Vincent Callebaut proposes a green, food-producing footbridge for Paris

January 5, 2021 by  
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Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled fantastical designs for the Green Line, a futuristic “inhabited footbridge” in Paris that would run on renewable energy, recycle its own waste and fight urban air pollution all while producing 87,500 kilograms of fresh fruits and vegetables every year. The ambitious proposal was created as an entry in the Reinventing Cities – C40 international design competition hosted by Ceetrus. The Green Line design spans the River Seine between the 12th and 13th arrondissements in Paris and aims to better connect the Bercy Village to the Masséna district. Conceived as an antidote to urban pollution, the carbon-neutral Green Line seeks to reinvigorate the city with its nature-inspired design. In addition to a lush planting plan that includes urban agriculture and carbon-sequestering woody plants, the garden footbridge also features an eye-catching, double-arched structure that takes inspiration from a fish skeleton. The biomimetic bridge is engineered for phased construction so as to minimize disturbance to local residents. Related: Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower The Green Line features a variety of garden types; however, its primary focus is on an edible landscape with participatory greenhouses on its panoramic rooftop. The scheme proposes a total of 3,500 square meters of vegetable gardens and orchards — with edible, native species — to help raise awareness of eco-gastronomy and the Slow Food movement. The fruits and vegetables grown on the footbridge would be harvested for use in restaurants and classrooms on the bridge.  Following principles of self-sufficiency, the footbridge proposal features 3,000 square meters of hybrid rooftop solar panels to power the facilities and restaurants on the bridge; 56 axial magnetically levitated wind turbines that power the bridge’s lighting fixtures; and a biogas plant integrated in the cells of the bridge that converts the non-edible parts of plants and organic waste into heat and electrical energy.  + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Vincent Callebaut proposes a green, food-producing footbridge for Paris

Freedom Cove: an off-grid floating homestead at one with nature

January 5, 2021 by  
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Off the coast of Tofino, British Columbia, floats a forested, eco-fairyland of greenhouses, ramps, towers and small buildings, most of them painted fuchsia and teal. It’s the innovative and whimsical off-grid project of two artists, Catherine King and Wayne Adams. King and Adams began constructing Freedom Cove in 1992. They did most of the work themselves, building four greenhouses, an art gallery, dance floor (adorned with an enormous painted lotus flower) and lighthouse, all on 12 connecting platforms. At different times in Freedom Cove’s evolution, they’ve harnessed solar power with photovoltaic panels or used a generator. Water comes from rain and a nearby waterfall. Related: Christophe Caranchini proposes resilient floating houses for Kiribati King is a dancer, painter, wood carver and writer; Adams is a sculptor who carves wood and fossilized ivory and mammoth tusks. They support themselves by selling their artwork and greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables . Fishing also provides much of their diet. This paradise off Vancouver Island may look idyllic to people fantasizing about off-grid living. But Freedom Cove took a huge amount of imagination and experience to build, and it requires a lot of work to keep running. Especially when you think about raising two children here, which King and Adams did. You have to be tough and self-sufficient to live where the nearest town is 45 minutes by boat. Fortunately, they installed internet on Freedom Cove, so King was able to take time away from her vegetables, artistry and myriad other tasks necessary to run a floating homestead to answer a few questions in an interview with Inhabitat. Inhabitat: Okay, basic physics question — how does it float? King:  Our system floats on armored. That is, covered with PVC plastic blocks. That is what makes everything float. Inhabitat: What are your favorite things about living at Freedom Cove? King:  Living in Freedom Cove is special as I am in nature . There is nature all around me. There is peace, quiet. I get to live my life according to the rhythms of nature. I am inspired by nature to be creative. This keeps me whole and healthy mentally, emotionally and spiritually. These are my favorite reasons for loving life here. We have learned to do things by figuring them out ourselves by living off-grid. We have been allowed to think for ourselves about everything. We have been given the opportunity to really be in touch with our inner selves … really live life from this place, create our outer life from our true authentic inner natures. Inhabitat: How do you interact with people on the mainland? King:  We are people people and interact with everyone well. People have come to visit us from all over the planet and we enjoy all those interactions. We have internet since 2013 and that has added to our communication with family and friends. Prior to that, I wrote letters to everyone. Inhabitat: Could you tell us a little about how you developed relationships with your animal neighbors? What have you learned from them? King:  We have a good relationship with all the animals around us. The bears walk all around us on low tide, and we have never had an issue with them as we don’t leave anything out that would smell and attract them over to us. Otters, mink, martins, seals go about their lives around us and we enjoy their presence … the otters and seals have even stuck their heads up in our plexiglass square in the floor we have in our living room while they are chasing fish. The fish see us as a protective floating island they can hide under and reproduce under. The water birds swim all around us, and the crows, gulls and buffleheads come to our back window for bread. They enjoy us being here as much as we enjoy them. We enhance nature by our presence. It is a symbiotic relationship. Inhabitat: Tell us about the Freedom Cove Tofino boat tour. King:  While COVID-19 is happening, tours are shut down. Hopefully the spring will open things up again. Browning Passage (250-726-8605), Tofino Water Taxi (250-725-8844) and our son Shane Adams (email us to reach him, freedomcove4@gmail.com) will all bring people out to us. The tour of our place is given by us and is an hour. We ask $10 per person for a donation. We are open for tours (outside of COVID-19) from June to October, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shane asks $150 return trip for the half hour each way boat ride for one person and $25 more for two people and 50 more for three people. People should phone the other companies listed for their costs. They can take more than three people. Inhabitat: Do you rent out space so visitors can spend the night at Freedom Cove? King:  We do not rent space for accommodations. + Freedom Cove Photography by Aaron Mason

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Freedom Cove: an off-grid floating homestead at one with nature

Beautiful Washington bridge with lace-like metal walls shimmers at night

October 26, 2020 by  
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When Seattle-based LMN Architects and KPFF Consulting Engineers were tapped to design the Grand Avenue Park Bridge in Everett, Washington, the team worked to not only meet functional demands but to also achieve aesthetic appeal. The newly completed bridge, which took three years of construction, is now an iconic community asset that connects the elevated Grand Avenue Park with the city’s growing waterfront district — bringing along with it a series of new civic spaces . In a nod to the traditional railroad trusses common across the Pacific Northwest, the architects designed the bridge with weathering steel and brilliant, aluminum guardrails with bespoke perforation that creates a shimmering effect when illuminated at night. Completed in August 2020, the 257-foot-long asymmetrical Grand Avenue Park Bridge provides city residents with a new connection to the growing waterfront district, which had long suffered a disconnect due to a five-lane highway, BNSF railroad tracks and a steep slope of 80 feet. The design team mitigated the challenging grade changes by weaving together pedestrian ramps and stairs into the bridge — much of the bridge structure is tucked below Grand Avenue Park to preserve views from the elevated park — and anchoring the structure with a vertical concrete tower and utility core on the waterfront side. The bridge also carries major utilities across its span. Related: LAVA designs a cyclist bridge to make Heidelberg bike-friendly “As designers, we found these circumstances the perfect opportunity to create a place where the accessible features would define the experience,” said LMN Partner Stephen Van Dyck, AIA in a press statement. “In its design, the Grand Avenue Park Bridge is also a destination. The bridge’s paths, stairs and spaces create a variety of views beyond and within that make it a place of discovery.” The exposed and raw structural elements that are constructed of weathering steel are contrasted with lace-like aluminum guardrails. The 400 aluminum panels were perforated with a CNC Waterjet using a computer script that automated the layout, numbering and cut file production to ensure each aluminum panel is unique and responsive to the geometry of the bridge while fulfilling varying guardrail requirements. The varied density of perforations were also engineered to enhance reflectivity of the lights integrated at the top of the rail while minimizing glare and light pollution.  + LMN Architects Photography by Adam Hunter via LMN Architects

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Beautiful Washington bridge with lace-like metal walls shimmers at night

Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagens harbor

August 20, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen has once again cemented its title as the best bicycle city in the world with the completion of the Lille Langebro cycle and pedestrian bridge. Spanning 160 meters across Copenhagen’s Inner Harbor, the opening bridge is the work of London-headquartered architecture practice WilkinsonEyre , which won the bid in a design competition hosted by Danish client Realdania By & Byg. In addition to revitalizing the once-deserted harbor area, the Lille Langebro bridge also pays homage to the neighborhood’s historical context with its elegantly curving shape that evokes the great arc of ramparts and moat of Christianshavn. Designed solely for bicycle and pedestrian use, the Lille Langebro bridge is split into five spans with two 28-meter parts on either side of the 48-meter main section. Pedestrians are allotted a 3-meter-wide zone, while a 4-meter-wide zone is dedicated for cyclists . This zone is also divided into two lanes for two-way traffic. The bridge features a curved profile emphasized by the steel ribbon-like edges that rise like wings on either side. Related: This all-weather bicycle highway could fulfill the dreams of bike commuters everywhere To accommodate maritime traffic, the bridge is engineered to open and features a midspan higher than the quaysides. When closed, the flowing lines of the bridge are uninterrupted from end-to-end thanks to the hidden opening mechanisms created in collaboration with engineer BuroHappold. “We are delighted to have worked with Realdania to design a distinctive new bridge for the people of Copenhagen that will improve the urban spaces and promenades along the waterfront and strengthen the cycling culture in the city while also being safe and accessible to everyone,” said Simon Roberts, associate director at WilkinsonEyre. The bridge, which connects to the new BLOX building that houses the Danish Architecture Center and other public spaces, is part of a continued effort to revitalize a part of the Copenhagen waterfront that had been deserted for decades. + WilkinsonEyre Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj via WilkinsonEyre

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Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagens harbor

A climate-sensitive concrete home is carefully embedded into hilly terrain

March 22, 2019 by  
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When Medellín-based architecture studio Juan Manuel Peláez Arquitectos (JUMP Arquitectos) visited its client’s property in nearby Colombian town of La Ceja, the team was so impressed with the landscape that they resolved to minimize alterations to the site. To that end, they adapted the built forms to the uneven terrain by splitting the residence — dubbed the C47 House — into three gabled volumes united by two glazed bridges. Built of concrete, the homes take advantage of the material’s thermal mass to absorb heat during the day and release warmth during cool nights. Covering an area of 3,831 square feet, the C47 House consists of three connected buildings. To the north is the single-story garage with service quarters that connects to the central second-story building via a short glass-walled  bridge  and outdoor walkway. This middle building houses the kitchen and dining area on the ground floor as well as two bedrooms on the upper floor. A long glass bridge stretches out to the west and connects with the third building, a single-story volume comprising the living area and lounge. Each building is strategically laid out to minimize site impact. “The natural slope and ditches where the water runs in the rainy season were the morphological characteristics that would not be modified, on the contrary, it made us think that the spatial scheme of the house should be from three volumes connected by bridges so the terrain would remain the same,” the architects explained. “Once this path was found, we did several explorations to work the architectural program according to the volumetric fragmentation. For the inhabitants of the house, this idea of having spaces connected by bridges, but at the same time totally independent, they found it very interesting, above all, to change the relationship with the landscape and space in very short distances.” Related: Rammed earth ties a contemporary home to the rocky New Zealand landscape The positioning of the homes were also informed by the region’s climatic conditions, particularly how cold the temperatures in the area turn at night. The concrete walls help harness solar gain during the day, which is then dissipated as passive heating at night. Large windows flood the interiors with natural light and are carefully placed to frame select views of the neighboring hills and nearby forest. + JUMP Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Images via JUMP Arquitectos

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A climate-sensitive concrete home is carefully embedded into hilly terrain

Spectacular town hall doubles as a bridge in Denmarks Faroe Islands

August 21, 2018 by  
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When Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects was tapped to design the Town Hall in Eysturkommuna, the firm knew that there would be no point in trying to compete with the sublime Faroe Islands setting. Sculpted by wind and volcanic forces, the lush Nordic landscape instead provided inspiration for the building, which doubles as a bridge over a river and appears as a green-roofed extension of its surroundings. Blurring the line between nature and building, the Town Hall pays homage to traditional Faroese architecture with a new contemporary twist. Located in the village of Norðragøta, the Town Hall in Eysturkommuna is a subtle addition to the lush landscape that was created to help revive the local community. With an area of 750 square meters, the building is remarkably small for a town hall , yet what the structure lacks in size it makes up for in dramatic views. Doubling as a bridge, the angular building unites what used to be two separated municipalities and is partly wrapped in full-height glazing to frame stunning vistas of mountains and water. A circular mirror-lined glazed opening was also inserted into the floor to allow views of the rushing river below. “A central theme in traditional Faroese architecture is the blurred line between nature and building, the fact that the spectator has difficulties distinguishing where the landscape ends and the building begins,” explains Ósbjørn Jacobsen, Partner at Henning Larsen. “The primary conceptual idea behind the design of the town hall is driven by the notion of this fleeting line between landscape and building. I believe that could be one way to approach modern Faroese architecture.” Related: Danish architects deck out Viborg town hall with green roofs and solar panels The public is not only invited to enjoy the interior of the Town Hall, but they are also welcome to use the terraces and green roof for picnics or to even swim in the river. To heighten the building’s connection with the site, artist Jens Ladekarl Thomsen created an exterior sound and light installation that draws from the sounds and structure of the local neighborhoods and nature and “lets passersby believe the ‘house speaks’ of its surroundings.” + Henning Larsen Architects Images by Nic Lehoux

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Spectacular town hall doubles as a bridge in Denmarks Faroe Islands

This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

August 20, 2018 by  
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A new pagoda-like library in China’s megacity of Shenzhen sweeps visitors above the tree canopy with an elevated walkway. Located in Xiangmi Park, a densely forested area originally used as an agricultural research center, the Xiangmi Park Science Library celebrates its verdant surroundings with a “treetop walk” and an abundance of glazing. International architecture and design firm MLA+ led the design of the library and visitor center, and ZEN landscape architects handled the landscape design. Completed in 2017 in Shenzhen’s central Futian District, the Xiangmi Park Science Library covers an area of 1,500 square meters. The park had been protected from urban encroachment for 35 years and includes a large lychee orchard on a hill, fishponds, a flower market and a rich diversity of local flora and fauna. The architects have compared the site to an “undiscovered treasure box in the middle of a metropolis” and thus aimed to preserve and enhance the natural environment as much as possible. Drawing inspiration from classical Chinese garden architecture, the pagoda-like library building is made from steel and glass for an airy and lightweight feel; the cantilevered elements provide solar shading and reference local architecture. In addition to library stacks, the building includes a meeting room, a reading area, terraces and administrative offices. Related: BIG completes an energy-efficient sculptural skyscraper in Shenzhen “Perched in between the trees , the building offers an ever-changing experience of its surrounding landscape,” the firm said. “This experience varies from floor to floor. With its dematerialized ground floor, it becomes a part of the shaded forest floor. Structural elements blend with the surrounding tree trunks. Upper levels sit in between the dense canopy of leaves and therefore have a more enclosed, intimate feeling. The very top floor offers the views of the surroundings and the city. Experiencing the library is like climbing a tree — a tree of knowledge.” + MLA+ Images © Vlad Feoktistov

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This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

May 23, 2018 by  
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When a client with a large family reached out to ACDF Architecture for an extension of their rustic country cottage in Quebec , the Montreal studio responded with a modern building that provides a visually arresting contrast to the historic house. Dubbed the Chalet La petite soeur, the addition mirrors the original building’s dimensions with a sharply gabled roof. Unlike the existing cottage, however, the new building is clad in white-painted timber and a sheet metal roof for a crisp and modern appearance. Located on Lake Ouareau near the town of Saint-Donat in Quebec, the charming 1,400-square-foot countryside cottage and its new addition are designed to optimize enjoyment of the outdoors and views of the lake. The architects took inspiration from the surrounding landscape of birch trees when designing the new space, described as a “refined version of the existing house.” The chalet’s smooth, white-painted wood cladding mimics shiny birch bark and recalls the whitewashed walls of rural barns, while providing a sleek contrast to the natural silvery patina on the facade of the existing home. An elevated glass bridge connects the old cottage to the chalet and lies on an axis between the kitchen of the old building and the new living room. Glazed on both sides, the bridge overlooks views of the landscape and garden. The floor and ceiling of the bridge are finished in timber that matches the warmth of the existing home’s old wood planks. Both ends of the bridge are framed in wood, evoking the appearance of large picture frames. Related: Dreamy cabin is the perfect lakeside escape for large families An open-plan family room dominates the ground floor and overlooks spectacular views of the lake through large windows. The minimalist interior is dressed in polished concrete floors and natural wood details, like the central fireplace with a black-slatted wood surround. Hidden storage inside the built-in benches helps reduce visual clutter. The new master bedroom is tucked into the lower level, which is built of concrete. + ACDF Architecture Images by Adrien Williams

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This rustic Quebec cottage now has a beautiful, prismatic extension

The National Park System just got its first Dark Sky Sanctuary

April 24, 2018 by  
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While there are numerous Dark Sky-certified National Parks across the US, the stunning Rainbow Bridge National Monument just received the world’s fourth official Dark Sky Sanctuary designation – the first ever for a National Park System site. Rainbow Bridge already boasted one of the darkest skies on Earth, but with its new status, you can continue to see Rainbow Bridge’s night sky as it’s meant to be seen, free from the light pollution that has become a mainstay of modern life. The International Dark Sky Association is a non-profit organization working to stop light pollution and mitigate its harmful effects on our health. The organization also helps identify places where you can see the night sky with reduced or no light pollution. On April 16, the association awarded its “sanctuary” designation to Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument, ushering it into an exclusive list of the most light pollution-free places in the world. Related: Switching to outdoor LEDs has made light pollution worse — without saving energy Rainbow Bridge provides a particularly stunning natural environment. Dark Sky designated parks, reserves and sanctuaries must be remote enough that they aren’t impacted by light pollution nearby, and they must also adhere to strict lighting standards, such as shielding fixtures so light doesn’t escape upward and using warmer bulbs. But even amidst all the Dark Sky designations, sanctuaries are exceptional, with their status meant to increase awareness of the sites in order to preserve them for future generations. “We’re thrilled to be the first National Park Service unit to receive this specific designation, as this will only fuel our night sky preservation efforts,” Rainbow Bridge National Monument superintendent William Shott said. If you want to visit this special place, you will need to have a boat to cross Lake Powell in Southern Utah, or get permission from the Navajo Nation to cross the tribe’s land. Via Earther Images via NPS and Unsplash

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The National Park System just got its first Dark Sky Sanctuary

Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

April 24, 2018 by  
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Maryland just became the second state in America to ban pet stores from selling puppies and kittens. Animal rights advocates say the move will help cut demand for animals from puppy mills . The bill, HB 1662 , also encourages pet stores to work with rescue groups and animal shelters to promote the adoption of homeless animals, according to The Humane Society . Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed the legislation into law with bipartisan support. The state already has regulations in place requiring stores to reveal breeder information, and stores cannot use breeders that the United States Department of Agriculture has cited in the last two years. But delegate Benjamin Kramer, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told The Washington Post the regulations aren’t enough to protect animals. Related: California bans puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Pet store owners fought against the law, hoping Hogan would veto it. Just Puppies co-owner Jeanea Thomson said her store doesn’t want animals from puppy mills, and that she and her husband visit their breeders, most in Iowa and Missouri, to vouch for conditions. But Kramer said the farms that store owners describe are abominations, telling The Washington Post, “There is not a single one that is this righteous, beautiful, loving, caring facility where there is room for puppies to roam and for breeding dogs to play.” Humane Society Maryland state director Emily Hovermale described the ban as a lifesaving measure that would close the state’s pet store market to puppy mills. She said, “Maryland has set an important precedent with this rejection of animal abuse that other states will surely follow.” Emily McCobb, a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said a ban could result in a dog shortage, and people might not be sure where to go to get a pet. “There’s a lot of messaging around ‘adopt, don’t shop,’” she said. “But we haven’t done a good job of messaging about how to find responsible breeders.” The law will fully go into effect in 2020. It follows a bill passed in California last year that requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals. + The Humane Society Via The Washington Post Images via Depositphotos and Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

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Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

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