Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

February 23, 2017 by  
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Philippe Starck is one of the most influential designers of modern times – and he’s applied his signature style and environmental ethos to develop a striking new residential building in Ecuador . The slender YOO Quito tower, created in collaboration with property entrepreneur John Hitchcox, real estate developer Tommy Schwarzkopf and architecture studio Arquitectónica , is expected to feature several sustainable strategies, including low-impact materials, a volumetric design to mitigate solar exposure, and a number of green terraces to reduce the heat island effect . In 1999, Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox partnered to create YOO , design firm that works with international developers on high-end residential and hospitality projects throughout the world. Their latest endeavor brought together several international firms to design and build four new landmark buildings for Quito . Related: Philippe Starck’s New Wind and Solar-Powered Home Produces 50% More Energy Than it Consumes The YOO Quito building has a slender undulating silhouette with vegetation dominating its base and top floor. For interior spaces, the designers coupled traditional regional design with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Glass, metal, concrete , foliage and a neutral color palette dominate both the interior and exterior of the building. The building’s vegetal covers are designed to “obstruct, filter and reflect solar radiation,” according to Yoo Quito literature, “fighting the heat in [sic] sunny days and maintaining heat in the winter.” They also provide protection against noise. Transparent glass ensures ample natural light, while smart technology throughout further reduces the building’s energy requirement. When complete, YOO Quito is expected to be the tallest building in the city. + Uribe & Schwarzkopf + YOO + Arquitectónica

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Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

February 22, 2017 by  
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Design firm Arquitectónica transformed an 18-story tower in Quito, Ecuador into a slender urban sculpture that twists upwards to meet the sky. The building’s animated exterior is matched by a deep green interior designed by Marcel Wanders , and belongs to a larger scheme comprising four major developments conceived in collaboration between leading experts in real estate development, industrial design and architecture. The architects achieved the twisting shape of the tower by displacing the floor plates, generating the impression of movement. Nestled between two orthogonal buildings, the Oh Residences introduce an element of playfulness and surprise to the neighborhood. Related: Marcel Wanders Unveils Plant-Sprouting Swing for Droog The interior design, inspired by Ecuadorian flora and fauna , offers diverse spaces that reference three classical elements–earth, air and fire. The areas referencing earth use authentic natural materials , while sensations of serenity, softness and tranquility dominate the spaces where air is the main motif. Contrasts that combine crafts, patterns and colors mark the spaces with fire as the thematic guide. + YOO + Marcel Wanders + Arquitectónica + Uribe & Schwarzkopf

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Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

New silicon nanoparticles could finally make solar windows commercially viable

February 22, 2017 by  
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The trend toward integrating solar into homes and buildings seems to be taking off. First Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled his rooftop solar shingles that are invisible when viewed from the street. Now, researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca have developed technology that could usher in a future with photovoltaic windows harvesting renewable energy from the sun. The research, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Photonics, demonstrates that high-tech silicon nanoparticles embedded into luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) can make the performance of solar windows more efficient, comparable to flat solar concentrators. “In our lab, we ‘trick’ nature by shirking the dimension of silicon crystals to a few nanometers, that is about one ten-thousandths of the diameter of human hair,” said University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor Uwe Kortshagen, one of the senior authors of the study. “At this size, silicon’s properties change and it becomes an efficient light emitter, with the important property not to re-absorb its own luminescence. This is the key feature that makes silicon nanoparticles ideally suited for LSC applications.” Related: Revolutionary new solar windows could generate 50 times more power than conventional photovoltaics Photovoltaic windows could be a game changer in the race to power cities with renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. Modern glass office towers could be retrofited with photovoltaic windows that wouldn’t change the aesthetics of the building and yet would be able to meet the structure’s electricity needs. According to the US Department of Energy, turning the windows at One World Trade Center into solar collectors could power more than 350 apartments. The researchers say that silicon nanoparticles could make solar windows commercially viable for the building-integrated photovoltaic market. The silicon nanoparticles, which are produced using a plasma reactor and formed into a powder, could realize flexible LSCs that efficiently capture more than five percent of the sun’s energy. One day soon the sun shining on skyscrapers in cities around the world could also be the source of their energy. + Highly efficient luminescent solar concentrators based on earth-abundant indirect-bandgap silicon quantum dots Via Phys.org Images via University of Minnesota

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New silicon nanoparticles could finally make solar windows commercially viable

Scott Pruitt attacks critics and EPA employees in first speech

February 22, 2017 by  
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In this first address to the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency , newly-appointed chief Scott Pruitt didn’t give any rousing remarks about fighting global warming or protecting the planet. Instead, he used the opportunity to strike back at everyone who opposed his controversial candidacy for the position over recent weeks, and laid out a vision that seems to undermine everything the agency stands for . In an address lasting less than 20 minutes, Pruitt described his vision of an EPA that works closely with industrial companies before enacting anti-pollution regulations in order to make it easier for them to comply. (That sound be simple for Pruitt’s EPA – it’s much easier to comply with regulations that simply don’t exist, such as the stream protection rule recently repealed by Congress.) He made no mention of climate change or environmental destruction at all. He did, however, address one unsurprising topic: the EPA’s staff and their opposition to the Trump administration . He bashed the agency for its past actions, which he sees as outside of its legal mandate, and for denying states the right to set their own legislation. Considering that Pruitt has made his name suing the agency 13 times , the verbal assault was more or less to be expected. Related: PA workers openly fight against potential Pruitt confirmation EPA staffers aren’t taking their new boss’s word lying down. One has already blasted it as “condescending and hypocritical” in an anonymous interview with Mother Jones . One Obama-era communications staffer, Liz Purchia, agreed, saying, “Accomplishing agency priorities was no easy task when the administrator had staff’s back and politicals and careers agreed the majority of the time, so let’s see how well Trump’s EPA does getting staff to follow them when they feel disrespected. These are professionals with years of experience, who have been made to feel like their leader doesn’t trust their judgment.” Considering that EPA workers are already in open revolt against Pruitt’s leadership and have already been talking anonymously to the press to undermine Trump’s pollution-friendly agenda, it should be interesting to see his approach over the next four years. Via Huffington Post Images via Gage Skidmore

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Scott Pruitt attacks critics and EPA employees in first speech

David Beckham Unveils Design for Spectacular MLS Soccer Stadium in MIami

March 26, 2014 by  
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David Beckham may have retired from playing soccer, but he’s far from finished with the sport. The former English soccer star recently unveiled his designs for a new state-of-the-art stadium to house his Major League Soccer franchise on Miami’s waterfront. Designed by firms Arquitectonica and 360 Architecture , the curvaceous, open-air stadium boasts views of the downtown skyline and if approved, could open as early as 2018. Read the rest of David Beckham Unveils Design for Spectacular MLS Soccer Stadium in MIami Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 360 architecture , Arquitectonica , David beckham , downtown miami , football stadium , major league soccer , Miami waterfront , MLS soccer stadium , MLS stadium , portmiami , royal Caribbean cruises , soccer stadium , soccer stadium Miami        

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Kentucky is Shipping Invasive Asian Carp to China to Halt Their Spread Across the US

March 26, 2014 by  
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The Asian carp population has exploded in the US – the fish can now be found in 12 states, despite attempts to curb the species’ spread. Now the state of Kentucky has hit upon a novel solution: send the fish back to China, where they are a prized delicacy. Read the rest of Kentucky is Shipping Invasive Asian Carp to China to Halt Their Spread Across the US Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Asian carp , ecosystems , environmental destruction , illinois , invasive carp , invasive species , kentucky , npr , rivers , water issues        

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Kentucky is Shipping Invasive Asian Carp to China to Halt Their Spread Across the US

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