These houses can survive natural disasters

 

Japan Dome House, a modular home manufacturer, has been making and selling its styrofoam dome houses for over fifteen years, but since the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, there has been a surge of interest in the company’s products.

Some readers may do a double take, as the material used for these homes is indeed styrofoam.

Polystyrene (more commonly known as styrofoam) is widely used for everything from cups and food containers to packaging material. Polystyrene is a petroleum-based product made from the styrene monomer, which is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

 

Some countries and municipalities around the world (including Taiwan and Portland, Oregon and Orange County, California in the U.S.) have also banned the use of polystyrene foam.

Nevertheless, the future of earthquake-resistant home building in Japan may very well come in the shape of domed houses built from this material.

Aso Farm Land
On April 16, 2016, a magnitude 7.0 main shock struck the city of Kumamoto in Kyushu Prefecture (following a foreshock two days earlier). The two earthquakes killed at least 49 people and injured some 3,000 others.

Many structures in Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures collapsed and caught fire, and more than 44,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to the disaster. Thousands of evacuees are still living in temporary housing.

However, among the structures that were not damaged was a small village of 480 houses at the Aso Farm Land resort, a health-themed national park built on a somma volcano, in Kyushu. Visitors to Aso Farm Land can enjoy numerous open-air hot springs and stay overnight in differently-themed accommodations.

The “Village Zone” of Aso Farm Land consists of 480 closely-packed dome-shaped houses made of a next-generation form of polystyrene foam. When the Kumamoto earthquake struck, none of these dome houses were damaged. This has has lead to a surge of interest in the technology behind their construction.

Fourth-Generation Building Material
Japan Dome House, based in Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture, claims that it has developed a fourth generation building material (following wood, iron, and concrete); and that its dome house has a number of characteristics that makes it superior to conventional materials and house shapes.

Using proprietary technology, it has developed an expanded polystyrene (EPS) product that is much stronger and more compact than the foam that is used for shipping material and food containers.

 

The company believes that its dome houses have a number of benefits. These include:

Ultra-Short Building Time

A dome house can be assembled in about a week by three or people, using modular dome pieces that weigh only about 80-kg (176 pounds).

Ultra-Low Cost
The company says that the total construction cost of a basic dome house is between ¥7 million and ¥8 million ($68,700 and $78,500) for a house with a floor space of about 36-sqm (387-sqft) and a ceiling height of 3 meters (9.8 feet).

Highly Earthquake Resistant
Because of its dome shape, the lack of a need for posts and beams in construction, and its extremely light weight the dome house is highly earthquake resistant.

Ultra-Thermal Insulating

Expanded polystyrene also has very high thermal insulating properties. This combined with the dome shape (which allows air to circulate by convection and prevents it from accumulating in corners) makes the dome house highly energy-saving.

Highly Durable
Polystyrene also does not rust or rot and is not subject to termite infestation. After assembly, the walls of the Dome House are also coated with fire retardant making the houses fireproof.

The dome shape of the house also makes it resistant to high winds.

Antioxidant Building Construction
The company also claims that its houses are healthy to live in because an anti-oxidant solution is kneaded into the polystyrene foam building material. Formaldehyde is also not used in the construction process which means that Japan Dome Houses do not suffer from “sick-house” syndrome.

Certification
The Dome House and the company’s specially developed polystyrene foam have also been certified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Tourism and Industry as being compliant with national building codes.

Customizable Dome Houses
Japan Dome House has developed a number of modular parts for its dome houses, which makes them highly customizable.

The company says its dome houses are used around Japan not only as residences but also as small hotels, steam rooms, temples and churches, child care centers and educational facilities and even karaoke bars. Because they can be quickly assembled there is also growing interest in using them as temporary housing for evacuees from natural disasters.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Perfection: Greek Hotel Made For Families with Little Travelers

Based on my personal experience traveling with kids is 10x harder Than traveling with adults. The kids nends special places that satisfy their desires and needs ! On the other hand though, I experienced  more that traveling with kids has become much easier (such a contradiction I know) but it all depends on the destination. It does take a bit more effort on the parent’s part but hotels have become much more accommodating and even have suites dedicated to traveling en-famille. You don’t have to forgo your love of travel just because you’ve added a couple additional travelers to your family. The Ekies All Senses Resort, a member of the Design Hotels collective, understands this sentiment and has created a Greek oasis for families on vacation with little travelers.

Located on the paradisiacal coastline of Halkidiki, Greece, the Ekies All Senses Resort owned by Alexandra Efstathiadou features 10 eco-luxury suites that encourage children to run free and explore, all the while encouraging adults to do the same. The newer Pine and Evergreen suites designed by Athens-based architectural firm Agarch+ seem to blend into the lush, rustic landscape of fauna and flora. The materials and decor incorporated into the suites, like the hand-laid herringbone stone flooring, are a nod to traditional Greek artisanship alongside modern furnishings, like pieces by Philippe Starck and Achille Castiglioni.

The suites come equipped with cozy loungers, hammocks and private soaking pools. And Alexandra’s mother’s family co-own Coco Mat, a company that produces natural sleep products, bed linens, towels, and furniture, all of which are used throughout the hotel.

Blue accent walls and tiles reflect the waters of the Aegean shores just mere steps away from the property. Illustrations and typography showcasing Greek poet Aesop’s fables adorn the walls of certain suites. There are 69 rooms and suites in total, each with their own pool, sea or garden view and each are unique in terms of color and decorations.

 

Alexandra shares her vision for the property:

” I wanted to display Greek culture but in a modern way. I wanted to create a new way for people to look at the country. It is a place filled with love. In other words, it’s the perfect place to spend with your family and little ones.”

What: The Ekies All Senses Resort
Where: Sithonia, Halkidiki, Vourvourou, 63078
How much:  Rates for the Pine suites start from $264 USD, rates for the Evergreen Suite start from $522 USD.
Highlights: This Greek hotel has all the modern amenities you need to stay more than comfortable while on vacation (we’re going to assume that it won’t be that hard on a beautiful property like this) but is a true escape into paradise with the lush landscaping, scenic views (Mount Itamos is just a drive away) and Greek-influenced interiors.
Design draw: Agarch+ chose materials and decor that give a nod to Greek craftsmanship while also maintaining a contemporary aesthetic with modern furniture and fixtures.

Book it: Visit the Ekies All Senses Resort

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Via Design Milk.

The Beautiful Tree of Italy: Alberbello

Alberobello (Italian: means literally “beautiful tree”) is a small town and comune of the metropolitan city of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy. It has about 10,700 inhabitants and is famous for its unique trullo buildings. The trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996.

Alberobello was first mentioned in the early 16th century when the first 40 families were granted land to farm in the area. The abundance of calcareous sedimentary material in the area lead to the building of houses with dry stone without the use of mortar. These houses were the first trulli which contributed to the expansion of the settlement. Building the houses of dry stone was a requirement of Count Giangirolamo II as in this way it was avoidable to pay taxes on them. (Source)

There are so many hidden jewels in Italy much more than what is marketed, I personally discovered many charming towns and destinations by chance when doing road trips. Alberobello was one of these findings. located on the heel of the shoe (Italy map), It is 5 hours drive from Rome by car probably 3 hours from Naples.

 

The town is small, most of its old houses are renovated and turned into hotels or tourists markets. Only couple of houses are left untouched to preserve the town history.

Alberobello and its surroundings is definitely a relaxing/sightseeing place, after sunset there is nothing much to do other than dinner and for me specially in that town was enough as their cuisine was amazing. While before sunset your day should be packed with activities according to your taste. The hotels there are pretty much the same in terms of exterior/interior design. If I was asked to recommend one it would be Il Gabellota Resort .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

UTOPIA !

 

These past couple of weeks I’ve been in full travel planning mode as I’m trying to organize everything for my upcoming business trips, so I couldn’t help but reminisce one of the most special spots I’ve ever stayed in. As you probably remember from previous post I mentioned that I will be visiting LA then VEGAS and back to LA. Los Angeles is one of my favorite places to travel too, Not only is it incredibly beautiful but there are also so many new places to discover every time you visit it. I wont share a travel guide with all my tips about where to eat, shop and have fun because to each his own ! I am just going to post about the hotels I stayed in and some of the places I liked.
so it’s high time I revealed the ultimate place to stay in the LA: Hotel Beverly Terrace ! It should be called Utopia though because at least to me the hotel is yard is just how I imagine Utopia!

Perched on a secluded hill overlooking the mountains of Beverly Hills, the hotel beverly terrace is the crown jewel of Beverly Hills hotels. The outer look of the hotel and the Lobby doesn’t reflect what its really like to walk in further inside. from the moment I’ve arrived I welcomed with chilled drinks at the bar. Shortly after checking in, I had a walk all around the hotel which really sealed the deal – and I was like this is going to be a fantastic 2 days.

The hotel was a maze of bright grey alleyways leading to the rooms. Some rooms like mine had a direct access to the yard pictured above. Its very hard to mix vintageness with modernness and come up with a masterpiece of design. I was positively surprised by how well it integrated with its surroundings. The atmosphere was also great – chic, relaxed and luxurious all in one. The hotel was not to big but it really had everything I needed: A rooftop area, an outdoor cocktail bar, a gym, a cute little busniess center and one of the best restaurants in the area.

The room was not spacious but very well designed to look so, spotless clean and beautifully decorated. Truth be told, I was worried it could be noisy as it also overlooked the yard/bar area, this was not an issue throughout my stay not at all. One of the things I really loved about the Hotel Beverly Terrace was how relaxed and intimate it felt. I typically spent my two nights unwinding by the roof, soaking up the sun, listening to great tunes and socializing with the amazing staff. That’s not to say that I didn’t get to enjoy the surrounding area too.

If you’re looking for a place in Los Angeles where you can treat yourself to a relaxing holiday, Then this hotel is absolutely the only hotel you should pick !

It may be pricey indeed but don’t let the cost startle you; you’ll be rewarded with one of your best traveling experiences for sure.

A special shout for the super amazing staff Yenory, Maria from the front desk and Aleckx from the bar/restaurants. At some places staff really make the difference !

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

SIX SENSES ZIL PASYON

FÉLICITÉ, SEYCHELLES

Six Senses Zil Pasyon is a luxury boutique beach resort in the Seychelles, located on the private island of Félicité. With other inner islands nearby for activities, Zil Pasyon is secluded and offers guests the utmost in privacy and luxury.

AT A GLANCE

  • Features just 30 villas and 17 private residences on a private island, exclusive to Six Senses
  • The area is superb for diving and snorkelling
  • Take a stroll through the impressive flora along the island’s walking paths
  • Make full use of your villa’s private wine cellar and butler service for the ultimate luxury experience

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hotel Review: Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf Hotel

IMG_1164

In my humble opinion being a traveler who roamed all 5 continents this hotel is by far the best hotel I have ever stayed in for several reasons I that I am going to going on this post.

Located in Dubai Coast within a short walk of Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Dar Al Msyaf has 283-room spreader over 25 Villas, The 5-star resort welcomes business and leisure travelers with 2 indoor and 15 outdoor pools “13 pools are private” and a private beach. Each Villa “summer house” has 5-10 rooms accomidating 5-10 families only, a summer house would have its own lobby “very intimate check-in /Check-out experience”.  Each villa also have its own butler and private transportation method according to the guest will ” a baggy AKA golf cart”, walking through sensational views or take a heritage boat ride through the water channels of the resort which is my favorite one. For example to go for breakfast, beach or dine you can take one of the above mentioned transportation method, taking the boat is the most convenient taking into mind the views you will stumble on with just one ride.

Pierchic Bar Opening
Dining
This resort is home to 20 onsite restaurants, perfect for a quick bite to eat. Savor a meal from the comfort of your room with 24-hour room service, or entertain your taste buds with a beverage at the bar/lounge or coffee shop/café. Start your day off with buffet breakfast, available for a fee. Also if you paid for a halfboard which I always do, you will get a voucher for second meal in any of these 20 restaurants all over the resort.

IMG_1157
Rooms
The 283 air-conditioned accommodations feature furnished balconies and afford space to spread out with living rooms. Guests can expect 36-inch TVs with digital channels and DVD players, along with free WiFi and wired Internet. Select Comfort beds with Egyptian cotton sheets and pillow menus ensure a restful night, and bathrooms offer deep soaking tubs, rainfall showers, hair dryers, and designer toiletries. Sofa beds, minibars, and free newspapers are other standard amenities. Make sure to always ask for an upper floor water faced room.

IMG_7232
Property features
Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf – Madinat Jumeirah features a private beach, a full-service spa, private lobby, private pools and 2 indoor pools. You can take advantage of free valet parking, along with an airport shuttle (available on request) for AED 375 per vehicle roundtrip. A multilingual staff is on hand to assist with dry cleaning/laundry, concierge services, and luggage storage. Other amenities at this beach resort include 15 outdoor pools, a free water park, and couple of nightclubs and lounges.

 

Highlights

  • Close to Wild Wadi Water Park and Burj Alarab hotel.
  • Free WiFi in rooms and public areas
  • Free valet parking
  • Onsite dining
  •  Private lobby
  •  Happy hours at the private lobby for each villa from 6-8pm providing free drinks and refreshments.
  •  Private pools
  • The most scenetic place in Dubai.