Unique Fuzzy House offers locals a public shortcut through the building

April 20, 2018 by  
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When architecture studio Situation-based Operation (SO) was asked to create a home in Chiang Mai , the brief came with an unusual request: preserve the existing desire path. Since the plot had been left empty for many years, locals had created a desire path, or shortcut, through the land between two roads—and the owner wanted to keep that path functional for the community. As a result, the architects designed the Fuzzy House, a concrete home that blurs the line between public and private use. Set on a 600-square-meter plot, the Fuzzy House is a two-story bunker -like home spread out across two floors. The preserved shortcut is left as a narrow alley on the east side of the home between two structures and fronted by a patch of weeds. The garage entrance sits on the west end. “The house was considered to still let that path being in function even when the construction is finished, and to appear almost as nothing much happens from constructing this house,” wrote the architects. “The result is a building fuzzily sits between privacy and public domain whereas the owner can live his private life within the double enclosed space.” Related: Artists recycle hundreds of plastic bottles into a dynamic arch in Chiang Mai The first floor also includes an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room, as well as a working area and terrace. Gardens are interspersed throughout the first level. The master bedroom and bathroom are upstairs and open up to roof terraces. Natural light streams into the home through carefully placed openings and skylights that preserve privacy. + Situation-based Operation Images via Filippo Poli

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Unique Fuzzy House offers locals a public shortcut through the building

Norwegian-inspired timber cabins unveiled for a landscape hotel in France

April 19, 2018 by  
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Visitors to Breitenbach will soon have the chance to stay one of several tiny timber cabins scattered across the idyllic French countryside. Built of new and recycled timber, the 14 Norwegian-inspired cabins form the proposed Breitenbach Landscape Hotel designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter . The 17,000-square-meter hotel will immerse guests in the French landscape with lodgings that offer luxury, privacy, and stunning views of the outdoors. Located on a hillside in northeastern France, Breitenbach Landscape Hotel will be spread out across the slope and include 14 cabins, a main reception building, sauna , and director housing. The project features a natural material palette dominated by new and recycled wood; some of the cabins will also be topped with green roofs. Large glazed sections open the cabins—of which there are four types—to views of the landscape. Related: RRA’s Mandal Slipway offers a contemporary twist on the local Norwegian vernacular Though the minimalist cabins exude a Scandinavian character, the hotel also celebrates the local culture and traditions. “Breitenbach Landscape hotel will have a prominent role linking the hotel activity to the site and local traditions,” wrote the architects. “Breitenbach landscape hotel will also look at art and culture as a part of strategy to enhance the region cultural practices. Visitors will have the possibility to take part of the local culture and art through some areas dedicated to exhibition and local knowledge.” + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images by reiulf ramstad arkitekter, WsBY, tejo

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Norwegian-inspired timber cabins unveiled for a landscape hotel in France

This Earth Day, take a fresh look at paper

April 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green, Recycle

Sponsored: Recycled paper, if sourced correctly, can help to reduce the overall environmental impact of offices and businesses.

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This Earth Day, take a fresh look at paper

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch

April 17, 2018 by  
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Could we solve the plastic pollution crisis with a mutant enzyme? At a trash dump in 2016, Japanese researchers discovered the first known bacterium that had evolved to consume plastic . The Guardian reported an international team of researchers, building on that finding, began studying the bacterium to understand how it functioned — and then accidentally engineered it to be even better. A new plastic-eating enzyme which could solve one of the world's biggest environmental issues has been discovered by scientists at the University of Portsmouth and @NREL Read more: https://t.co/40SOf85ZW6 @PNASNews #environmentalscience Video credit: @upixphotography pic.twitter.com/U56vcpMoeW — University of Portsmouth (@portsmouthuni) April 16, 2018 Research led by University of Portsmouth and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) teams engineered an enzyme able to break down plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). NREL said the bad news about the find of the bacterium in the Japanese dump was that it doesn’t work quickly enough for recycling on an industrial scale. But while manipulating the enzyme, the international team inadvertently improved its ability to devour plastic. Related: Newly discovered plastic-eating bacteria could help clean up plastic waste around the world John McGeehan, University of Portsmouth professor, told The Guardian, “It is a modest improvement — 20 percent better — but that is not the point. It’s incredible because it tells us that the enzyme is not yet optimized. It gives us scope to use all the technology used in other enzyme development for years and years and make a super-fast enzyme.” This mutant enzyme begins degrading plastic in a few days, a sharp contrast to the centuries it would take for plastic bottles to break down in the ocean . “What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” McGeehan told The Guardian. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment .” Chemist Oliver Jones of RMIT University, who wasn’t part of the research, told The Guardian this work is exciting, and that enzymes are biodegradable , non-toxic, and microorganisms can produce them in big quantities. He said, “There is still a way to go before you could recycle large amounts of plastic with enzymes, and reducing the amount of plastic produced in the first place might, perhaps, be preferable. [But] this is certainly a step in a positive direction.” The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the research. Scientists from the University of Campinas in Brazil and the University of South Florida contributed. + University of Portsmouth + National Renewable Energy Laboratory Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch

This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

April 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Vietnamese firm H&P Architects has created a unique “cave” fit for human habitation. Their “Brick Cave” townhouse has three levels of brick walls, each one with apertures that create a playful atmosphere of light and shadow throughout the interior. Pockets of greenery accent the brick construction throughout the house, and a vegetable garden on the roof caps off the structure. Built on a corner lot in ?ông Anh, Vietnam, the home is nestled on the street and blends into the urban landscape. The architects chose to use brick in the construction to create not just a unique home design, but one with an ecological shade system. The multiple walls both filter natural light into the home and shade the interior from the region’s searing summer heat. Related: H&P Architects’ Bamboo Homes Float Above Rising Flood Waters on Recycled Oil Drums The idiosyncratic design is a labyrinth of walkways, stairs and angles illuminated by streams of natural light. In fact, to use the sun to the home’s advantages, the architects conducted a number of studies on the sun’s daily positions in relation to the house. Although the apertures may appear a bit random at first sight, they were strategically implemented to keep the home cool in the summer heat while providing as much natural light as possible. According to H&P Architects , the unconventional combination of bricks and greenery was essential to connect the home to its surroundings: “Brick Cave encompasses a chain of space…with random apertures gradually shifting from openness/publicity to closeness/privacy and vice versa. The combination of ‘close’ and ‘open’ creates diverse relations with the surroundings and thus helps blur the boundaries between in and out, houses and streets/alleys, human and nature.” In addition to having various openings, the walls are slanted inwards. This represents another conscious choice on the part of the architects–the slanted walls provide better viewing angles of the surrounding area and add a sense of nature to the design, letting in elements such as rain and wind. Harsh elements are commonly to blame for house flooding in this region, so the architects wanted a resilient design that would aid in protecting the home by letting the elements pass through it rather than crash into it, essentially creating a safe shelter. + H&P Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Nguyen Tien Thanh

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This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

Light-filled family home sensitively embraces a British Islands native landscape

April 17, 2018 by  
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When DLM Architects was asked to create an energy-efficient and sustainable family home in St Peter Port of Guernsey, the site’s densely planted vegetation proved both a boon and a challenge. The local planning department had imposed many site restrictions due to the number of protected trees, but after four years of negotiation the architects managed to settle on a solution resulting in a beautiful and light-filled dwelling with a sensitive environmental footprint. Named ‘The Glade’ after the its location in a clearing surrounded by forest, the new-build family home occupies a spacious 3,230 square feet of living space spread out across two floors in a roughly L-shaped plan. To preserve privacy and views from and to neighboring properties, the home is partly sunken into the site’s natural topography with the basement set into an existing swimming pool excavation from the previous build. Guernsey granite and reclaimed brick , mostly sourced on site, clad the ground floor. Cladding is split on the upper floor, with the eastern side featuring a steel-framed cantilever covered in a living wall of 4,000 plants of 13 native species to camouflage the building into the tree canopy. The living wall also doubles as an extra layer of insulation while providing a buffer from acoustic and air pollution from the nearby roads. A double-glazed link housing the staircase separates the plant-covered east wing from the west end where the second level is clad in cedar. Related: Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials Open-plan living is prioritized throughout the home, as is ample glazing to maintain a fluid connection with the outdoors. A natural materials palette is also used throughout the interior. “A skin of locally reclaimed brick is coated with lime slurry, raw pigment plasters line the walls, with grey limestone to the floors, oak joinery, machined brass ironmongery, a bespoke raw steel staircase and furnishings and a reclaimed granite trough as the cloakroom sink,” wrote the architects. “Where possible local materials and fabrication has been utilised delivering a soft traditional character within a contemporary envelope.” + DLM Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Peter Landers

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Light-filled family home sensitively embraces a British Islands native landscape

6 solar roads shaking up infrastructure around the world

April 16, 2018 by  
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Roads aren’t just for walking or driving anymore. Solar road or pathway projects around the world are showing that streets can both provide firm footing and generate clean energy . Inhabitat rounded up six projects in places as diverse as China and rural Georgia to highlight potentially game-changing technologies in the solar road sphere. Solar Roadways use modular solar panels covered in tempered glass Scott and Julie Brusaw launched Solar Roadways a few years back with the goal of transforming regular asphalt roads into energy -generating thruways. The Brusaws aimed to use  modular solar panels topped with tempered glass as replacement for standard pavement and, in 2016, celebrated the first public installation  of these panels in their hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho. While they’d also announced plans to bring their solar roads to a section of Route 66 in Missouri, it appears the project fell through. Late last year,  St. Louis Public Radio said the project wouldn’t be moving forward; according to Scott Brusaw, it “dissolved due to a variety of complex red tape factors.” But Solar Roadways is still at work to bring their product to roads and recently shared on Facebook  that they’ve met with interested connections from South Korea, Australia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Austria. Related: This bike lane in Korea is topped with 20 miles of solar panels France opens one-kilometer solar road with 2,880 solar panels In late 2016, France opened what was then the first solar road in the world: a one-kilometer stretch in Tourouvre-au-Perche, built with technology from Colas’ Wattway . The 2,880-panel road was said to generate enough energy to power street lights in the 3,400-person village. Rural Georgia gets a test stretch of Wattway’s solar roads Wattway’s solar roads hit the United States a few months after the road in France. The Ray C. Anderson Foundation installed 538 square feet of the solar road near the Alabama and Georgia border — the first Wattway pilot in America. The solar road was part of the foundation’s project The Ray , an 18-mile living laboratory testing renewable technologies that also includes  bioswales and a solar-powered electric car charging station . Solar panel expressway pops up in China Just a few months ago, a one-kilometer solar road, developed by Qilu Transportation Development Group , opened in Jinan, China . Three layers make up the road: insulation on the bottom, solar panels in the middle, and transparent concrete on top. The solar panels cover around 63,238 square feet in two lanes and one emergency lane, and can generate one million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy every year. In a strange twist , thieves actually took a small portion of the road days after it debuted; since the panels wouldn’t have been worth a lot of money, people speculated they might have wanted to learn the workings of the technology. The road was later repaired. Solar-powered bike path has generated more power than anticipated Solar panels aren’t just for highways. Bike lanes can make great use of them too, if one in Krommenie, Netherlands is any indication. After one year, the SolaRoad solar-paneled bike path  generated 70 kilowatt-hours per square meter, enough power for around three houses – and even more than the designers expected. Sten de Wit of TNO , the research organization behind SolaRoad, said most people don’t even notice the difference between the solar bike path and a regular one. Solar sidewalk helps charge electric cars Sidewalks can benefit from solar panels, too. Platio recently installed a 50-square foot solar sidewalk, created with recycled plastic , that pulls double duty: people can walk across it as it generates clean energy used to charge electric vehicles . Platio installed the 720-watt peak capacity system at a Prologis facility in Budapest — and the process only took one day. When the solar sidewalk isn’t busy charging EVs, energy it generates helps power a nearby office building. Images via Solar Roadways Facebook , Vianney Lecointre on Twitter , The Ray , Qilu Transportation Development Group , SolaRoad Netherlands, and courtesy of Platio

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6 solar roads shaking up infrastructure around the world

Stunning ash staircase ties together an eco-conscious home in Mexico City

April 16, 2018 by  
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Located on a brownfield , the Cuernavaca House has an impressive eye for both sustainability and beauty—so much so that the project was long-listed earlier this year for the 2018 RIBA International Prize . Architectural practice Tapia McMahon designed the light-filled residence that fills out the entire plot, making room for light wells, greenery, and spacious rooms within. Repurposed materials and energy-saving solutions are present throughout the family home that’s beautifully tied together by a winding ash staircase. An aggregate of recycled materials and concrete form the Cuernavaca House’s structural walls. The walls’ high thermal mass keep the city’s heat at bay during the day. For a warmer touch indoors, exposed concrete is paired with an abundance of timber from wooden floors and large timber bookshelves to the twisting central ash staircase lit from above. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to take advantage of cross breezes, views, and natural light. Related: This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden The open-plan layout helps promote the flow of natural light and breezes. The office and guest bedroom are located on the ground floor and an expansive living area occupies the first floor above, while the main bedrooms are placed on the upper levels, as is a large roof terrace with a daybed. Greenery punctuates the home, from the roof terraces to the balconies, and is irrigated with collected rainwater . + Tapia McMahon Via Dezeen Images via Rafael Gamo

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Stunning ash staircase ties together an eco-conscious home in Mexico City

Piuarch kicks off Milan Design Week with a beautiful urban light installation

April 11, 2018 by  
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Milan-based architecture firm Piuarch has created an amazing light installation for this year’s Milan Design Week . Named AgrAir, the project takes the form of an open-air pavilion with transparent, prism-shaped inflatables that sway in the air. Underneath these lights, the public can enjoy pedestrian walkways lined with herbs and flowers. Piuarch developed the installation to transform unused urban spaces into vibrant social areas. For cities that want to breathe new life into decaying areas, AgrAir provides a pleasant outdoor space. The project includes various light-filled “lanterns” that illuminate the mini-botanical gardens lining the walkways. The landscaping, designed by Cornelius Gavril , will include flowers, bushes and herbs. Related: Piuarch’s FlyingGarden Installation for Milan Features Mossy Japanese Kokedamas The prism-shaped lanterns, which are made out of ultra-soft recyclable film , emit a soft light to create a soothing atmosphere. The lights are supported by acrylic glass rods installed at various heights, evoking the image of trees in a forest. According to the designers, “This ethereal composition is a metaphor of a forest, but also of the city itself, an expression of its identity, versatility, luminosity and lightness.” After its time at the Milan Design Festival, which runs from April 17-22, the installation will move to the architects’ rooftop garden in their Milan office. + Piuarch Via v2com

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Piuarch kicks off Milan Design Week with a beautiful urban light installation

Teen replants hundreds of mangroves that were destroyed by Hurricane Irma

April 11, 2018 by  
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18-year-old Theo Quenee saw Hurricane Irma’s impact in Florida firsthand and realized that the devastated  mangroves might not be able to make a comeback. So the local teen started growing the plants — 524 of them — from seeds he collected around his home for replanting, Mother Nature Network (MNN) reported . After around seven months, he began transplanting the mangroves to a sandbar and mud flat in Miami . My amazing little brother has been growing over 400 red mangrove shoots he collected after Hurricane Irma. Today, 7 months later, he planted over half of the seedlings in a coastal area that had been badly affected by the storm, and I really couldn’t be prouder. from r/pics Mangrove forests “stabilize the coastline, reducing erosion from storm surges, currents, waves, and tides,” according to the National Ocean Service . But the 2017 hurricane wasn’t kind to Florida’s mangroves. Quenee told MNN, “After the hurricane there was a massive amount of [mangrove] seedlings mixed within the seaweed/debris mixture. Everything was then going to be gathered and thrown in a truck to dump at a landfill. I realized that all of South Florida would ultimately kill thousands of mangroves in the clean-up process.” Related: Meet the teen planting 150 trees for every person on Earth Quenee had grown mangroves in the past, and had learned about the plants in marine science classes in high school. He began to rescue mangroves, collecting ones in parking lots and streets the hurricane had damaged. He placed the plants in recycled yogurt bins. He told MNN, “I live in an area with a lot of trees , so the roof of my house was the only place that got the sunlight. I started with all 524 of them all at once…I knew that they grew best with humidity, so I designed a simple greenhouse with a big platter and a five-gallon bucket.” I've taken a little Instagram break in the last two weeks. Time to hop back on the creating game! New content on the way! Comment what you would like to want to see more of in 2018! ?- @mindmeetscamera / @michaelrodiles A post shared by T H E O Q U E N E E (@theo_quenee) on Jan 5, 2018 at 12:42pm PST After seven months of cultivation, the plants were ready to return to the wild. Some friends helped him move the mangroves to the Miami sandbar. He told MNN he’s working to obtain any additional permits required, although he said some officials passed by as he was planting the mangroves and they were happy to see his work. A Florida International University freshman, Quenee aims to pursue videography and photography as a career (check out his work on his Instagram ). But conservation will still be one of his priorities; he told MNN, “…in the future I also want to change the way we consume single-use plastics and teach younger generations and communities how to properly conserve our environments .” Via Mother Nature Network Image via Depositphotos

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Teen replants hundreds of mangroves that were destroyed by Hurricane Irma

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