A timber observation tower with a vertical forest is proposed for Zagreb

July 10, 2019 by  
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Istanbul-based design studio SUPERSPACE has proposed a new landmark for Croatia’s capital of Zagreb that combines an architecturally striking observation tower with a vertical forest in the heart of the city. Dubbed Ascension, the timber structure would serve as a “new gate” between the historic parts of the city and the post-war areas. If built, the tower would be the 10th tallest building in all of Zagreb and one of the tallest wooden structures in Europe. Proposed for the heart of Zagreb , the Ascension tower is optimally positioned to take in views of the natural landscape, from the south bank of the Sava river to the forests of Medvednica Mountain. The tower location also marks the split between the old and the new parts of the city, from which the architects drew design inspiration. The history of Zagreb dates as far back as 1094 A.D. and much of the city prior to the 20th century was developed north of the Sava river. After World War II, a construction boom that took place south of the Sava river resulted in a modern development now called Novi Zagreb (“New Zagreb”). Related: Foster + Partners designs solar-powered Tulip observation tower for London “As the Novi Zagreb is the future and modern face of Zagreb, Ascension represents and empowers the connection with the past and future; nature and man-made; old and new; as though the ground ascended to the sky and created this void, to engage this dialogue with a strong flow and visual relation,” the designers explained in a press statement. “As a connecting and reflective feature of the old and the new city, Ascension greets the landmarks of the downtown with respect and claims a unique form with analogical proportions.” The Ascension tower features three main parts: a white and convex outer “shell” that symbolizes the revitalization of the new city; a timber-lined inner “shell” that symbolizes the identity of the old city; and a vertical forest of trees planted on multiple levels of the high-rise to create a visual link to Zagreb’s forested landscape. Viewing platforms are located on different heights of the tower to overlook select vistas including the Sava river, the city and the mountains. + SUPERSPACE Images via SUPERSPACE

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A timber observation tower with a vertical forest is proposed for Zagreb

Whiskey spill in Kentucky kills thousands of fish

July 10, 2019 by  
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Two Jim Beam warehouses in Kentucky erupted in flames last week, spilling nearly 45,000 barrels of bourbon into the Kentucky River. In an apocalyptic scene, the fire spread to the alcohol on the river’s surface, consuming all available oxygen within the water. The fire, alcohol content and lack of oxygen resulted in the death of thousands of fish . But this isn’t Kentucky’s first rodeo. In fact, the state has had so many whiskey spills that it has specific protocols for this type of disaster . The Louisville Water Company issued a swift announcement letting the public know that the water is not a health concern for humans. Related: Two thirds of world’s rivers are contaminated with drugs “We’ve had several occur in this state, so when this one occurred, we were just ready for it and knew what the actions were to take,” said Robert Francis, the manager of Kentucky’s emergency response team. When the Jim Beam warehouse was struck by lightning in 2003, 800,000 gallons of bourbon spilled out into the a creek in Bardstown. Just last year, the Jim Beam warehouse went up in flames again and spilled 9,000 barrels. In 2000, Wild Turkey spilled 17,000 gallons of bourbon in Frankfort, Kentucky and killed about 228,000 fish . In 1996, the Heaven Hill distillery spilled 90,000 barrels of bourbon after a warehouse fire. Firefighters from four counties rushed to the scene to extinguish this year’s bourbon warehouse blaze, and emergency teams continue to monitor the river to assess the impact. The Kentucky River is approximately 24 miles long and moving at a speed of less than a mile per hour. The alcohol is expected to have reached the Ohio River and be diluted enough to cause no further threat. Wildlife crews also helped aerate the river water via barges, which helps to replenish the oxygen and prevent further fish kills. The emergency responders will leave the dead fish floating in the river to decompose naturally, as they pose no threat to humans or other wildlife . Via The BBC and The Courier-Journal Image via Bruno Glätsch

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Whiskey spill in Kentucky kills thousands of fish

Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

November 13, 2018 by  
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Zagreb-based architectural office PROARH completed Issa Megaron, a family retreat in Croatia that’s disguised inside a rocky hillside with a zigzagging road. Due to its remote location and lack of surrounding infrastructure, the modern home operates off the grid by necessity and includes self-sustaining technologies from rainwater collection tanks to solar photovoltaic panels. Going off grid, however, hasn’t compromised the architect’s pursuit of luxurious living, made evident by the contemporary interior design, large pool and spacious footprint of 420 square meters. Completed in 2016, Issa Megaron began with the conceptual combination of a cave, a megaron (a great hall in ancient Greek palaces) and stone dry walls. “The house is envisioned as a dug in volume, a residential pocket between the stretches of space forming walls, an artificial grotto, a memory of a primitive shelter,” explained the architects, who split the house into two floors. The upper floor contains six bedrooms and bathrooms organized around a central living room and book-ended by two offices. The master bedroom and bath, the  open-plan dining room, lounge and kitchen, the game room, the gym and storage are located on the lower floor, which opens up to the pool and outdoor terrace. The traditional stone dry walls have been reinterpreted as reinforced concrete retaining walls topped with rocky green roofs . When viewed from above, Issa Megaron appears to blend into the steep terrain. “The design that emerges from such conditions is subtle, creates a symbiosis with the new/old stonewall topography,” the firm noted. “The newly built structure is man-made but unobtrusive in intent, material and ultimate appearance.” Related: Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside In addition to green roofs and solar panels, the house minimizes its energy footprint by following passive solar design principles that promote natural cooling. A concentrating solar power system is used for heating, while harvested rainwater is filtered and reused in the house and for the pool. + PROARH Via ArchDaily Photography by Damir Fabijani? and Miljenko Bernfest via PROARH

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Modern, self-sustaining home blends into a rocky landscape

For 16 years, this stork has flown 8,700 miles to return to his one true love

April 16, 2018 by  
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Just when you thought the world was one raging garbage fire , along comes this amazing stork to brighten the day. For the past 16 years, without fail, one male stork has flown 8,700 miles to be with his mate who can no longer fly after being shot by poachers. Klepetan the stork travels from his winter nest in South Africa to his mate’s Malena’s home in Croatia every single March where they reunite and raise a new brood. Malena was injured by a gunshot in 1993, but a local hero took her home after finding her by a lake and nursed her back to health. “If I had left her in the pond foxes would have eaten her. But I changed her fate, so now I’m responsible for her life,” said Stjepan Vokic, the man who cares for Malena. Now, although she can’t migrate any longer, she has a pretty sweet life. Vokic has built an “improvised Africa” where she can stay warm, and he cares for her by bathing her, catching her fish in the river and making sure her feet are moisturized. He even watches stork documentaries with her so she won’t get lonely, and takes her fishing. Related: This friendly fish has visited a Japanese diver for 25 years Klepetan arrives every March as spring begins in Croatia after traveling for a month from his winter home. Every spring, Vokic builds a new nest on his roof so that when Klepetan arrives, the couple can mate, and so far, they’ve had 62 chicks together. In the fall, Klepetan migrates back to South Africa with his new little family, and Malena stays behind with her human friend. Vokic says that the couple struggles to say goodbye every year, and Malena hides and stops eating when she knows Klepetan is about to go. Via Oddity Central Images via HRT

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For 16 years, this stork has flown 8,700 miles to return to his one true love

UMD scientists invent new water-based battery that won’t catch fire

April 16, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of Maryland have invented a new  water -based zinc battery that is safer than a traditional lithium-ion battery, but which doesn’t sacrifice power or usability. The team utilized elements of older zinc battery technology with novel water-in- salt electrolytes to create a battery that is not prone to catching fire. “Water-based batteries could be crucial to preventing fires in electronics, but their energy storage and capacity have been limited – until now,” said study first author Fei Wang in a statement . “For the first time, we have a battery that could compete with the lithium-ion batteries in energy density, but without the risk of explosion or fire.” Their work was recently published in the journal Nature Materials . One of the new battery ‘s improvements over traditional batteries is its ability to overcome irreversibility, the phenomenon in which the charge delivered by the battery at its intended voltage decreases with usage, through a technique that changes the structure of the positively charged zinc ions within the battery. In addition to the battery’s application in consumer goods, it also could prove invaluable in extreme conditions such as the deep  ocean or outer space. Related: California’s desert battery could be three times the size of Tesla’s The saline aqueous nature of the zinc battery eliminates the need to replace evaporated water within the battery, a key challenge of traditional zinc batteries. “Existing zinc batteries are safe and relatively inexpensive to produce, but they aren’t perfect due to poor cycle life and low energy density,” said study co-author Chunsheng Wang in a statement . “We overcome these challenges by using a water-in-salt electrolyte.” The researchers believe that their invention and related discoveries could be applicable to a wide variety of energy technologies. “The significant discovery made in this work has touched the core problem of aqueous zinc batteries,” said study co-author Kang Xu in a statement , “and could impact other aqueous or non-aqueous multivalence cation chemistries that face similar challenges, such as magnesium and aluminum batteries.” + Nature Materials Via  TechXplore Images via John T. Consoli/University of Maryland

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UMD scientists invent new water-based battery that won’t catch fire

Rimac creates an electric supercar with almost 2,000 horsepower!

March 7, 2018 by  
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The name Rimac may not be that familiar to you, but that could soon change with the Crotian automaker’s debut of the supercar of all supercars. Unveiled with significant fanfare at the Geneva Motor Show , the Rimac C_Two comes with almost 2,000 horsepower on tap and a suite of other impressive features; it’s basically what all electric carmakers should aspire to create. The Rimac C_Two has four electric motors , two in the front and two in the back that generate a combined 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 lb-ft. of torque. With that much power at your disposal, you’ll reach 60 mph in only 1.85 seconds and a top speed of 258 mph. The C_Two doesn’t just impress with the amount of power it has on tap, since it can also travel up to 404 miles on the NEDC cycle, thanks to its 120-kWh battery pack. Hook it up to a 250-kW fast charger and you’ll be able to charge it up to 80 percent in under 30 minutes. Related: Tesla-powered 1981 Honda Accord accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds Rimac is also looking to the future, since the C_Two will be capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, and it’s packed with the latest autonomous driving tech, including eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and lidar sensors. Even with all that power, Rimac describes the C_Two as a grand tourer. Open the butterfly doors and you’re greeted with a luxurious interior with three digital screens to provide all the information you need or want. There’s room for two and unlike most supercars, there’s even room for your gear. Rimac hasn’t announced the pricing for the C_Two, but only 150 units will be built. +Rimac Images @Rimac

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Broken windows of an abandoned building are turned into unexpected works of art

February 13, 2017 by  
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Opportunities for art and beauty are everywhere, even in the most unlikely places. Barcelona-based modern artist Pejac transformed the broken windows of an abandoned power plant in Rijeka, Croatia into a surprising and stunning canvas depicting a flock of birds fleeing from a boy with a slingshot. The artist used the existing cracks in the glass to create the silhouettes of birds in an intervention titled Camouflage, which Pejac says is a tribute to the Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte. Pejac draws inspiration from Magritte’s use of painted window-like birds that reveal clouds and sky within their silhouettes. The Barcelona-based artist created the illusion of birds in flight through negative space, but the intervention is so subtle that it’s easy to miss at first glance. According to Arrested Motion , the artist intended to highlight the survival instinct found in nature by showing how the birds camouflage themselves to survive. Related: This massive 11-story mural in Chile celebrates treehuggers Camouflage (Tribute to René Magritte) is considered Pejac’s most complex work to date and took a few days to complete. Unlike the birds, the silhouette of the boy with the slingshot was painted on with black acrylic . The piece was completed as part of the artist’s residency with the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art . + Pejac Via Arrested Motion Images by Sasha Bogojev

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Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside

November 30, 2016 by  
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Designers at 3LHD transformed an abandoned campsite into a unique hillside aquarium in Karlovac, Croatia . Freshwater fish and plant life are featured at the aquarium to give the public a deeper understanding of the area’s ecosystems . The educational center and its nearby shops are located both alongside and underneath the natural hillside, covered in green grass as a sign of unity with the surrounding habitat. The Karlovac aquarium sits alongside the river Korana, where a diverse array of wildlife flourishes. 3LHD derived inspiration for the center’s design from the revered “Karlovac star”, upon which many buildings and city structures are based. Visitors can stroll through the open center of the attraction to reach the gift shop, reading room, and cafe bar, which is accessible by strategically placed, multidirectional walkways. Related: South America’s largest aquarium boasts a 650-foot underwater tunnel Once guests walk inside, they are greeted by a symbolic river exhibit that displays the full biodiversity of the area. Surface waters give way to deeper aquariums on the lower level, where species no longer flourishing in the area can be found. On the other side of the tunnel, marshlands are displayed with lilies and rushes, which eventually give way to a climactic collection of waterfalls. The entire center is an experience unlike any other aquarium – an educational story told from beginning to end. The Karlovac aquarium is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund . Scientific research facilities and fish acclimatization spaces can be found on site, proving the center’s dedication to preserving the natural state of the surrounding ecosystems. +3LHD Via World Architecture News Images via 3LHD

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Croatian freshwater aquarium by 3LHD is built right into the hillside

Incredible ‘Sea Organ’ uses ocean waves to make beautiful music

November 10, 2015 by  
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Croatian architect Nikola Baši? grew tired of his war-torn city of Zadar being rebuilt with drab concrete structures so he decided to bring a little music back to the area. The architect created an incredible nature-based instrument , the Sea Organ, a set of 35 organ pipes installed in the town’s marble jetty that make beautiful music as waves lap at the coastline. Read the rest of Incredible ‘Sea Organ’ uses ocean waves to make beautiful music

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Pothole repair drones are coming soon to this English city

November 10, 2015 by  
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The English city of Leeds is about to become the envy of any driver who has ever cursed crumbling potholes. The University of Leeds has won a $6.4 million grant to create pothole-seeking drones that will swoop into action when infrastructure repairs are needed. Is this real life? Read the rest of Pothole repair drones are coming soon to this English city

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