Zimbabwe permaculture education center promotes self-sufficiency

December 11, 2020 by  
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German architecture firm  Studio Anna Heringer  has completed the first kindergarten in  Zimbabwe’s  Chimanimani District, a rural and desolate region home to about 200 families that have long lacked access to education. The kindergarten, which builds on the firm’s award-winning portfolio of humanitarian architecture, serves as a pilot project for PORET, Zimbabwe’s permaculture community, to promote permaculture and encourage self-sufficiency in the local community. Using community labor to support the local economy, the buildings are constructed from locally sourced timber, thatch and stone. Constructed over approximately 11 months in 2014, the kindergarten consists of a pair of domed buildings set on stone foundations. The structural frames use timber from Zimbabwe tree plantations. Inspired by the country’s beautiful thatched roofs and the routine tradition of cutting grass to lower an area’s risk of fire, the architects covered the structural ribs with thatching. Local craftsmen were employed for the labor-intensive work of thatching and building the stone foundations, thus providing the community with a good share of the construction budget. “With these local techniques the project aims to build with a process that reinforces solidarity and team spirit, skills and knowledge, self-confidence and dignity,” the architects explained. “Due to the contexts climate and local conditions buildings, unless built in glass and steel, will not last forever, but it is essential that the know-how to maintain and rebuild them is kept alive and traded on to the following generations. This is why we see this project primarily as a training in advanced building techniques with existing materials that can become the compost of the kindergarten fields one day.” Related: Donkey-drawn mobile libraries bring books to people in Zimbabwe While in operation, the kindergarten will teach children permaculture principles from the basics of soil and plant care to water harvesting techniques. The two buildings can also function as training and meeting spaces for the community.  + Studio Anna Heringer Images by Margarethe Holzer

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Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art

January 6, 2020 by  
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In a bid to clamp down on the NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) opposition to wind farms, international design collective Prototype 2030 has created a two-part proposal that would turn wind turbines into interactive public art. The first part of the design, dubbed Windwords, proposes reshaping wind turbines into giant letters to create landmarks representative of the community. To further empower communities with wind farms, the designers suggest allowing local residents to share in the profits and control the wind turbines through a smartphone app. Inspired by community-oriented design processes for public infrastructure, Prototype 2030 believes that the way to wider acceptance of wind farms and wind turbines begins with neighborhood-centered design. The Windwords proposal takes cues from the Hollywood sign and the IAMSTERDAM letters, which are not only iconic landmarks in their respective cities but also attract attention from tourists. Related: LEGO reintroduces Vestas wind turbine set, now made with plant-based plastic “Our point is not, of course, that every wind turbine has to be turned into a giant letter,” the collective explained. “Every site and community is different and will present different needs and opportunities. Big pink words will not be the solution every time. The real lesson is that wind farms need to be designed to mean something to humans — because they do, to neighbors and passersby. Right now, what they say is usually not what we want to hear. They need to be designed to speak human.” To further humanize the relationship between wind farms and communities, the designers have also proposed Windswitch, a smartphone app that would allow local residents to share in the profits from wind energy . The app would also give users the opportunity to “influence the turbines in their backyard” by trading previous earnings in as credits to temporarily pause a wind turbine. + Prototype 2030 Images by Prototype 2030

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Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art

An adaptable timber house celebrates recycling in Ecuador

January 11, 2019 by  
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Ecuadorian architecture firm Natura Futura Arquitectura has teamed up with Frontera Sur Arquitectura to develop an inspiring example of social architecture in the town of Huaquillas, Ecuador. Dubbed La Comuna, the project is a double-story timber structure that not only provides a local family a place to live but also a safer work environment for them to continue their recycling business. The building was constructed with six easily replicable modules that take inspiration from the local vernacular with its “chazas”, or latticed screens. Commissioned by a foundation and private company, the architects were asked to create a live-work building that would also be held up as an inspirational landmark for the city, which suffers from a reputation of poor sanitation. To that end, the design studios created a two-story building with a community-facing ground floor that houses the recycling workspaces, while the upper level houses the private living spaces. The structural system is based on a 3-meter-by-4-meter module, with each floor made up of three modules. “’La Comuna’ becomes a milestone for the city, due to the transformation process it had, with a history of unhealthiness and contamination,” the team explained in a project statement. “The project communicates a discourse through its facade with a message, generating reflection between the private and the public through architecture and recycling. The wood is used by the tradition of the existing buildings in the area, the application of shafts or lattices contribute in the construction of the building.” Related: LOT-EK upcycles 140 shipping containers into an apartment complex in South Africa In contrast to the open workspace in the ground floor, the living quarters on the upper level are screened off for privacy. The operable timber latticed screens were also designed to spell out the word “RECICLA” (recycle) when closed. Inside, the home is engineered for flexibility with walls set on wheels and movable furniture that give the family freedom to reconfigure their living quarters as they please. + Natura Futura Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via Natura Futura Arquitectura

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7 of the biggest eco-friendly and green living myths

January 11, 2019 by  
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When you decide to go green and adopt a sustainable lifestyle, you might think that some of the biggest steps you can take in the right direction are doing things like buying a hybrid car, dropping meat from your diet or using eco-friendly products. But over the years, we have been inundated with “green” messages that are easily taken for granted, and some of them are filled with misinformation. So to help you go green the right way, here is a list of seven of the biggest sustainable living myths that are easily busted. You need to buy a green car If you are considering buying a new vehicle, you would think that it makes sense for someone living a green lifestyle to opt for a small, efficient model with low CO2 emissions and killer gas mileage. The truth is, when a company makes a new car, it has to mine and process the necessary metals and assemble the components, and that takes a ton of energy. An expert at the Stockholm Environment Institute claimed that producing a modern car causes approximately 8 tons of CO2, which is the same as driving 23,000 miles. This means that the greener option might be to stick with your current car instead of buying a new one. To make your vehicle more fuel-efficient, get it regularly serviced, keep the tires properly inflated and consolidate your trips. A vegetarian diet is best for the planet Foods made from animal products usually have a higher carbon footprint than plant-based foods, so it’s easy to believe that switching to a vegetarian diet is good for the environment. However, if you are making up your calories by consuming dairy, you might be canceling out any gains you made by cutting out meat. Here’s why — some dairy products are more “carbon intensive” than meats. Things that take a lot of milk to produce — like hard cheese — can actually have a bigger carbon footprint per kilo than chicken. So if you really want your diet to reduce emissions, go vegan . A home should only have efficient appliances We are constantly told that we should buy energy-efficient appliances if we want to be environmentally friendly and keep our carbon footprint in check. What you may not know is that there are other ways you can lower your carbon footprint without dropping a ton of cash on new appliances. If you simply stop running your washer, dryer and dishwasher during the day — instead, turn them on before you go to bed — you can make a huge difference. The reason is that electricity consumption is at its highest in the daytime, and that means the dirtiest, least-efficient power stations are used to help meet demand. But at night, they can switch off those stations, and each unit of electricity has a lower carbon footprint. If buying energy-efficient appliances isn’t part of your budget, use your current ones at night to help spread the load on the electricity grid. Detergent is the most harmful part of the laundry cycle When it comes to doing laundry, choosing eco-friendly detergents that are rapidly biodegradable , have low toxicity and feature plant-based ingredients are definitely more favorable to the environment. But did you know that the biggest factor in your laundry footprint is the process of heating the water? This means that you can effectively cut your emissions by using low-temperature laundry cycles and using hot water sparingly when washing clothes. Incandescent bulbs are disappearing Over the past couple of decades, we have seen Light Emitting Diode ( LED ) and Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs revolutionize energy-efficient lighting. This led to the rumor that incandescent bulbs were going away and would disappear from the marketplace. This is simply not true. You don’t have to hoard incandescent bulbs, and you don’t have to buy the more expensive bulb options. Instead, manufacturers have been phasing out certain models and replacing them with more energy-efficient versions. The bulbs last longer, but the lighting stays the same. It’s impossible to avoid disposable plastic It’s no secret that single-use plastics are everywhere and a major contributor to climate change. It seems like everything we buy is packaged in single-use plastic, and then we tote all of those items home in plastic bags. But it’s not impossible to cut disposable plastic out of your life, you just have to plan ahead. Stock up on reusable bags, water bottles, coffee mugs, utensils and food containers, and before you leave your house, take what you need with you. Most restaurants are happy to fill up your reusable containers instead of using their packaging. When you hit the coffee shop or need to hydrate with water, you can use your reusable mugs and bottles instead of the single-use cups. Take your reusable bags with you to the grocery store, and stay on the lookout for items that aren’t packaged in plastic . You might not be able to cut plastics out completely, but you can make a big dent in your everyday use with a little bit of preparation. Green labels are always true Opting for eco-friendly products at the store might seem like an easy task. All you have to do is find something marked “eco-friendly,” “green,” “natural” or “biodegradable.” The truth is that those terms are not regulated and have no clearly defined standards. Just because a product has an eco-friendly label doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the case. Images via Joenomias , Silviarita , Frank Habel , Pexels , Jasmine S.  and Shutterstock

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7 of the biggest eco-friendly and green living myths

Off-grid Njoro Children’s Library in Tanzania keeps naturally cool with compressed earth

April 15, 2016 by  
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This food distribution center in Spain was designed and built in just three months

May 19, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of This food distribution center in Spain was designed and built in just three months Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architecture for charity , architecture Spain , community architecture , food distribution centre , prefab architecture , prefab buildings , Tarragon Spain , volunteer building

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This food distribution center in Spain was designed and built in just three months

Icecream Architecture Travels Around Europe Teaching Architecture from the Back of a Van!

July 18, 2012 by  
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Just like the ice-cream man, Icecream Architecture is all about the community. The organization was established in Scotland in 2009 by Desmond Bernie and Sarah Frood with the aim of bringing an approachable face to the architecture profession. With a strong background in architectural planning, the duo focuses on community consultation and engagement, bringing a fun and interactive element to what can often be a difficult process. Read the rest of Icecream Architecture Travels Around Europe Teaching Architecture from the Back of a Van! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architecture education , community architecture , Desmond Bernie , Icecream Architecture , Sarah Frood , teaching design , teaching people about architecture

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Glimmering, Pixelated MUCA Music Center Shines in Southern Spain

March 26, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Glimmering, Pixelated MUCA Music Center Shines in Southern Spain Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alicante music center , community architecture , Cor & Asociados , david frutos , MUCA music hall , public community building spain , rural village green design spain

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Glimmering, Pixelated MUCA Music Center Shines in Southern Spain

Green-Roofed Community Eco-Market Enlivens Locals in Kolkata

October 14, 2011 by  
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Located in New Town, Kolkata , this brand new community market has been designed by Trizzone Design Consultancy to create a contemporary gathering space comprised of various areas dedicated to fun activities and the daily needs of the local neighborhood. Kept simple and understated, the architecture reflects a relaxed and unaffected aesthetic, but in fact richly rewards its users with a skillful and subtle combination of practicality and entertainment within. The building was also designed to address the climatic conditions of the city of Kolkata, to include a beautifully planted green roofscape, and glazed elevations. + Trizzone Design Consultancy The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!   Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , calcutta , community architecture , community market , glazed elevations , green architecture , green market , green roof , india community space , local market , market india , New Town Kolkata , planted green roofscape , Trizzone Design Consultancy

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Green-Roofed Community Eco-Market Enlivens Locals in Kolkata

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