Take Your Kids on a Winter Nature Scavenger Hunt

February 15, 2021 by  
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Looking for a fun and healthy way to spend time … The post Take Your Kids on a Winter Nature Scavenger Hunt appeared first on Earth 911.

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Take Your Kids on a Winter Nature Scavenger Hunt

House of Childhood is a daycare that emphasizes energy efficiency

January 20, 2021 by  
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As part of a National Association for Urban Renewal project that will run until 2030, the Maison de l’enfance à Albertville (Savoie, France) is the first step in an ambitious urban development masterplan in the area. Translated House of Childhood, the building was designed by Tectoniques Agency and is functional, inviting, striking and environmentally friendly. With a commitment to early childhood, this initial project is a multipurpose facility with a dynamic, open floor plan that incorporates a municipal daycare center, a family daycare center, space for nursery assistants, a leisure area and a school restaurant. Related: Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village According to a press release, the House of Childhood is, “set in the heart of the Bauges, Beaufortain, Lauzière and Grand Arc mountain ranges,” making for a natural backdrop in nearly every direction. Architects placed an emphasis on the upper level of the building in order to capture the sweeping landscape. In addition to exceptional views of the surrounding peaks, the building responds to a goal of minimal site impact . In fact, a compact design caters to the architects’ call for preserving the ground in anticipation of future land development of green spaces. The team relied on a concrete foundation — Albertville is in a seismic zone — but equally relied on natural materials like different types of locally sourced wood for framing and furniture. To soften the look, the concrete walls are surrounded by a wooden structure. The upper facade offers protection and visual appeal with a combination of shimmering bronze and copper coloring. A significant portion of the building was built using prefabricated panels, ensuring industrial quality while allowing expediency of construction. This technique enabled the project to be completed in 13 months. Energy-efficient elements are included, such as the biomass heating network and ventilation provided by an adiabatic AHU to keep children cool during hot summers. The centralized entrance provides access to a reception area on one end and the dining room, activity rooms and technical rooms on the other. The first floor houses a courtyard with a generous playground. Natural light illuminates the interior through a combination of skylights and glazed facades. The interior design is also focused on the children, drawing natural elements inside with fully exposed bleached beech and spruce walls, ceilings and furniture. Paint colors designate separate spaces; for example, yellow defines the changing rooms and blue defines the restrooms.  + Tectoniques agency Photography by Renaud Araud via Tectoniques agency 

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House of Childhood is a daycare that emphasizes energy efficiency

An autism-friendly hospital emphasizes nature for resiliency and healing

January 13, 2021 by  
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Charleston, South Carolina has raised the bar for inclusive healthcare design with the opening of the new Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion. Designed by Perkins and Will in collaboration with associate architect McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, the new, 625,000-square-foot facility aims to be one of the country’s most autism-friendly hospitals with its welcoming design that emphasizes access to natural light, a warm materials palette and an abundance of greenery indoors and out. The building also prioritizes resiliency by placing all patient care areas above the designated flood elevation and integrating flood-proof panels, an absorbent native planting plan and a series of flood walls into its design.  Using feedback from parents with children who are on the autism spectrum, the architects crafted calming interiors that take into account the full-sensory experience — from the removal of automatic flushers and hand dryers in bathrooms to the minimization of visual clutter — as a means of avoiding potential triggers. The biophilic design also taps into the healing power of nature by creating connections between the indoors and out wherever possible. Fresh air, natural light, indoor greenery and nature-inspired artwork by local artists create a joyful indoor atmosphere. Related: Biophilic campus provides a safe haven for children with autism The rich culture and history of Charleston also inspired the interior design, from the two-story main lobby with recycled cypress paneling that takes cues from historic Charleston’s Courtyard Garden to a large-scale, stained glass artwork that evokes Angel Oak, an approximately 400-year-old Southern Live Oak. Timber-lined patient bedrooms mimic local beach houses and come with simple furnishings and customizable features to encourage children to decorate their own spaces. The 10-story, 250-bed facility is set back from the street to make room for an “urban green space” in a nod to Charleston’s famous civic gardens. Defined by a low seat wall that can help mitigate low-level flooding events, the landscape is planted with native species for low maintenance. Outdoor terraces on the seventh and eighth floors also connect the hospital with the outdoors.  + Perkins and Will Photography by James Steinkamp and Halkin Mason via Perkins and Will

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An autism-friendly hospital emphasizes nature for resiliency and healing

2 gorillas at the San Diego Zoo test positive for COVID-19

January 13, 2021 by  
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Two gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time since the pandemic started. The gorillas showed symptoms, including coughing, at the San Diego Zoo last week. The staff took tests, which came back positive early this week. “Despite all our efforts and dedication from our team members to protect the wildlife in our care, our gorilla troop has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director of the zoo. Related: WWF releases report on avoiding the next zoonotic disease pandemic Zoo officials indicated that the animals might have contracted the disease from an asymptomatic member of the staff. Specialists look at this incident as proof that the biggest risk in the transmission of the virus is proximity to the infected party. “The fact that we are just seeing the first evidence of ape exposure now after months of transmission potential for captive and wild apes underscores the importance of proximity, as opposed to contaminated surfaces, as the primary source of infection,” said Thomas R. Gillespie, a disease ecologist and conservation biologist at Emory University. Throughout the pandemic, there have been concerns about the possibility of humans infecting animals and vice versa. There have been some reports of humans passing the virus to pets such as dogs and cats, but there has been no conclusive report to ascertain the risk that animals face. The most severe cases were reported in Europe, where millions of minks on fur farms were culled . In another incident, a tiger at Bronx Zoo in New York City tested positive for the disease in April 2020. Later the same year, four tigers and three lions also tested positive for COVID-19. The news of the San Diego Zoo gorillas contracting the virus is already causing concerns among conservationists. The biggest risk lies in Africa , where the only remaining populations of wild gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees are found. Given that gorillas and other great apes share approximately 95% of the human genome, they are likely to suffer similar effects of the virus as humans. “Confirmation that gorillas are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 does give us more information about how the pandemic may affect these species in native habitats where they come into contact with humans and human materials,” the zoo said in a statement. “By working with health officials, conservationists, and scientists to document this case, we will be expanding our knowledge about this potential challenge so that we can develop steps to protect gorillas in the forests of Africa.” + San Diego Zoo Via Mongabay Image via San Diego Zoo

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2 gorillas at the San Diego Zoo test positive for COVID-19

Raphael Warnock could prioritize environmental justice in Senate

January 4, 2021 by  
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The January 5 Senate runoff in Georgia pits two very different candidates against each other. There’s incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler, a pro-Trump business executive. Then there’s Raphael Warnock, a Democrat and senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, which has been part of a growing trend of Black churches pushing for environmental justice. Loeffler has warned that Warnock will turn the U.S. into a socialist country, as reported by Financial Times . Warnock said in a statement that it’s past time to fix “environmental wrongs and provide communities on the frontlines of our climate crisis a voice and a means to fight back against the pollution that threatens their children and families.” In order to achieve “true justice for Black and Brown communities in Georgia and across the country,” he said in the statement, people must address “historic shortcomings by placing equity and justice at the center of federal climate and environmental policy.” He indicated that he planned to do this work in the Senate. Related: How to support environmental justice Ebenezer Baptist Church is one of the most famous churches in the country, because Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. served as pastor there. The church was known as a leader in the civil rights movement and has been getting more involved in environmental activism since the early 2000s, when the church’s singles program was transformed into an environmental ministry. Instead of the usual singles activities, participants upgraded the church’s energy efficiency and started community gardens. “We were trying to care for God’s creation,” said Garry Harris, an Atlanta engineer and sustainability entrepreneur who led the singles ministry for more than 10 years. Warnock has been senior pastor at Ebenezer since 2005. In 2019, he hosted an interfaith meeting at Ebenezer to address climate change. Al Gore and Reverend William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, also participated. Environmental justice has been coming to the forefront as more people have become increasingly aware of the preponderance of polluting industries in low-income neighborhoods. Black churches often frame climate issues as public health, as congregants may live close to chemical plants, oil refineries or toxic waste dumps. If Warnock wins the runoff, he will have the power to speak up for these communities. Via Inside Climate News Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Raphael Warnock could prioritize environmental justice in Senate

CRAs Playscraper stacks 8 tennis courts into a 300-foot-tall skyscraper

January 4, 2021 by  
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Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) and Italo Rota have unveiled designs for the Playscraper, a Jenga-like skyscraper that stacks together eight tennis courts for a total of 60,000 square feet of playing space. Developed for RCS Sport, one of Europe’s leading sport and media companies, the 300-foot-tall Tennis Tower is designed to be built with the B-Core slab structure, a lightweight stainless-steel sandwich structure developed by Broad Sustainable Building that takes inspiration from the outer shell of a spacecraft and has been used in prefabricated projects. The Playscraper would also incorporate electronic facades to broadcast sports matches and other digital content. Developed with no proposed location, the conceptual design for the Playscraper — a Tennis Tower would consist of eight sandwich structures stacked on top of one another to house a total of eight stand-alone tennis courts. Full-height glazing would cap the narrow sides of each rectangular volume to provide panoramic views of the surroundings and to let in ample natural light. Digital facades clad the two long sides to function as massive TV screens for streaming sports matches so that those in the surrounding areas can watch live matches from below. Related: Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court “This project would not just create a new icon for sports lovers,” said architect and engineer Carlo Ratti, founder of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “It also experiments with a new type of public space , extending vertically instead of horizontally. The tower is easy to install and dismantle and can be easily moved. This flexible approach fits the circular nature of today’s sports competitions, which move from location to location throughout the year.” The Playscraper’s use of unconventional materials and forms builds on CRA’s recent portfolio of works that include a mycelium Circular Garden installation at Milan Design Week 2019 and the new MEET Digital Arts Center in Milan that features a digitally fabricated laser-cut “vertical plaza” at its heart. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRAs Playscraper stacks 8 tennis courts into a 300-foot-tall skyscraper

This modular prefab office space offers sustainable solutions

December 30, 2020 by  
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London studio Boano Prišmontas is no stranger to projects that highlight sustainable  workspaces . Once the pandemic hit, the need for affordable, easy-to-assemble remote work solutions became even more urgent. Enter “My Room in The Garden,” a low-cost prefab home office that can fit a yard of any size and takes less than a day to install. Although many countries around the world have already eased  COVID-19  lockdown restrictions, there are still a huge number of people working from home without a clear idea of when they’ll be returning to the office. Spouses are sharing spaces with their children, setting up makeshift desks in the living room or on the couch (not the best way to stay productive or comfortable during times of uncertainty). “My Room in The Garden” offers a great solution to workers who might not have the time or money to invest in long term changes to the home. Related: Work from home in this minimalist, modular 15-sided cabin Boano Prišmontas believes that the solution can be found outside the home rather than inside since many London houses have backyard gardens, courtyards, shared amenity spaces, pocket parks and even rooftops that provide additional space. The idea isn’t just for individuals, either, but for  businesses  wishing to reduce rent costs for big offices by purchasing home office pods for their employees instead. Basic modules start at £5K for 1.8×2.4 meters of space and can be customized according to need. All versions come at a fixed height of 2.5 meters — the max height of a structure that doesn’t require planning permission. The standard finish for the pods includes corrugated clear polycarbonate cladding to protect the interior from the elements while still allowing  natural light  to flood the space. Thanks to the modular design, the wall options range from peg wall finishes and mirrors to plain or decorated  wood , all according to the customer’s taste. Higher spec modules can include energy-efficient insulated walls, roofs or floor panels as well as glass doors or windows for an extra cost. Even better, each component of the home office is created with minimal material waste through geometrically efficient design. + My Room in the Garden Via Dwell Images via Boano Prišmontas

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This modular prefab office space offers sustainable solutions

Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide: Kids Edition

December 1, 2020 by  
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Need some help making a list of eco-friendly holiday gifts … The post Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide: Kids Edition appeared first on Earth 911.

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Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide: Kids Edition

Biophilic campus provides a safe haven for children with autism

November 30, 2020 by  
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Austin-based architecture and interior design firm Runa Workshop has recently completed One of the Kids, a nature-inspired campus for children who have autism. In preparing for the project, the architects first needed to educate themselves on how to best suit the needs of the children. Then, the team had to decide how to create a welcoming, comfortable campus within a tight budget of just $800,000 for an approximately 8,000-square-foot space. Cost-effective materials, an emphasis on natural lighting and the incorporation of biophilic and green elements tie the campus together. Created as a local family’s passion project located just north of Austin , One of the Kids provides a safe haven for children with autism to learn and play. The clients sought a campus that would encourage the children to explore their surroundings without overstimulating them. As a result, the designers used biophilic design to create a calming yet inspiring atmosphere. Related: HIVE Project proposes biophilic, self-sufficient homes of the future “Nature has been proven to promote healing, so we incorporated biophilic design to help us achieve this connection,” the designers at Runa Workshop explained. “We maximized the amount of natural light in each therapy room and incorporated a view of nature or green space to tie back into the concept. The design allowed for a large space where children can interact with water and ‘grass’ in a well-lit space while burning off excess energy so they can better focus in their therapy sessions.” Cost-effective oriented strand board , large windows and green paint are used throughout to strengthen a connection to nature, from the green “mountains” painted on the walls to the turf in the play area. In addition to the creation of active social spaces, such as the large indoor/outdoor play area and an indoor pool, the designers also carved out “chill rooms” with low lighting and dark-colored walls to provide children a comfortable place to go calm down when they feel overwhelmed. + Runa Workshop Images via Runa Workshop

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Jules Ferry School is a model for a sustainable learning environment

November 16, 2020 by  
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A school in France is showing the world how to use eco-friendly design to create much more than buildings. The Jules Ferry School will be part of an entire youth center that is designed to create a learning environment where children help to create their own academic experiences. What is architecture? To Méandre etc’ architects, architecture is an invitation to examine social relationships. That was the concept the team brought to the Jules Ferry School, where everyone has a role in their own learning journey. Related: Modular Tree-House School concept connects kids with nature The school is at the historic Bois du Mont Guichet in a residential area of Montfermeil. Jules Ferry School will have 13 classrooms and a recreation center. The school is close to a sports field and several other schools, creating a youth center right in the heart of the neighborhood. The building will be oriented southward to take advantage of the natural light and heat from the sun. Children enter the building through a beveled entrance that creates a transition between the outside world and the learning environment within. There will be a nursery school on the ground floor, with four classrooms for the little ones. Older children will be on the upper levels. A library and a local market will be housed on the first floor. The library has its own independent entrance, so it can be enjoyed by the general public as well as the children in the school. Each classroom on the ground floor will be a stand-alone unit with its own facilities and direct access to the garden outside, which opens up to the schoolyard itself. The courtyard is designed with geometric forms to create a playful, fun area for the children to enjoy. On the roof will be a large solar array to provide clean energy for the school. The building itself will be constructed with geo- and bio-sourced materials. The plan is to create a passive, unheated building using eco-friendly materials, including straw, mudbrick and wood. The design for the Jules Ferry School has already won an award for its innovation and creative concept. Construction on the project is scheduled to start in early 2021, with plans to open the building in 2022. The school is an example of how design can be part of our world without taking away from it, yet still be tailored to the purpose it is supposed to serve. The Jules Ferry design could be a model that determines what schools look like in the future. + Méandre etc’ architects Images via aR. communication

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Jules Ferry School is a model for a sustainable learning environment

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