Open-air Destination Crenshaw museum celebrates the heart of black Los Angeles

March 16, 2020 by  
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At the close of Black History Month, over 2,000 community members, business owners and artists gathered for the groundbreaking of Destination Crenshaw, an outdoor cultural experience to celebrate the heart of black Los Angeles. Designed by international architecture and design firm Perkins and Will , the beautification project will take on the appearance of an open-air, linear art museum that stretches 1.3 miles along Crenshaw Boulevard. In addition to streetscape transformations — including new public artworks, pocket parks and landscaping improvements — Destination Crenshaw also aims to use community-driven means to offset gentrification. Located along Crenshaw Boulevard from Leimert Boulevard to 60th Street, Destination Crenshaw will transform 1.3 miles of streetscape into an outdoor arts and culture experience with hundreds of new trees, 100 permanent and rotating art installations and 10 pocket parks . The project is organized into four distinct nodes that will serve as thematic design lenses. “Improvisation” at W. Slauson Avenue celebrates the community’s resourcefulness. “Firsts” at 54th Street honors past and present black pioneers, and “Dreams” at 50th Street highlights the community’s placemaking abilities. “Togetherness” at West Vernon Avenue focuses on the area’s significant cultural infrastructure, before culminating at Sankofa Park, an elevated outdoor plaza with views out onto Crenshaw Boulevard and beyond. Related: Energy-efficient affordable housing project opens in South LA “Our work on Destination Crenshaw has always centered on the theme ‘Grow Where You’re Planted,’ which is inspired by African giant star grass,” said Gabrielle Bullock, managing principal of the project. “Known to thrive in inhospitable environments, the grass reminds us of the history and resiliency of Black L.A., whose deep community roots have strengthened over the decades despite facing years of root shock.” Over 200 years of black history in Los Angeles will be documented, preserved and exhibited in the project. In the process, Destination Crenshaw will provide construction career opportunities for residents while supporting existing local businesses and regional artists. The 1.3-mile beautification project will run parallel to a section of Los Angeles Metro’s upcoming Crenshaw/LAX light rail line. + Perkins and Will + Destination Crenshaw Images via Perkins and Will

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Open-air Destination Crenshaw museum celebrates the heart of black Los Angeles

Perkins and Will designs modular, affordable housing for the homeless

December 4, 2019 by  
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In response to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, Perkins and Will’s Los Angeles studio has proposed DOME , a stackable, modular furniture system that would provide affordable and flexible interim housing for the homeless. The patent-pending design was created after months of research — including visits with community members, fabricators and operators — in the studio’s Innovation Incubator, which provides micro-grants and support to employee projects. Perkins and Will’s Los Angeles studio drew inspiration for the DOME project from L.A. Mayor Garcetti’s A Bridge Home initiative, a program to provide emergency homeless housing in the city. According to the firm, nearly 60,000 people are in need of adequate housing in Los Angeles on any given night, yet nearly three-quarters of those in need forgo the shelter system in favor of living independently in tents outdoors. To provide a lifeline to those individuals and to meet the city’s goal to create 1,500 new beds by 2020, Perkins and Will designed the DOME to not only meet the basic necessities of privacy and safety but to also provide for efficient storage and shipping, low installation costs and easy configurations. Related: LEED Platinum housing for the homeless takes over a formerly vacant L.A. lot Having tracked down a potential fabricator — Kansas City-based SHIELD — Perkins and Will estimates that each collapsible DOME unit would cost $4,749 and range from 42 to 55 square feet in size. Each unit would be equipped with all of its own essential furnishings, including an extra-long twin bed with room for storage underneath, a lockable wardrobe, partitions, an aisle light, an outlet and an optional kennel area that accommodates up to a 30-pound pet. Low-maintenance, solid surfaces would be used for the exterior shell and internal shelving, while birch plywood closet doors lend warmth to the interior. An optional fabric canopy could be added for additional privacy. The modular nature of the design would also give operators the flexibility to add or remove units as needed or to even combine units to accommodate couples or to create social spaces. “DOME could have been a utilitarian box, but this isn’t just about putting people in beds as quickly as possible, it’s about attention to detail and experience,” said Yan Krymsky, design director and principal at Perkins and Will’s Los Angeles studio. “We want it to feel residential, not institutional. It sends a message that people care.” A DOME prototype is currently on show at the Architecture and Design museum in Los Angeles; the firm hopes to get DOME into production as soon as possible. + DOME Images via Perkins & Will

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Perkins and Will designs modular, affordable housing for the homeless

Chic B&B in New South Wales is inside a shed made of upcycled materials

December 4, 2019 by  
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Australia was recently voted the destination of the year for 2020 . If you are thinking about going down under for a vacation, make sure to check out this beautiful B&B located in a shed in New South Wales. Made almost entirely from upcycled materials , The Shed is an old machinery shed that has been converted into a unique, eco-friendly accommodation. Guests to The Shed will take comfort in not only staying in a unique hotel but also one that has been crafted from reclaimed materials. Walking into the spacious living area through a set of vintage doors, guests will find that the building materials, such as reclaimed wood and timber ceiling beams, were left exposed. Related: These enchanting, off-grid cabins are handcrafted from salvaged materials The living space of the fun hotel consists of a large lounge area with vintage sofas centered around a fireplace. An open kitchen with a breakfast bar comes with all of the typical amenities. A family-style dining table provides a great place for everyone to gather around and eat or play games together. The Shed sleeps up to seven guests among its three bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms have spacious, king-sized beds, while the third room is home to bunk beds. The full bathroom has a free-standing bathtub, a walk-in shower, a sink and a toilet. There is also a half bathroom. Just over two hours away from the NSW capital , Sydney, the Shed is set on an idyllic plot of land with chickens and an herb garden. Visitors can enjoy dining al fresco in the outdoor dining area, which comes complete with a barbecue grill and a pizza oven. The location offers all types of activities for nature-lovers, including hiking and biking trails. + Glamping Hub Images via Glamping Hub

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Chic B&B in New South Wales is inside a shed made of upcycled materials

Sustainable holiday gift ideas for your friends

December 4, 2019 by  
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Help your friends start 2020 on the right foot with new ideas for ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Check out our guide below to give every friend on your list the gift of sustainability this holiday season. Cookbooks The modern cooking world is full of imaginative ways to lower your environmental footprint while producing delicious, unique dishes. Depending on what your gift recipient is into, you can choose from books about everything from zero-waste cooking and vegetarianism to vegan recipes and ethical cooking. Cooking with Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals takes those everyday items that are notorious for waste (coffee grinds, watermelon rinds and banana peels, just to name a few) and turns them into complete recipes. Headphones The stylish headphones from House of Marley are made from sustainable materials such as FSC-certified wood , stainless steel, recyclable aluminum and soft natural leather. The company offers both comfortable, over-the-ear options as well as smaller earbud sets. Not into the headphone idea? House of Marley also offers a line of eco-friendly turntables and Bluetooth speakers built from natural bamboo and organic cork. Best of all, the company’s biodegradable products don’t sacrifice sound quality. Learn more about House of Marley with our review for the 2019 Exodus headphones . Reusable bags It’s no secret that making the switch to reusable bags for shopping and groceries is one of the easiest ways to work toward living a zero-waste life. Plus, there are so many colors and designs to choose from, making it easier than ever to make this gift more personal. Go a step further and choose a multipurpose reusable bag, like this one from ROV that goes from wallet to tote bag in seconds. Related: How to easily make your own reusable produce bags Plant-based or reusable coffee pods Convenient coffee pods have become wildly popular among coffee-lovers. Unfortunately, most of these single-use pods end up in landfills or the ocean after being tossed in the trash. If you have a friend or family member who has already made the investment in a pricey machine designed to use pods, get them hooked on a brew that comes in eco-friendly packaging. You can find reusable metal pods and even compostable coffee capsules, like those from Volcano Coffee Works . Reusable straws set For those friends who just have to have a straw in their beverages, the gift of a reusable, pocket-sized straw could be life-changing. Reusable straws come in all shapes, sizes and materials, from stainless steel to silicone to bamboo. Just make sure to purchase one that comes with a handy carrying case and an accompanying brush to keep the straw clean. Heading to or hosting a holiday party? Blow everyone’s minds by bringing a box of biodegradable straws made out of hay . Skincare Many conscious consumers are making the switch to skincare and beauty products made from all-natural, organic and cruelty ingredients and packaged in reusable or recyclable materials. To get some inspiration, check out our reviews of the best beauty retailers from the 2019 Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles. Choose from natural sunscreens, reusable sheet masks, vegan hair products, items from charitable companies and more. Kombucha starter kit Introduce someone to the wonderful world of gut-benefiting probiotics with an at-home kombucha starter kit. For someone who is just starting out, a kit can be a good way of saving some money instead of buying the fancy, packaged bottles from the store. There are plenty of options for kombucha starter kits available online or in health food stores around the country, but some of the more popular kits include ones from GetKombucha and the Kombucha Shop . Wellness subscriptions For health nuts or wellness-focused friends, a health or wellness subscription might be just what the doctor ordered. You can easily get a gift certificate or class passes if they are already fans of a particular gym or studio, or choose a brand new subscription based on their particular interests. Pro tip: head to Groupon to see if there are any holiday deals on wellness subscriptions in the gift recipient’s area. For other wellness subscription ideas, CauseBox curates and delivers a selection of sustainable, eco-friendly and socially conscious products four times per year, and DailyBurn is an online workout video database with thousands of virtual exercise classes to choose from. Related: 14 apps to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle Plastic-free diffuser Using essential oil diffusers for aromatherapy is widely considered to be beneficial to physical and emotional health. Increased demand for these little machines means that there are quite a few cheaply made ones on the market, which might not achieve the desired results from your high-quality oils. Organic Aromas makes beautiful diffusers that use cool-mist technology with no heat, no water and no plastic. As an added bonus, these diffusers will look like pieces of art on the coffee table. Images via Heather Ford , Katherine Gallagher / Inhabitat, Sincerely Media , Volcano Coffee Works , Louise Burton , Ongchinonn , Megumi Nachev , Anupam Mahapatra , Anke Sundermeier and Mel Poole

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Students taking Lyft and Uber to class are taking LA’s smog problem from bad to worse

February 7, 2019 by  
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Environmentalists are concerned by the number of students using transportation services like Lyft and Uber to get to classes. Students at UCLA specifically use these alternative means of transportation around 11,000 times per week, and that is troublesome for a city that is already dealing with significant smog issues. “The  pollutants  coming out of the tailpipe heavily contribute to Los Angeles’ smog problem,” Yifang Zhu, a professor at UCLA, explained. Transportation staff at the university said that the majority of these trips are short in duration. Students who oversleep are also more likely to use Lyft or Uber, because they need to get to class in a hurry without being tardy. School officials believe this increase in traffic plays a part in the growing smog problem in Los Angeles. Related: Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok Part of the issue with these services is that the vehicles are idling for a significant portion of time before picking up passengers. In fact, the idling can sometimes contribute more smog that actually driving to the destination, which is troublesome for a densely populated city like  Los Angeles . According to The Washington Post , younger generations are more apt to use services like Lyft or Uber , because they have an aversion to owning their own vehicles. These services can be more affordable than purchasing a car, especially on a student’s budget. While economics is clearly a factor to consider, previous research shows that millennials are the driving force behind these ride-hailing apps. For example, a 2016 study conducted by the Pew Research Center discovered that around 25 percent of young adults between 18 and 29 years old had used services like Lyft or Uber. Adults over the age of 65, meanwhile, barely register at only 4 percent. Although it may be more environmentally friendly to not own a car or truck, using alternative transportation services can be just as damaging. The transportation staff at UCLA gathered the information by combing through data from Uber and Lyft, two of the most widely used services on campus. Via The Washington Post Image via Josh Saldana

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Students taking Lyft and Uber to class are taking LA’s smog problem from bad to worse

Sydneys vibrant Green Square Library and Plaza collects and reuses rainwater

February 7, 2019 by  
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Former marshland in Sydney has been transformed into the new Green Square Library and Plaza, a striking project that’s not only revitalizing one of the city’s oldest industrial areas but is also a shining beacon for sustainability. Designed by Sydney-based architecture and urban design practice Stewart Hollenstein in association with Stewart Architecture , the Green Square project features a semi-submerged underground library with a plaza on top. Energy efficiency drove the design as well, from the numerous skylights that let in natural light to the library’s low-energy displacement ventilation system engineered by Arup. Created as a central gathering space for the growing Green Square neighborhood, the Green Square Library and Plaza draws the eye with its playful geometric cutouts and pavilions that punctuate the 8,000-square-meter plaza. The triangular-shaped glass pavilion on one end marks the entrance to the 3,000-square-meter underground library , while the large circular opening next to it brings light into the circular sunken garden at the heart of the library. Also on the plaza is a six-story glazed rectangular volume that includes a double-height reading room, computer lab, black-box theater, music room and community space. An outdoor amphitheater is found on the other end of the plaza. The four areas are visually connected with a series of 49 circular skylights that funnel light into the library, while the rest of the plaza is left open for other activities, from pop-up events on the lawn to a water play zone. Underground, the open-plan library is centered on a sunken garden with a children’s circle and “story tree.” Placing the library underground was no easy feat; because the project sits on former marshland, the area came with a permanent water table above excavation level. Waterproofing with four layers of defense was crucial to protecting the library from damage. The feat of engineering allowed for ample green space above — a key detail that earned the design first place in the global design competition for the public library. Related: This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops Daylight floods the library thanks to the weatherproof skylights that have been engineered to be walked on and to limit external heat gain. At night, the skylights are illuminated to bring visual interest and safety to the plaza. Reduced energy usage is also achieved with Arup’s bookshelf-integrated displacement ventilation system that brings improved indoor air quality and greater cooling efficiency. The landscaping on the plaza was designed to manage stormwater runoff and capture rainwater for reuse in the library. + Stewart Hollenstein Images by Tom Roe and Julien Lanoo via Stewart Hollenstein

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NASA finds cavity the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier

February 7, 2019 by  
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NASA just made a disturbing discovering underneath the Antarctic ice. A team led by the space agency found a huge cavity — around 1,000 feet high — under a glacier in Antarctica, and it is steadily expanding in size. Experts have predicted they would a large cavity somewhere underneath the Thwaites Glacier, which is located in West Antarctica, but they did not expect such a large one between the ice sheet and bedrock. NASA scientists discovered the expansive chamber using a mix of radar and satellite imagery techniques. The cavity has been forming over the past three years as higher global temperatures have steadily melted the ice. The cavity, which is close to the size of Manhattan, is large enough to have housed around 14 billion tons of ice at one time. “[The size of] a cavity under a glacier plays an important role in melting,” Pietro Milillo, who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), explained. “As more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster.” Related: Oceans warming 40 percent faster than previously thought NASA believes the cavity illustrates a need for more Antarctic studies in the near future, especially as global temperatures continue to rise. Keeping tabs on how fast these glacier’s are melting will also give us better insight on rising sea levels and climate change around the world. The space agency hopes that additional studies will help better predict how much oceans will rise — which has a direct impact on coastal populations. Being similar in size to Florida, the Thwaites Glacier has contributed to a four percent increase in sea level over the past few years. NASA discovered the Antarctic glacier has enough mass to raise sea levels around the world by around two feet. Even more concerning, melting glaciers affect nearby bodies of ice, which leads to additional runoff. Scientists previously found that sea levels are rising faster than they have over the past 2,800 years. Experts also anticipate that oceans might double their current pace over the next 100 years. The vast majority of the rise in sea levels is due to melting Antarctic glaciers. These massive chunks of ice contribute an astounding 14,000 tons of water per second into surrounding oceans . Via Fortune Image via NASA

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NASA finds cavity the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier

Elon Musk’s Boring Company asks LA to start digging a tunnel within city limits

November 22, 2017 by  
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Will The Boring Company get the green light from Los Angeles to start digging a traffic-killing tunnel ? Elon Musk’s venture recently filed an application with officials for approval to commence digging within city limits. A Boring Company spokesperson said the tunnel could stretch from Hawthorne – where Musk’s other company SpaceX is located – “along the 405 to Westwood, with a number of stops along the way.” According to Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering spokesperson Mary Nemick The Boring Company filed their application, although she and a spokesperson for the mayor said they wouldn’t immediately release the documents. The Los Angeles Times said lawmakers will now face questions about whether or not the city should back a privatized transportation system with new technology , and what type of environmental review there might be. Related: Elon Musk shows first glimpse of the Boring Company tunnel beneath LA Picture of The Boring Company LA tunnel taken yesterday pic.twitter.com/TfdVKyXFsJ — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2017 The tunnel could ultimately link the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with the San Fernando Valley. A Boring Company spokesperson said this week the tunnel could transport passengers on electric platforms traveling at speeds as fast as 130 miles per hour. Pedestrians and bicyclists could board a capsule able to carry eight to 16 people. The tunnel’s diameter would be around 12 feet, and it would be funded “entirely with private money,” according to a spokesperson. In an April TED talk, Musk suggested the trip between LAX and Westwood would take a mere six minutes. Musk also seems ambitious about the time it could take to complete the tunnel: a year or so to stretch along “the whole 405 N-S corridor from LAX to the 101,” he said in a tweet . The Los Angeles Times noted digging is typically the quickest portion of a tunnel project; environmental reviews and permits can take years. Councilman Mike Bonin invited Boring Company representatives to talk with the City Council next year about the effort, and requested a report on potential policy and regulatory questions. He said in an interview, “So far, in the public imagination, this idea has been at the level of blog posts and cocktail party conversation. We need to flesh it out more.” Via The Los Angeles Times Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Elon Musk’s Boring Company asks LA to start digging a tunnel within city limits

The rustic exterior of this abandoned barn hides a surprising space to get away from it all

November 22, 2017 by  
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This neglected old barn in Norway will soon host visitors from all around the world, thanks to a recent makeover helmed by architecture studio OPA Form . The renovated structure now features a modern sleeping module that can fit a family of four and offers stunning views of the picturesque valley Myrkdalen on the west-coast of Norway. The architects infused the original wooden building with new life by adding a module that’s practically invisible from the outside. The exterior looks as quaint and rustic as when it was built, 50 years ago. A sculptural window stretches out of the old cladding, offering views of the surroundings. Related: Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home Inside, authentic rough surfaces still exist, except for a new addition that attaches to main room that once served as a cattle stable. The addition, a module clad in bright aspen with a circular entrance, was built with the utmost precision and with great respect for the history of the place. Completely self-sufficient, the addition doesn’t disrupt the original structure and has a part that stretches up in-between the low beams. The renovation project is part of firm’s strategy called “the barns they are a-changing”, which relates to the efforts in repurposing derelict buildings scattered across the Norwegian west coast. + OPA FORM Via Archdaily Lead Photo by Virre Dahl

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The rustic exterior of this abandoned barn hides a surprising space to get away from it all

Cover installs its first prefab dwelling for the masses in L.A.

October 12, 2017 by  
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Thoughtful prefabricated design for the masses just moved one big step closer to reality. Tech company Cover just completed and installed its first computer-designed dwelling—and it’s begun taking pre-orders worldwide and delivering in Los Angeles. Cover, which describes their work as “doing for homes what Tesla is doing for the car,” uses proprietary computer algorithms to design beautiful custom spaces crafted to meet the user’s needs and optimized to meet rigorous Passive House standards. Cover is setting out to revolutionize the building industry with its streamlined process that combines precision-made prefabricated panels with proprietary technology. Cover’s computer algorithms create high-quality floor plans customized to the client’s needs as well as property and zoning constraints in as little as three days. The custom-designed units can be built to sizes ranging from 100 to 1,200 square feet and can be used as standalone homes with full kitchens and bathrooms. Energy efficiency is a big component of Cover’s units. Each modular unique dwelling will be built in Cover’s Los Angeles factory to rigorous Passive House standards and boast 80% more energy efficiency than the average home. Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors let in ample natural light, while the low-slope roof is optimized for photovoltaics . Radiant heating and cooling provide consistent and comfortable temperatures inside the airtight building envelope. Its steel structure is 100% recyclable. Related: Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes “Unlike other prefab companies and builders, Cover is a technology company first, armed with a team of full-time software engineers, designers, manufacturing engineers, and architects who have developed technology that streamlines the entire process of designing, buying, permitting, manufacturing and assembling Cover units,” said Alexis Rivas, Co-Founder and CEO of Cover. “We focus on the quality of the spaces and the little details – like the way light reflects off surfaces, how a door handle feels or the framing of the view – to transform the living experience for our customers and ensure a more efficient, smarter, and thoughtful way of living.” The first Cover unit is a 320-square-foot space that will be used as a music studio and office. Cover plans to produce 150 units per year in its Los Angeles factory. + Cover

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