Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico

May 15, 2018 by  
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Architects Fernanda Canales and Claudia Rodriguez completed a unique weekend home that consists of nine pavilion-like volumes, each carefully positioned for optimal views. Located in a rural site just a few hours outside Mexico City , the 6,500-square-foot holiday retreat — named Casa Bruma — was designed as a series of boxes in order to sidestep the removal of existing trees. To soften the look of the concrete, the architects darkened the facades with a black pigment and topped most of the units with gardens. Casa Bruma features nine volumes of varying heights — corresponding to topographic conditions and spatial hierarchy — clustered around a central stone-paved courtyard . “This design solution was born out of the need to respect every existing tree on the site and to provide every space with sunlight both during the morning and the afternoon,” the architects explained. “The result is an ‘exploded house,’ where the dwelling is composed of isolated volumes that are placed according to the views, the orientations and the existing vegetation.” Walkways connect the main buildings, which house the kitchen, dining room, living room, master bedroom and children’s bedroom. The two guest bedrooms and the garage are located in the remaining units on the other side of the courtyard. The living room and one of guest rooms also open up to outdoor roof terraces . Related: A lush rooftop oasis flourishes on this renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City The minimalist design uses only five materials: black concrete , wood, stone, metal and glass. The natural materials palette and subdued colors give the home a “timeless character” and help the buildings recede into the landscape. Throughout the site, the element of surprise is a common theme, starting with a semi-hidden path at the entrance that gradually reveals glimpses of the courtyard. + Fernanda Canales Via Dezeen Images by Rafael Gamo

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Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico

This breathtaking Tulum art gallery was created by Peggy Guggenheim’s great-grandson

May 4, 2018 by  
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Much like the Guggenheim Museums around the world, a new art gallery founded by the great-grandson of Peggy Guggenheim is a true architectural showstopper. Santiago Rumney Guggenheim commissioned designer Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel to create IK LAB , a stunning arts gallery that opened late last month in Tulum, Mexico. Topped with a curved timber canopy, the nature-inspired space is located within the eco-friendly Azulik resort. Upon entering, visitors are asked to slip off their shoes and “to interact with the floor as a living organism,” made from woven jungle vines that seamlessly flow into walls and ceilings made with smooth curved concrete and locally sourced wood. No trees were cut in the process of building and the organic structure is lifted off the ground to minimize site impact. Natural light filters into the building through spaced-out timber elements and large openings in the walls reinforced by transparent fiberglass . In addition to framed views of the jungle outside, plants grow inside the art gallery as well. Related: World’s first porcelain courtyard opens at London’s V&A Museum “This majestic space redefines the traditional white-cube, gallery-visiting experience, instead fortifying the organic relationship between art and its physical surroundings,” IK LAB said in a statement. The inaugural exhibition, curated by Santiago R. Guggenheim, is titled “Alignments.” It features works by Tatiana Trouvé, Artur Lescher and Margo Trushina. + IK LAB Via Dezeen Images by Fernando Artigas

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This breathtaking Tulum art gallery was created by Peggy Guggenheim’s great-grandson

CO2 levels averaged above 410 ppm ‘for the first time in recorded history’ in April

May 4, 2018 by  
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Just over a year ago, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels hit 410 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in millions of years. And we just hit another worrying threshold in April: levels averaged higher than 410 ppm throughout the whole month for the first time. Geochemist Ralph Keeling said , “We keep burning fossil fuels . Carbon dioxide keeps building up in the air. It’s essentially as simple as that.” The Keeling Curve , a daily record of atmospheric CO2 levels made at the Mauna Loa Observatory, started in 1958. Back then measurements were around 315 ppm. 60 years later, we’ve passed the 410 ppm threshold, and in April, the average concentration was 410.31 ppm. According to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, “This marks the first time in the history of the Mauna Loa record that a monthly average has exceeded 410 ppm.” Today marks the 60th anniversary of the #KeelingCurve , a daily record of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. This record is considered the foundation of modern climate change research. pic.twitter.com/XJgGIj8Z1S — Scripps Oceanography (@Scripps_Ocean) March 29, 2018 Related: CO2 levels just reached 410 ppm — the highest in millions of years The Washington Post pointed out CO2 levels have hit 400 ppm in the past — such as over three million years ago in the mid-Pliocene warm period. But the Pliocene level “was sustained over long periods of time, whereas today the global CO2 concentration is increasing rapidly,” according to scientists in the Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume 1 , a 2017 federal report. Before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, CO2 levels fluctuated over thousands of years, but according to the institution, never exceeded 300 ppm once in the past 800,000 years. Around 1880, CO2 levels were about 280 ppm. Today, they’re around 46 percent higher. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe said about the milestone on Twitter , “It’s as if we discovered that something we eat every day is causing our body to run a fever and develop all kinds of harmful symptoms — and instead of cutting back, we right keep on eating it, more and more. If that isn’t alarming, I don’t know what is.” + Scripps Institution of Oceanography Via The Washington Post Images via Devin McGloin on Unsplash and Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

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CO2 levels averaged above 410 ppm ‘for the first time in recorded history’ in April

Researchers develop self-healing concrete powered by fungus

January 19, 2018 by  
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Scientists at Binghamton University have developed the first application of fungi in self-healing concrete. In a paper recently published in the journal Construction and Building Materials , Binghamton University assistant professor Congrui Jin and her team outline the ways in which a special species of fungi,  Trichoderma reesei , may act as a sealing agent when mixed with concrete . “This idea was originally inspired by the miraculous ability of the human body to heal itself of cuts, bruises and broken bones,” said Jin in an interview at Binghampton . “For the damaged skins and tissues, the host will take in nutrients that can produce new substitutes to heal the damaged parts.” Jin and her team’s focus on concrete could not be more topical. In the United States , a crisis fueled by historic underinvestment in infrastructure has resulted in increasingly dangerous roads, bridges, and highways. While Washington struggles to fund the federal government and state governments lack the resources to tackle this multi-trillion dollar problem, citizens still want something to be done before a major collapse occurs. “Without proper treatment, cracks tend to progress further and eventually require costly repair,” said Jin . “If micro-cracks expand and reach the steel reinforcement, not only the concrete will be attacked, but also the reinforcement will be corroded, as it is exposed to water, oxygen, possibly CO2 and chlorides, leading to structural failure.” Related: How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable – new study If concrete were easier to repair, the cost of infrastructure maintenance would likely decrease. This is where T. reesei steps in. The fungus is mixed with concrete and lies dormant until the first crack in newly laid concrete appears. As water and oxygen permeate the crack, fungal spores will germinate, expand, and create calcium carbonate to fill the crack. While the technology is still in its early phase, its successful small-scale application demonstrates that fungal self-healing concrete may fit right in someday soon. Jin said , “In my opinion, further investigation in alternative microorganisms such as fungi and yeasts for the application of self-healing concrete becomes of great potential importance”. Via Binghamton University Images via Jonathan Cohen/Binghamton University and Congrui Jin/Binghamton University

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Researchers develop self-healing concrete powered by fungus

This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers

January 19, 2018 by  
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Did you know that there’s gold and silver in your computer? These precious metals end up in landfills when people don’t recycle their laptops and other electronics. According to Dell , American consumers trash $60 million in silver and gold every year just by not recycling smartphones. The technology company teamed up with actress and designer Nikki Reed to turn that e-waste into something stunning: jewelry . Globally, recycling rates for e-waste are under 15 percent, according to Dell. They aimed to take action, and along with mining their recycling stream for materials, they got creative and reached out to Reed. Now she’s transforming materials from old motherboards into a 14 to 18 carat gold jewelry line called The Circular Collection with her company BaYou with Love . Related: Marcela Godoy Turns E-Waste Into Unique and Beautiful Necklaces The jewelry is created in Los Angeles , with the mission of reflecting “a beautiful world in which we continuously reuse resources and strive for zero waste ,” according to the BaYou with Love website . The collection includes rings, earrings, and cuff links. Gemstones like opals and diamonds the company says are ethically sourced complete a few of the pieces. The collection ranges in price from the Gold Ball Ring at $78 to the Cufflinks at $348. Dell said in their statement, “We believe one reason recycling rates for e-waste are so low is that people do not recognize how valuable their electronics still are even if they don’t work.” The jewelry line is one attempt to highlight that value. The company also aims to make it easier for people to recycle by teaming up with Goodwill for Dell Reconnect : you can drop off old computer equipment from any brand at one of the around 2,000 participating Goodwill stores in North America for Dell to refurbish or recycle. You can find a location here . Reed started BaYou with Love with Freedom of Animals founder Morgan Mogle. They offer clothing, home, and beauty products created with sustainably sourced and recycled materials in the United States. + BaYou with Love + Dell Reconnect Via Dell and BaYou with Love Images via BaYou with Love

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This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers

Snhetta completes Arabic calligraphy-inspired fish market in Oman

January 2, 2018 by  
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Most fish markets are dirty, exciting, and loud—a place of business, not of elegance. But Snøhetta challenges that stark, no-nonsense image with the completion of the Muttrah Fish Market, a new waterfront landmark and public space next to the Gulf of Oman. Created as a new focal point for the community of Muttrah, this bustling new market is topped with a sinuous perforated canopy that elegantly evokes the curves in Arabic calligraphy. Located at the heart of Muttrah on Oman’s largest harbor, the new 4,000-square-meter Muttrah Fish Market provides a meeting space where local fishermen and tourists can interact close to the city’s original fish market, built in 1960. This new tourism-oriented project catches the eye with a canopy that fans out like fishing nets and bears resemblance to a delicate skeleton bleached white by the sun. The curving canopy bunches together into a solid mass over the outdoor seating area on the second floor, but is otherwise retains its lattice shape for natural ventilation and playful movements of light and shadow. The complex canopy contrasts with the heavy concrete structure it shades below. “The architectural concept is inspired by the playful qualities of light and shadow through the shape of a double radial wall defining the spine of the new fish market,” wrote Snøhetta. “Seen from afar, one can observe how the curved wall relates to the radial shape of the corniche and the wider bay area, interacting with the street by exposing the stairs from the roof terraces in the openings along the corniche. Referencing both the former waterfront and the continuation of the corniche, the fish market defines the boundaries of public space, interconnecting the city, the mountains, and the waterfront.” Related: Snøhetta unveils striking new skyscraper for Manhattan’s Upper West Side The new space houses over 100 fish sellers and cutters in a brightly lit, lively marketplace that also offers a new space for vegetables and fruit stalls. The new facility also includes refrigeration, packaging, and storage spaces, as well as offices, coffee shops, and a rooftop restaurant. + Snøhetta Images © Firas Al Raisi, Luminosity Productions

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Snhetta completes Arabic calligraphy-inspired fish market in Oman

Green-roofed Kew Gardens Hill Library lures patrons indoors with a lifted facade

December 1, 2017 by  
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A branch library in New York City is luring the community indoors with a clever facade that lifts up at the corner to reveal glimpses of the happenings inside. Local firm Work Architecture Company recently announced the long-awaited opening of the Kew Gardens Hill Library, a key institution in the diverse Queens neighborhood. The renovation and expansion project is filled with natural light and topped with a large green roof. The new 10,000-square-foot Kew Gardens Hill Library is a renovation and 3,000-square-foot expansion of the 1966 Lindsey Library. Custom glass fiber-reinforced concrete panels that clad the facade are molded into a rippled pattern of vertical folds. The curtain-like panels appear to be lifted up on the north corner of the building, where large exterior windows let in ample amounts of natural light and beckon passersby indoors. The concrete is exposed indoors and reflects indirect light from the south- and east-facing clerestory windows . “Not only expressive and functional but also structural, this concrete band acts as a 200-foot-long beam to support the green roof without interrupting the open interior,” write the architects. “Two columns are the only supports for this beam.” Related: This adorable red ‘train’ carts books around the New York Public Library “The new façade is a physical and metaphoric lifting up of the library’s exterior walls in order to broadcast the activities of the library to the outside.” From the glazed corner, the angular facade begins its descent to provide privacy at the staff and book drop areas behind before tilting upwards to form a second, smaller peak at the children’s corner for “child-sized views” to the south. The facade also dips down on the north side for privacy in the teen study area. The library opened to the public on September 6. + Work Architecture Company Images by Bruce Damonte

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Green-roofed Kew Gardens Hill Library lures patrons indoors with a lifted facade

Daylit retreat in Mexico fits perfectly into the surrounding walnut groves

October 27, 2017 by  
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This hidden retreat in Amacueca, México  is a daylit getaway surrounded by lush walnut groves and forests. CoA arquitectura and Departamento de Arquitectura designed Casa Amacueca using primarily stone and timber , to create a serene escape that fits perfectly into its natural setting. The layout of the house radiates from the central courtyard which allows more natural light to penetrate the interior. Slender timber columns frame a beautiful walkway that offers a visual connection between the living spaces and nature. Related: Eco Hotel Endemico is a Gorgeous Green Retreat in Baja, Mexico The columns support the wooden frames that comprise the roof, while concrete appears only as grafts in the supporting walls as elements that limit, support and confine windows and niches. A deck sheltered under a gable roof follows the outline of the building and its radial wooden “armor”. + CoA arquitectura + Departamento de Arquitectura Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Francisco Gutiérrez Peregrin

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Daylit retreat in Mexico fits perfectly into the surrounding walnut groves

Daylit retreat in Mexico fits perfectly into the surrounding walnut groves

October 27, 2017 by  
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This hidden retreat in Amacueca, México  is a daylit getaway surrounded by lush walnut groves and forests. CoA arquitectura and Departamento de Arquitectura designed Casa Amacueca using primarily stone and timber , to create a serene escape that fits perfectly into its natural setting. The layout of the house radiates from the central courtyard which allows more natural light to penetrate the interior. Slender timber columns frame a beautiful walkway that offers a visual connection between the living spaces and nature. Related: Eco Hotel Endemico is a Gorgeous Green Retreat in Baja, Mexico The columns support the wooden frames that comprise the roof, while concrete appears only as grafts in the supporting walls as elements that limit, support and confine windows and niches. A deck sheltered under a gable roof follows the outline of the building and its radial wooden “armor”. + CoA arquitectura + Departamento de Arquitectura Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Francisco Gutiérrez Peregrin

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Daylit retreat in Mexico fits perfectly into the surrounding walnut groves

Daylit retreat in Mexico fits perfectly into the surrounding walnut groves

October 27, 2017 by  
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This hidden retreat in Amacueca, México  is a daylit getaway surrounded by lush walnut groves and forests. CoA arquitectura and Departamento de Arquitectura designed Casa Amacueca using primarily stone and timber , to create a serene escape that fits perfectly into its natural setting. The layout of the house radiates from the central courtyard which allows more natural light to penetrate the interior. Slender timber columns frame a beautiful walkway that offers a visual connection between the living spaces and nature. Related: Eco Hotel Endemico is a Gorgeous Green Retreat in Baja, Mexico The columns support the wooden frames that comprise the roof, while concrete appears only as grafts in the supporting walls as elements that limit, support and confine windows and niches. A deck sheltered under a gable roof follows the outline of the building and its radial wooden “armor”. + CoA arquitectura + Departamento de Arquitectura Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Francisco Gutiérrez Peregrin

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Daylit retreat in Mexico fits perfectly into the surrounding walnut groves

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