Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

September 8, 2017 by  
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Hot on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is yet another natural disaster, Hurricane Jose. The “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane is located east of the Leeward Islands and is forecasted to transit west-northwest into the Atlantic Ocean in the coming days. This is the first time in history two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time. According to the National Hurricane Center , Jose has sustained winds near 150 mph.  As a result, Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy — islands that were just battered by Hurricane Irma — are now on a Hurricane Watch as of Friday at 11 a.m. When Irma passed over Barbuda, a tiny Caribbean island of 1,800 residents, 95 percent of the buildings were destroyed, said Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Cuba and south Florida are now preparing for the destruction Irma is expected to unleash. Related: This image of Hurricane Irma from space will blow your mind This is the first time on record two hurricanes with 150-plus mph winds have been recorded at the same time, said Colorado State University meteorologist  Philip Klotzbach . And, it turns out humans deserve most of the blame. For years, scientists have warned that unsustainable habits would exacerbate climate change , resulting in melting glaciers, rising sea levels , and worsening natural disasters due to increased precipitation and a few other factors. The only silver lining from this situation might be that the events inspire more people to invest in sustainable initiatives. + National Hurricane Center Via CNN Images via National Hurricane Center, Pixabay

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Hurricane Jose strengthens to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4

This app helps corporate buyers evaluate solar and wind projects

June 21, 2017 by  
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New service from the Business Renewables Center simplifies the comparison of contracts, including virtual power purchase agreements.

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This app helps corporate buyers evaluate solar and wind projects

Architect tops Japanese community center with a series of striking wooden roofs

March 3, 2017 by  
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Hiroshima-based architect Hiroshi Sambuichi has covered a cultural center in the small Japanese island of Naoshima with a series of strikingly beautiful wooden roofs . Much of the design of the complex is based on traditional Japanese architecture – including the low-rise hipped roofs, which strategically provide fresh air circulation throughout the buildings. The complex is comprised of multiple buildings that share a series of wooden roofs . The largest roof covers the main volume of the community hall, which is built into a grassy slope. Made out of multi-tonal Japanese cypress or “hinoki,” the massive roof follows the low incline of the landscape. A large triangular opening is carved into its apex, which lets additional fresh air into the interior. Related: Kengo Kuma’s new community center hides a hilly indoor landscape under its zigzag-roof The two roofs cover four buildings underneath, which have multiple indoor and outdoor spaces – another feature that pays homage to traditional Japanese architecture . “A structure that provides protection from rain while allowing breezes to gently pass through, it inherits the principles of the Japanese traditional thatched roof,” said Sambuichi. Inside, natural materials create a simple and elegant atmosphere. The flooring is made from Hinoki panels, some of the walls are made out of adobe clay, and some rooms have compacted earth flooring made from a leftover solution from a local salt factory. The complex also has a number of typical Japanese tatami rooms, which were laid out to receive optimal air circulation. “Emulating the traditional layouts found in Naoshima, gardens and verandas are placed at the north and south, so that breezes will pass through the tatami rooms,” said the architect. To further cool the interior spaces in the hot summer months, an innovative system feeds underground water into pipes in the community center’s ceiling. Via Dezeen Photography by Sambuichi Architects

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Architect tops Japanese community center with a series of striking wooden roofs

Foster + Partners breaks ground on major transit-oriented project in downtown San Francisco

December 9, 2016 by  
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Foster + Partners has just broken ground on Oceanwide Center—a major transit-oriented development that will dramatically transform the heart of downtown San Francisco into a more walkable and interconnected place to live, work, and play. Designed in collaboration with Heller Manus, the mixed-use urban project is located in the city’s Transbay Area near Market Street and the financial district. The development will feature environmentally friendly design that includes adaptive reuse and LEED-seeking structures and systems. Despite its modern design, the Oceanwide Center will be skillfully woven into the existing urban fabric through the addition of 26,000 square feet of new public space to tie the building into the public realm. The urban project will also include two mixed-use towers: a 625-foot, 54-story residential and hotel tower, along with a 910-foot, 61-story residential and office tower along First Street. All together Oceanwide Center will provide 2.4 million square feet of new hotel, office, and residential space. Two historic buildings on First Street will be restored and revitalized. The First Street Tower can be seen as a visual beacon for the project with its eye-catching crystalline form that articulate the facades on the skyline. The interior features an open layout with offset cores. The structure is 30% lighter than traditional buildings with a central core of similar size, yet is designed for seismic stability. Its innovative MEP and vertical transportation systems are designed to meet LEED Platinum certification. The second mixed-use tower, which contains a new Waldorf Astoria hotel and is designed to LEED Gold standards, is located along Mission Street and will be clad in stone with unique ‘glass vitrine’ windows. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami “I have always had a great fascination for San Francisco – a city with a youthful spirit has allowed it to constantly reinvent itself, yet retain a unique sense of urbanity,” said Lord Foster. “The Oceanwide Center encapsulates that essence – it is a pioneering example that combines spaces to live and work with a vibrant public realm in the heart of the city. The project now marks a major milestone with its groundbreaking, as the evolution of a sustainable model of high density, mixed-use development that I have always promoted.” The Oceanside Center is expected to be complete by 2021. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners breaks ground on major transit-oriented project in downtown San Francisco

99-million-year-old dinosaur tail found immaculately preserved in amber

December 9, 2016 by  
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When a small, sparrow-sized dinosaur died about 99 million years ago, part of its tail was immaculately preserved in amber. Researchers who recently discovered the tail from a Hukawng Valley amber mine in Myanmar say it’s a notable find not only because it is the first dinosaur tail ever identified, but also because it is covered in feathers. Co-first author Lida Xing of China University of Geosciences found the amber piece in a Myanmar market in 2015, according to NPR . The Dexu Institute of Palaeontology agreed to purchase the specimen, and Xing and colleagues got to work scrutinizing it. Related: First dinosaur brain tissue discovered in 130-million-year-old fossil The dinosaur was likely a carnivorous coelurosaurus, part of a group that includes the mighty Tyrannosaurus , although the discovered dinosaur probably wasn’t very mighty itself. Scientists can tell it was tiny from the tail bone, which is a mere two millimeters across. Part of the mystery of dinosaurs with feathers is that many probably didn’t use that plumage to fly. The structure of the little dinosaur’s feathers instead resembles ornamental feathers seen on some modern birds . Scientists can see the way the feathers’ barbs bend means they’re far more flexible than feathers used for flight, and could have been employed to send signals or regulate the dinosaur’s temperature. The top of the feathers could have been dark brown, the scientists think, with the underside having no color at all. That or carotenoids – pigments responsible for orange, red, and yellow hues – may have brightened the underside feathers in life but broke down swiftly when the dinosaur died. Thrilled with the discovery, the scientists hope they might be able to find even more specimens in the future. With a conflict between the Kachin Independence Army – who currently possess the Hukawng Valley – and the Myanmar government hopefully coming to a close, scientists may be able to get more access to the amber mines, according to Xing. He speculated they might even find a whole dinosaur one day. 14 scientists from international institutions participated in a new study published by the journal Current Biology . Via National Geographic and The Economist Images via Lida Xing, et al.

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99-million-year-old dinosaur tail found immaculately preserved in amber

HWKN converts a paint factory into Upenn’s new state-of-the-art innovation hub

November 1, 2016 by  
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The 58,000-square-foot Pennovation Center is located on a 23-acre campus at the University of Pennsylvania. Dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation , the center accommodates efficient co-working areas, social spaces where entrepreneurs can collaborate and engage with their colleagues, a board room, a bar and bleacher seating where inventors can share ideas and pitch to inventors. Related: HWKN Flips Holy Tabernacle 90 Degrees to Fit into Manhattan’s Dense Skyline “Having personally navigated through the startup experience ourselves when we launched HWKN and Architizer , we understand the needs and challenges of emerging companies,” said Hollwich Kushner Principal Matthias Hollwich. “The building encapsulates the energy and productivity of Penn and Philadelphia, and in the near future will be directly contributing to both,” added Marc Kushner of Hollwich Kushner. + Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) Photos by Michael Moran

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HWKN converts a paint factory into Upenn’s new state-of-the-art innovation hub

Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain

September 16, 2016 by  
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Winner of an invited competition from 2009, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter’s Norwegian Mountaineering Center design is a 900-square-meter mountaineering center and gathering place for both locals and visitors. The building comprises a climbing hall , bouldering spaces, changing rooms, exhibitions, a cafe, library, and administration facilities. The tall climbing wall is sheathed inside the building’s jagged mountain-like form. Related: Timber-clad folk museum rises like a jagged-edged crown in Norway “The Norwegian Mountaineering Center is anchored in an innovative interpretation of nature’s fantastic dimensions and the dramatic experience of mountaineering,” write the architects. “This provides the structure with a characteristic volume communicating its contents with exciting and unique geometrical expression. Its outer skin is clad in a uniform surface, highlighting its originality and situation next to the train tracks of Raumabanen and the station area in the Åndalsnes town center.” The gray, brown, and white shingles that clad the exterior are arranged in a diamond formation. Diamond-shaped windows also punctuate the facade. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter , by AndrC? and So?renHarder

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Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain

Groundbreaking AquaDx chip analyzes the safety of drinking water in real time

September 16, 2016 by  
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A new water-testing chip allows users to check for lead, pesticides, heavy metals, and alkalinity in drinking water wherever they may roam. As an accessory to the MyDx system, AquaDx is one of four chips in development to help consumers test the safety of everyday elements by sending results straight to their smartphones in six minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3P5nbQV7cU The handheld MyDx chemical analyzer was successfully funded through Indiegogo two years ago and they are fulfilling their promise of releasing four different disposable sensors for consumers to use. By connecting via Bluetooth to a smartphone, the AquaDx sensor detects a water profile, which is then downloaded for users to scrutinize while at home, visiting a friend’s home, or traveling abroad. Pesticides and heavy metals are analyzed according to U.S. military standards, lead according to EPA standards, and additional analysis is provided for alkalinity, pH balance, chlorine, and total hardness. Related: Over 80 percent of the well water tested in China is contaminated The first chip released, CannaDx, tests samples of cannabis for potency and a detailed breakdown of its compounds. The company plans on developing an OrganaDx chip for testing organic materials, such as dirty dozen fruits and vegetables, and an AeroDx sensor for air quality. The AquaDx can be pre-ordered as a set with the MyDx system for $600 or as an add-on for $70; additional sensor packs can be purchased for $20. + MyDx Via New Atlas Images via MyDx

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Groundbreaking AquaDx chip analyzes the safety of drinking water in real time

Solar-powered Xinhee Design Center is inspired by human skin and bones

August 12, 2016 by  
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The office spaces are organized around a central atrium from which six structures extend out like arms. Each of the volumes, accommodating the offices of the group’s six subsidiary brands, has its own research and office spaces, while still allowing inter-departmental collaboration. The thin, PTFE envelope is soft and flowing, and protects the interior while appearing delicate and open. Related: MAD completes undulating Harbin Opera House in China The atrium functions as a public space that visually connect the offices located on different levels of the building. This interaction extends to include the way offices spaces relate to the outside gardens. While the first floor is occupied mainly by water features and green spaces open to the public, the upper floors house office spaces with smaller green areas scattered throughout the building and the roof. These stacked gardens create a 100% green ratio, while the envelope permits 40% light transmittance. Solar panels installed on the roof of the Center will provide enough energy to meet the daily demands of the building. + MAD Architects Via World Architecture News

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Solar-powered Xinhee Design Center is inspired by human skin and bones

Why sustainable development is a matter of (coherent) policy

July 25, 2016 by  
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Economic and social concerns are essential to becoming sustainable, prosperous societies, and at the center of this goal is the concept of policy coherence.

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Why sustainable development is a matter of (coherent) policy

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