Twisting infinity-loop roof tops this prefab bamboo pavilion

May 2, 2018 by  
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Archi-Union Architects combined traditional Chinese construction techniques with prefabrication technology in ‘In Bamboo,’ a pavilion located in Sichuan’s Daoming Town. Created as a multi-functional rural community cultural center, the project celebrates the town’s renowned bamboo weaving craftsmanship with a material palette mainly comprising bamboo and tile. An eye-catching Mobius-shaped roof tops the building and is finished with traditional ceramic tiles. The nearly 20,000-square-foot In Bamboo building is located on two adjacent plots of land of unequal size. The architects drew two circles—one large, one small—on each parcel and joined them together to form the beginnings of the infinity loop -shaped building. “These two circles came together determining the large contour for our building while still preserving the surrounding bamboo forest and trees,” wrote the architects. “Within this new boundary we sought to maximize the continuity, horizontality and ductility of the space.” Related: Robots construct an art gallery in Shanghai from recycled gray bricks An unexpectedly rushed timeline meant that the architecture, landscaping, and interior were completed in just 52 days. Thankfully, the use of a 70% light prefabricated steel frame and other prefabricated timber construction—completed previously in the span of a month—helped increase the speed of installation. Traditional bamboo weaving was used in the facades. The speedy and relatively low-waste project has encouraged Archi-Union Architects to promote prefabrication in more rural construction projects in China . + Archi-Union Architects Images ©??

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Twisting infinity-loop roof tops this prefab bamboo pavilion

Snarkitectures Fun House will take over the National Building Museum

May 2, 2018 by  
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It’s almost that time again—the National Building Museum’s (NBM) Great Hall will undergo another dramatic transformation as part of its ongoing Summer Block Party series, this year under the direction of New York-based Snarkitecture . Returning after their wildly popular ‘The Beach’ NBM installation from 2015, the design studio recently unveiled designs for ‘Fun House,’ a comprehensive museum exhibition housed within a freestanding gabled structure. Created in the image of a giant traditional home, Fun House will comprise rooms exhibiting well-known Snarkitecture projects that trace the firm’s 10-year history. National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party is one of Washington, D.C.’s most anticipated architecture events every year thanks to its interactive, family-friendly installations by major design names including the likes of Bjarke Ingels Group , Studio Gang, and James Corner Field Operations. One of the most popular NBM exhibitions to date has been Snarkitecture’s The Beach, which filled 10,000 square feet of the historic Great Hall with nearly one million recyclable plastic balls. Snarkitecture’s Fun House will, for the first time, take up the entirety of the Great Hall. The exhibition, curated by Italy-based Maria Cristina Didero, will lead visitors through a sequence of interactive rooms with recreations of Snarkitecture’s important projects, such as The Beach -inspired kidney-shaped ball pit. The Fun House opens to the public July 4 through September 3, 2018 and will be complemented by a full schedule of programs and special events. Related: Gigantic swimmable ball pit takes over D.C.’s National Building Museum “Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience,” said Alex Mustonen, co-founder of Snarkitecture. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.” + Snarkitecture Images via Snarkitecture , photographs by Noah Kalina

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New images revealed for Zaha Hadid Architects LEED Platinum-seeking Generali Tower in Milan

April 26, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects just revealed new images of their soon-to-be-completed Generali Tower, a twisting glazed landmark in Milan targeting LEED Platinum certification. The sculptural building was created as part of the massive CityLife masterplan that, when completed in 2020, will mark the largest new civic space and public park created in the city since the opening of Parco Sempione 130 years ago. The 44-story Generali Tower, along with two other towers, serves as the centerpiece for CityLife. The 557-foot-tall Generali Tower is aligned with the surrounding public park at its base but gradually twists to orientate the upper floors in alignment with the primary southeast axis leading to Bramante’s 15th Century tribune of Santa Maria della Grazie and beyond. Algorithms were used to determine the “torsion of the tower, induced by the warping of the columns around the core,” wrote the architects. “The curvilinear geometries of its podium defined by the perceived centripetal forces generated from the staggered intersection of these three city axes at the tower’s base.” Related: Zaha Hadid Architects designs robot-assisted vaulted classrooms for China The building features a reinforced concrete structure clad in a double-facade system that, in addition with sun-deflecting louvers, helps ensure excellent energy performance. The Generali Tower’s interiors will be completed this summer and house up to 3,900 employees. Once CityLife is completed, the 90-acre site will offer 1,000 new homes, offices for over 11,000 staff, a new 42-acre public park, piazzas, and a kindergarten. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Hufton + Crow

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New images revealed for Zaha Hadid Architects LEED Platinum-seeking Generali Tower in Milan

Pollution Pods let visitors taste pollution from around the world

April 26, 2018 by  
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Air pollution is a silent killer responsible for millions of death worldwide. In a bid to highlight the environmental problem, British artist Michael Pinsky set up five interconnected geodesic domes, dubbed the “pollution pods,” that let passersby sample air quality from five cities around the world including Beijing, São Paulo, Brazil; London; New Delhi; and Norway’s Tautra Island. Created in collaboration with Danish air filtering company Airlabs, the temporary installation popped up for Earth Day outside London’s Somerset House. Pinsky simulated each city’s atmospheric conditions using safe chemicals that emulate the relative presence of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide . Visitors pass through increasingly polluted cells starting with the pristine Norwegian island of Tautra, followed by “Living Diesel” London , smoggy New Delhi, hazy Beijing, and finally smoky São Paulo, after which visitors get respite by exiting through the Tautra pod. Related: Blue LED Rings On Famous London Monuments Show Just How Far Sea Levels Could Rise The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim originally commissioned Pinsky for the installation as part of the Climart project in Norway . The project was brought over to London temporarily and was on display until yesterday, April 25. Pollution Pods aims to bring greater attention to the issue of air pollution and inspire behavioral change; visitors are also offered a leaflet detailing ways to reduce exposure to air pollution in London. + Michael Pinsky Via NY Times Images via Somerset House , by Peter Macdiarmid

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Solar outshined all fossil-fuels sources combined in 2017

April 19, 2018 by  
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Last year, the world invested more in solar power than all fossil-fuel sources combined. Investors and governments installed an all-time record of 157 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity, according to a new report from the United Nations (UN). In 2017, the world installed 98 W of solar capacity, nearly half of which was in China. The net new capacity from fossil fuels was only 70W in 2017. “We are at a turning point … from fossil fuels to the renewable world,” UN Environment head Erik Solheim told Reuters . “The markets are there and renewables can take on coal, they can take on oil and gas.” Although renewable energy is clearly the way of the future, fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy on the planet. Only 12.1 percent of the world’s electricity came from renewable energy sources, an improvement on 5.2 percent in 2007. This boom in renewable energy has been backed by strong investment in recent years. In 2017, global investment in renewable energy rose by two percent. China invested $122.6 billion, 45 percent of global investment and the most of any country, into the industry in the same year. Related: World’s largest solar energy project will be 100 times bigger than any other on the planet Governments and investors have noticed a change in the fundamentals behind renewable energy. “Much lower costs … are the driver of solar investment worldwide,” said report lead author Angus McCrone told Reuters . For example, the cost of energy production through large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) decreased by 15 percent last year to $86 per megawatt hour. Even with an administration hostile to renewable energy in the White House, the drive towards renewable energy continues. “Trump can no more brake this than those who opposed the Industrial Revolution could stop the Industrial Revolution,” said Solheim. President Trump recently signed a government spending bill that retained many of the existing tax credits for renewable energy in the United States . Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos (1)

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UK plans to ban the sales of plastic straws to tackle ocean plastic pollution

April 19, 2018 by  
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8.5 billion plastic straws are tossed out in the United Kingdom every year, according to a recent study cited by the government . They plan to take action — by ending sales of plastic-stemmed cotton buds and plastic drink stirrers and straws in a bid to reduce ocean plastic waste. The UK is cracking down on ocean plastic . The government announced the ban at the summit for the Commonwealth heads of government. Prime Minister Theresa May said, “ Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world…the British public have shown passion and energy embracing our plastic bag charge and microbead ban .” Related: Queen of England bans plastic bottles and straws at royal estates The ban won’t take effect immediately; the statement said the government would work with industries to ensure time to adapt and create alternatives. Plastic straws utilized for medical reasons could also be excluded from the ban. May challenged other countries in the Commonwealth, which includes 53 member countries across Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean, to battle marine plastic as well. The UK government is committing to £61.4 million, around $87.4 million, in funding for research and better waste management for developing countries , according to May, who said, “The Commonwealth is a unique organization, with a huge diversity of wildlife, environments, and coastlines. Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.” The UK government’s microbead ban went into effect in January of this year, and their five pence single-use plastic bag law has resulted in nine billion fewer bags distributed, according to the government. Another statistic the government drew on to back the plastic straw scheme is that one million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals perish due to eating plastic waste and getting tangled in it. They also said there are more than 150 million metric tons of plastic in the oceans on our planet. + United Kingdom Government Images via Depositphotos and Carly Jayne on Unsplash

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UK plans to ban the sales of plastic straws to tackle ocean plastic pollution

Baboons use a barrel to escape biomedical research institute in Texas

April 18, 2018 by  
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Baboons  escaped a biomedical research facility over the weekend with the help of a 55-gallon barrel. Gizmodo reported  that one clever baboon figured out how to turn a barrel upright and use it to climb fencing. Three others followed and the group hit the road, although one returned on its own — but sadly, their freedom didn’t last long. Baboons hit the road after escaping from a Texas Biomedical Research Institute (TBRI) facility. Inward-leaning walls on their open-air enclosure (seen in the video above) have kept animals from leaving in the past 35 or so years, but that didn’t stop these primates . According to the institute’s statement , the animals rolled the barrel to an upright position to ultimately jump out of the enclosure. An animal capture team, wearing protective masks and suits, captured the three animals who did leave around 20-30 minutes after. Two baboons were held to the tree line, but one made it to a nearby street. ABC News shared a video on Twitter of members of the team chasing one of the baboons on a Texas highway. Four baboons escaped their enclosure at a San Antonio biomedical research facility Saturday. A woman then spotted one leading researchers on a wild foot chase down a Texas highway. All of the baboons were safely returned according to a statement. https://t.co/sA148VbSDd pic.twitter.com/pPBW4V5ZIu — ABC News (@ABC) April 15, 2018 Related: Scientists in China have successfully cloned monkeys There are over 2,500 animals at the institute’s campus; almost 1,100 are baboons. These four escapees were part of a group of 133 males, according to HuffPost , that aren’t currently being used for testing. TBRI assistant vice president for communications Lisa Cruz said in the institute’s statement baboons “have played an important role in the discovery of life-saving drugs, therapies, and vaccines and have led to greater understanding of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and so much more that impact the lives of millions of people.” The barrels, introduced in the enclosure just six to eight months ago, were what TBRI calls enrichment tools, and they’ve been removed. TBRI reported the returned baboons are doing well, but not everyone on social media thinks the baboons should have had to go back to the institute. People on Twitter called for the primates to find a new home in an animal sanctuary . This is heartbreaking. 4 baboons worked together to roll a 55 gallon barrel and escape the research facility where they were subject to horrifying medical experiments. They earned their freedom. Let them go to a sanctuary. Some animals are too sentient to be subjected to this. https://t.co/pWiykNdAW8 — Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) April 17, 2018 Four baboons planned their escape from your facility and escaped by positioning a 55 pound barrel so they could climb out. What does that tell you about your facility? You make me sick @txbiomed – have the decency to send them to a sanctuary. https://t.co/jRhD9xjG2L — Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) April 17, 2018 + Texas Biomedical Research Institute Via Gizmodo and HuffPost Image © Clem Spalding Photography (210) 271-7273, courtesy of Texas Biomed

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Baboons use a barrel to escape biomedical research institute in Texas

Couple restores 1969 camper into chic vacation home on wheels

April 18, 2018 by  
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When couple Matt and Beau saw a friend’s DIY camper restoration , they got inspired, and they decided to take on the same task themselves. Amazingly, it took the ambitious couple just 3 months and $10,000 to breathe new life into a run-down 1969 Globestar camper, which they lovingly renamed Rosie . The result is a beautifully hand-crafted living space that retains the original charm of the old camper while providing a sophisticated home on wheels . With a little help from some crafty friends, the determined duo worked on the challenging DIY project themselves, posting detailed tutorials on their blog, Probably This, along the way. Restoring the old camper wasn’t an easy feat, but the guys learned a lot: “We learned more than we thought we could ever know about 60’s era automobile construction, concrete mixing, bed-building, light hardwiring, shelving, painting-sealing-and-re-sealing, and appropriate methods of begging friends and family for help.” Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer The camper renovation began by giving the camper’s old exterior a complete makeover. With help from an artist friend, Faye Kaucher Bell , they converted the old rust- and cream-colored facade into a Southwest-inspired color palette, complete with Rosie’s name on the back end. For the interior, the project began with replacing the old peel-and-stick tiled flooring with tiny wooden triangles made out of reclaimed cypress . Next up were the living space and the sleeping quarters: Matt and Beau gutted all of the old built-in furniture and created their own. A complete twin-size bed frame replaced the former bunk/sofa area, and they also installed a built-in night stand. For the kitchen space, the guys kept it simple by repainting the old cupboards and adding a hex tile backsplash and brass knobs. However, they did embark on a massive DIY project for the countertops, which they refinished with a concrete overlay themselves. In the dining area, they painted the dinette table and bench bases a cream color and  reupholstered the seat cushions with a neutral fabric. They even cut out a custom-made sleeping nook for their sweet dog, Fox. As for the rest of the home, the guys filled it with their own decorations and trinkets, including a rose-print wallpaper that pays homage to Rosie’s new makeover. + Probably This Via Dwell Images via Probably This

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95% of the world’s population breathes unsafe air

April 17, 2018 by  
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Are you breathing clean air ? A new air pollution study suggests you might not be. It found that almost 95 percent of people in the world live in areas with higher fine particle levels than the World Health Organization ‘s air quality guidelines. According to The Guardian , poor communities are taking the brunt of the burden. The Health Effects Institute recently published the State of Global Air/2018 report. They drew upon satellite data and improved monitoring to discover that the majority of us could be breathing unhealthy air. According to the report , “An estimated 95 percent of people live in areas where ambient (outdoor) fine particulate matter concentrations (small dust or soot particles in the air) exceed the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guideline of 10 µg/m3. Almost 60 percent live in areas where fine particulate matter exceeds even the least stringent WHO interim air quality target of 35 µg/m3.” Related: New map reveals world’s most toxic countries The 2018 report also delves into household air pollution. More than one third of the world’s population is exposed to polluted air from the burning of solid fuels for heating or cooking indoors. Reportedly, “For them, fine particulate matter levels in the home can exceed the air quality guidelines by as much as 20 times.” Air pollution has been connected to sickness and early death — just last year, exposure to polluted air played a role in over six million deaths around the world, according to experts. Half of the deaths were in India and China . And the gap between the most and least polluted countries is increasing: it’s now 11-fold compared to six-fold in 1990, Health Effects Institute vice president Bob O’Keefe told The Guardian. But, he said even though countries may have a ways to go on cleaning the air, there are reasons for hope — such as India’s focus on electrification. O’Keefe said China “seems to be now moving aggressively,” as they put stronger controls in place and work to cut coal . You can explore the data from the State of Global Air/2018 on the report’s website . + State of Global Air/2018 Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2 )

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6 solar roads shaking up infrastructure around the world

April 16, 2018 by  
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Roads aren’t just for walking or driving anymore. Solar road or pathway projects around the world are showing that streets can both provide firm footing and generate clean energy . Inhabitat rounded up six projects in places as diverse as China and rural Georgia to highlight potentially game-changing technologies in the solar road sphere. Solar Roadways use modular solar panels covered in tempered glass Scott and Julie Brusaw launched Solar Roadways a few years back with the goal of transforming regular asphalt roads into energy -generating thruways. The Brusaws aimed to use  modular solar panels topped with tempered glass as replacement for standard pavement and, in 2016, celebrated the first public installation  of these panels in their hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho. While they’d also announced plans to bring their solar roads to a section of Route 66 in Missouri, it appears the project fell through. Late last year,  St. Louis Public Radio said the project wouldn’t be moving forward; according to Scott Brusaw, it “dissolved due to a variety of complex red tape factors.” But Solar Roadways is still at work to bring their product to roads and recently shared on Facebook  that they’ve met with interested connections from South Korea, Australia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Austria. Related: This bike lane in Korea is topped with 20 miles of solar panels France opens one-kilometer solar road with 2,880 solar panels In late 2016, France opened what was then the first solar road in the world: a one-kilometer stretch in Tourouvre-au-Perche, built with technology from Colas’ Wattway . The 2,880-panel road was said to generate enough energy to power street lights in the 3,400-person village. Rural Georgia gets a test stretch of Wattway’s solar roads Wattway’s solar roads hit the United States a few months after the road in France. The Ray C. Anderson Foundation installed 538 square feet of the solar road near the Alabama and Georgia border — the first Wattway pilot in America. The solar road was part of the foundation’s project The Ray , an 18-mile living laboratory testing renewable technologies that also includes  bioswales and a solar-powered electric car charging station . Solar panel expressway pops up in China Just a few months ago, a one-kilometer solar road, developed by Qilu Transportation Development Group , opened in Jinan, China . Three layers make up the road: insulation on the bottom, solar panels in the middle, and transparent concrete on top. The solar panels cover around 63,238 square feet in two lanes and one emergency lane, and can generate one million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy every year. In a strange twist , thieves actually took a small portion of the road days after it debuted; since the panels wouldn’t have been worth a lot of money, people speculated they might have wanted to learn the workings of the technology. The road was later repaired. Solar-powered bike path has generated more power than anticipated Solar panels aren’t just for highways. Bike lanes can make great use of them too, if one in Krommenie, Netherlands is any indication. After one year, the SolaRoad solar-paneled bike path  generated 70 kilowatt-hours per square meter, enough power for around three houses – and even more than the designers expected. Sten de Wit of TNO , the research organization behind SolaRoad, said most people don’t even notice the difference between the solar bike path and a regular one. Solar sidewalk helps charge electric cars Sidewalks can benefit from solar panels, too. Platio recently installed a 50-square foot solar sidewalk, created with recycled plastic , that pulls double duty: people can walk across it as it generates clean energy used to charge electric vehicles . Platio installed the 720-watt peak capacity system at a Prologis facility in Budapest — and the process only took one day. When the solar sidewalk isn’t busy charging EVs, energy it generates helps power a nearby office building. Images via Solar Roadways Facebook , Vianney Lecointre on Twitter , The Ray , Qilu Transportation Development Group , SolaRoad Netherlands, and courtesy of Platio

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