Zaha Hadid Architects unveils Sberbank Technopark for Russias Silicon Valley

June 25, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has just received planning permission for their design of Sberbank Technopark at the Skolkovo Innovation Centre in Moscow, a 400-hectare, government-supported high technology business district known as Russia’s ‘Silicon Valley.’ The building was designed with Zaha Hadid Architects’ iconic curves, which give the massive structure a futuristic and spaceship-like appearance. The building will accommodate 17,000 people working in Sberbank’s information technology and marketing components. The Sberbank Technopark was commissioned by the eponymous state-owned Russian banking and financial services company headquartered in Moscow . Over 70 percent of Russia’s population relies on Sberbank’s services. Designed with dramatic cantilevered facades, the Sberbank Technopark sprawls out over 2.8 million square feet and serves as the bank’s hub for IT innovation. “These are the people who will be responsible for all the bank’s ‘substance’ – its technical content, its brains,” says Sberbank President German Gref. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the Technopark to facilitate collaborative thinking and innovation—such as large communal spaces and light-filled atria —following extensive analysis of current work processes in the bank’s technology and marketing departments. “The necessity to innovate and collaborate within the workplace environment is fundamental to Sberbank’s operations,” says Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects. “Technopark’s design reconfigures working relationships by adopting a holistic approach to create an inter-connected, multi-functional workplace ecology driven by the bank’s requirements for enhanced communication, interaction and diversification that promotes creativity and engagement.” Related: Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid to masterplan Russia’s largest port The Sberbank Technopark has received the ‘State Expertise’ certification from the city’s planning authority. Construction on the project is slated to begin in the near future. + Zaha Hadid Architects Renderings by Anima, VA, and ZHA; Photography by Skolkovo Innovation Centre

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Zaha Hadid Architects unveils Sberbank Technopark for Russias Silicon Valley

RBS will cease financing new coal stations, Arctic oil, or oil sands projects

May 29, 2018 by  
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Several oil and gas projects will no longer receive financing from Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Reuters reported . The bank said it won’t offer project-specific finance for Arctic oil and oil sands projects, new coal -fired power stations, new thermal coal mines, or unsustainable peatland or vegetation clearance projects. RBS Director of Sustainable Banking Kirsty Britz said, “The RBS of 2018 is very different to the bank we were a few years ago. If we’re going to support our customers in the long run, then it means addressing the challenge of climate change and the risks and opportunities it presents.” The changes are part of RBS’s tighter restrictions on finance and general lending for what Reuters described as “high-carbon energy projects.” In addition to the projects listed above, RBS said it won’t provide finance for “ mining companies generating more than 40 percent of their revenues from thermal coal” and “ power companies generating more than 40 percent of their electricity from coal.” In the past, the threshold for both types of companies was 65 percent. Related: The World Bank will stop funding oil and gas projects after 2019 RBS quoted Sonia Hierzig of ShareAction , a responsible investment charity, as saying the energy financing policies “make RBS the bank with the strongest energy sector policies out of the top five UK banks…RBS would now rank 8th in our climate ranking of the 15 largest European banks, up from 11th previously.” The bank said they’ve funded “more British renewable energy projects than any other UK bank for the last six years running.” They also said they obtain 90 percent of electricity in the UK and Ireland via renewable energy and, since 2014, have seen a 39 percent drop in their carbon dioxide emissions . + Royal Bank of Scotland Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos (1)

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RBS will cease financing new coal stations, Arctic oil, or oil sands projects

100% electric passenger, vehicle and cargo ferry could help decarbonize sea travel

May 29, 2018 by  
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Many ferries are powered by polluting diesel, but the European Union-funded E-ferry could offer a cleaner alternative: a medium-sized ferry able to transport trucks, cars, passengers and cargo with zero greenhouse gas emissions. While this isn’t the first zero-emission ferry, the team behind the project says the new ferry will be able to cover longer distances — traveling 22 nautical miles between charges. E-ferry’s goal is to “apply an extremely energy efficient design concept and demonstrate a 100 percent electric , emission-free, medium-sized ferry” able to travel without polluting, according to the project website. The European Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) announced the project will be soon set sail and operate in the Baltic Sea to connect the island of Ærø to the Denmark mainland. The ferry, dubbed Ellen, will travel the Søby-Fynshav and Søby-Faaborg routes, which are 10.7 and 9.6 nautical miles, respectively. Related: 173 countries agree to slash shipping industry emissions in historic deal Ellen could be equipped with “the largest battery pack ever installed in a vessel,” according to the project website, and boasts a battery capacity of 4.3 megawatt-hours. The website says , “The peak charging power of the E-ferry battery pack and its shore charging connection will be up to four megawatts.” The vessel will have two 750 kilowatt (kW) propulsion motors and two 250 kW thruster motors. It can carry 31 cars or five trucks, and 147 passengers in the winter and 198 in the summer. It will weigh around 650 tons. The E-ferry will be built with what the team described as new lightweight materials: “different kinds of carbon composites” as well as more traditional aluminum materials. The team aims for 10 or more E-ferries operating by 2020, and 100 or more by 2030 to save 10,000 to 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year by 2020 and 100,000 to 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly by 2030. E-ferry is supported by the Horizon 2020 initiative. + E-ferry + CORDIS Image via Depositphotos

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100% electric passenger, vehicle and cargo ferry could help decarbonize sea travel

Translucent concrete walls dramatically light up Jordans Capital Bank

May 23, 2018 by  
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Translucent concrete walls add drama and beauty to a recently completed Capital Bank in Amman, Jordan. Located on ritzy Cairo Street in Abdoun, the new Capital Bank VIP branch marks the first worldwide use of LUCEM Lichtbeton , a type of concrete with translucent properties. When backlit with LEDs or sunlight, the LUCEM translucent concrete panels create a stunning display of light and shadow for an elegant effect befitting the bank’s “boutique” character. Architect Saja Nahashibi , founding partner of PARADIGM DH, Amman, collaborated with German company LUCEM to develop the Capital Bank VIP branch. Taking inspiration from the surrounding architecture, the building sports a contemporary design and is clad in Taffouh stone. The architect minimized openings in the facade to preserve the privacy of the neighbors as well as the bank employees and customers. Transparent concrete panels were applied to the 46-foot-tall stairwell, which is made up of 30-millimeter-thick LUCEM light concrete panels mounted on a steel structure above undercut anchors. “The design was based on the idea that nature flows through the staircase in the form of light and shadow plays,” says LUCEM. “With the use of translucent light concrete, the architects and lighting planners are setting a striking example of how external walls can dissolve the contradiction between massiveness and lightness through translucency .” Related: Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico The concrete’s translucent feature comes from the integration of millions of embedded optical fibers, which transmit light through the material. When sunlight or LEDs shine on the material, the light that passes through makes the concrete appear translucent, creating a dramatic play of light and shadow. The silhouettes of people in the building are also projected through the panels. When not backlit, the LUCEM translucent panels look like light concrete or natural stone to match the color of the bank facade. The translucent LUCEM light concrete panels were also paired with LUCEM PURE concrete panels without optical fibers in order to maintain a consistent appearance. + PARADIGM DH + LUCEM Images via LUCEM

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Translucent concrete walls dramatically light up Jordans Capital Bank

These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

May 23, 2018 by  
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New York-based Fiedler Marciano Architecture has unveiled a pair of gorgeous artist studios set on 450 acres of idyllic forested landscape. Created for students of the I-Park Foundation ‘s in-residence art program, the design concept is a modern take on the local New England vernacular of pitched roofs and wood siding. The studios emit a strong sense of serenity and privacy and are strategically crafted for contemplation and creation. Located just outside of East Haddam, Connecticut, the cabins host students who are enrolled in the I-Park Foundation’s live-in residential program. The architects worked with the foundation’s organizers to design a private, tranquil work environment for young artists . According to the program description, “From May through November, artists of every stripe come for a month to live, work and commune with colleagues — and all in a much cherished, serene and ‘distraction free’ environment. The place affects the work, and the work most certainly affects the place, with the ephemeral art that populates the woods, fields, trails and pond creating a perpetual sense of discovery and delight.” Related: 6 Brilliant Studios Perfect For The Eco Artist Each artist studio is approximately 1,000 square feet. The exterior is clad in dark cedar siding and topped with galvanized metal roofs that slant to pay homage to the pitched roofs traditionally found in the area. Both studios have wide front porches, which offer residents a quiet place for contemplation. They are also steps away from a network of walking paths that lead through the forest. Inside, an expansive north-facing glass wall creates a strong connection with the bucolic surroundings. Both studios take advantage of  natural light , which fills the interior from early morning until late afternoon. The designers intentionally left the walls blank, so the students could display their works of art. + Fiedler Marciano Architecture + I-Park Foundation Photography by Chris Cooper via Fiedler Marciano Architecture

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These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

Prefab ‘Bank in a Can’ delivers banking services to remote areas of Africa

January 12, 2017 by  
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People who live in rural areas of Africa in particular don’t always have access to reliable ATMs or other banking services. To help alleviate this issue, Johannesburg’s A4AC designed new prefabricated banking units called BANK IN A CAN that can be delivered to remote, rural areas. The Bank in a Can project was realized in collaboration between A4AC and FNB (First National Bank) as a banking solution for rural areas where people don’t have access to quality banking and financial services. Each prefabricated container is branded with graphics inspired by different local contexts. Related: World’s tiniest phone repair shops open in London’s iconic red telephone boxes The units are designed to be deployed in any rural or urban community and can be made operational within a few weeks. The foundations and structural infrastructure are prepared on site prior to the arrival of mobile units. The roof structure is then installed over the units. + A4AC

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Prefab ‘Bank in a Can’ delivers banking services to remote areas of Africa

Prefab ‘Bank in a Can’ delivers banking services to remote areas of Africa

January 12, 2017 by  
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People who live in rural areas of Africa in particular don’t always have access to reliable ATMs or other banking services. To help alleviate this issue, Johannesburg’s A4AC designed new prefabricated banking units called BANK IN A CAN that can be delivered to remote, rural areas. The Bank in a Can project was realized in collaboration between A4AC and FNB (First National Bank) as a banking solution for rural areas where people don’t have access to quality banking and financial services. Each prefabricated container is branded with graphics inspired by different local contexts. Related: World’s tiniest phone repair shops open in London’s iconic red telephone boxes The units are designed to be deployed in any rural or urban community and can be made operational within a few weeks. The foundations and structural infrastructure are prepared on site prior to the arrival of mobile units. The roof structure is then installed over the units. + A4AC

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Prefab ‘Bank in a Can’ delivers banking services to remote areas of Africa

Climate finance a survival strategy for banks?

October 10, 2016 by  
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India’s YES BANK weighs in on whether mounting climate risks are changing international financial institutions’ investments.

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Climate finance a survival strategy for banks?

RECYCLE 101: A Dozen Home Hacks To Reduce Your Expenses & Save The Planet

October 1, 2015 by  
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The importance of doing your part to reduce waste is a no-brainer. But, you may be overwhelmed, or need some help getting started. These 12 home hacks will have you biking – and laughing – all the way to the bank. Use microfiber towels, not paper…

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RECYCLE 101: A Dozen Home Hacks To Reduce Your Expenses & Save The Planet

Creative Ways To Reuse Wooden Pallets In Your Home

September 14, 2015 by  
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Are you looking for a way to spruce up your home decor, without breaking the bank or causing unnecessary harm to the environment? If so, we’ve got just the thing for you to try. Depending on where you live, you may have noticed a trend in local…

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Creative Ways To Reuse Wooden Pallets In Your Home

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