Mirage Architecture envisions a solar-powered glass cube for Lithuanias national concert hall

October 3, 2019 by  
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In response to an international design competition for Lithuania’s National Concert Hall in Vilnius, Iranian architecture firm Mirage Architecture Studio designed a conceptual solar-powered venue sheathed in a double skin facade. Dubbed Tautos Namai, the cuboid building proposal houses art inside and out — the exterior transforms into a vibrant artwork at night with holographic displays. Per the competition’s brief for sustainability, the conceptual project would not only produce more energy than it uses but would also minimize site impact and be built of recycled materials. In February 2019, the Vilnius City Municipality announced an international competition for a concert hall to be located on Tauras Hill, a popular park that offers a sweeping view of the city. To preserve the proportions of the old trade union palace and reflect the natural surroundings, Mirage Architecture Studio proposed a glass cube with a transparent outer shell and an opaline inner shell.  Related: Steven Holl’s solar-powered concert hall plays up the dramatic contrast between new and old “One reflecting the outside, and the other reflecting the enigmatic atmosphere inside,” explained the architects of the facade. “These glasses are made of photovoltaic tiles and produce a wide range of solar energy . So, in addition to creating a sense of belonging in the unconscious of the audience, an inexpressive and semi-transparent state of truth within it appears in mind. And all of this happens on the daytime. But at night time, the project has another story to tell. The Lithuanian National Music House is shining like a diamond using more than 18,000 holographic display; thus, the building’s appearance will never be reiterative at night, displaying a variety of surreal and abstract images.” The multifunctional, 550-capacity concert hall would be tucked underground, while the above-ground spaces could be used for artist workshops, training venues and other purposes. To reduce environmental impact, structural materials would be recycled from the previous building on site, site impact would be minimized wherever possible and recycled natural materials would be used for acoustic padding on the walls of the hall. Mirage Architecture’s submission did not win the competition; Spanish architecture firm Arquivo was recently announced the winner. Still, the design is an innovative way to combine solar power and art under one roof. + Mirage Architecture Studio Images via Mirage Architecture Studio

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Mirage Architecture envisions a solar-powered glass cube for Lithuanias national concert hall

Microplastics accelerate cell death at 3 times the normal rate, study says

October 3, 2019 by  
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Researchers from the University Medical Centre (UMC) Utrecht recently announced that cells exposed to microplastics experience cell death three times faster than those that are not. With microplastic pollution everywhere, the findings are sobering. UMC Utrecht scientists presented their research at the Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam on Thursday, warning that immune cells that attack microplastics are three times more likely to be damaged beyond repair, consequently prompting an immediate inflammatory response. This rate of cell death is in excess of normal immune cell behavior, such as engulfing bacteria or foreign bodies. Related: One plastic teabag can release billions of microplastics into your cup “These results raise serious questions about what microplastics are doing to our immune health ,” explained Nienke Vrisekoop, assistant professor of quantitative immunology at UMC Utrecht and lead author of the study. “Urgent further research is needed to paint as full a picture as possible.” The term microplastics has steadily crept into contemporary literature. Plastic does not readily biodegrade , but rather splinters into progressively smaller pieces, or microplastics. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the size of microplastics as less than five millimeters in length, making them invisible to the naked eye. As an emerging field of study, only recently have microplastics been the subject of research, spurred by their ubiquity as pollutants . They contaminate the oceans and threaten aquatic life. They are also small enough to bypass water filtration systems and find their way into drinking water. There is growing concern that when a person consumes microplastics, the particles are tiny enough to enter through the gut wall and eventually the circulatory system. “The demonstrated impacts, along the life cycle of plastic , paint an unequivocally toxic picture: plastic threatens human health on a global scale,” said David Azoulay, Environmental Health program director at the Center for International Environmental Law. “It’s high time businesses across the world took responsibility for the plastic they produce.” + UMC Utrecht Image via Shutterstock

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Microplastics accelerate cell death at 3 times the normal rate, study says

New Animal Endangerment Map shows global distribution of threatened animal species

October 3, 2019 by  
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Today’s wildlife are in peril, facing a variety of threats that test their survivability.  To illustrate the crisis magnitude, a new Animal Endangerment Map has been presented that reflects the conservation status of globally threatened species . Species survival is vital to preserving biodiversity and a region’s unique natural history but progress has not been kind to flora and fauna of late.  What’s causing species endangerment? Some threats are natural, like disease, for instance. However, the main culprits are because of human activities alone. Climate change , habitat loss (deforestation, urban/suburban development, agriculture, livestock farming), illegal trapping and poaching for wildlife trade, invasive species, overexploitation (excess hunting, overfishing, over-harvesting of aquatic resources) and pollution all have the human footprint.  Related: US and Canada in drastic crisis with 3 billion birds lost since 1970 Human population growth fundamentally leaves less room for wildlife species.  And as ecosystems are weakened, many species are forced to adapt quickly or face extinction in the decades ahead.  The newly devised Animal Endangerment Map collates and analyzes data from both the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  The map classifies global animal distributions as vulnerable, endangered or extinct .  How the species are assigned into the various categories is based on two factors standardized by the IUCN and WWF – the population size, as well as the amount of population decline over the previous 10 years or three generations. The Animal Endangerment Map has determined that the United States currently has 1,283 total species at risk. They are further sub-categorized as follows: 237 extinct, 4 extinct in the wilderness , 214 critically endangered, 277 endangered and 551 vulnerable. It is hoped data provided by the Animal Endangerment Map can assist in efforts to secure habitats and to sustain entire species. With this information, researchers and governments can address target areas for preservation.  The map, interestingly, has a toggle feature that displays data from 10 years ago to correlate with present day results, thereby allowing users to longitudinally compare conservation status of various species. Hence, the information provided can reveal efficacy and long-term feasibility of programs as they develop and are implemented.  More importantly, past initiatives have proven that well-managed protected areas can escape from the brink, allowing species to recover.  It is hoped therefore that the Animal Endangerment Map can inspire well-informed conservation action to safeguard the wildlife that currently need help.  + Animal Endangerment Map

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New Animal Endangerment Map shows global distribution of threatened animal species

Here’s what it will take to get aviation biofuels off the ground

November 5, 2018 by  
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United Airlines remains miles ahead of the competition in its commitments.

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Here’s what it will take to get aviation biofuels off the ground

How Taylor Farms is sowing the seeds for energy independence

November 5, 2018 by  
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Don’t underestimate the cachet of today’s cogeneration technologies.

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How Taylor Farms is sowing the seeds for energy independence

Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid to masterplan Russias largest port

June 8, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has won the Admiral Serebryakov Embankment competition, an international masterplanning contest for Novorossiysk, a Russian city on the Black Sea coast with the nation’s largest shipping port. Created in collaboration with local architecture firm Pride TPO, the winning masterplan aims to reconnect the city with its coast and celebrate the region’s rich industrial history and relationship with the sea. The masterplan will introduce a diverse mix of programming and facilities that prioritize non-vehicular circulation. As the nation’s main port on the Black Sea, the southern Russian city of Novorossiysk connects the country with the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and the Suez Canal. The city is the third-busiest port in Europe by turnover and is the leading Russian port for exporting grain. Zaha Hadid Architects and Pride TPO tap into Novorossiysk’s rich history and traditions as a center of trade in their masterplan. The masterplan is organized on the concept of “instancing,” a concept borrowed from photography in which a subject is slightly manipulated in between frames. Here, it is applied in the 13.9-hectare masterplan’s nine main buildings, each a manipulation of the same form in response to the individual structure’s functions, site conditions, and requirements. The design was informed through digital computation models . Related: Zaha Hadid’s only house rises like a spaceship in a forest near Moscow “Connected at various levels with walkways, squares, and podia and controlled by parametric [tools], the relationships of volumes are informed by multiple simultaneous iterations that test the orientation, height and thickness of these volumes. Utilising this parametric model allows the designers and stakeholders alike to accommodate fluctuations in the financial, volumetric, functional and time-related projections of the client without losing control of a coherent and architecturally elegant urban formation,” explained Zaha Hadid Architects. “Setting the orientation perpendicular to the sea, the Masterplan ensures maximum open unimpeded views towards the sea, as well as a comfortable layout considering the wind movements in and around the site. This results in a configuration that is porous and well-knit with the city fabric, inviting residents as well as visitors in and around the volumes.” The first phase of the masterplan will start construction in the second half of 2019. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects, by VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects wins bid to masterplan Russias largest port

Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory

June 8, 2018 by  
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Prolific landscape architecture firm  James Corner Field Operations  has managed to transform many desolate areas with its amazing park designs, but perhaps its crowning achievement will be Brooklyn’s Domino Park. Set to open to the public on June 10, the park — which was installed with reclaimed relics from the former Domino Sugar Refinery — has been converted into a quarter-mile long stretch of open green space running along the Williamsburg waterfront. Working with Brooklyn-based Two Trees Management, James Corner Field Operations (the lead architects on the beloved High Line park in Manhattan) has taken great care to convert the former industrial area into a welcoming public green space for the Williamsburg neighbors. The stretch of land from Grand Street to South Fifth Street has been desolate for years, its vacant lots blocked to visitors with chain-link fences. Now, after an extensive renovation to create a community-tailored recreational area, the project is ready to welcome the public. Related: Abandoned Lot Turned into Public Farm and Mountain Bike Course in Brooklyn First and foremost, the master plan for the park’s design included a strong emphasis on historic preservation. Reclaimed sugar refining and industrial materials, as well as various timber pieces, are just some of the relics  salvaged from the factory and placed in the park to pay homage to its origins. The 1,200-foot-long waterfront esplanade runs the length of the east bank of the East River, providing visitors with incredible panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and the Williamsburg Bridge. For those looking to simply sit and enjoy the surrounding views, there are plenty of benches around the park, which were also made out of reclaimed wood from the factory. The park’s expansive green space  is separated into two areas, a passive zone and an active zone. For those looking for a relaxing day at the park, there is an urban beach where visitors can soak up the sun on lounge chairs. A Japanese Pine garden leads into an open lawn with a designated 100-person picnic area and a large playground. For those who love to be active, there is a full-sized volleyball court, two boccie courts, and a 6,300-square-foot playing field. Dogs are also welcome to stretch their legs in the spacious dog run. At the heart of the park is a central gathering space, “Water Square.” Like most of the firm’s work, the greenery found throughout the park includes various sustainable plantings, as well as a mix of local and exotic foliage, flowers and trees. A four-tiered seating area with a water fountain provides visitors with a meeting place to enjoy the incredible views. Next to the wooden seating, four salvaged syrup tanks from the refinery were installed as a whimsical “Syrup Tank Garden.” Overlooking the park is an elevated, five-block long walkway. “Artifact Walk” is made from various pieces of salvaged factory equipment, such as steel columns, crane tracks and tall cylindrical tanks. During the ambitious project, Hurricane Sandy forced the planners to put resilience at the forefront of the design. Accordingly, the park is raised above the 100-year flood elevation levels and pushed back 100 feet from the water’s edge. + James Corner Field Operations + Two Trees Management Via Architectural Digest Images via Two Trees Management

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Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory

Stay in the world’s largest human birdhouse for free

February 23, 2017 by  
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Planning to attend SXSW but still searching for a place to stay? You may be in luck— HomeAway is opening up its human-sized Birdhouse in downtown Austin to two lucky groups of SXSW attendees for free. The vacation rental website teamed up with West Elm to transform the quirky space in their headquarters into comfortable and stylish bedrooms that sleeps six. Keep reading to take a tour inside of the world’s biggest human birdhouse. Perched in the middle of downtown Austin at 5th and Lamar, HomeAway’s giant two-story Birdhouse is an iconic landmark for Austinites and an ideal place to stay for SXSW. In hopes of providing a last-minute alternative to groups still looking for housing—there are less than 10,000 hotel rooms in downtown Austin—HomeAway has opened up the Birdhouse as part of a competition open to anyone over the age of 21. Entrants must answer the question “Why do you want to stay in the Birdhouse during SXSW?” and explain how the experience will impact them and the creative enterprise that they are part of. Entrants can choose from two two-night timeframes from and the winners will also receive a free two-night stay at a different HomeAway vacation rental for the nights that they do not stay in the Birdhouse. Related: SXSW Eco Announces Winners of the 2014 Place by Design Competition The Birdhouse is located on HomeAway’s third floor and has been converted into a rental with sleeping areas on two floors. HomeAway also rented the Birdhouse to guests last year with an auction with proceeds donated to Habitat to Humanity . You can enter the contest by sending HomeAway a message on their Birdhouse listing. + Birdhouse

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Stay in the world’s largest human birdhouse for free

Warming Huts 2017 winning designs are inspired by beaches, lanterns, and open borders

December 7, 2016 by  
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Warming Huts , an ” Art + Architecture Competition ” whose entrants design huts fit for the cold Winnipeg winters, have revealed their 2017 winners. Three winning teams designed the 2017 huts, which include a lantern-like hut, an ice block cabin and an “open border” hut. This year’s five winning huts are creative out-of-the-box designs that were inspired by history, tropical beaches and even  politics . Warming Huts invited Anish Kapoor to design a hut this year, and he envisioned “Stackhouse,” a geometric hut to be made wholly of ice blocks. They also selected the design of Nelson McIntyre Collegiate student Sean Kohli “On The Rails,” which was inspired by local history of rail transportation. Related: ROPE Pavilion by KNE Studio Is An Elegant Woven Warming Shelter In Canada Warming Huts also selected three winners. Team 888 of Chicago designed the winning “Greetings From Bubble Beach,” a geodesic dome retreat reminiscent of “an inverse snow globe,” according to the project description . Set on a wooden base, the dome will create a warm respite allowing visitors to step into summer. Team 888 plans to equip the dome with deck chairs, a palm tree, and a “sand-like ground layer.” The hut “Ice Lantern” is another winner. Designed by Lisa Tondino, Alexandra Bolen, Mathew Rodrigues, and Drew Klassen of Novia Scotia, Canada, designers say Ice Lantern is based on primitive hut archetypes. The lantern portion will hover over the snow, held in place by an “iglu snow-mound structure.” That structure will include wooden bench seating, offering warmth through natural insulation from the snow. The third winning design is “Open Border” from Joyce de Grauw and Paul van den Berg of the Netherlands. The two designers created a hut that looks like a red wall crossing an ice skating trail in the area. But skaters can shelter in the wall and cross through it at any point along the installation. In January 2017, the winners will travel to Winnipeg, Canada to construct the huts they designed. + Warming Huts Via Bustler Images via Warming Huts

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Warming Huts 2017 winning designs are inspired by beaches, lanterns, and open borders

Swedish students design one of the worlds most energy-efficient rail-bound vehicles

May 30, 2016 by  
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Sweden’s University of Dalarna shattered an important world record this weekend with their design of the Eximus 1, an incredibly energy-efficient rail-bound vehicle for the Delsbo Electric competition . The student team not only won first in the competition, but they also cut the energy consumption from the previous record of 1.26 kWh per person per kilometer to 0.84 kWh per person per kilometer—that’s the equivalent of using about 0.84 millimeters of fuel to move one person 10 kilometers! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taKk8uhg_Q8 + Justina 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!

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Swedish students design one of the worlds most energy-efficient rail-bound vehicles

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