation called the Onion Pinch. This installation was conceived as a Babies and Adult Rest Station for a Lisbon subway station with the goal of getting the attention of its passengers and creating a sculptural piece that people could touch, lay on and rest.
Because cork is so flexible they cut sturdy strip and connected the tops together to create the onion shape which creates a hammock or rocking structure that can support the weight of a person. The installation was articulated in a series of internal paths in which babies could run, walk, climb, lay and rock. The tracks were articulated by the opening or closing of the profiles. Shape and profile transformations were obtained by literally pinching the cork with a bolt. When placed on the higher positions of the profile, the onion configuration would open up. Moving the bolt toward the ground made the shape close down.
By approaching the project we immediately understood that we wanted to construct a space affecting user’s behavior, a real place that people would recognize as such. We wanted to create a space having the capacity to transform, by its physicality, the life in a subway station.
In order to achieve our goal, like surgeons we started to study and to dissect the material we were using for the installation: the cork. We wanted to identify a design concept and a very simple construction technique. We wanted to create an intimate relation between material properties and user’s physicality. Cork was reduced to a list of material properties and attributes that could interact with people: Texture, Granularity, Porosity, Acoustic insulation, Density, Thickness and finally the most important: Flexibility.
Cork is very flexible. Flexibility means elasticity and vibration. A response to touch to body pressure. Thanks to its flexibility, it was possible to shape the cork. We wanted to offer a dynamic shelter, an hammock, a space: the project was achieved by literally folding fifteen strips of cork to obtain an onion ring effect.
The onion rings were realized with different cork types and thicknesses. The installation was articulated in a series of internal paths in which babies could run, walk, climb, lay and rock. The tracks were articulated by the opening or closing of the profiles. Shape and profile transformations were obtained by literally pinching the cork with a bolt. When placed on the higher positions of the profile, the onion configuration would open up. Moving the bolt toward the ground made the shape close down.
The unique parameter, ‘position on the Z axis of the bolt’, affected another condition of the rings: the flexibility or level of vibration. Therefore with the form transformation the rigidity of the shape also changed. For the more open type of profile the flexibility was higher. A simple touch could activate the ring vibration by literally transforming the Onion in culls. For the more rigid shapes the vibration was limited.
Beside the apparent rigidity of the design approach, when installed in the subway the onion installation immediately became an urban toy. People slowed down from their everyday rhythm and looked at the installation, touched it, pushed it and tested the different reactions of the onion to body pressure. Babies immediately appropriate the space. The presence of an extremely alive object, with its texture, with the oscillation of the onion rings, transformed an unfamiliar, cold space like the subway station into a lively oasis. Children entered the space and started to inhabit it.
This amazing desert home built by Will Bruder + Partners is a modern dwelling that is a comfortable living space for a family of 4 that is nestled in the rugged desert of Arizona. The back of the home has a series of large windows that frame the McDowell Mountains in the distance and a mountain preserve to the south. Entry, office and bedrooms are on the upper level with the primary living and dining experience, a media/music chamber and potter’s studio tucked beneath.The harder surfaces used through out the house such as concrete and steel is softened with the use of cork and wood to provide an aesthetic balance.
If your entertaining it is always nice to to have all the right accessories to serve wine so I have decided to do a round up of all the best wine gear I have come across in my internet browsing.
Check out this vintage vase that is for sale on Etsy which measures 5 – 5/8″ tall x 3 – 1/4″ in diameter at the base. The pitcher is completely covered in cork and the interior is a terracotta colored ceramic. Since there are no markings on the bottom or inside it is hard to date this item but it is extremely cool in a Silence Of The Lamp patchwork style way.
Austin is known for SXSW and is the place where all the hip young Texans live and is a hot bed for homeowners who are open to using sustainable products in their homes. We receive a lot of inquires from this part of Texas and this homeowner did an amazing kitchen renovation. I am super impressed with their two tone cabinets because I hate matchey-matchey and their brown cork tiles is a nice complement to their lower cabinets. Overall this will be a great party kitchen.