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A Peaceful Courtyard City Dwelling for a Tokyo surgeon is Aptly Named

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The client wanted a peaceful retreat as a space to rest his body and soul exhausted from his work as a surgeon in Yotsukaido City, Japan.

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The brief was for privacy and quietness for the parents and three children to lead healthy lives.

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Tokyo-based Apollo Architects & Associates, led by Satoshi Kurosaki created peace within with a two story home facing inward to three courtyards.

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The family space on the second floor is a single wraparound space with full-height glazing on two sides.

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Because the house is on a noisy street, chunky slabs of reinforced concrete are used to make a soundproof barrier outside the interior spaces.

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The family experiences the space by crossing between inside and outside, through the central corridor and roof balcony connecting the main building and annex.

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Each of the three courtyards have a different atmosphere.

The smallest, towards the back of the house is a narrow space outside the bathroom.

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The garage is separated behind glass from the house, and offers only a glimpse of the nearby street life.

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The cars park against rubber barricades.

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Other than the parking space, and a glimpse of the tree in the courtyard through glass, almost nothing is visible from the outside. Thick concrete blocks the noise of the heavy traffic and automobile emissions.

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Farthest from the street side is the kitchen.

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It occupies the corner on the second floor.

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Pristine white, it couldn’t be further removed physically and psychologically from the heavy traffic passing by.

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Connecting the living spaces, the occupants can cross over on wooden ramps, through the tree canopy.

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The wood outside is the perfect antidote to the traffic, enabling the client and his family to return to a slower pace of life, for the peace they need.

Fittingly, the peaceful house is named Still.

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Ductless Mini Splits Are Changing Design Trends

Interior Design & Architecture is an ever-evolving art form with new trends and styles emerging everyday from across the world. The latest trend in the vast majority of new constructions now is building energy efficient buildings that are both stylish and functional. When it comes to adding energy-efficient heating and cooling systems to new constructions, ductless mini splits are the leading the way new A/C systems. Here’s a few ways Ductless mini split systems are changing the design trends.

#1 Ditch the Duct Work

When most people think of central air conditioning systems they picture the A/C slits sitting in their individual rooms, wondering what those dark caverns in our walls and ceilings really hold? The truth is these A/C ducts that we’ve grown accustomed to are typically full of all kinds of gross things, including mold and other pollutants which get trapped and grow in these large duct areas.

A/C ducts are also often hard to clean/maintain and take up significant valuable ceiling space when planning for a new construction. The ductless mini split air conditioning system changes all of that by offering powerful and versatile central air conditioning without the costly and difficult to maintain duct work we are all so familiar with. Ductless a/c systems use very thin pipes to connect the “inverter” to the main system that is typically located somewhere outside. Here’s a graphic from PowerSave AC showing how this works:

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As you can see, without any ductwork new and old constructions can now have a powerful and dependable heating/cooling solution with ductless mini split systems.

#2 Efficiency

Aside from the massive benefit of having the ability of delivering incredibly powerful a/c systems with no ductwork, ductless mini splits are also incredibly energy and cost efficient systems. Because of the lack of ductwork, the power from the outside unit loses almost no efficiency by the time it reaches the inverter. This means that you’re A/C system will run on average ~30% more efficiently than traditional A/C systems. This energy-efficient nature of ductless systems also makes a big difference on how these systems affect the environment. By producing more powerful air conditioning systems that use less electricity, ductless systems provide a green alternative to traditional less efficient alternatives. That means ductless mini split systems can help you save money and the environment, a true win-win!

#3Zone Control

Perhaps the most innovative feature that separates ductless mini split systems from the pack is the ability to have a multi-zone system that allows temperature to be controlled on a per room basis. Instead of using one large outside unit that simply pumps air through large ductwork systems, where efficiency and temperature control are much harder to attain, ductless mini split systems use individual inverters to allow full control of each room the operate in. Here’s a diagram showing how this works in more detail:

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As you can see, this set-up allows for ultimate individual room temperature control which can be applied to a multitude of residential and commercial constructions. Here’s a few examples of ductless systems at work:

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Modern living room with sofa and air conditioner - 3d rendering

As you can see the trend towards Ductless Mini Split A/C systems is in full force and is only projected to grow!

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Isolated Queensland Home is Fiercely Energy Independent

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This house employs a series of huge sliding screens to minutely control exposure to sun and shade.

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The very simple design from Shaun Lockyer Architects meets the sometimes harsh climate conditions in Queensland, Australia with a chic solution.

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There are sliding glass panels behind the screens, and superb cross ventilation through the narrow space open on both sides.

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While the climate can be extreme, the isolated setting is staggering.

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Walking around the side of the house, the screen holder acts as an unintentional frame for the magnificent views.
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Like many houses in Australia, solar panels provide the electricity needed inside.

A wood fire supplies the heat.

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The space between the external screens and the glass sliding doors creates a sometimes hallway.

At the far end of the house, a window suggests more public space.

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Actually, that window is within the master bedroom (behind the viewer).

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A door to a master bedroom immediately behind a kitchen can seem shockingly abrupt, but here a tall alcove intercedes.

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The kitchen recess has a shiny black backsplash that seems to recede to the distance.

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Beyond the central living room, the children’s bedrooms.

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The stark straightforward plan is the utmost in chic.

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In black, the garage is separated by color.

White utility rooms jut out opposite the children’s bedrooms.

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Outside, in this isolated setting, a fire needs little ceremony.

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Inside, a very beat up old table for gathering around.

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A very welcoming home, that is adaptable and energy independent, all alone out here in this magnificent wilderness.