Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks

April 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Humans are spending more of their lives inside, missing out on the health benefits and beauty of plants . Winmart Design from Singapore decided to bring nature indoors with LeGrow, a creative indoor garden users can design themselves with LEGO -like pieces. The gardens can be equipped with LED lights , allowing plants to thrive year-round, or with a humidifier to improve the atmosphere of interior spaces. Chinese designer Haobin Lin decided to create LeGrow after he realized his daughter, growing up in a city, might not have the nature-filled childhood he’d loved. Inspired by her favorite toys, building blocks, he came up with the sleek, clean indoor garden system. Related: 7 indoor plants that purify the air around you naturally A LeGrow system can include planter pots, Power Pots, a humidifier, and an LED grow lamp. The stackable planter pots incorporate internal water reservoirs to reduce mess. A two-bulb LED grow lamp can provide light in six-hour increments for multiple plants, with a maximum output of 50,000 lumens. A diffusing mist humidifier helps create an atmosphere conducive for growing plants indoors, an area that tends to be dry due to heating and air conditioning; but the humidity can also improve human health by reducing eye strain and softening skin. LeGrow’s Power Pots are specifically targeted towards home office use; they can power the system’s humidifier and lights but can also charge a smartphone or tablet via four USB ports. Winmart Design is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter ; with over 20 days to go they’ve already raised around $45,000 of their $30,138 goal. They offer several options, starting with one LeGrow Power Pot with an early bird price of $34 all the way up to a limited edition package with 36 standard pots, four dual-LED lamps, one humidifier, and two Power Pots for $392. You can find out more here . + Winmart Design Images courtesy of Winmart Design

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Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks

Explosion of color takes over an abandoned Puerto Rican factory

April 26, 2017 by  
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An artist’s brilliance breathes new life into a desolate tobacco factory in Caguas, Puerto Rico . Bright sprays and colorful drips have seemingly exploded all over the factory’s formerly lifeless walls in local artist Sofia Maldonado’s eye-popping intervention, Kalaña. Created as part of Cromática: Caguas a Color , the community engagement piece transformed the building into a piece of art and new home to educational workshops, presentations, and other artistic events. Puerto Rican artist Sofia Maldonado and her team of helpers used all parts of the factory interior as canvas. Florescent blues to neon pink and yellows are splashed across the concrete walls punctuated by a few scribbled tags while old graffiti peeks out from behind the latex paint. “My work is mainly inspired by colors and also the Caribbean way of living, and experiencing light and color,” said Maldonado. “The idea of the project is to inspire and open the door to different projects that reuse abandoned spaces. Kalaña is my interpretation of public art . It’s intended for the public to explore to get inside an abandoned building and to experience an explosion of color. But it is also a piece that is activated by different social engagements. That’s one of my main goals: how can I integrate the community in my artwork.” Related: Javier de Riba graffitis gorgeous geometric patterns onto the floors of abandoned buildings Kalaña injects a welcoming energy to the space and the bright colors help set the tone for positive community collaboration. Maldonado was one of seven artists to explore the intersection between art, community, and abandoned architecture in Cromática: Caguas a Color. The piece was completed in 2015. + Sofia Maldonado Via Popup City Images via Sofia Maldonado

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Explosion of color takes over an abandoned Puerto Rican factory

Giant ski slope to top green-roofed civic center in Beijing

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

The next time you visit Beijing you may want to get your sled ready. China’s ever-evolving capital will soon be home to a stunning new civic center topped with an artificial snow-covered slope perfect for skiing and sledding. Designed by architect Andrew Bromberg of Aedas , the civic center, called the China World Trade Center Phase 3C, will merge energy efficient principles with mixed-use programming that accommodates the arts, outdoor recreation, and even organic farming. Set for completion in 2020, this extraordinary project is the final piece of the China World Trade Center masterplan, which includes Beijing’s two tallest towers to date in the city’s business district. With its eye-catching sculptural shape and ample green space, the Phase 3C development will serve as an anchor and gateway to the complex. Instead of massing the buildings around a single street-level civic green, Bromberg elevated the green space to the upper level to create a series of green terraces outfitted with seating and large trees. The shape of the elevated building dips towards the street corner but gently lifts up towards the tall towers. An Olympic-sized indoor ice-skating rink will be located directly below the largest roof garden, which sits above multiple levels of retail. Parking is tucked beneath ground. The building will also include an amphitheater, art studios, exhibition spaces, an organic farm , cultural and educational facilities, a rock climbing wall, theater, and a water play area that can be converted into an outdoor ice skating rink in winter. The crown jewel of the project is the sloping hill at the crest of the building that, with the use of artificial snow, will be turned into a slope for skiing and sledding during the colder months. Related: Smog-filled Beijing is building a ‘green necklace’ around the city to curb pollution To lower its energy footprint, the building will be clad in low-e , low-iron glass and is designed to maximize indoor access to natural light to reduce electricity demands. Existing trees will be transplanted onto the roof of the development and the natural landscaping will help reduce the city’s heat island effect and solar gain. Specially chosen plants and an efficient irrigation system are expected to reduce the project’s landscape requirements by as much as 30 percent as compared to the project baseline for the peak watering month. Water Efficiency Labeling Scheme (WELS) rated water fittings will also be used. The project will begin construction in August 2017. + Aedas Images via Aedas

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Giant ski slope to top green-roofed civic center in Beijing

Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

This curvy new skyscraper envisioned for Tel Aviv is a lush oasis that combines modern, sustainable living with plenty of nature. The skyscraper is filled with Mediterranean and Dead Sea flora and features an automated car park, farms, electric charging stations and public gardens. The mixed-use Gran Mediterraneo tower, designed by French architect David Tajchman , is wrapped in mirrored glass and white concrete conceived using the latest construction and digital technologies. Gran Mediterraneo combines different programs, including apartments, a hotel, an automated car park , a public charging station, farming and public gardens , co-working spaces and spas. The automated public car park will operate as the first induction charging station for public and shared electric driverless vehicles in the city. Related: Bordeaux’ Canopia tower will be one of the tallest timber frame structures in the world The tower aims to renew Tel Aviv’s skyline with its vertical form, generated using state-of-the-art digital tools . “Innovative with its topological geometry giving a spiral effect to the high-rise, the Gran Mediterraneo breaks with the global and usual stacking of horizontal slabs wrapped with mirrored glass ,” said Tajchman. + David Tajchman Via Archdaily

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Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

This insane giant traffic roundabout in England will make your head spin

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Europe’s many traffic roundabouts are complicated enough – but this head-spinning, multi-directional traffic intersection in the UK is enough to make you walk to your destination. Located in Swindon, the famed Magic Roundabout is actually five mini roundabouts placed around a larger central, counterclockwise roundabout. Designed by engineer Frank Blackmore of the British Transport and Road Research Laboratory, the intersection was built in 1972 as an innovative attempt at controlling traffic flow in the area . When the complicated layout was unveiled, the mini roundabouts weren’t even marked in order to leave room for reconfiguration after further studies were conducted. At the time, a police officer was stationed at each circle to direct traffic. Related: LA’s most dangerous intersection made safer with innovative crosswalk “scramble” Today, although locals surely have a handle on its complicated rules, driving the 7-circle roundabout still requires nerves of steel. Once inside the vehicular labyrinth , traffic flows counterclockwise around the outer roundabout, while interior traffic flows in a clockwise manner around the five mini roundabouts, which all lead to various exists located on the outer loop. Forty-five years after its inauguration, the intersection has become more and more famous, or infamous. In 2007, BBC News published a survey that named the Magic Roundabout as one of the “ 10 Scariest Junctions in the United Kingdom “. However, despite its harrowing appearance, the roundabout has an excellent safety record, mainly due to the slow traffic pace required once inside the crazy intersection. Via Boing Boing Images via Wikipedia and Wired

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This insane giant traffic roundabout in England will make your head spin

This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

April 21, 2017 by  
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In 1959, the small village of Caowangba in China ’s Guizhou Province had a problem – a drought had dried up all the nearby water sources, and residents were forced to rely on a single well for drinking water. Even that single well was faltering, sometimes leaving the people of the town without enough water to go around. Worse yet, the town’s single rice paddy had dried up, making it hard for residents to access enough food. Something had to be done. But rather than give up and move to a new home, one man named Huang Dafa decided to lead an ambitious project to dig a 10-kilometer canal along the face of several sheer cliffs to bring water to his home. It took 36 years and at least one failed attempt, but now enough water flows to the city to provide food and drinking water to everyone. Many have compared Dafa to the legendary figure Yu Gong , an old man whose determination caused the gods to literally move mountains from his path. At only 23 years old, Dafa made the project his life’s work. To build the canal, villagers had to carve along the sheer cliffs of three karst mountains , dangerous work that involved climbing up the side of the mountains, tying themselves to trees, and rappelling hundreds of meters down the cliff to dig. Related: Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest Naturally, it took a bit of persuading before anyone else in town was willing to take on this dangerous work. But in the end, the only other option was to do nothing and watch the town continue to struggle. Unfortunately, after a decade of work, the first attempt at a canal was unsuccessful in bringing water to the city. It wasn’t a total waste: the effort did create a tunnel through the mountains that allowed for easy travel through the stone, rather than around, which is still in use today. Dafa realized they needed a better understanding of irrigation to make the project work. So he left to study engineering for several years, and planned his next attempt even more meticulously. In the early 1990s, he persuaded the villagers to try again. The workers often slept in caves along the cliff side, and the remote location made it difficult to reach them in case of emergency – in fact, Dafa was working in the mountains when his daughter and grandson passed away, unable to reach them before they died. Related: Hundreds of beehives hang off a steep cliff in China to save wild honeybees Finally, in 1995, the new channel was finished, and water began to flow to Caowangba. As if the channel weren’t enough, Dafa’s efforts were also responsible for bringing electricity and a new road to the town that same year, allowing the residents to step into the modern era. Now, the community is thriving, and Huang Dafa is celebrated as a local hero at 82 years old. The channel provides running water to three other villages that happen to cross its path as well, providing water to 1,200 people and allowing them to grow 400,000 kilograms of rice every year. Via Oddity Central Images via VGC , China Daily

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This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

From beneath this traditional thatched roof in the Netherlands emerges a stunning glass greenhouse. Lochem-based Maas Architecten conceived the Modern Countryside Villa as two contrasting volumes: an opaque, timber-clad space, and a transparent glass structure that lets the outside in. The Modern Countryside Villa, located on the edge of the town of Berlicum in North Brabant, has an H-shaped plan with contrasting wings that house different amenities. The timber-clad volume accommodates a garage and storage space , while a greenhouse-like structure protruding out from underneath the thatched roof functions as a studio space. The second wing houses the main living areas. The wooden volume in front of the living area houses a kitchen, pantry and toilet, while the master bedroom has direct access to the sheltered courtyard with a swimming pool and terrace. Related: DAPstockholm’s Energy-Efficient Villa Midgard is Nestled Into the Swedish Countryside The transparent parts of the house are sheltered by a grove of trees that lines the plot towards the nearby road. Large glazed surfaces provide an abundance of natural light and expansive views of the picturesque surroundings. + Maas Architecten Via Dezeen Photos by Edith Verhoeven Save

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This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

April 20, 2017 by  
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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t the only place where plastic pollution is gathering in the world’s oceans . An international team of scientists from 12 institutions in eight countries recently discovered a new garbage patch in the Greenland and Barents seas north of Norway. Between 100 and 1,200 tons of plastic have concentrated there, threatening wildlife already grappling with climate change . The Tara Expeditions Foundation dragged for plastic in the Arctic Ocean to find the new Arctic garbage patch. They visited 42 sites, and found over a third of the locations didn’t have any plastic. But then they found plastic amassing in Arctic waters above Norway. The garbage patch is smaller than the Pacific or Mediterranean garbage patches, but researchers hadn’t anticipated finding so much trash in that part of the Arctic, previously considered to be quite pristine. Related: World’s first ocean trash recon mission is complete – and the results are way worse than we thought Andrés Cózar of the University of Cádiz in Spain told The Verge, “We did not expect to find high concentrations of plastic there, so far from the populated regions and the large sources of plastic pollution.” He’s the lead author on a study published online yesterday in the journal Science Advances . So where’s all the trash coming from? Europe and America’s East Coast are likely at fault. Study co-author Erik van Sebille, who during the research was with Imperial College London and now works for the Netherlands’ Utrecht University , told The Verge, “If a plastic bottle or a plastic bag gets into the Atlantic from Europe or the East Coast of the U.S., that has a very good chance of ending up in the Arctic. The problem with plastic specifically being in the Arctic is that it’s going to get into the food chain of animals that are very much under threat already, that are struggling to survive in a changing climate.” Via The Verge Images © Anna Deniaud/Tara Expeditions Foundation

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New plastic garbage patch discovered in Arctic Ocean

Times Square now has double the public space

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The most visited destination in the United States now has double the public space—an amazing feat unimaginable just ten years ago. When New York City temporarily closed part of Broadway Street at Times Square to traffic and created a pedestrian plaza in 2009, many dismissed the experiment as foolish. But the removal of cars in favor of public space proved an incredible success and with the pilot project turned permanent, Times Square was forever reinvented. Today, the city announced the official completion of their reconstruction project: a 2.5-acre permanent pedestrian-only public plaza on Broadway designed by architecture firm Snøhetta. With an average of 45 million visitors each year—many of who look up at the billboards instead of the path in front—Times Square is notorious for its pedestrian traffic. Before the addition of pedestrian plazas, the exposure to vehicular traffic, slow-moving pedestrians , and small sidewalks made visiting Times Square an unpleasant, polluted, and sometimes unsafe experience. However, with the re-direction of vehicular traffic and the return of public space to pedestrians, Times Square dramatically transformed into a welcoming civic space. Pedestrian injuries decreased by 40 percent and crime in the overall area decreased by 20 percent. Air pollution has even fallen by as much as 60 percent. This week marks the official opening of the completed Times Square reconstruction project, designed by Snøhetta and completed in 2016. Together with the NYC Department of Transportation , Department of Design and Construction, and the Times Square Alliance, the architecture firm carved 2.5 acres of pedestrian space out of a project site known as the “Bowtie” in the heart of the Times Square Theater District, bounded by Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets. The first phase of the pedestrian street opened to the public in spring 2014. An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers and visitors agreed that the plaza has enhanced Times Square and made it a more pleasant place. Related: Snøhetta Selected to Design A New Car-Free Times Square “Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta. The Bowtie is designed to accommodate multiple speeds of pedestrian circulation—330,000 people move through Times Square on average every day—using subtle design cues. Street furniture and other design elements also create a welcoming space to linger. Conceived as “an outdoor room right in the heart of Manhattan,” the plaza includes ten fifty-foot-long granite benches plugged into the city’s power grid and connected to 400-amp, 200-amp, and 20-amp power sources. The reconstruction project also allowed for major overhaul of outdated infrastructure, including the sewer lines below. + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

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Times Square now has double the public space

This spellbinding icy blue throne was 3D-printed by robots

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

The robotically 3D-printed Voxel Chair 1.0 looks like it came straight out of a science fiction film. The futuristic mesh-like prototype was designed by Manuel Jimenez Garcia and Gilles Retsin , and manufactured using extruded PLA plastic through Robotic Additive Manufacturing Platform (RAMP), an innovative process that enables 3D printing of large-scale products with stunning detail and durability. The Voxel Chair, whose shape is inspired by the  Panton chair design, is the first prototype of its kind using new software that is specifically developed for robotic 3D printing. Unlike most 3D printing processes that use pre-defined forms, this innovative software – based on research by Manuel Jimenez Garcia and Gilles Retsin – allows for optimal control of thousands of line fragments. Related: Lilian van Daal creates a Biomimicry-inspired, 3D-printed chair Designed in collaboration with fabrication firms Nagami.Design and Vicente Soler, the chair was built out of transparent PLA, a non-toxic, biodegradable plastic that can be made out of various renewable resources like corn starch. Cyan-colored particles were mixed into the plastic to give the chair its unique glass-like appearance. The unique chair is just one example of how the RAMP process can be used to build stronger 3D-printed products . Considering the breakneck speed of advances in the field, unprecedented large-scale 3D objects are only a matter of time. The Voxel Chair 1.0 is currently on display at the Imprimer Le Monde in Centre Pompidou Paris. + Manuel Jimenez Garcia + Gilles Retsin Via Ignant Images via Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Gilles Retsin and Nagami.Design

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This spellbinding icy blue throne was 3D-printed by robots

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