Inconsiderate truck driver scars Peru’s ancient Nazca Lines

February 2, 2018 by  
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The historic Nazca Lines of Peru have been damaged by the actions of an inconsiderate truck driver. The driver, who has since been arrested and will likely face charges related to an attack against cultural heritage, deliberately drove off the Pan-American highway and into the 2,000 year old UNESCO Heritage Site. Ignoring signs identifying the protected area, the driver left “deep scars” through the Nazca geoglyphs across an area of 100 by 300 feet. Fortunately, the damage seems to be fixable, though authorities are still conducting a full investigation of the incident. Carved into the desert by a pre- Inca civilization, the Nazca Lines are thought to have held religious significance and likely served as a site for spiritual ceremonies. Though virtually invisible if viewed from ground level, the geoglpyhs come to life when seen from above, whether on planes or surrounding foothills. The lines were originally created by removing the red pebbles that cover the ground to reveal the pale ground beneath. Because of the climactic stability of the Nazca region, located along Peru’s arid coastal plain , these ancient designs remain relatively untouched, the occasional errant truck driver notwithstanding. Related: Giant curtain built in Peru to study climate change in the cloud forests The Nazca Lines’s proximity to the Pan-American Highway, which runs 19,000 miles long from the United States to Argentina , has increased the potential for human-caused damage to the ancient site. One high-profile instance occurred in 2014, when Greenpeace activists faced criminal charges for damage inflicted on the heritage site whilst setting up a massive sign urging climate change action. While the most recent incident has prompted Peruvian authorities to increase patrols of the area, there are no guarantees. “While the Culture Ministry monitors areas with the largest concentration of geoglyphs every day, it may not be fully protected,” Peruvian Culture Ministry archaeologist Johnny Isla told Andina . “Entry and transit are possible through valleys and streams where the archaeological area spreads out.” Via The New York Times and Andina Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Inconsiderate truck driver scars Peru’s ancient Nazca Lines

How Las Vegas aims to be the next Silicon Valley for water innovation

October 25, 2017 by  
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With millions in state funding, a new startup incubator has begun luring water innovators to Las Vegas. The goal is to create a destination for water entrepreneurs akin to the culture of Silicon Valley.

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How Las Vegas aims to be the next Silicon Valley for water innovation

Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

June 20, 2017 by  
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Today marks the official debut of Diébédo Francis Kéré’s spectacular rainwater-harvesting Serpentine Pavilion . The 2017 pavilion was unveiled on a perfectly sunny day – but when it rains the roof will protect protect visitors from drizzle while funneling precipitation it into a central waterfall and storing it for irrigation in the surrounding park. The pavilion is inspired by the culture of Kéré’s home village of Gando in Burkina Faso even as it plays with experimental construction techniques and embraces the climate in Britain. Diébédo Francis Kéré, who runs Berlin-based Kéré Architecture , is the first African architect to construct a Serpentine Pavilion . Kéré cited trees as his design inspiration. The pavilion is topped by a massive canopy – visitors can walk underneath and be safe from the rain while at the same time experiencing the weather through a transparent roof and wall openings that allow the wind to blow through. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The roof is made of wood , supported by a hidden steel frame. Raindrops that fall on the pavilion are funneled into an oculus, creating a waterfall. Then the water enters a drainage system on the floor for use in irrigation later. The walls are made from prefabricated wooden blocks. At night the blocks create an intricate play of shadow and light as the gaps twinkle from movement inside the pavilion. Trees offer a place to gather in Burkina Faso, and Kéré hopes his Serpentine Pavilion in London will also offer a space for people to visit and share their experiences. In his design statement he spoke of his aim for the Pavilion to “become a beacon of light, a symbol of storytelling and togetherness.” And in his video on the pavilion’s design, he spoke of his desire for the pavilion to be inclusive and offer a space for all. + Kéré Architecture + Serpentine Galleries Via ArchDaily Images © Kéré Architecture, Photography © 2017 Iwan Baan ; © Erik Jan Ouwerkerk; © Enrico Cano; and © Simeon Duchoud

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Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

Copycat Tower Bridge in China sparks controversy

March 2, 2017 by  
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China is infamous for copying famous architecture from other countries – according to The New York Times the country boasts 10 White Houses, a couple of Great Sphinxes, four Arcs de Triomphe, and at minimum one Eiffel Tower. Now in the city of Suzhou, a Tower Bridge based on London’s iconic landmark is drawing attention, although the New York Times says it’s unclear why the bridge , which was completed in 2012, has suddenly been garnering international notice. Images of Suzhou’s Tower Bridge have drawn awe – one news outlet described the Chinese bridge as even more magnificent than the original. Suzhou’s bridge certainly is much larger; it accommodates a five-lane highway and flaunts four towers instead of two. Pedestrian walkways and observation platforms allow people to enjoy the views and architecture of the bridge. Related: China officially bans ‘weird’ architecture But not everyone is enamored with the Chinese Tower Bridge. Suzhou, which has been called the Venice of the East, has its own architectural traditions, such as whitewashed courtyard houses and ancient gardens. Some of China’s most beautiful traditional architecture can be found in the city. Li Yingwu, president of Beijing-based firm OAD Group , called Suzhou’s Tower Bridge plagiarism. He said, “I was really surprised that it got built in Suzhou, because it has preserved its culture really well. It shows that local officials lack confidence in their own culture. They don’t understand that architecture essentially is about culture. It’s not merely an object.” One news outlet, JSChina.com.cn , even suggested the copycat bridge would hinder promotion of the country’s traditional culture. Suzhou has 56 other copycat bridges, according to The New York Times, imitating international bridges like Australia’s Sydney Harbor Bridge or Paris’ Alexandre III Bridge. Architect Cheng Taining of the Chinese Academy of Engineering told Beijing News in 2015 some officials believe foreign-style structures bestow status on an area, making it look more modern or sophisticated. Via ArchDaily and The New York Times Images via CCTV Facebook

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Rammed earth Palenque Cultural Tambillo is designed to celebrate Afro-ecuadorean arts

December 8, 2016 by  
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Caá Porá , Siete86 and Ingeniera Alternativa designed a cultural center in the UNESCO heritage province of Esmeraldas to celebrate Afroecuadorean culture, marimba music, and traditional dance. Proposed for Tambillo, Ecuador, the center, named Palenque Cultural Tambillo , would give the community a dedicated place to express their heritage, pass down their musical traditions to their children, and share their culture with tourists. The design comprises a collection of buildings built using local techniques, as well as ecologically friendly materials and energy efficient principles to keep operating costs at a minimum. https://vimeo.com/172954061 The Afroecuadorean town of Tambillo is located in the “region of the marimba,” a type of percussionist folk music that UNESCO has described as an intangible heritage of humanity. Unfortunately, those celebrated traditions are at risk due to intra-generational learning gaps and insufficient rehearsal and performance facilities. Palenque Cultural Tambillo was created to help continue those artistic traditions and was designed through a series of participatory research and design workshops with the Tambillo community in October 2015. Related: UNESCO announces winning design for the Bamiyan Cultural Center in Afghanistan The final design comprises the performance center, located in the main building, and a cluster of smaller buildings for workshops and classrooms. The performance center would feature a dance floor made from packed sand and opens on one side to the mangroves for natural ventilation , light, and to acknowledge the important role the environment plays in culture. The building frames would be made from locally harvested wood and topped with palm thatch roofs. All walls would be made from rammed earth with crushed oyster shells and clamshells. It’s unclear if the project has been funded or will be built. + Palenque Cultural Tambillo Via ArchDaily

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Rammed earth Palenque Cultural Tambillo is designed to celebrate Afro-ecuadorean arts

Why people are at the root of healthy forests

August 30, 2016 by  
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Sponsored: A guiding principle of the Sustainable Forestry Principles is to respect the culture and rights of indigenous people.

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Why people are at the root of healthy forests

Natural resource investing gets a federal jump-start

August 30, 2016 by  
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Could public-private coordination be the next frontier in sustainable investing?

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Architects Newspaper sneaks a peek at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

August 17, 2016 by  
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Over at Architect’s Newspaper we spotted new photographs of Washington D.C’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)—and they’re fantastic. Photographer Darren Bradley captured dramatic snaps of the striking museum, which comprises a three-tiered structure inspired by Yoruban art from West Africa, a region where over half of the entire slave trade took place during the 18th century. The facade is clad in 3,600 bronze-painted aluminum panels inspired by the design produced by African American slaves. Click the link to see all the images and to whet your appetite for the NMAAHC opening on September 24, 2016.

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Architects Newspaper sneaks a peek at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Mountain-shaped Ama’r Children’s Culture House in Copenhagen has no beginning or end

April 11, 2016 by  
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Nøjkærhus welcome center blends old forest guard stations with modern Nordic design

August 27, 2015 by  
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