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Modscape in AR Magazine

If you are looking for one more excuse to pick up the latest edition of the fabulous AR Magazine, there is an excellent piece on the wave of prefabricated construction in Australia.

Each month, Architectural Review Asia Pacific (AR) presents a thorough insight into the best of Australia’s contemporary architecture, as well as showcasing a selection of significant buildings and projects from overseas.

This month’s feature article, titled The Space Program, touches on the history of prefab in Australia and highlights some of the benefits along with some of the challenges that are hindering the growth of the industry. It also includes the views of Modscape’s Jan Gyrn.

The Modscape team are very excited to be featured in this beautiful magazine and to contribute to an important piece.

Smart Garden Hub App

Smart Garden App

Don’t have the ‘green thumb’? Not to worry – advanced networking technology and artificial intelligence may soon give you a helping hand in the garden.

A start-up company has designed the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub system which uses real-time sensors, computing power and wireless communications to provide not only for the plant’s needs but also to help to reduce water consumption by up to 50 percent.

The system seemlessly connects to the internet and can be controlled from your smartphone, producing reports showing just how much water and money you save.

Not only can the Smart Garden Hub help you conserve water, it can also notify you of breaks in your irrigation pipes, and even control your garden lighting.

The idea came about when the founder, Odi Dahan, saw sprinklers working on a neighbour’s property despite a torrential downpour. “At the time, I wondered how much water had actually been wasted. This served as the impetus behind developing a solution that would allow easy control of an irrigation system via a smartphone, while also being able to dynamically respond to ground conditions and weather forecasts.”

Since the GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub went on sale in mid-2014, users have collectively saved over 7.5 million litres of water. The seed has been planted. Smart water conservation will only grow.

Combating Fast Fashion with Modular Design

Modular clothing, who would have thought? But that’s exactly what designer Rhiannon Hunt is proposing in her designs to stem the epidemic of “fast fashion”.

Hunt suggests modular design as a way to improve people’s emotional attachment to their garments. Inspired by the built environment, her clothing designs highlight different methods of clothing construction – such as box pleats, panels, waistbands, and hemlines – all joined with detachable fastenings.

Winner of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan’s inaugural ‘Extending the Life of Clothes’ award, the designs “enables the wearers to easily adjust the size, fit, style and/or length of each garment themselves. It is hoped that this added interaction, personalization, and creativity will help to strengthen the bond between wearer and garment.”

Hunt also recommends a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approach to both the fabrics and notions. “Pairing organic fibres with three-dimensionally printed, biodegradable fastenings, for instance, allows a garment to be composted at the end of its functional life.”

This modular methodology is what Modscape uses to inform our prefabricated homes. It’s great to see sustainable modular design spread outside the construction industry.

Project Alphington

Modscape_Alphington_29May2015_0063

Effective passive design and beautiful material selection combine to create this elegant family home in Alphington.

The clients asked Modscape to deliver a modern solution which possessed plenty of space for both adults and children alike, whilst taking into consideration a large diagonal easement that runs across the site. To ensure privacy whilst maximising natural light, this stunning design runs over two levels and across the site, opening up to a garden at the north.

A large rumpus room and separate study, ensures there is plenty of space for the couple’s three young kids. For the adults, the master bedroom with private balcony provides a peaceful haven and takes advantage of the property’s beautiful views over the canopy of trees towards the Yarra River.

A light filled double height entrance opens to a generous kitchen/dining/ living area. Large double glazed floor-to-ceiling doors ensure there is easy transition between inside and out. And to complete the look, clean, contemporary internal finishes ensure the home is practical yet elegant.

Silvertop ash cladding was selected for the facade as the timber will silver over time and match the surrounding bush setting, whilst the black steel carport and storage area provides a horizontal connection to the natural fall of the site.

The home utilises a full grid connect solar system and rain water tanks.

Thanks to the flexibility of our modular system we were able to create a design to fit the needs of our clients despite challenging site access.

Things we love: Fantastic Cities

Like Play-Doh and jungle gyms, colouring books have always seemed reserved for children. Well, until recently.

The adult colouring book craze has hit Australia with colouring books aimed at grown-ups outselling cookbooks on Amazon. These books have shown to be a stress reliever for adults with colouring becoming the perfect digital detox.

Being in the construction industry we especially love Fantastic Cities – a colouring book inspired by cities across the globe. The book is full of incredibly detailed and unique architectural illustrations, including drawings featuring parts of London, New York, Rio and Amsterdam to colour.

We’ll definitely be getting our hands on one of these for the Modscape office – we’re all children at heart.

Conservation-friendly swirl faucet

Water may be a liquid, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be manipulated.

Simin Qiu, a design student at London’s Royal College of Art, has created a faucet which takes the idea of a sink sprayer and makes it more beautiful.

This conservation-friendly faucet swirls the water into captivating geometric patterns as soon as you turn on the tap. Called Swirl, the design uses two rotors to weave the water into a mesmerizing and intricate, cross-hatched design. Holes cut into the nozzle of the faucet create three different water effects.

In addition to the beautiful patterns the faucet produces, the design uses up to 15 percent less water than traditional faucets.

This design is still currently still in concept stage, but we can’t wait to be able to incorporate this energy-saving product into our modular homes.

Rethink the Modular

Rethink the Modular

Modules, modules, everywhere. All around the room. That’s what occurred at USM’s Rethink the Modular exhibition in Milan last month.

The Swiss furniture brand put on its exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of their signature Haller modular furniture system.

USM collaborated with university students in design, art, fashion and architecture to explore the concept of modularity, resulting in a number of interesting prototypes and installations.

The results ranged from abstract representations of modularity to more realistic proposals for modular building systems.

“The exhibition is all about giving a new perspective on modularity,” co-curator Burkhard Meltzer said. “We wanted to open up the discussion in the future what modularity might mean in the next years.”

“The interesting thing about modularity is there is always this tension between the interest in structures and rules and the interest in having as much freedom as possible. We wanted to show the whole range of this discussion between the two poles.”

France to shout green from the rooftops

Solar Panels and Green Roof

France is renowned for its haute couture and cutting-edge fashion thanks to the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix.

Recently the country’s progressive nature on the catwalk transferred to rooftops as it rolled out new environmental legislation.

As of April this year, all new buildings in commercial zones across the country must now either be partially covered in solar panels or plants.

We’d love to see the same trend catch on for the vast sea of under-utilised rooftops in Australia.

A positive green step forward was recently made by the City of Nedlands in Perth. In a first for Australia, the council voted to make on-site clean power generation compulsory on all new homes and some commercial buildings.

Mayor Max Hipkins was quoted as saying: “Sustainability is now core business for all levels of government – a necessity, not an option. National governments are often slow to take up new ideas, so cities – and mayors – need to show leadership in sustainability and response to climate change.”

We couldn’t agree more and take our green hats off to him for the initiative. The beauty of Modscape prefabricated homes is that they are all custom built, so we can tailor the design to suit your specific environmental goals and your council’s individual requirements. Our modular homes can easily be, and often are, equipped with solar panels. They can also accommodate a green roof.

If you are thinking of greening up your existing roof, the Clean Energy Council has some handy information on solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Melbourne Water also has a good fact sheet on green roofs.

Australian Pavilion will make a splash

The Pool

One of Australia’s great cultural symbols will be explored in the Australian Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Pool by architecture practice Aileen Sage and urban strategist Michelle Tabet will use light, mirror, sound and smell to create an immersive, highly sensorial experience that will transport visitors poolside. A series of Australia’s most remarkable pools will also be featured. Be they natural or manmade, inland or coastal, temporary or permanent, the creative directors will survey these archetypal pools which have become symbols of Australian culture.

The installation will be the first architecture exhibition to be held in the Denton Corker Marshall-designed pavilion recently built in Venice. Designed by Melbourne-based practice, the pavilion replaces Philip Cox’s 1988 structure and blurs the lines between architecture and sculptural object. Balancing out over the canal, the dark box is penetrated by operable panels that can be opened or closed depending on the exhibitions within. The new pavilion, which opens in May 2015, will attract attention not only for its design but for the fact that it is the first pavilion to be built in Venice in the 21st century.

St Kilda East

Modular Homes Melbourne

Sleek internal and external finishes marries aesthetics and functionality in this beautiful 2-storey modular home in St Kilda East. Designed using six modules over two levels, this St Kilda home maximises on space in a simple and understated layout. The clients approached Modscape with a brief that would see their dilapidated weatherboard house demolished and replaced with a contemporary, spacious home centred around the heads of the household – their two teenage daughters.

The daughters had input into the spatial configuration and were involved in all of the design decisions from the very beginning. The ground floor includes a master bedroom + ensuite, guest bedroom and laundry along with a spacious kitchen and dining area which opens onto an external deck module. Upstairs the two daughters each have their own space and share a large walk-in wardrobe, bathroom and second living area.

The cement sheet cladding embodies the sleek and minimal aesthetic requested by the clients. Form is dictated not only by the functionality of the internal spaces but of the surrounding streetscape. The street is lined with houses of differing scales, both old and new. The home turns its back on the chaos of the school located opposite and orientates itself to the north, optimising the sun. The street facing elevation is broken by a cut-out in the façade which houses a private balcony. A steel slatted carport was also prefabricated by Modscape.

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