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

This off-grid cabin in the pristine Alaskan wilderness can only be reached by sea or air

March 1, 2018 by  
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If you’re looking for a luxurious off-grid retreat in the middle of nowhere, you’ve come to the right place. Located on Alaska’s remote Alexander Archipelago, the spectacular Hidden Bay Retreat is a three-bedroom timber home with a copper roof that sits on the water’s edge. Stunning views of the pristine wilderness and wildlife can be enjoyed from the home’s covered porch or better yet, from the infinity-edge hot tub. At 2,382 square feet, the home is a large space, built for maximum enjoyment of the surrounding nature. Constructed out of old growth Western Cedar , the home combines the best of rugged exterior materials with a sophisticated interior design. The copper roof was built with oversized eaves that extend out over the roof to create a series of covered terraces. These seating areas are prime wildlife viewing areas, but the infinity-edge hot tub is definitely the best place to catch the bald eagles and ravens that commonly soar around the home. Related: Lakeside cabin made out of reclaimed wood is as idyllic as it gets The interior design was also created to blend a bit of rustic with sophistication. Timber panels line the walls and an abundance of windows lets in optimal natural light and offers stunning views from the chimney-warmed living room. A double-height ceiling opens up the main living space, which leads to a chef’s kitchen and dining area. Three bedrooms are located on either side of the elongated structure and there is also a large, six-person sauna for those bone-chilling Alaskan winters. The landscape around the home, which opens up to the rocky shore of Hood Bay, has been left in a natural state to fully appreciate the beauty of the untouched wilderness and wildlife . The natural ecosystem is home to a variety of animals from bald eagles and snow geese to brown bears and deer. The waters are filled with a variety of fish and, further up the bay, Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, and Sea Lions are regular sites to see. If this all sounds like your cup of tea, it can be yours for $2.5 million (!). + Hidden Bay Retreat Via Uncrate Images via Sotheby’s International Reality

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This off-grid cabin in the pristine Alaskan wilderness can only be reached by sea or air

Total field ban on bee-harming neonicotinoids likely after new EU assessments

March 1, 2018 by  
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A total ban on pesticides that harm bees is highly likely in the European Union, according to The Guardian . The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published new assessments Wednesday confirming the risks of neonicotinoids for bees. Countries will vote next month, and a total field ban is likely. EFSA just put out new assessments, releasing conclusions updating ones from 2013 on the neonicotinoids clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. The assessments cover honeybees , as well solitary bees and bumblebees for the first time, according to The Guardian, which also said the authority scrutinized over 1,500 studies to come to their conclusions. EFSA finalized them after consulting with pesticide experts in the European Union , whom they said supported their conclusions. Related: Over 700 North American bee species are heading towards extinction EFSA’s Pesticides Unit head Jose Tarazona said they were able to arrive at very detailed conclusions as there’s an ample amount of data, saying in a statement, “There is variability in the conclusions, due to factors such as the bee species, the intended use of the pesticide, and the route of exposure. Some low risks have been identified, but overall the risk to the three types of bees we have assessed is confirmed.” Many environmentalists and scientists welcomed the news, according to The Guardian. Friends of the Earth campaigner Sandra Bell said in a statement , “We have been playing Russian Roulette with the future of our bees for far too long. The UK government has already said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of these three bee-harming chemicals — a move that is fully justified by this report. Other EU countries must now back a tougher ban too.” The EU passed a partial ban in 2013, according to The Guardian, following EFSA’s first assessment finding unacceptable risks for bees from neonicotinoid pesticides. + European Food Safety Authority Via The Guardian Images via Danilo Batista on Unsplash and Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Total field ban on bee-harming neonicotinoids likely after new EU assessments

Dutch villa smartly taps into solar energy and optimal site conditions

March 1, 2018 by  
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EVA Architecten took the long view when designing Villa IJsselzig, a modern home optimized for energy efficiency and durability. Set next to the river Hollandse Ijssel, the villa respects the neighboring buildings by adapting a similar form but also quietly stands out with its distinctly contemporary design. Renewable energy including solar and a heat pumps power the home while the carefully positioned openings reduce unwanted solar gain. Topped with a dark copper roof and reddish-brown bricks, Villa IJsselzig was built to appear as a singular sculptural mass. The river-facing facade to the north is left mostly transparent with full-height glazing that wraps around the communal areas while the home’s opposite side on the south is mostly closed off from view and protected by a garden for privacy. The placement of these openings and orientation also mitigate solar gain , particularly unwanted heat build-up from the south, and are supplemented by extra-insulated walls. Related: Solar-powered M House is a light-filled modern Dutch villa In contrast to its dark facade, the interior, designed in collaboration with NEST architects , features a lighter palette. The interior is organized around a wooden core surrounded by white walls. The wooden core contains the staircases, storerooms, and other facilities thus opening up the other rooms to flexible open-plan use. The living spaces are located on the ground floor whereas all the bedrooms are placed on the upper floor and overlook the river. + EVA Architecten Via Dwell Photos by Sebastian van Damme

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Dutch villa smartly taps into solar energy and optimal site conditions

Angular cedar-clad home in New Zealand is designed to go completely off-grid

October 17, 2017 by  
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New Zealand firm Herriot Melhuish Oneill has created a beautiful eco-friendly home deep in the rolling farmland just outside of Wellington. The Peka Peka House is comprised of three cedar boxes with glazed walls that provide views of the breathtaking landscape – and it’s set to be 100% off-grid. The home’s volume is comprised of three connected boxes. The living and dining area are located in the larger box and the bedrooms are in the second cube. These two structures are both clad in a beautiful black-stained cedar with large windows that connect the living spaces with the exterior environment. The third box, which houses the garage and workshop, was built out of profiled-polycarbonate, and “glows” from within at night. Related:See how the “Kiss-Kiss House” snaps in half like a branch to embrace the landscape The home’s orientation was strategic to benefit from the area’s harsh climate. Thanks to the home’s many openings, the interior is naturally ventilated by the afternoon sea breezes. Additionally, the interior courtyard faces north in order protect the space from any strong winds. The home is surrounded by a timber deck that connects the home to its natural surroundings and lets the homeowners enjoy the outdoors comfortably. The Peka Peka house was designed to eventually go 100% off grid . Installed with PV and solar hot water panels, the home produces a lot of its own energy. To conserve that energy, the insulation in the home is above-code insulation, and an exposed, insulated concrete slab under the home helps retain heat. LED lighting is also used throughout the space. + Herriot Melhuish Oneill Via Archdaily Photography by Jason Mann

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Angular cedar-clad home in New Zealand is designed to go completely off-grid

This startup is training crows to throw away cigarette butt litter

October 17, 2017 by  
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Did you know that cigarettes take twelve years to decompose on average? That’s a big problem, as they are the most littered item on Earth – every year, approximately 4.5 trillion cigarettes are discarded with little regard for the environment. The new startup Crowded Cities has a plan to rid streets of this type of pollution – and it involves training crows to exchange cigarette butts for food. It’s a well-established fact that crows are one of the smartest animals in the world. Not only are they skilled problem solvers, they can create and use tools . Dutch startup Crowded Cities is developing a device that trains crows to collect discarded cigarettes . In exchange, the crows receive peanuts. The CrowBar is based on a design created by an American inventor . The device has a large funnel where cigarette butts can be deposited, and a dispenser for releasing peanuts . The hope is that crows get busy cleaning up the streets in exchange for some easy food. The task isn’t impossible, considering Crowded Cities has a four-step plan to train the crows. Related: Meet Cig, the sea turtle made of over 1,000 cigarette butts strewn on a Florida beach First, the machine offers a piece of food next to a cigarette butt on a small platform. This trains the bird to expect food from the machine . Second, the machine begins dispensing food only after the crow arrives at the machine. This teaches the crow how to operate the CrowBar. Third, the machine presents only the cigarette butt with no food. Confused, the crow will begin pecking and looking around. When he/she inadvertently drops the butt into the dispenser, food will be released. The fourth step is to remove the cigarette butt entirely, leaving only a couple scattered on the crowd in the nearby area. The crow will begin collecting butts from the surrounding area, bringing them to the CrowBar, then dropping them into the dispenser for food . At this stage, the training is complete. The startup is in the process of building a prototype to test whether or not the design will work. Because cigarettes are filled with toxic chemicals, Crowded Cities will monitor the crows’ health and behavior. If the method proves successful and the birds aren’t adversely affected by the cigarette butts, you may see a CrowBar in your city in the near future. + Crowded Cities Via Popular Mechanics Images via Crowded Cities , Pixabay

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This startup is training crows to throw away cigarette butt litter

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