Butterfly Studio / Valerie Schweitzer Architects

Inspired by the shape of a butterfly when it closes its wings, Valerie Schweitzer Architects’ Butterfly Studio is a sculptural detached office full of cleverly placed windows that target views toward the yard rather than the main house for a sense of privacy and seclusion. Set in the backyard of a home in Westport, Connecticut, the design recently won an American Architecture Prize in the small architecture category — via Urbanist


Theodore Wirth Ranch / Strand Design

Designed by Strand Design, this Minneapolis residence is envisioned as a modern ranch, blending the pool-and-cabana style of West Coast ramblers with warm, natural materials fit for the northern climate and woodland surroundings.

Covering 420 square metres, the hillside Theodore Wirth Ranch indulges in high-ceilinged, open-plan living spaces ideal for entertaining, with wall-to-wall views of the retreat-worthy setting. The interior material palette includes clear timber, sandstone, marble, cork, concrete, and steel, all highlighted against white walls and ceilings — via Curbed


Hiiragi’s house / Takashi Okuno

Designed by architect Takashi Okuno, the U-shaped residence in Japan’s Ehime Prefecture has a two-story wing on one side of the courtyard, which contains a double-height open-plan living and dining area and two bedrooms on the second floor. The built-in sliding doors to the courtyard deck encourage the free-flowing indoor-outdoor contemporary lifestyle — via Curbed


Dark Ages Crossbow / Tod Todeschini

In this video Tod talks about the Colletière à Charavines light hunting bow, one of a very few surviving European crossbows from this period (around 1000AD). This is a very simple bow with only a few components. It could be constructed with European woods such as ash and yew and basic hand tools by any back woods bodger — via Youtube


Dirty Pigeon / Heiwa MC

Heiwa MC’s Kengo Kimura sourced the 1971 Triumph TR6 donor in the US, but there’s little left of the original. When he got it, it was a beat-up chopper with a diamond tank, in dire need of a makeover. He envisioned something straight, sleek and narrow, and set about building it—from scratch — via Bike EXIF


Rose House / Sergey Makhno Architects

Reddish-brown corten steel compliments surrounding dark browns and lush greens in this Ukrainian forest retreat, its horizontal planes pushing the building out to meet the surrounding trees. Known for their use of weathering steel, Sergey Makhno Architects wrapped their latest work with a combination of corten and mesh, the latter to foster the growth of ivy, further connecting nature and architecture — via Urbanist

Science, Wildlife

If Australian animals don’t poison you or eat you, they’ll burn down your house

Already replete with sharks, crocodiles, snakes and poisonous jellyfish galore, Australia may also be home to arsonist birds that spread fire so they can feed on animals as they flee.

The belief that birds like the Whistling Kite, Black Kite and Brown Falcon spread grass fires goes back so far that it’s commemorated in indigenous ceremonial dances, according to Bob Gosford, a co-author of this paper in the Journal of Enthnobiology.

The paper posits that the behaviour isn’t accidental: Most accounts and traditions unequivocally indicate intentionality on the part of three raptor species and a handful provide evidence of cooperative fire-spreading by select individuals from within larger fire-foraging raptor assemblages, it notes.

And while the researchers’ main interest was to confirm and document those stories, Gosford told Vulture South the research is also important to understanding how fire spreads in Australia.

This may give us cause to re-examine fire history, and the conduct of fire in this country, Gosford said — via The Register


Julian Residence / George Matsumoto

As beautiful as they come is this 1954 gem in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, designed by famed Japanese-American architect George Matsumoto and built by Frank Walser, an independent contractor known for executing many modernist homes in and around Raleigh. The 250 square metre residence was originally designed for Milton Julian and his family. Located at 101 Ledge Lane just two blocks from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the home is offered at $595,000 — via Curbed


Thayer Residence / NMA Architects

Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects (NMA Architects), have designed a new modern house in Montecito, California, that has a landscaped front courtyard to welcome you to the home. A lawn area is combined with a water feature and a rock garden for a contemporary garden look, while a path runs along the side of the garage and leads to the pivoting front door — via CONTEMPORIST


Ruins Studio / Lily Jencks Studio + Nathanael Dorent Architecture

Without touching a single stone in the ruins of a 17th century farmhouse in Scotland, two architects managed to incorporate it exactly as it is into a modern, ultra-efficient, solar-powered family home. Lily Jencks Studio and Nathanael Dorent Architecture collaborated on a project that literally builds upon history, opting to adapt the ruins for a new usage in a way that highlights their history instead of trying to recreate what the farmhouse looked like once upon a time — via Urbanist


Geometric Pattern: Diamond Split / Red Wolf

Geometric Pattern: Diamond Split: Blue, Geometric Pattern: Diamond Split: Green, Geometric Pattern: Diamond Split: Red and Geometric Pattern: Diamond Split: Yellow originally uploaded by Red Wolf


Meet the Dog Protecting Planes From Bird Strikes / Great Big Story

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, cooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce, it’s Piper the Aviation Bird Dog, ready for duty. Alongside his handler Brian Edwards, the dynamic duo protects the planes at Cherry Capital Airport from bird strikes. Birds can pose a huge threat to flight safety, but when they see Piper on his way, geese, ducks and gulls flee the runways. It’s an important job, but not one without its share of fun — via Youtube


Los Terrenos / Tatiana Bilbao

Tatiana Bilbao has created a stunning single-story vacation home made of mirrored glass, rammed earth, and bricks. Located on a lush tree-filled site in Monterrey, Los Terrenos (The Terrains) is a small two-building complex arranged in a square around a curved pool and terrace lined with terracotta pavers — via Curbed


Kelys and Chirp / MB&F + Reuge + Nicolas Court

What you’re looking at here is a musical automaton that combines a walking tortoise (Kelys) and a singing bird (Chirp). Kelys is about 24cm long, 16cm wide, and 8cm high not including Chirp, who pops out of the top of Kelys’ shell when the automaton is activated. In all, the pair weigh just over 1.8kg. The body is made of rhodium plated brass with leather scales set into the metal to provide a bit of softness, and you can choose from blue, green, yellow, and ochre leather, giving four very different looks. The basic idea is that Kelys (whose name comes from the Greek for tortoise) walks around as Chirp sings her song. It’s an extremely charming little contraption and is meant to be a celebration of friendships, no matter how unusual. It’s a complicated machine though. There are 480 total components in the movement, which builds on Pierre Jaquet-Droz’s original singing bird automaton from the 1780s. It was designed, developed, and made by Reuge and automaton specialist Nicolas Court. The MB&F Kelys & Chip is a limited edition, with 18 pieces being made in each of the four colours. The price is CHF 49,000 — via Youtube


RCM-431 / AC Sanctuary

Numbered RCM-431, this 1970s Kawasaki Z1 was built for a client in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo. He already owns a newer Zephyr 1100, so the AC Sanctuary crew knew that they’d need to step up the older Zed’s performance to match. Luckily RCM stands for Real Complete Machine — so this Kawa’s had every upgrade imaginable thrown at it — via Bike EXIF


Pond House / Will Bruder Architects

A stunning example of desert modernism by architect William P Bruder, FAIA, is on the market, this time in Cave Creek, Arizona, 43km north east of Phoenix. Completed in 2005, the Pond House is so-named for its 2.3 hectare riverbank site, where a sometimes swimming hole feeds a river, or stands still as a pond, or, in dry times, acts as a remembrance of water. Located at 5115 E Rockaway Hills Drive, it’s offered at $1.199 million — via Curbed


£70,000 Patek Philippe vs £4,000 Omega / Watchfinder & Co

Watchfinder & Co presents:

Let’s get straight to it—the Patek Philippe 5170P in my right hand is worth almost 20 times as much as the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch in my left. With the Omega clocking an RRP of just over £4,000, that places the 5170P at a whopping £73,000. While some of that cost gets you a platinum case and diamonds on the dial, it’s safe to say that most of it is spent on the bit you don’t often get to see—the calibre CH 29-535 PS movement. But with the Omega carrying a similar hand-wound manual chronograph calibre 1863 movement for a fraction of the price, what are you really getting when you spend all that extra money?

— via Youtube