Budapests tallest tower to follow the highest standards of sustainability

October 5, 2017 by  
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Foster + Partners designed a tower for Budapest that will not only be the city’s tallest—it’ll also be a beacon for sustainability. Designed as the new headquarters for the oil and gas company MOL Group , the mixed-use building named MOL Campus is wrapped in glazing to maximize natural daylight, views, and connection with the outdoors and urban fabric. MOL Campus will be powered by low and zero-carbon energy sources, such as photovoltaics, and saves on energy costs with cutting-edge technology that controls light levels and temperatures. Located in southern Budapest , MOL Campus is set to be the tallest building in the city and will comprise a 28-story tower with an integrated podium. In addition to offices, the campus will include a restaurant, gym, conference center, public sky garden, and other facilities. Glass clads the unified, curved volume to provide daylight and views. Greenery, including mature trees, travels through the heart of the building from the central atrium on the ground floor to the public garden at the top of the tower. The architects see the green spaces as a “social catalyst” that encourages collaboration, relaxation, and inspiration in the workplace. Related: New Budapest museum will feature a sweeping green roof resembling a skateboard ramp “As we see the nature of the workplace changing to a more collaborative vision, we have combined two buildings – a tower and a podium – into a singular form, bound by nature,” said Nigel Dancey, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “As the tower and the podium start to become one element, there is a sense of connectivity throughout the office spaces, with garden spaces linking each of the floors together.” The building’s location in a dense urban environment allows employees to walk or cycle to work. In addition to use of photovoltaics and energy-saving technologies, MOL Campus will also feature rainwater harvesting and storage facilities. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Bloombergs new London HQ rated worlds most sustainable office

October 3, 2017 by  
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Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London scored a 98.5% against the latest BREEAM sustainability rating scheme—making it the world’s most sustainable office building, as designed. Certified BREEAM Outstanding with its design-stage score, the Foster + Partners -designed project uses 73% less water and 35% less energy than a typical office building. Innovative energy saving technologies are visibly integrated into the building, from the beautiful and multifunctional petal-leaf ceiling panels to the façade’s bronze solar shading fins. From design development to construction, sustainability played a key role in the Bloomberg European HQ project. A 95% recycling rate of demolition and construction waste was achieved during the six-year construction process thanks to the reuse of existing structural foundations and a unique waste management system that tracked waste production. The new London building is one of Bloomberg’s 34 LEED or BREEAM -certified projects globally. The most eye-catching energy-saving feature of the new office headquarters is the approximately 4,000 integrated ceiling panels that combine heating, cooling, lighting, and acoustic functions. Half a million LED lights are embedded into the bespoke ceiling panels and use 40% less energy than a typical fluorescent office lighting system. The ceiling panels’ metal petals also use elevated chilled water temperatures to reduce energy use in a first-of-its-kind integrated cooling system. Related: Peek inside Bloomberg’s sustainable new headquarters in London An on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generation center supplies heat and power in a single, efficient system that’s estimated to save 500 to 700 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Rooftop solar also provides additional power. To cool the building naturally, the facade is equipped with 117 operable large bronze fins that open and close for natural ventilation. Smart sensing controls automatically adjust airflow depending on occupancy. Rainwater from the roof, cooling tower blow-off water, and gray water are captured, treated, and recycled to flush toilets. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Luxury lakeside hotel promises a return to nature in Italy

October 3, 2017 by  
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Architecture studio noa* mixes alpine and Mediterranean influences in their renovation of a family-run hotel in Italy. Located on a high plateau next to a small natural lake, Hotel Seehof is a luxury hotel that celebrates nature in its use of materials, design, and programming. The nature retreat features an undulating roof that mirrors Natz-Schabs’ mountain scenery while its earth-colored plaster and use of timber references the nearby forests. Hotel Seehof completed its major renovation and expansion earlier this year and now includes 16 new suites as well as a new pool and wellness area. Guests are invited to take a dip in the lake, “Flötscher Weiher,” that serves as the main focal point of the project. Sinuous lines and pathways seamlessly link the hotel grounds, including the oblique green roofs of the spa, to the surrounding forests and fruit orchards. Related: Frank Gehry-designed luxury hotel brings avant-garde design to historic Spain winery “The wooden façade and its rough surface are related to the environment, with a focus on incorporating regional materials. The communication with the lake – important characteristic and name of the hotel – is deliberately staged here,” wrote the architects. The interior design pays homage to Hotel Seehof’s site history. Copper pipes are used extensively throughout the interior as a design element and to reference to the widely used water pipes that were installed for the apple orchards in the 1950s. As with the exterior, a natural materials palette is used for the interior design. + noa* Images by Alex Filz

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Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future

October 2, 2017 by  
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What will the electric car of the future look like? Renault has given us a sneak peek with the Trezor – a futuristic self-driving car powered by a 350 horsepower electric powertrain that can go from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. To enter the vehicle, the entire hood, windshield and side windows lift up – but you still have to jump over the side of the vehicle to get in, since it does without conventional doors. The vehicle also uses a rechargeable energy storage system to recover energy during braking and there are two batteries – one at the front and one at the back. The Trezor is a concept car , but it does explore the potential styling and technology that could debut on future electric cars. Its sleek, long profile is an artist’s dream. The interior feature a red wooden dashboard that incorporates the luggage compartment. The tailor-made trunks are held in place with leather straps in front of the driver and passenger. Although the wooden dashboard and red leather seats appear to be inspired by sports cars from the past, the Trezor features the latest technology with a L-shaped touchscreen that’s connected to a large dashboard screen in front of the driver. The curved OLED touchscreen is protected by a layer of Gorilla glass . The rectangular steering wheel features touchscreens that replace the traditional buttons on today’s steering wheels. The touchscreens provide access to the car’s three drive modes: neutral, sport and self-drive. In the self-driving mode, the exterior lighting changes to let other drivers know that the car is in autonomous mode. The steering wheel also comes apart and stretches out lengthwise to give a better view of the dashboard, so that the driver can watch a film or just look at the scenery. Renault’s Trezor was recently showcased at Designjunction during the London Design Festival . Renault and Nissan have announced plans to introduce several new fully-electric cars in the near future, so keep your fingers crossed that at least some of the technology in the Trezor concept will be offered in a production car. + Renault + London Design Festival Coverage on Inhabitat Photos by Renault and Mike Chino

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Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite

October 2, 2017 by  
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This stunning timber home by the lake sensitively embraces its Midwestern landscape with its design and use of local, reclaimed materials. Designed by Desai Chia Architects in collaboration with Environment Architects (AOR) , the Michigan Lake House boasts stunning lake views and a striking folded roof. The site-sensitive home features a native plant palette and stormwater management in addition to locally sourced and salvaged materials. Located on a woodland bluff, the 4,800-square-foot Michigan Lake House comprises three offset structures: one for the communal areas, including the living room, kitchen, and covered terrace; and the two others that separately house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms. A dining area breezeway connects the three structures. The undulating roof takes inspiration from the natural rolling terrain as well as the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages. The roof also cantilevers over the south end of the home to provide shade for the lakeside-viewing terrace. Related: Exquisite Shore House is a modernist triumph that embraces nature Shou Sugi Ban timber—charred to protect the wood from rot and pests—clads the exterior to blend the home into the landscape. The use of dark timber continues inside the home but is offset by light-colored ash, which was inhabitat.com/tag/reclaimed-materials reclaimed onsite and milled into custom furnishings, flooring, ceiling panels, and trim work. “The interiors of the house embody the indigenous landscape that once thrived with old growth ash,” wrote the architects. Locally sourced stone was used for the outdoor seating areas, pathways, and steps. + Desai Chia Architects + Environment Architects Images via Desai Chia Architects

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San Francisco’s Wave Organ captures the sounds of the sea to make haunting music

September 29, 2017 by  
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A symphony of strange and haunting music made from the waves can be heard at the tip of a jetty in San Francisco. Part sculpture, part musical instrument, the Wave Organ is an unusual land art installation that harnesses the rhythms of the water. Created by Exploratorium artists Peter Richards and George Gonzalez, the wave-activated sound sculpture is set atop the salvaged remains of a demolished cemetery and is one of the city’s best hidden gems. Installed in 1986, the Wave Organ is a somewhat obscure landmark, often overlooked due to its hard-to-find location at the end of a jetty east of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Making the trek out there, however, is worth it. Surrounded by stunning 360-degree views of the San Francisco bay, the environmental artwork harnesses the pulse of the sea through 25 PVC and concrete pipes located at various elevations that transmit the sounds of crashing waves and gurgling water to elevated openings for listening. Related: Incredible ‘Sea Organ’ uses ocean waves to make beautiful music The Wave Organ is best heard during high tide, but can still be enjoyed at other times of the day though the gurgling rhythms will be much quieter. The music of the bay, which is made by waves slapping against and pushed through the pipes, is relatively subtle. Visitors will need to sit and let their ears attune to the environment to fully enjoy the performance. Carved granite and marble salvaged from the demolished crypts of the city’s former Laurel Hill Cemetery provide plenty of seating. Times for high tides can be checked here . + Exploratorium Images via Wikimedia , Shutterstock

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SF Wave Organ captures the sounds of the sea to make haunting music

September 29, 2017 by  
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A symphony of strange and haunting music made from the waves can be heard at the tip of a jetty in San Francisco. Part sculpture, part musical instrument, the Wave Organ is an unusual land art installation that harnesses the rhythms of the water. Created by Exploratorium artists Peter Richards and George Gonzalez, the wave-activated sound sculpture is set atop the salvaged remains of a demolished cemetery and is one of the city’s best hidden gems. Installed in 1986, the Wave Organ is a somewhat obscure landmark, often overlooked due to its hard-to-find location at the end of a jetty east of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Making the trek out there, however, is worth it. Surrounded by stunning 360-degree views of the San Francisco bay, the environmental artwork harnesses the pulse of the sea through 25 PVC and concrete pipes located at various elevations that transmit the sounds of crashing waves and gurgling water to elevated openings for listening. Related: Incredible ‘Sea Organ’ uses ocean waves to make beautiful music The Wave Organ is best heard during high tide, but can still be enjoyed at other times of the day though the gurgling rhythms will be much quieter. The music of the bay, which is made by waves slapping against and pushed through the pipes, is relatively subtle. Visitors will need to sit and let their ears attune to the environment to fully enjoy the performance. Carved granite and marble salvaged from the demolished crypts of the city’s former Laurel Hill Cemetery provide plenty of seating. Times for high tides can be checked here . Via Exploratorium Images via Wikimedia , Shutterstock

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European parliament bans Monsanto from entering

September 29, 2017 by  
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Monsanto recently refused to be present at a hearing in which the European parliament planned to dig into allegations the agrochemical company unduly influenced studies into glyphosate’s safety, according to The Guardian. The European parliament wasn’t too happy with that – and just banned Monsanto from entering parliament. The agriculture and environment committees of the European parliament had set up a hearing for October 11, at which academics, campaigners, and regulators were to be present – but Monsanto decided not to come. The hearing is expected to go over allegations the company influenced regulatory studies into the safety of a key ingredient in their best-selling product RoundUp . Angry, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) subsequently banned Monsanto lobbyists . The Guardian reports this is the first instance of MEPs utilizing new rules to withdraw access for businesses that disregard summons to hearings or inquiries. Related: California adds Monsanto’s glyphosate to list of chemicals known to cause cancer The leaders of major parliamentary blocks supported the ban in a vote, according to a spokesperson for European parliament president Antonio Tajani, who also said, “One has to assume it is effective immediately,” even as officials need to work through a formal process. Under the ban, Monsanto officials will not be able to go to committee meetings, meet MEPs, or use digital resources in Strasbourg or Brussles on parliament premises, according to The Guardian. Green Party president Philippe Lamberts said, “Those who ignore the rules of democracy also lose their rights as a lobbyist in the European parliament. U.S. corporations must also accept the democratic control function of the parliament. Monsanto cannot escape this.” The vote comes before a decision on whether or not to re-license glyphosate later this year. Philip Miller, Monsanto vice president, said in a letter to MEPs, “We have observed with increasing alarm the politicization of the EU procedure on the renewal of glyphosate, a procedure which should be scientific but which in many respects has been hijacked by populism.” One expert World Health Organization panel has linked glyphosate to cancer , while another said it was safe for public use. According to The Guardian, Monsanto spends around €300,000 to €400,000 – or around $354,690 to $472,920 – on lobbying in Brussels. Via The Guardian Images via Die Grünen Kärnten on Flickr and BUND Bundesverband on Flickr

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Rocks discovered in Canada hold the oldest evidence of life

September 29, 2017 by  
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3.95 billion-year-old rocks could offer the oldest evidence we’ve found for life on Earth . A team led by the University of Tokyo found graphite in Labrador, Canada that they think is biogenic, or produced by living organisms. They contend this is the oldest evidence of life, as opposed to microfossils found earlier in Quebec , saying the dating process used in the latter was highly controversial. In March, the journal Nature published the findings of an international team of researchers who’d found fossils in Quebec that they said could be between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years old. Now, nine scientists at institutions in Japan say they’ve actually found the oldest evidence of life on this planet, and it’s in 3.95 billion-year-old rocks. Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion years old These researchers found graphite in sedimentary rocks. Tsuyoshi Komiya of the University of Tokyo said, “Our samples are also the oldest supracrustal rocks preserved on Earth.” Phys.org pointed out the Quebec fossils were found in a similar formation. The Japan team measured the isotope composition of the graphite to find it was biogenic, although the identity of the organisms that produced the graphite or their appearance are mysteries. Komiya said the team could work to identify the organisms by scrutinizing “other isotopes such as nitrogen, sulphur, and iron of the organic matter and accompanied materials.” They can also analyze the rock’s chemical composition to try and figure out the organisms’ environment . Other researchers, like geochemist Daniele Pinti of the University of Quebec at Montreal, seem impressed by the new team’s findings and process. He told CBC News, “For the moment, it looks very convincing.” Phys.org said that should the discovery be accurate, it would mean life sprung up on Earth a geological second after the planet formed around 4.5 billion years ago. Nature published the new study this week. Via Phys.org and CBC News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Tashiro, Takayuki, et al.

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Gogoro to launch Smartscooter sharing service in Japan this year

September 28, 2017 by  
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Electric is the future—and Gogoro is paving the way. The innovative electric scooter and battery swapping company just announced plans for expansion in Japan, with their new GoShare Smartscooter sharing service set to launch this year. The news comes hot on the heels of Gogoro’s $300 million in series C funding revealed last week. The new Smartscooter sharing service, called GoShare , will begin its pilot launch in the Okinawan island of Ishigaki this year with expansion to other cities in 2018. GoShare was created through Gogoro’s new partnership with Sumitomo Corporation , a leading Fortune 500 company in Japan that’s also one of Gogoro’s major Series C investors. Although GoShare will begin with the two-wheeled, Smartscooters, its energy network will eventually be used to power a fleet of compact four-wheel electric vehicles in the future as well. The real innovation behind the Smartscooters is the brilliant Gogoro Energy Network. This unique open battery-swapping system comprises GoStations, cloud-connected battery depots, locatable through a smartphone app, where users can swap their used Smartscooter batteries for fresh ones in as little as six seconds—no plugging in to recharge required. The network of battery stations use real-time energy usage monitoring and analytics to charge the batteries when needed, thus lessening pressure on the energy grid and improving overall energy efficiency . In Taiwan, where Gogoro was launched, there is one GoStation every kilometer in dense urban areas of Taipei. Related: Gogoro revs up Smartscooter expansion with $300 million in new funding “The Sumitomo Corporation and Gogoro partnership represent two companies that share a similar vision for making the world a better place through offering sustainable energy solutions that can transition people away from gas and to electric,” said Horace Luke, founder and CEO of Gogoro. “The Smartscooter and Gogoro Energy Network demonstrate how technology innovation can transform an industry and introduce a new urban transportation paradigm.” Gogoro launched in Taiwan in 2015 and recently expanded to Berlin and Paris. + Gogoro

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