Futuristic office in China captures the awesome spirit of the Internet

July 6, 2016 by  
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Located inside an existing 20,000-square-meter industrial building, the recently completed Cloud DCS office and product gallery is the first part of a larger master plan with similarly futuristic buildings. The celestial-inspired office space features a curvaceous interior with a gradient of seven shades of blue to symbolize the fluidity of the Internet. Images of clouds are printed onto several surfaces as a nod to the company’s cloud computing software. Related: Shanghai Dragon: Futuristic Office by Morphosis “We wanted to capture the idea of flying through the sky, like when you look outside the window of an airplane,” said Italian architect Alberto Puchetti of Arboit Ltd. according to Azure Magazine . The space eschews hard edges for rounded corners to create a seamless and continuously flowing effect. The river-like flooring is complemented with white translucent stretch fabric that lines the ceilings and illuminated by colored LEDs . A large meeting room with oval windows sits at the center of the room like a nucleus overlooking at the different areas of the single-level space. + Arboit Ltd. Via Azure Images via Arboit Ltd.

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Futuristic office in China captures the awesome spirit of the Internet

California solar energy generation jumped 1,378% in 5 years

July 6, 2016 by  
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Look out, world, California is coming to save you. A recent report shows that solar energy generation in the Golden State has exploded since 2009 , along with zero emission vehicle use and other renewable resource reliance. We might just have a chance at fighting climate change , after all. Findings from nonprofit group Next 10 ’s most recent California Green Innovation Index were released late last month, revealing how green the state has become in the last few years. Along with the startling 1,378 percent rise in solar energy, renewable energy of all sorts accounted for 25 percent of all retail electricity sales. This high energy efficiency helped lead to a 20 percent lower electric bill for residents, on average, in 2014 alone. Related: MIT’s groundbreaking new transparent film stores solar energy in glass or clothing Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) have seen a 244 percent jump in registrations over the last two years, hinting toward a trend that could put a serious dent in our fossil fuel reliance within the next decade. F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10, said, “ California is not only the fourth-most energy productive economy in the world, the state also leads in key clean tech indicators, like clean tech patents and investment. Much of the rest of the nation is following our lead.” Via Clean Technica Images via Flickr , Next 10

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California solar energy generation jumped 1,378% in 5 years

SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits

July 6, 2016 by  
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The main element of the new Clean Energy Kits is the SunFire12 parabolic cooker . Measuring nearly four feet wide, the cooker concentrates sunlight onto a focal point, where black pots or pans best suited to absorb heat are placed. SunFire says it takes 12 minutes to boil 0.3 gallons (or one liter) of water. This might seem like a lot of time to westerners accustomed to easy energy access, but the additional time spent cooking comes with the benefit of being free and clean. One cooker can easily provide a meal for up to six people, according to the company, requires no maintenance, and boasts a 10-year lifespan. In communities the SunFire folks have visited, local people have told them, “the trees are running away from us”. They’re alluding to deforestation sweeping across Africa as demand for cooking fuel increases alongside population growth. Addressing this, the SunFire Rocket converts “small amounts of food into large pots of food.” Using 50 percent less fuel than a standard wood-burning device and “virtually smokeless,” the Rocket is said to be South Africa’s most efficient wood-burning stove. It is included in the kit for use on days when the sun doesn’t shine. Related: Solar Sister empowers women to bring solar energy to rural Africa Completing their Clean Energy Kits are insulated SunBags, or heat retained bags, which can be used to complete the food-cooking process without using fuel, thereby conserving resources. SunFire says their bags save time for other activities and money, retain nutrients and flavor, and act as “bush fridges” in places that lack electricity to keep food cool. Menzies told Inhabitat, “SunFire believes the best way to make Solar Cookers more accessible is by inspiring entrepreneurs to create small Solar Cooker businesses in their own communities.” This would make a difference at the grassroots level and create new jobs in rural areas. “It still seems incredible to me that there are 3 billion people or just over half the world’s population forced to use firewood to cook when Solar Cookers can easily do the job,” he said. “I aim to spend my life making the tech more readily available where it’s most needed and created SunFire to change the world one meal at a time.” + SunFire Solutions

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SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits

These are the world’s best buildings

July 6, 2016 by  
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BIG’s Hualien Residences BIG’s Hualien Residences in Taiwan are mountainous structures covered in landscape strips that bring the mountains to the beach. The project hopes to encourage a healthy lifestyle for the complex’s elderly residents with walking paths and underground jogging paths. Green roofs minimize heat gain and the landscaping strips help to block the most intense sun of the day. The project is still in progress and has already been nominated for the 2014 MIPIM Awards. Burnazzi Feltrin’s Community Center The Community Center in Poggio Picenze by Burnazzi Feltrin Architetti was built to replace a building damaged in a 2009 earthquake in Italy. The center honors the characteristics of the original building while adding modern elements that make it a nature-inspired social space. The building is covered in larch wood with a green roof in a zig-zag shape that evokes the cracks caused by the earthquake. Zaha Hadid’s Messner Mountain Museum Set on a steep mountainside in Corones, Zaha Hadid’s dramatic Messner Mountain Museum resembles a Bond villain lair. But the mountaintop museum is actually a stunning space where people can learn about mountain geology, traditions and culture – all at an astonishing 7,500 feet above sea level. The museum actually tunnels through the mountain, with one volume emerging out of the mountain’s face. WAA’s Yellow River Art Museum The Art Museum in Yinchuan, China evokes the flowing lines of the Yellow River. We Architect Anonymous wanted to highlight the local environment and the river’s rich ecological history by giving the building a layered aesthetic inspired by the surrounding hills and river. To accomplish this, WAA used glass fiber-reinforced concrete. 3deluxe’s Butterfly Pavilion 3deluxe created the whimsical butterfly pavilion as a home for over 500 butterfly species. A golden façade made out of 4,000 aluminum leaves covers a glass cube, helping to regulate the interior climate while evoking the look of butterflies in flight. The 3D-Printed Office of the Future This year, Killa Design, along with Gensler, created the world’s first fully 3D-printed office . Dubbed the Office of the Future, the building was assembled in just 17 days and comes with all the amenities needed for a comfortable, safe work environment. It also happens to save 50 percent on labor costs, which proves that the future of construction is going to be pretty incredible. Zaha Hadid’s University of Oxford extension Zaha Hadid’s modern extension at the University of Oxford provides the perfect counterbalance to the school’s Victorian-era buildings. The reflective volume meanders through the campus and around an existing sequoia tree, changing height and width to accommodate the buildings around it. Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett Foster + Partner’s Maggie’s at the Robert Parfett building is a place where people impacted by cancer can find peace and refuge. The design was created to “lift the spirits” and help people heal with natural light and plenty of greenery. Sliding glass doors let the outside in, and an airy, glass exterior brings the healing properties of sunlight into the space. The hospital can also use the space to grow flowers and produce for patients. Byens Bro Cycling Bridge Gottlieb Paludan Architects’s Byens Bro bridge is an elegant solution that lifts pedestrians and cyclists above the railway tracks at Odense’s train station. The bridge’s sweeping lines and streamlined aesthetics frame it as a natural part of the urban landscape. Hanazono Kindergarten Located on a Japanese island 250 miles off the coast of Taiwan, Hanazono Kindergarten is a beautiful building design by Hibinosekkei + Youji no Shiro to withstand the region’s dangerous typhoons. The building’s facade is made from steel-reinforced concrete blocks with hollow centers that allow light to filter into the school. Foster + Partners’ Crossrail Place Crossrail Place is a seven-story train station topped with a flourishing garden in London’s Canary Wharf. The project’s most remarkable feature is its 1,000-foot timber awning, which is studded with triangular ETFE cushions that allow light to filter down to the the plants below. Tzannes’ Irving Street Brewery Tzannes Associates built a tri-generation power plant atop an old beer brewery in Sydney to provide power and hot and cold water to the surrounding buildings. The plant’s three zinc towers contrast beautifully with the brewery’s existing red brickwork Omicron Campus by Dietrich | Untertrifaller Get ready for a serious case of office envy. Dietrich | Untertrifaller’s Omicron Campus is an amazing workspace filled with luminous pods, copious daylighting, and a show-stopping sculptural wood staircase that stretches from one story to the next. Shinsegae International by Olson Kundig Located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Shinsegae International is a 15-story skyscraper topped with a vibrant roof garden. Olson Kundig designed the project to provide office and retail space for South Korea’s oldest and largest importer of luxury fashion. + World Architecture Festival

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Obama Foundation names surprising choice for the presidential library in Chicago

July 6, 2016 by  
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As President Obama looks to a future post POTUS, one of his foundation’s first tasks will be to construct the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. President Franklin Roosevelt formally started the presidential library tradition in 1939 , and succeeding presidents have been encouraged, under the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act, to similarly donate materials collected during their terms. The Obama Foundation recently announced their choice for the team that will design President Obama’s library, and the selection came as a huge surprise to many. The Obama Foundation chose Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA), a firm founded by a husband and wife team, and Interactive Design Architects (IDEA), out of a pool of seven architecture firms, including starchitects David Adjaye , Renzo Piano , and Snøhetta . Related: Chicago wins Barack Obama Presidential Library bid The Obama Foundation said in a recent press release , “TWBTA stood out in their commitment to explore the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges. IDEA brings local knowledge and a track record for delivering excellence to large, complex civic projects.” TWTBA and IDEA will design a museum and library somewhere in Chicago’s south side, though the location has yet to be determined. Renderings are not available at this time. The Obama Foundation said that President Obama and the First Lady aim to build a center that’s ” more than just a library ” and that “inspires people to take on big challenges.” Construction of the $500 million Obama Presidential Center is expected to be complete in 2020. While TWTBA is headquartered in New York City, they’ve designed buildings around the United States and the world, including the Logan Center for the Arts at the University at Chicago. IDEA is headquartered in Chicago and has designed several projects in that city. + The Obama Foundation Via Wired Images via The Obama Foundation

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Obama Foundation names surprising choice for the presidential library in Chicago

Paris opens first section of a 28-mile bicycle superhighway

July 6, 2016 by  
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Paris just inaugurated its very first all-bike superhighway . So far, the thoroughfare consists of a half-mile stretch of pavement that runs along the Bassin de l’Arsenal, but by 2020 it will be just one small part of a 28-mile bicycle highway network, called the Réseau express vélo (“REVe”) , planned across the city. Rather than simply placing bike lanes on already-busy streets, the city has opted to build dedicated bike paths free of motorized vehicles — a move that’s certainly sure to encourage those too timid to travel in urban traffic. As more people bike to work each day, the hope is that the city’s notorious air pollution will be lessened. In 2015, Paris officials voted to set aside €150 million ($164.5 million) to expand and improve the city’s biking infrastructure , including REVe. The city created new traffic regulations that are more friendly to cyclists, such as allowing them to turn at some intersections without waiting for green lights. The city also plans to build new bike stands, two-way bike lanes on one-way streets, and smart traffic lights that give priority to cyclists. When you look at the numbers, it’s not surprising that city officials sought to make biking more attractive to residents. A 2014 study showed that bikes made up only 5% of the city’s daily traffic, accounting for 225,000 trips. While that may seem like a high number, it barely registers compared to the 15.5 million daily car trips made within the city. These numbers are positively dismal when compared to other European cities like Copenhagen (where cyclists account for 55% of traffic) or Amsterdam (a close second at 43%). Related: France is Paying Commuters to Bike to Work! There is one factor that helps account for the disparity here: cyclists in Paris claim they simply don’t feel safe competing with motorized vehicles on the road. While most roads in the city have bike lanes, cyclists report being pushed out of them by other vehicles using them as lanes. The new bike highways solve this problem by eliminating shared bike lanes altogether — and the city hopes that cyclists will creep up to 15% of daily traffic by 2020. Via CityLab Images via Wikimedia Commons and The Mayor of Paris

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Paris opens first section of a 28-mile bicycle superhighway

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