Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis

March 18, 2020 by  
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According to the World Air Quality Index of 2019, the city of Bangkok suffers from unhealthy levels of air pollution most of the year. In a bid to raise awareness about air quality and the urban heat island effect, Thai design collective Shma Company created Safezone Shelter, an ephemeral pavilion filled with air purifying plants and technology to create a welcoming gathering space for passersby. Shaped like a cloud, the sculptural intervention was briefly installed in front of the Grand Postal Building during Bangkok Design Week 2020.  In contrast to the brutalist architecture of the Grand Postal Building, the 150-square-meter Safezone Shelter features a futuristic, organic shape with a white nylon covering to evoke the appearance of a cloud. The white textile allows light to diffuse through while hiding the interior from outside views. Inside, the designers created an unexpected oasis filled with tropical plants, informational signage and seating, which also includes part of the postal building’s steps.  Related: Architects design giant air purifying towers to fight Delhi’s air pollution To create a cooling microclimate, the designers engineered the pavilion to pull in hot, polluted air with fans and pass it through dense vegetation to capture dust particles. This “pre-filtered wind” is then passed through a dust filter plate and a cooling plate to purify the air . In addition to the cool air flow generated by fans, the trees, shrubs and ground cover help keep the pavilion’s interior temperatures to between 72 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A humidifier maintains humidity levels of 50% to 70%. Recorded nature sounds, such as the sounds of water and birds, are also played inside the space. “All of these inventive methods could further be applied to solve air pollution in other kinds of design,” the designers explained. “Looking wider at an urban scale, bus stops, recreational space under expressways and skywalks also have a potential to be revitalized with such purification systems. At the end, even high-rise buildings might become old-fashioned when a better choice like an air purifier tower could be constructed.” Safezone Shelter was put on display from December 2019 to February 2020.  + Shma Company Images via Shma

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Futuristic Safezone Shelter battles air pollution in Thailand with a green oasis

This modern art museum was once a cheese factory in Arkansas

March 2, 2020 by  
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In Bentonville, Arkansas, a giant factory that once processed cheese for Kraft Foods has been given new life as The Momentary, a modern art museum satellite to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects led the adaptive reuse project, which has carefully preserved as much of the existing structure as possible while introducing contemporary additions. Like the building, the landscape also follows sustainable design principles and was created in collaboration with Tulsa-based Howell Vancuren Landscape Architects to purify and clean rainwater through a bioswale system. Officially opened on February 22, 2020, The Momentary was conceived as a cultural hub for contemporary international art with both indoor and outdoor areas. The oldest part of the original 63,000-square-foot decommissioned cheese factory was converted into The Galleries, an area spanning more than 24,000 square feet. The old fermentation room was converted into a 100-seat black box theater, called Fermentation Hall, while the former milk intake room has been renamed the RØDE House, which serves as a 350-seat multidisciplinary performance space that can be closed or partially open-air. The employee lunchroom has turned into a social space called The Breakroom. Related: A forgotten railway takes on new life as a new cultural destination in France New additions to the building have been differentiated with materials like steel and glass. An example of this can be seen in the museum’s 70-foot-tall vertical element, dubbed The Tower, which is the largest space in the program. It builds on multiple pre-existing intermediate mezzanines and is topped with a Tower Bar surrounded by panoramic views. Gallery space extends to the outdoors, including sculptures, courtyards like the Arvest Bank Courtyard and the 24,000-square-foot Momentary Green.  “The design centers on authenticity,” said Calli Verkamp, lead project architect at Wheeler Kearns Architects. “Embracing the history of the site, it maintains the industrial integrity of the building and preserves the connection between past and present that it represents for the community .” + Wheeler Kearns Architects Photography by Dero Sanford via The Momentary

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This modern art museum was once a cheese factory in Arkansas

Seaweed pavilion encourages environmental conservation at WEF

February 4, 2020 by  
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In the landlocked Swiss town of Davos-Klosters, German designer Julia Lohmann has brought multi-sensory elements of the sea to guests of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 50th Annual Meeting. Hidaka Ohmu is a seaweed installation accompanied by a seaweed prototyping workshop. Created as part of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum exhibition, ‘Partnering with Nature,’ the installation aims to “encourage participants to play with natural elements, learn about the symbiotic relationships in nature and be inspired to imagine a more cohesive approach to working with nature.” Made from kelp and rattan, the organic pavilion immerses visitors in the scents and colors of the ocean as a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation. The Hidaka Ohmu installation is part of Julia Lohmann’s Department of Seaweed, an ongoing collection of work that explores the sustainable uses of seaweed and ways the material can be used to spark dialogue. At WEF, the installation took the shape of an organic pavilion with a rattan frame and semi-translucent kelp panels, the colors of which change depending on the light. Hidaka Ohmu takes its name from the Hidaka kelp used for the installation and the pavilion’s resemblance to Ohmu, the massive insect-like creatures from the 1984 Japanese animated film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind , a cautionary sci-fi tale of environmental devastation. Related: 100% biodegradable, edible packaging is so much better than plastic In addition to exploring the sights and smells of Hidaka Ohmu, WEF participants were invited to create objects from seaweed themselves in Lohmann’s Department of Seaweed prototyping workshop. The workshop aims to make science and our relationship with nature more tangible as a means of encouraging environmentally responsible actions and raising awareness about climate change . The installation and workshop were presented from January 21 to January 24, 2020. “We need an empathic, more than human-centric way of engaging with nature,” Lohmann said. “Every species has an equal right to life on this planet. We can use the same human ingenuity that has led to the climate crisis we are facing now — and design has a lot to answer for in this — to protect and regenerate the ecosystem that sustains us.” + Julia Lohmann Photography by Valeriano Di Domenico, Farouk Pinjo, Claran McCrickard, and Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary via WEF

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Immersive, dystopian exhibit shows what life could be like post-climate change

January 16, 2020 by  
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As a wake up call to the possible effects of global warming, London-based multidisciplinary design studio Superflux has created “Mitigation of Shock, Singapore,” an immersive exhibition that explores the possible consequences of sea level rise for city dwellers in coastal areas. Created as part of 2219: Futures Imagined — a new exhibition at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum to commemorate the city’s bicentennial — the installation takes the shape of a dystopian Singaporean apartment. Set in the first half of the 23rd century, 100 years from now, Mitigation of Shock, Singapore explores the narrative of a family fighting to survive in a post- climate change future. Central to the exhibition is the theme of food insecurity, which is hinted to by the placement of a ration card alongside books titled Pets As Proteins and How to Cook in a Time of Scarcity . The immersive installation also includes handmade hunting tools made from old circuit boards and other repurposed electronics , food computers, mealworm incubators, indoor gardens with grow lights and a kayak and snorkeling equipment for navigating the flooded city. Aluminum covers the windows to keep the structure resilient against extreme weather. Related: Obra Architects stimulates climate change discussion with a “climate-correcting machine” “The ambition of ‘Mitigation of Shock, Singapore’ is to show us what we cannot see today — a future where extreme weather conditions, economic uncertainty and broken global supply chains have changed the world as we know it,” the designers said in their project statement. “But there is hope. The resourcefulness of people, and their radical adaptations to survive and prosper in a changed world, shows us the possibilities of creating new worlds and new ways of living.” Mitigation of Shock, Singapore opened on November 23, 2019 at the ArtScience Museum Singapore and will remain on display here until April 5, 2020. It marks one of Superflux’s most ambitious projects to date. + Superflux Images via Superflux

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Immersive, dystopian exhibit shows what life could be like post-climate change

Giant, abstract trees hold up the roof of an experimental Korean home

November 21, 2019 by  
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When designing the House of Three Trees, Seoul-based architecture practice Jae Kim Architects & Researchers (JK-AR) started with a question: What would Korean architecture look like if timber remained the dominant construction material from ancient times until today? To answer this alternate-reality proposition, the architects conceived a project representative of “the rebirth of East Asian timber architecture of the 21st century” that blends digital design and fabrication with traditional Korean architecture. Built with sculptural, tree-like structures that employ the iconic wooden bracket systems of ancient times, the experimental home also relates to the local vernacular with low-cost materials commonly used in rural Korean buildings. During the late Joseon Dynasty of Korea in the 17th and 19th centuries, timber resources were mostly exhausted until globalization led to the import of cheaper wooden materials from around the world. Due to the popularization of reinforced concrete structures and the high cost of timber construction, development of timber architecture slowed. Using algorithmic tools, JK-AR envisions how timber architecture could have evolved had timber resources continued to be readily available with The House of Three Trees. The experimental home features tree-like supporting structures solely composed of wooden joinery — using more than 4,000 timber elements — constructed with traditional techniques and zero additive fasteners. Related: Moon Hoon’s funky new home captures sunlight on Jeju Island “The house criticizes today’s application of traditional buildings that is superficial, merely imitating traditional expressions in architecture, or too abstract,” the architects explained. “Rather, the house redefines the virtue of East Asian timber buildings in its tectonic aspect which is a combination of structure and ornamentation. Moreover, the house serves as an example of how contemporary technology, such as design computation and digital fabrication, can reinterpret traditional architecture. Technology can give East Asian timber construction the potential to evolve in a new direction.” The home takes on a hexagonal shape, influenced by the irregular building plot, with an interior defined by three tree-like columns that support the roof. Covered in asphalt shingles, the butterfly roof is raised to provide a glimpse of the trees inside. Polycarbonate corrugated panels wrap around the home in a nod to rural Korean construction; these panels also create a double-skin around the plywood facade to improve the building’s insulation performance and water resistance. + Jae Kim Architects & Researchers Photography by Roh Kyung via Jae Kim Architects & Researchers

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Giant, abstract trees hold up the roof of an experimental Korean home

This smart furniture features solar-powered charging ports

November 21, 2019 by  
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Budapest-based design studio Hello Wood has unveiled a collection of outdoor smart furniture designed for schools and universities. The furniture is outfitted with solar panels to generate clean energy for charging USB ports. The sleek designs include extra-long, undulating lounge chairs and a funky “fluid cube,” all made out of solid wood. Over the years, Hello Wood has created all types of innovative wooden installations, from LED Christmas trees built from reused wooden boxes to a solar-powered pop-up park to a colossal tiger stature made out of reclaimed timber . Now, the crafty wood artists have created a new collection of outdoor wooden pieces slated for the community spaces at local educational institutions. Related: 14 amazing timber structures explore the future of wood as a building material Already installed in four Hungarian educational institutions, the outdoor pieces add a bit of whimsy to the open spaces found on campuses. The outdoor furniture collection includes two vastly different designs. One is a long lounge chair/bench that stretches out in a zig-zag shape with large curvatures marking the seating areas. The second design is what the designers call a “fluid cube.” The wooden cube is open on three sides, with a built-in bench on the interior. In addition to their unique shapes, the furniture pieces are also sustainable. The wood used in Hello Wood’s latest installation is all certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which guarantees that the timber comes from responsibly managed forests. Both pieces have been equipped with solar panels, which were manufactured using recycled plastic waste . The solar energy is used to generate enough power to charge the multiple USB ports the students can use while they relax in the fresh air. + Hello Wood Photography by Zsuzsa Darab and Hello Wood

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Dramatically twisted timber weaves together in the Steampunk pavilion

November 8, 2019 by  
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In Tallinn, Estonia, a team of designers have merged traditional craftsmanship with digital modeling to create Steampunk, a sculptural pavilion that uses steam-bent hardwood and computer-aided design. Winner of the Tallinn Architecture Biennial 2019 Installation Program Competition, the spectacular artwork uses the laborious process of steam bending timber by hand, rather than by robotic production, to call attention to the merits of traditional craftsmanship absent in machine building. Gwyllim Jahn, Fologram’s Cameron Newnham, Soomeen Hahm Design and Igor Pantic designed the Steampunk pavilion with the help of digital models that were rendered as holographic overlays during construction. Instead of translating their designs into CNC code for robotic production, the team decided to use a hybrid approach and build the pavilion by hand with the help of a holographic guide.  “While computer aided manufacturing and robotics have given architects unprecedented control over the materialization of their designs, the nuance and subtlety commonly found in traditional craft practices is absent from the artefacts of robotic production because the intuition and understanding of the qualitative aspects of a project as well as the quantitative is difficult to describe in the deterministic and explicit language of these machines,” explain the designs in a statement. “We are interested in approaches to making that hybridize analogue construction with the precision and flexibility of digital models .” Related: Otherworldly tree sculpture mimics plant growth with glowing veins Using standardized 100-by-10-millimeter timber boards, the construction team bagged, steamed and then bent each strip over an adaptable formwork while using the holographic model as a reference. The twisted pieces of timber were then assembled to create the appearance of a woven 3D knot measuring roughly eight meters wide and 4.6 meters in height. The pavilion has four distinct spaces framing views towards the old city of Tallinn as well as the Architecture Museum. + Soomeen Hahm Design Images by Peter Bennetts

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Dramatically twisted timber weaves together in the Steampunk pavilion

Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

October 11, 2019 by  
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Exhibitions of art can, and perhaps should, be thought-provoking, which is exactly the goal of the temporary showing ‘Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethink’ by design studio PriestmanGoode at the Design Museum in London. Unlike typical art , though, this exhibit is a concept design that could change the way we travel, or at least the environmental impact when we do. With its eyes on a future of eliminating single-use plastic , PriestmanGoode has focused its problem-solving skills toward airline travel. The studio has looked for ways to eliminate the estimated 2.2 pounds of waste created per passenger per flight, a weighty problem that adds up to around 5.7 million tons of cabin waste annually worldwide. PriestmanGoode has taken a multifaceted approach to the problem, beginning with the meal tray and eating accessories on long flights. Related: San Francisco airport bans all plastic water bottles The designers have come up with functional and surprisingly attractive plastic alternatives for in-flight eating. Some of the plant-based items are washable and reusable: serving trays that are made out of coffee grounds and husks; dishes made from wheat bran; and sporks made from coconut wood. The cups are a two-part design, with a reusable outer layer made from rice husks and a PLA binder. The disposable interior liner is made from algae. Other packaging saw sustainable upgrades, too. The main dish is covered in a bamboo lid, an earth-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastic. For side dishes, the lids are made out of algae or banana leaves, and the dessert lid has a wafer design that distinguishes it from the other lids to easily identify what is underneath. Single-use condiment containers were tossed in favor of capsules made out of soluble seaweed. For easy composting, everything packs into the main meal lid. PriestmanGoode also presents a refillable water canister designed to fit in a seat-back. It has also worked with airline representatives to design a central water refill station as a comprehensive, sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles. Although the design elements of the concept meal tray are innovative, an equally important goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness about the impact travel has on our environment, and not just in the food consumed. While there are still many steps the airline industry needs to take to lower its environmental impact, PriestmanGoode wants travelers to consider their own consumption habits by only using long-lasting and reusable products that they need. The exhibit will show until February 9, 2020. + PriestmanGoode Via Dezeen Images via PriestmanGoode

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Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

October 11, 2019 by  
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Exhibitions of art can, and perhaps should, be thought-provoking, which is exactly the goal of the temporary showing ‘Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethink’ by design studio PriestmanGoode at the Design Museum in London. Unlike typical art , though, this exhibit is a concept design that could change the way we travel, or at least the environmental impact when we do. With its eyes on a future of eliminating single-use plastic , PriestmanGoode has focused its problem-solving skills toward airline travel. The studio has looked for ways to eliminate the estimated 2.2 pounds of waste created per passenger per flight, a weighty problem that adds up to around 5.7 million tons of cabin waste annually worldwide. PriestmanGoode has taken a multifaceted approach to the problem, beginning with the meal tray and eating accessories on long flights. Related: San Francisco airport bans all plastic water bottles The designers have come up with functional and surprisingly attractive plastic alternatives for in-flight eating. Some of the plant-based items are washable and reusable: serving trays that are made out of coffee grounds and husks; dishes made from wheat bran; and sporks made from coconut wood. The cups are a two-part design, with a reusable outer layer made from rice husks and a PLA binder. The disposable interior liner is made from algae. Other packaging saw sustainable upgrades, too. The main dish is covered in a bamboo lid, an earth-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastic. For side dishes, the lids are made out of algae or banana leaves, and the dessert lid has a wafer design that distinguishes it from the other lids to easily identify what is underneath. Single-use condiment containers were tossed in favor of capsules made out of soluble seaweed. For easy composting, everything packs into the main meal lid. PriestmanGoode also presents a refillable water canister designed to fit in a seat-back. It has also worked with airline representatives to design a central water refill station as a comprehensive, sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles. Although the design elements of the concept meal tray are innovative, an equally important goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness about the impact travel has on our environment, and not just in the food consumed. While there are still many steps the airline industry needs to take to lower its environmental impact, PriestmanGoode wants travelers to consider their own consumption habits by only using long-lasting and reusable products that they need. The exhibit will show until February 9, 2020. + PriestmanGoode Via Dezeen Images via PriestmanGoode

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Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines

Breezy home design for artist couple boasts a green roof of succulents

August 30, 2019 by  
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When Seattle-based firm Heliotrope Architects were approached by a couple to create a home that would reflect their passion for art, the architects immediately envisioned a vibrant space that incorporated several features such as natural light to give the space an art-gallery feel. The resulting Artist Residence is a beautifully contemporary, light-filled design that not only features wide open spaces to showcase the couple’s art collection, but also has a strong connection to the outdoors through its multiple gardens, including an expansive green roof . Clad in stained cedar siding , the home’s exterior was carefully designed to fit into the general aesthetic of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. A gabled roof and nice front garden give the home a classic feel— which quickly disappears when entering the home. Related: Tiny prefab timber cabin in New Zealand designed to be serene art studio The interior of the 3,953 square foot residence is bright and airy, with loads of natural light flooding into virtually every corner. Stark white walls and polished concrete flooring give the space its modern feel while the interior design, made up of contemporary furniture with vibrant splashes of color, add a bit of whimsy to the living space. To create a strong connection with the outdoors, the home design was laid out in a checker-board pattern, alternating between interior and exterior spaces. From the entrance, the main living areas, living room, kitchen and dining spaces, stretch out to the rear patio courtyard. Large custom-made windows were installed high up so that the residents could observe their surroundings, but still maintain their privacy. Adjacent to the living space is the art studio , which features a double-height cathedral ceiling. To designate the area as a working space for the couple, the studio was sunk half a level down from the living room. The private spaces are located on the upper floor. The master suite features a large spa–like bathroom with a Japanese soaking tub. From the suite, large windows frame the views of the Japanese garden out back, which is irrigated thanks to a rainwater runoff system built into the roof. Green space was another important feature of the home design. In addition to the front and rear gardens, the home has a flat rooftop garden planted with succulents. + Heliotrope Architects Photography by Benjamin Benschneider

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