Qatar to create 16 sustainable floating hotels for World Cup

June 1, 2020 by  
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As construction of the Lusail International Stadium continues, Qatar, the country set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is also beginning to address the impending question of crowd accommodation. The massive number of fans traveling to the Middle East to enjoy the soccer competition will need a place to stay. With the growing issue of climate change and the environmental toll of tourism in mind,  sustainability  is paramount. Finnish company Admares has designed a series of “floating” hotels that will sit on the surface of the water just 15 minutes from the new stadium. While the 16 structures will be designed to float off the coast of Qetaifan Island North in the Persian Gulf, the buildings will have the capacity to be reused and moved to another coastal location for further events. The island located off Lusail City spans over 4.5 million square feet and will serve as the main activities and tourism hub for the 2022 World Cup . Related: Construction to Begin on Zaha Hadid’s 2022 World Cup Stadium in Qatar Each  building  will be four stories high and measure 236 feet by 52 feet. The structures will each contain 101 guest rooms, a restaurant and a lounge bar. Unlike other buoyant accommodations, the floating hotels will require significantly lower water depth to operate and no major ports, since the draft is much smaller than a cruise ship. Once the Word Cup has ended and the fans have gone home, the buildings can be  reused  at any coastal location with at least 13 feet of water. The modular hotels are certainly on par with the overall architectural theme of the 2022 World Cup. The Qatar stadium will feature an efficient energy-saving  system with solar canopies built to control the temperature and produce energy for the stadium and surrounding buildings. Like the hotels, the stadium is anticipated to be reused as well. The seats are to be removed, and the space will be utilized as a community center complete with shopping and dining, as well as athletic, education, and health facilities. + Admares Images via ADMARES

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Tiny minimalist cabin in the Pyrenees uses natural materials

May 21, 2020 by  
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Although known as one of the most idyllic areas in Spain, the Catalan Pyrenees are also known for their rugged landscapes and harsh winter climate, both of which make construction very challenging. Barcelona-based firm  Agora Arquitectura  recently took on this challenge by building the Weekend Shelter — a tiny, minimalist cabin constructed out of carefully-selected natural materials that make the structure extremely  resilient. At just 430 square feet, the Weekend Shelter was designed to be a part-time refuge set in the remote area of Isòvol, Spain .  The region is known for its breathtaking landscapes and extremely harsh winters, which are marked by heavy snow and rain. Accordingly, the  shelter’s construction  is a complex combination made out of resilient and sustainable natural materials that can withstand the test of time. Related: These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours The structure was  prefabricated off-site  to save on construction costs and minimize environmental impact. Once the prefab pieces were delivered on-site, the cabin was assembled quickly. The first step was to elevate the structure off the landscape to protect it and add a flexible option to move the shelter in the future if necessary. The shelter design consists of three thermal layers. First, the frame of the structure is made out of concrete blocks to help create a strong barrier from snow and moisture. Then, a shell of oriented strand board was used to cover the main frame. To add an extra layer of resilience, the exterior was then clad in panels of expanded  corks  and topped with a rubber membrane, again creating an impermeable shell. Three large sliding glass doors lead to the interior, which is flooded with natural light. The interior walls, ceilings and flooring are all covered in  sustainably-sourced  plywood panels, which, according to the architects, help provide great thermal and acoustic protection to the living space. Throughout the structure, the cabin counts on several  passive strategies  to reduce its energy use. Being oriented towards the south ensures that the interior is illuminated by natural light. The glass doors are double-paned to limit heat loss during winter. Additionally, wrapping around the front walkway is a simple system of roll-up shutters that allow the residents to fully control the amount of shade and sun that enters the living space. + Agora Arquitectura Via Archdaily Photography by Joan Casals Pañella

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Crowds fill national park for Yellowstone reopening

May 21, 2020 by  
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As some of the biggest national parks start to reopen, visitors reassure themselves that it is safe to be outdoors. But unfortunately in places like the ever-popular Yellowstone National Park, everybody is crowding in to see Old Faithful. On May 18, cars with license plates from all over the country filled Yellowstone’s parking lots and hardly a mask was in sight as people crowded together to watch the park’s famous geysers. Locals worry this could spread the virus to their communities. For now, only Yellowstone’s Wyoming gates are open. The Montana entrances remain closed. Tour buses, overnight camping and park lodging aren’t allowed. The park’s official stance is to encourage the use of masks in high-density areas. Related: Best practices for outdoor exercise during COVID-19 “We checked the webcam at Old Faithful at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday,” Kristin Brengel, senior vice-president of government affairs at the National Parks Conservation Association, told The Guardian . “Not much physical distancing happening and not a single mask in sight.” Cars from all over began lining up at 5:30 a.m. for Yellowstone’s noon reopening. Local Mark Segal said his was the only car he saw from Teton County. He worried about out-of-state visitors spreading the coronavirus to the local community. “What if everyone that leaves here goes and gets a bite in Jackson?” he asked. “This is exactly what we’re afraid of.” Montana and Wyoming have had fewer COVID-19 cases than surrounding states. Locals are divided on the issue, with some local business owners pressing the park to reopen and bring much needed tourism dollars, while others are more concerned about public health. Melissa Alder, co-owner of a coffee and outdoor store called Freeheel and Wheel in West Yellowstone, told NPR she’s feeling nervous. “We are fearful of the congregation of people that will come, and I don’t think we’re ready,” Alder said. “I mean, we don’t have a hospital. We don’t have a bed. We don’t even have a doctor full-time here in West Yellowstone.” Via The Guardian and NPR Image via NPS / Jacob W. Frank

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Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs

May 20, 2020 by  
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Contemporary, sustainable and welcoming, Temple University’s new Charles Library in Philadelphia raises the bar for research libraries around the world. Completed by  Snøhetta  for $135 million in 2019, the new LEED Gold-targeted Charles Library is not only a beacon of energy-efficient design, but also integrates a diversity of collaborative and social learning spaces that are typically left out of traditional research libraries. The new library also boasts a 47,300-square-foot green roof — one of the largest in Pennsylvania — that covers over 70% of the building’s roof surface and is part of a stormwater management system designed to manage all rainwater runoff on the approximately three-acre site, plus an additional acre of off-site impervious ground.  Built to replace the Paley Library, the Charles Library offers more than double the number of study spaces compared to its 1960s predecessor. The 220,000-square-foot  library  is located at the intersection of two major pedestrian pathways, Polett Walk and Liacouras Walk, and responds to its high-traffic location with an inviting public-facing design that includes generous plazas sloping up to the library entrances. Large expanses of glazing and grand wooden arched entrances cut into the split-faced granite facade help emphasize a welcoming atmosphere. Inside, the building is centered on a large domed atrium lobby that offers views of every corner of the building. Natural light is a key feature of the new library, particularly on the sun-filled fourth floor where visitors are encouraged to wander through stacks of the library’s browsable collection. The fourth floor also looks out on views of the lush  green roof  and gardens, which are planted with over 15 different species to provide a rich urban habitat for pollinators.  Related: LEED Gold-targeted library and community park has otherworldly appeal The 47,300-square-foot green roof is part of the library’s  stormwater management  system that also includes pervious paved plazas and paths as well as landscaped planting beds. Rainwater that infiltrates these permeable surfaces are directed into two underground catchment basins that can store and process nearly half a million gallons of water during storm events.  + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

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Old Polish barn transforms into a cool contemporary home

May 14, 2020 by  
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Pozna?-based design studio  mode:lina  recently transformed a decrepit old barn into the ?lonsko Cha?pa (Silesian House), a light-filled home that beautifully combines elements of the agricultural vernacular with contemporary design. While the barn’s gabled form and concrete structure were mostly preserved, the architects improved the livability of the building by shortening its length and raising the roof to create a second floor for the bedrooms. The barn’s existing brick, steel and concrete details have been deliberately left exposed and celebrated in the redesign.  Inspired by the austere appearances of the old State Collective Farm buildings, the architects took a minimalist design approach to the Silesian House. In addition to truncating the length of the original building, the existing roof and exterior walls were simplified to create a pure  gabled  shape with no overhangs. New timber cladding was installed to the exterior envelope that was then punctuated with large irregular openings to let in as much daylight to the interior as possible.  Key to the renovation was the addition of a new double-height extension that houses the living room and dining area. “The original structure and shape of the barn is clearly visible from the living room, where we have an exact cross-section of the building in the form of a  mezzanine ,” the architects of the exposed concrete structure explained. A spacious kitchen with black granite countertops and timber cabinetry is located beneath the mezzanine. Related: Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery The interior is dressed in exposed  natural materials  throughout, including on the upper floor where brick walls are complemented by timber floors and ceilings and exposed beams and columns. The exposed materials and white walls provide a perfect neutral backdrop for the clients’ extensive art collection. The architects also converted the small building next to the 300-square-meter Silesian House into a guesthouse.  + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewi?ski

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Tiny bivouac shelters mountaineers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

May 14, 2020 by  
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There are few things more satisfying than exploring the far-flung corners of the earth. However, both day hikers and long-term explorers know how important it can be to find decent shelter from bad weather or unfortunate circumstances. Thankfully, some architects love the outdoors just as much as they love design. Bosnia and Herzegovina-based firm,  Filter Architecture has just unveiled a stunning and practical  shelter . The Bivouac Zoran Šimi? Cabin is a tiny 150-square-foot refuge located in the middle of one of the country’s most remote mountain ranges. The Bivouac Zoran Šimi? Cabin is located on Viso?ica, a majestic mountain range found in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. The pristine region is a favorite of many hikers and mountaineers who try to make it to its highest point, some 1,967 meters above sea level, to take in the amazing views. However, until now, the trek had no  resilient structure  for refuge in case of inclement weather, illness, etc. Related: A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps As hikers themselves, the team from Filter was inspired to create a bivouac that would accommodate hikers in need, or anyone wanting to take a rest after a long trek. The resulting design, which was a collaboration between mountaineering association Željezni?ar and the Federal Ministry of Tourism, is a tiny structure that accommodates between 9 to 12 people. Located at the edge of a deep canyon, the  tiny shelter  is found between two trekking paths that lead from Viso?ica mountain to the adjacent Bjelašnica range. The location is so remote that construction of the structure on site was incredibly difficult. In fact, the materials had to be transported to the site via military helicopter. Once all of the materials were in place, the architects worked with several volunteers to assemble the structure. The angular exterior features a small base that spans outward as it rises on either side, a strategic feature that allows the volume to leave a  minimal footprint  on the terrain while adding interior space. The structure’s dark grey siding was chosen for its durability and resilience against harsh weather, and also helps reduce solar gain in an area where there is limited shade. The interior layout is simple and functional, with a massive horizontal window that looks out over the spectacular view and lets in natural light . Inside, the space is comprised of three platforms that serve as flexible spaces. The platforms offer seating space for up to nine people or sleeping areas for up to 12. + Filter Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Emir Handzic, Dženad Džino and Zlatan Kurto via Filter Architecture

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Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

May 13, 2020 by  
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For this year’s Bangkok Design Week, which took place in February 2020, Thai design firm Plural Designs created the Everlasting Forest Pavilion, a temporary, tunnel-like structure built of biodegradable materials that promotes sustainable ideas and products to the public. Created in collaboration with a team of multidisciplinary experts, the pavilion champions the idea of environmentally friendly architecture and circular living as part of a larger vision for sustainable urban living. Installed in front of Bangkok’s Grand Postal Building, the Everlasting Forest Pavilion follows a “BCG” concept named after its three zones of Bio Economy, Circular Economy and Green Economy. Each zone is a showcase of innovative products and ideas and seamlessly connects to the next space. The pavilion’s circular form reinforces the idea of circular living with its tunnel-like architecture; the pavilion is centered on an “Everlasting Forest”, a densely planted green space with a walkway. All materials used in construction are eco-friendly, biodegradable and made from waste material. Related: Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis The first zone visitors encounter is the Green Economy, which introduces a variety of eco-friendly materials including lightweight fiber rebar, or glass-fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP), as a durable and low-carbon alternative building material to steel. The second zone is the Circular Economy , where examples of plastic waste upcycled into new, value-added products are showcased. Examples of uses for biodegradable and eco-friendly bioplastics are shown in the third zone, Bio Economy. The pavilion also includes a rest zone. As an extension of the project, a Smart Recycling Center was installed nearby to show the public how to responsibly sort and manage waste generated at the event. The architects said, “Everlasting Forest Pavilion is a space demonstrating the co-habitation between man-made structures and their surrounding environment including buildings, green spaces and daily life objects, whose resources and waste are all sustainably managed and utilized.” + Plural Designs Images via Plural Designs

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Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok

3XN unveils LEED Platinum-seeking Forskaren innovation center in Stockholm

May 12, 2020 by  
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Danish architecture firm 3XN has won a design competition for Forskaren, a new mixed-use innovation center for health and life science companies in Stockholm. Designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the rounded 24,000-square-meter building will draw power from renewable sources. Forskaren will also promote sustainable principles among its tenants with the inclusion of light-filled collaborative spaces and restaurants with eco-friendly fare. Forskaren was designed as part of Hagastaden, a 96-hectare district that is one of the city’s largest and most important urban development projects. The new building will be located between the Karolinska University Hospital and the old Stockholm city hospital to cement the district’s reputation as a world-class destination for research in health, life science and treatment. Hagastaden, which is slated for completion in 2025, also encompasses new housing, a subway station and green spaces. Related: Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the “smartest building advances in Germany” Forskaren reflects the ambitions of the new district with an open and inviting design built largely of natural materials both inside and out. The building will comprise office space for both established companies and startups as well as restaurants, cafes and an exhibition area showcasing cutting-edge life science research. The light-filled building will be centered on an airy atrium with a distinctive spiral staircase. Along with its surrounding square, Forskaren’s amenities will be publicly accessible as part of a plan to make the building a natural gathering point in Hagastaden. To meet LEED Platinum standards, Forskaren will be equipped with rooftop solar panels and geothermal heat pumps. Graywater collected from rainwater harvesting systems will be used for irrigation and watering plants. Expansive glazing, timber solar shades and a series of other energy-efficient building systems will help keep energy use to a minimum. Forskaren is slated for completion in 2024. + 3XN Images via 3XN

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3XN unveils LEED Platinum-seeking Forskaren innovation center in Stockholm

Best practices for outdoor exercise during COVID-19

May 12, 2020 by  
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Now that states are starting to ease their lockdowns, outdoorsy and active people are eager to hit the trails or pick up their tennis rackets and golf clubs. But what do you need to know before getting active amidst COVID-19 ? Here are tips to stay safe while enjoying the great outdoors during a pandemic. Picking the safest activities The virus is still out there. So as you venture out of your home, remember to keep your guard up. The safest activities are those that let you maintain physical distance and congregate with as few people as possible — it’s still safest to stick with members of your own household. Related: COVID-19 and its effects on the environment If you must recreate with the population beyond your quarantine-mates, singles tennis is going to be safer than doubles, because there’s only one person on each side of the net and only one other person touching your tennis balls. You can probably golf safely, but a post-golf hang out in the clubhouse is a bad idea. For now, you’re better off avoiding sports that require close contact and lots of hands on the same equipment, such as soccer, basketball and volleyball. Hiking At first thought, hiking seems like the perfect pandemic activity. What could be more socially distanced than trekking through the wilderness? Well, nothing. Except that, depending where you live, half of your neighbors probably had the same idea. Plus, hiking trails are narrow. So what happens when one hiker wants to pass another? Choose your hiking trails carefully. Depending on where you live, trailheads might be blocked and parking lots could be closed. Try to check your local ordinances before you head out. This can be tricky, since websites may not be up to date and conditions can change rapidly. In Oregon, official guidelines currently say, “Be prepared for last minute changes to ensure the safety and health of others.” In other words, rangers may close trailheads or parking lots at any minute if folks fail to behave responsibly. Pick the less popular trails, go early and abort the mission if there are too many cars parked near the trailhead. Have a face mask handy so you can cover up and protect fellow hikers if you need to pass them. Avoid narrow trails on cliff edges, where there’s nowhere to step aside. If your dog wants to come along, plan to hike on a wide trail or in a remote area. If the trails are too crowded, and/or you can’t resist those puppy-dog eyes, consider looking for quiet country roads and going for a ramble rather than a hike. Running Since the gyms closed, the number of outdoor runners seems to have multiplied. It can be tricky to navigate your path as you stay 6 feet away from other humans. This might mean zig-zagging from one side of the street to the other, coming to a dead stop when a group of kids go by on trikes and being highly alert to avoid cars and bikes. You’ll need your wits about you. Either skip the headphones or only wear one. With regular routes suddenly too crowded for physical distancing, it’s also important to be vigilant when navigating less familiar terrain. Distance runners might need to plan their routes more carefully. Being 4 miles from home on city streets and suddenly realizing all the public restrooms are closed — well, that’s not a fun predicament. This isn’t a great time for public drinking fountains, either. So carry a reusable water bottle or plan your route so that you can stop by your house for a mid-run comfort break. Water sports As spring turns into summer , water lovers’ thoughts turn to their local beaches, rivers and lakes. Many water sports are a good option during COVID-19, but this isn’t a good time to take up anything extreme. You really don’t want to have to seek medical attention or be hospitalized right now. Instead, try activities like kayaking or paddle boarding on calm waters. But because even the calmest water can be dangerous, go with your household or a buddy. You can stay in close proximity with the people you live with, but if you meet up with a friend, you do need to continue to practice social distancing. Some outfitters are opening up now for contactless rentals and physically distanced group outings with well-sanitized kayaks. This is a good option if you don’t own the gear. Swimming and surfing can also be done while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Adhere to local ordinances and, again, go with your household or a friend. Other outdoor exercise tips and etiquette As you venture outdoors, keep your safety and that of others in mind by following local ordinances and official guidelines. If you live in a place where face masks are optional, bring one along in case conditions turn out to be more crowded than expected. Stick a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket in case you have to touch something. If you’re exerting yourself, watch where you are huffing and puffing. People going on a socially distant walk with family or housemates should go single-file if others are trying to pass. If other people fail to observe proper pandemic etiquette, stay calm. Move away from people breathing in your space. Also, remember why you’re going outdoors: fresh air, exercise and the uplifting effects of nature . This is a time to prioritize physical health and sanity, not athletic achievement or personal best race times. So get outside, be safe and try to be kind to yourself and others. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Architects turn waste wood into a 3D-printed cabin in upstate New York

May 11, 2020 by  
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A stunning cabin in upstate New York is making waves thanks to groundbreaking technology that allowed it to be 3D-printed with wood waste. Headed by architects Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, HANNAH was able to repurpose wood from ash trees damaged by an invasive beetle species to build the Ashen Cabin, a modern, tiny cabin completely constructed using 3D-printing of timber and concrete. Located in Ithaca, New York, the innovative cabin definitely stands out for its distinct shape. Ash wood cladding connects it to the lush woodland setting, while whimsical features, such as curved wood paneling and thick, triangular concrete pillars, create a futuristic, almost spaceship-like, feel. The prominent use of ash wood was specifically chosen to make use of damaged ash wood trees. Related: 3D-printed micro cabin in Amsterdam welcomes anyone to spend the night Tunneling into the trees’ bark to lay eggs, the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to America’s ash tree population. In their wake, these ruthless beetles leave 8.7 billion trees across the country so damaged that they cannot even be used by sawmills as lumber. Specifically, nearly one in 10 ash trees in New York state are destroyed by the pesky insects. But now, working with innovative design methods, HANNAH has discovered a remedy that can’t quite protect the trees from their beetle nemesis but enables a sustainable way to use the waste wood . Zivkovic explained, “Infested ash trees are a very specific form of ‘waste material’ and our inability to contain the blight has made them so abundant that we can — and should — develop strategies to use them as a material resource.” To begin the project, the firm decided on a two-tier process, first building a robotic platform that was specifically designed for processing the irregular ash trees and a separate system for using 3D-printed concrete. The first step was repurposing a six-axis robot arm found on eBay to cut pre-shaped planks that fit together like puzzle pieces. The repurposed robot allowed the designers to work with the otherwise worthless wood waste. The second step involved creating a solid, eco-friendly base for the cabin. Again going with a highly innovative processing strategy, the team manufactured nine interlocking, 3D-printed concrete segments that were used to form the footing, cabin floor, chimney and interior fixtures. This method avoided the need to build a large frame and base for the cabin. Using the minimum amount of concrete possible, the designers were able to reduce the project’s overall footprint while providing a strong, resilient base. With the durable concrete base and unique shaping of the wood volume, the cabin shows just how fun and functional sustainable architecture can be. + HANNAH Via The Architect’s Newspaper Photography by Andy Chen and Reuben Chen via HANNAH; drawings by HANNAH

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