Rio Olympic Village with exposed wires and blocked plumbing is unfit housing, delegates complain

July 27, 2016 by  
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The preparations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games have been anything but smooth . The city has suffered a financial crisis and a police strike, contributing to major setbacks in the enormous construction project of the Olympic Village. With less than two weeks remaining before the opening ceremonies, the 31-building complex opened Sunday to welcome athletes from Australia, but the Olympic hopefuls found the conditions unfit for occupancy, with exposed wires and blocked plumbing among the many complaints. Rio’s Olympic Village is comprised of 31 separate 17-story towers, and more than half of the buildings have yet to pass safety inspections. When the Australian Olympic delegates arrived on Sunday, they were rather displeased with the first impression of their accommodations. “We felt that our building was not safe, because of a combination of plumbing and electrical issues,” the Australian Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller told the press. The group refused to take up residence in the Olympic Village, opting to stay in hotels until the problems are resolved to their satisfaction. Related: Body parts wash up on Rio beach just weeks before the Olympics The Olympic athletes from Argentina have also checked out and refused to move into the village, citing many of the same concerns. “While the apartments look finished outside, and even inside, when we started testing them, we found some problems that have to do with plumbing and electricity,” said Gerardo Werthein, president of the Argentine Olympic Committee. With the Summer Games set to kick off August 5, Rio de Janeiro officials have little time to remedy the problems, but they aren’t giving up. Luckily, they have some help. The Italian National Olympic Committee has actually hired its own electricians, plumbers and masons to finish repairs on the Olympic Village building designated for their use. It’s clear nobody wants to take any chances, given the series of challenges Rio has already faced in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremonies. Via CNN Images via Rio 2016

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Rio Olympic Village with exposed wires and blocked plumbing is unfit housing, delegates complain

6 abandoned grain silos repurposed into swanky modern homes

July 27, 2016 by  
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1. Midcentury grain silo home in Phoenix, Arizona Our favorite grain silo conversion project is this beautiful silo tiny home completed by architect Christoph Kaiser . Kaiser purchased the mid-century structure from a Kansas farmer and transported it to downtown Phoenix, where he reassembled and renovated the silo into a cozy 340-square-foot dwelling. To keep costs low, the quirky round home was outfitted with reclaimed materials and custom designs for a gorgeous interior. 2. Gruene Homestead Inn in New Braunfels, Texas If you’d like to stay in a converted silo home but don’t want to commit to the purchase, consider the Gruene Homestead Inn that offers temporary lodgings within a 1940s grain silo. Located in New Braunfels, Texas, the silo home features a one-bedroom loft apartment that can accommodate two adults and two children. For a southern touch, the designers combined the silo with an outdoor porch and decorated the gabled awning with a Texan star. 3. The Silo in Copenhagen Over in Copenhagen , the city’s tallest historic grain silo is getting a massive makeover into luxury housing. Danish firm COBE unveiled designs for a 17-story silo conversion that’ll feature 40 ultra-modern apartments. Slated for completion by the end of this year, “The Silo” will create a new kind of landmark for the city as the tallest adaptive reuse building in Nordhavn. 4. Silo Point Condos in Baltimore, Maryland Thirteen grain silos and a grain tower were converted into the Silo Point luxury condominiums in Baltimore city. Led by Turner Development , the adaptive reuse project turned the abandoned Baltimore & Ohio Railroad grain elevator—once the largest in the world—into a modern city landmark and mixed-use space. The silos’ industrial past is celebrated in the design, from the materials palette to the landscaping that harkens to its agricultural past. 5. Grünerløkka Studenthus in Oslo Luxury condominiums aren’t the only type of housing to come out of the renovation of multiple grain silos. In Oslo, HRTB Arkitekter AS transformed an old grain elevator with 21 grain silos into a 19-story student housing complex called Grünerløkka Studenthus . The architect spruced up the rather drab and industrial concrete exterior with colorful glass for a touch of whimsy. 6. Sil(o)houette in Løgten C. F. Møller Architects collaborated with Christian Carlsen Arkitektfirma to turn a large silo in the Danish town of Løgten into a “rural high-rise” with 21 high-end apartments. The architects left part of the silo’s body visible on the side of the new apartment complex to preserve a visual connection to the past, and built the protruding, colorful apartments around the steel structure.

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6 abandoned grain silos repurposed into swanky modern homes

Morocco just officially banned plastic bags

July 27, 2016 by  
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When it comes to plastic bag consumption, Morocco is second only to the United States – but that’s set to change as the nation just officially banned plastic bags . A new bill enacted by Morocco’s parliament bans importing, selling, distributing, and producing plastic bags – but some worry it could take years for people adhere to the law. Morocco’s 34 million residents use three billion plastic bags every year, according to the Moroccan Industry Ministry. The country banned black plastic bags in 2009, however the motion was only partially successful as authorities had a hard time stopping “informal production.” Related: Scotland bans plastic bags, spares landfill 650 million bags in just one year Mamoun Ghallab, founder of Moroccan sustainable development group MakeSense , told Al Jazeera “They do it to promote the image of Morocco as an environmentally friendly country, which is partly true, but not completely… If citizens are not aware of the concerns and the challenges we’re facing, things will go much slower. Everything begins and ends with the citizens.” While Morocco is sometimes seen as a green country because of its focus on clean energy – the nation has built a massive solar plant and plans to reduce subsidies for fossil fuel companies – other sectors of the country aren’t so green. Waste is one issue; the World Bank said Morocco disposes of just 10 percent of waste in an “environmentally and socially acceptable manner.” Yassine Zegzouti, president of Moroccan advocacy group Association Mawarid , told Al Jazeera the government has made efforts to enforce the ban – including investing money in educational TV spots – but that the “formal sector” would likely need four or five years to adhere to the law. Industry Minister of Morocco Moulay Hafid Elalamy stated via Twitter there would be “several alternative solutions” to plastic bags, like fabric and paper bags. Via Al Jazeera Images via Zainub Razvi on Flickr and Esin Üstün on Flickr

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Morocco just officially banned plastic bags

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