A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

Guallart Architects unveil winning bid for a self-sufficient community in China

August 27, 2020 by  
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Barcelona-based Guallart Architects has won an international competition for its design of a mixed-use, self-sufficient community in China’s Xiong’an New Area. Presented as a model for sustainable urban growth, the project champions local energy production, food production, energy efficiency and material reuse. The tech-forward proposal also takes the needs of a post-COVID-19 era and growing work-from-home trend in account by designing for comfortable telework spaces in all residences. Established in April 2017, China’s Xiong’an New Area was created as a development hub for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic triangle. Guallart Architects’ winning proposal for a mixed-use community is part of a scheme to raise the cachet of Xiong’an New Area and provide a post- COVID model that could be implemented in different cities around the world. Related: UNSense to develop a 100-home “real-life testing environment” for the future of housing “We cannot continue designing cities and buildings as if nothing had happened,” Guallart Architects said. “Our proposal stem from the need to provide solutions to the various crises that are taking place in our planet at the same time, in order to create a new urban life based in the circular bioeconomy that will empower cities and communities.” At the heart of the proposal is self-sufficiency ; residents would produce resources locally while staying connected globally. The mixed-use development would consist of four city blocks with buildings constructed with mass timber and passive design solutions. In addition to a mix of residential typologies, the community would include office spaces, recreational areas, retail, a supermarket, a kindergarten, an administrative center, a fire station and other communal facilities. All buildings would be topped with greenhouses to produce food for daily consumption as well as rooftop solar panels. On the ground floor, the architects have included small co-working factories equipped with 3D-printers and rapid prototyping machines for providing everyday items. All apartments would come with telework spaces, 5G networks and large south-facing terraces. + Guallart Architects Images via Guallart Architects

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Guallart Architects unveil winning bid for a self-sufficient community in China

Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

August 18, 2020 by  
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A vertical “secret garden”, green-roofed terraces and mountain-shaped massing define B+H Architects’ winning entry for the new Children’s Hospital and Science & Education Building in Shenzhen. Designed in collaboration with East China Architectural Design & Research Institute (ECADI), the proposed facility celebrates the local landscape by integrating lush plantings around and inside the urban campus. The hospital’s nature-filled interiors, ground-floor “urban living room” and vibrant color palette also aims to inspire awe and wonder in both the building occupants and the surrounding community. Selected as the unanimous first place winner in an international design competition held by the Shenzhen municipal government, the proposal takes inspiration from the mountains in the distance for its terraced massing with upper floors stepped back to form sky gardens. The new facility will be located to the west of the existing Shenzhen Children’s Hospital, which has been a landmark in the city’s Futian area since it was founded in 1998. Coined as a “once-in-a-lifetime” healthcare facility, the new campus will not only provide top-quality care for children but will also house facilities for advanced research and learning in pediatric medicine. Related: Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden “Children live very much in the present and can experience each moment very intensely — sights, sounds, scale, touch, colors and patterns hold delights and surprises that we as adults often overlook,” said Stephanie Costelloe, principal and director of Healthcare, Asia for B+H Architects. “We wanted to instill a sense of wonder in every corner which would celebrate their unique and joyful view of the world — whilst also encouraging adults to interact with the environment in a similarly social, playful and collaborative way.” The extensive use of greenery ties the hospital interiors to the adjacent Lianhuashan Park and is part of the architects’ vision to create a “unique micro-landscape” that helps building occupants engage with the surrounding landscape while providing therapeutic benefits. + B+H Architects Images via B+H Architects

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Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

August 3, 2020 by  
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A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports has revealed that more than 4% of the world’s population could be exposed to severe flooding by the end of the century. The study was inspired by a continuous rise in the number of coastal floods across the world, and it builds upon previous research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Currently, about 148 million people experience flooding events across the world, but this could increase to 287 million by 2100. Many of the floods are related to the rise in sea levels caused by melting glaciers. The study has now revealed that if measures are not taken to control greenhouse gas emissions , about 77 million additional people would be exposed to flooding in the next 80 years. However, even if the measures being taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions are maintained, global warming would still continue at a rate of 1.8 degrees Celsius. This would mean that about 54 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding at the end of the century. The effects of increased coastal flooding will get worse with time. In the worst-case scenario, coastal assets worth $14.2 trillion will experience flooding at the turn of the century — an equivalent of 20% of the current global GDP. Considering such factors, efforts must be made to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Related: Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change The causes of increased flooding in coastal cities are human-caused global warming , storm surges and high tides. As global temperatures rise, more land-based ice melts, leading to sea level rise. But the study indicates that even immediate action may not stop the extreme flooding. The report warns that by 2050, major flooding events will have increased in intensity. A one-in-100-years flooding event could occur every 10 years. As much as 4% of the global population might be exposed to severe flooding events. Professor Ian Young of the University of Melbourne and co-author of the study said, “We certainly need to mitigate our greenhouse gases but that won’t solve this problem. The sea-level rise is already baked in — even if we reduce emissions today the sea level will continue to rise because the glaciers will continue to melt for hundreds of years.” The study has identified some regions that are likely to be affected the most by the continuous rise in sea levels. Among the areas of highest concern include southeastern China, northern Australia and Bangladesh as well as Gujarat and West Bengal in India. In the U.S., North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia have been identified as the most likely to be exposed. Other countries that are likely to be affected by major flooding include France, Germany and the U.K. + Scientific Reports Via The Guardian Image via Kelly Sikkema

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Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100

Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

July 30, 2020 by  
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Agricultural officials from several states have expressed alarm over unsolicited packages of seeds delivered to residents. The packages appear to come from China, as they feature China Post labeling. Agricultural officers advise farmers not to plant the seeds, in case they are harmful or invasive. Warnings sent out to farmers and residents follow reports of unsolicited seed packages being delivered in residents’ mail. Several people reported receiving seeds in white pouches that featured Chinese writing and the words “China Post.” Another concerning detail is that the seed packages were not labeled as food or agricultural products. Envelopes included misleading labels, with some listing the contents as jewelry, toys or earbuds. States that have released public notices against planting the unsolicited seeds include Washington, Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Dakota, Texas, Alabama and Florida. Kentucky , one of the first states to receive reports of unsolicited seeds, issued warnings to residents. As Ryan Quarles, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, wrote on Twitter, residents should “put the package and seeds in a zip lock bag and wash your hands immediately.” Residents must also send any seeds they receive to the Department of Agriculture. Following the reports, several other states, including Arkansas, Michigan , Oregon and New Jersey, issued warnings to residents. Such measures may help prevent farmers from planting harmful, contaminated seeds. The Chinese Embassy in Washington claims these China Post packages “to be fake ones with erroneous layouts and entries.” Cecilia Sequeira, spokesperson for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says the department is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop illegal importation of prohibited seeds. Should you receive any mysterious seeds in the mail, report it to the nearest Agriculture Office. + NY Times Image via Pexels

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Mysterious seeds from China arriving in mail across America

Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden

July 21, 2020 by  
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Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Chinese office has won an international competition with its design for the Rehabilitation Center of China, a facility that is expected to be the largest and most innovative of its kind in the country. Located in Shenzhen’s Longhua district, the center will serve people with disabilities ages 16 to 60. Designed as a visual extension of the adjacent urban park, the building will be topped with landscaped terraces, including a therapeutic roof garden with native plant species as well as aromatic herbs and healing plants.  Slated for construction over the next three years, the Rehabilitation Center is a pilot project for China in exploring social inclusion and cohesion for people who have disabilities. The building will encompass a wide range of functions including rehabilitation, training, recreation, the arts, accommodation, education, office spaces and a museum. The facility will also host a sports center for competitions, individual and team training and a system of training courses aimed at rehabilitating various disabilities through physical, sensory, mental and other exercises. Related: NBBJ to design Tencent’s futuristic “Net City” in Shenzhen “Our project opens up a new perspective on the architecture of large rehabilitation centres,” Stefano Boeri said. “This is firstly because it perceives the concept of motor and/or cognitive disability not as an example of fragility suffered by a minority of people but as a condition that is common to us all, even if only during one phase of our life. Secondly, it offers an idea of total accessibility to spaces and rehabilitation services and thirdly because in recognizing the extraordinary therapeutic quality of greenery and nature, it offers an astonishing amount of accessible green and open spaces dedicated to all different styles of rehabilitation.” The building’s terraced design combined with its accessible, landscaped roofs will give it the appearance of small green mountain. In addition to the integration of accessible green spaces throughout, the eco-friendly building will feature advanced renewable energy production systems and rainwater collection.  + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden

This LA startup turns spoiled milk into biodegradable T-shirts

July 16, 2020 by  
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Did you know that 128 million tons of milk are wasted every year? LA-based startup Mi Terro is using biotechnology to turn a portion of that food waste into sustainable fibers for biodegradable T-shirts. Transforming spoiled milk into clothing may seem like something from the future, but Mi Terro already has it down to a science. Using technology that re-engineers milk proteins, the company has invented a completely unique process that finds an innovative use for food waste and uses 60% less water than an organic cotton shirt. Related: This biodegradable T-shirt is made from trees and algae <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Mi-Terro-6-889×661.jpg" alt="Two people wearing black T-shirts with graphic that reads "Mi Terro"" class="wp-image-2275202" The method was invented in just three months by co-founders Robert Luo and Daniel Zhuang. After visiting his uncle’s dairy farm in China in 2018, Luo saw just how much milk product gets dumped first-hand, and after some research, he found that the issue was one of a massive global scale. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Mi-Terro-3-889×592.jpg" alt="person holding yarn fibers made from old milk" class="wp-image-2275204" Step one is to obtain milk and other dairy products from farms, food processing centers and grocery stores. The company then uses “Protein Activation” and “Self-Assembly Purification” technology to extract and purify casein protein molecules from the spoiled milk bacteria. The last step is using “Dynamic Flow Shear Spinning” to spin the clean casein protein into eco-friendly fibers. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Mi-Terro-4.jpg" alt="machines spinning yarn" class="wp-image-2275203" Now, we’re sure you’re wondering what a shirt made from dairy feels like. According to the company, it is actually three times softer than cotton, anti-microbial, odor-free, anti-wrinkle and temperature-regulating. If that’s not enough, each T-shirt contains 18 amino acids that can nourish and improve skin texture. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Mi-Terro-2-889×667.jpg" alt="person wearing white T-shirt that reads, "This Tee Is Made From Milk"" class="wp-image-2275205" Mi Terro has also committed to planting 15 trees for every purchase. The company doesn’t want to stop there. Its innovative, patent-pending process can also be used to make other eco-friendly products and offer a sustainable substitute for plastic. The goal is to create a new type of circular economy powered by the agricultural waste that has become a growing problem in modern society. Even better, because the fiber is rescued from food waste and processed sans chemicals, it stays biodegradable even after it has reached the end of its second life. + Mi Terro Images via Mi Terro

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This LA startup turns spoiled milk into biodegradable T-shirts

Beachfront villa is split into two units for brothers to share

July 16, 2020 by  
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The Jesolo Lido Beach Villa is a beachfront, dual-unit building that exudes luxury yet incorporates energy efficiency throughout. Located in the resort area of Jesolo Lido, Italy, the split villa is the passion project by two brothers seeking to provide a beachfront getaway for their young families. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Jesolo-Lido-Beach-Villa-2-889×592.jpg" alt="long pool with cabanas on either side" class="wp-image-2275089" Like many other places, beachfront property isn’t easy to come by or to afford in this popular Italian area. So when the brothers found it, they jumped on the opportunity. But as it came time for construction, they had to get creative in order to share the limited, 11-meter buildable width of the property without sacrificing the personal space each family desired. To solve the problem, they sourced the expertise of the team at JM Architecture, a firm based out of Milan. Related: Beachfront hotel in Costa Rica pays tribute to the land and its inhabitants <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Jesolo-Lido-Beach-Villa-3-889×592.jpg" alt="covered patio with gray furnishings" class="wp-image-2275088" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Jesolo-Lido-Beach-Villa-4-889×592.jpg" alt="villa with glass walls and extended roof eaves" class="wp-image-2275087" The architects began by respecting the wishes of the family to keep both sides of the project equal in size and amenities, creating two separate buildings that share the same symmetrical, two-bedroom two-bathroom layout and are identically furnished. The units share a beachfront, 16-meter, zero-edge swimming pool , and they also feature identical covered, custom-designed aluminum cabanas for poolside lounging with protection from the sun. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Jesolo-Lido-Beach-Villa-5-889×592.jpg" alt="small yard and long pool outside white and glass beach villa" class="wp-image-2275086" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Jesolo-Lido-Beach-Villa-6-889×592.jpg" alt="white room with gray sofa and wood coffee table" class="wp-image-2275085" Integral to the overall design is the use of photovoltaic panels integrated into the roof of the cabanas, which grant power to all the electrical heating and cooling systems. Using solar energy enhances other already efficient building elements, such as natural shade provided by existing trees in the white rock entrance to the building. According to the architects, they also considered noise pollution and privacy. “A large portion of the building envelope is cladded with 5 mm full-height gres tiles on a ventilated facade, to provide the necessary privacy to bedrooms and bathrooms,” the firm explained. “The north facade is entirely opaque in order to provide an acoustic boundary from the entry courtyard and the street behind.” <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Jesolo-Lido-Beach-Villa-7-889×592.jpg" alt="blue chairs on a covered patio" class="wp-image-2275084" <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/Jesolo-Lido-Beach-Villa-8-889×592.jpg" alt="two gray chairs in a cabana beside a pool" class="wp-image-2275083" With limited above-ground building space, the design took advantage of space underground with a basement level, where the families share a gym, sauna, hot tub, cold plunge pool, additional kitchen and laundry room. Large sunken patios clad with white glass mosaic tiles reflect light and offer natural cooling features in a space that is private to each unit. + JM Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Jacopo Mascheroni via JM Architecture

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Beachfront villa is split into two units for brothers to share

Air pollution climbing back to pre-pandemic levels

June 5, 2020 by  
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Last month, news media around the world heralded cleaner skies as a byproduct of the pandemic-induced quarantines. Alas, as lockdowns are lifted, air pollution is climbing back to pre-COVID levels in  China . Several European countries may soon follow suit. Concentrations of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are back to where they were a year ago, according to data from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea). In early March, when China was suffering the worst of the  pandemic , the particle count was down by 34%, while nitrogen dioxide levels had fallen by 38%. Related: Air pollution could make COVID-19 more dangerous “The rapid rebound in air pollution and coal consumption levels across China is an early warning of what a smokestack industry-led rebound could look like,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Crea’s lead analyst, in an article from  The Guardian . “Highly polluting industries have been faster to recover from the crisis than the rest of the economy. It is essential for policymakers to prioritise clean energy.” Wuhan, the pandemic’s ground zero, is still experiencing lower than usual nitrogen dioxide levels — 14% lower than last year. However, Shanghai’s NO2 level has soared to 9% higher than in 2019. Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultancy group, expects that the second quarter of 2020 will see China’s  oil  demand recover nearly to its normal level. European cities are still enjoying significant dips in air  pollution . The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams) shows that 42 of the 50 European cities it tracks had below-average NO2 levels in March. This pollutant, which is largely produced by diesel vehicles, dropped by 30% in Paris and London during the pandemic. How fast and how much European air pollution will rebound depends on the decisions of citizens, companies and government officials. “We do not know how people’s behaviour will change, for example avoiding public transport and therefore relying more on their own cars, or continuing to work from home,” Vincent-Henri Peuch, the director of Cams, told  The Guardian . Environmentalists hope that people will choose to  walk  and cycle more and drive their cars less. + The Guardian Images via Pexels

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Air pollution climbing back to pre-pandemic levels

Air pollution climbing back to pre-pandemic levels

June 5, 2020 by  
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Last month, news media around the world heralded cleaner skies as a byproduct of the pandemic-induced quarantines. Alas, as lockdowns are lifted, air pollution is climbing back to pre-COVID levels in  China . Several European countries may soon follow suit. Concentrations of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are back to where they were a year ago, according to data from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea). In early March, when China was suffering the worst of the  pandemic , the particle count was down by 34%, while nitrogen dioxide levels had fallen by 38%. Related: Air pollution could make COVID-19 more dangerous “The rapid rebound in air pollution and coal consumption levels across China is an early warning of what a smokestack industry-led rebound could look like,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Crea’s lead analyst, in an article from  The Guardian . “Highly polluting industries have been faster to recover from the crisis than the rest of the economy. It is essential for policymakers to prioritise clean energy.” Wuhan, the pandemic’s ground zero, is still experiencing lower than usual nitrogen dioxide levels — 14% lower than last year. However, Shanghai’s NO2 level has soared to 9% higher than in 2019. Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultancy group, expects that the second quarter of 2020 will see China’s  oil  demand recover nearly to its normal level. European cities are still enjoying significant dips in air  pollution . The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams) shows that 42 of the 50 European cities it tracks had below-average NO2 levels in March. This pollutant, which is largely produced by diesel vehicles, dropped by 30% in Paris and London during the pandemic. How fast and how much European air pollution will rebound depends on the decisions of citizens, companies and government officials. “We do not know how people’s behaviour will change, for example avoiding public transport and therefore relying more on their own cars, or continuing to work from home,” Vincent-Henri Peuch, the director of Cams, told  The Guardian . Environmentalists hope that people will choose to  walk  and cycle more and drive their cars less. + The Guardian Images via Pexels

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Air pollution climbing back to pre-pandemic levels

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