Digital weather station in Spain looks like a wood ring

November 26, 2021 by  
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LPA Studios’ digital totem for the beaches of the Canary Islands has just won the Architizer A+ Product Award 2021 and the gold at Grand Prix du Design Awards 14th Edition 2021. This beautiful 2.5-meter tall digital beacon combines traditional art forms with modern function, working both as a decorative seasonal sundial and digital weather station. The device collects and displays local weather information for visitors at the beaches of the Canary Islands and celebrates the history of the culture here. A perforation at the top of the wooden ring allows the sunlight on the winter solstice to shine down and illuminate a bronze marker on the ground that celebrates the islands’ extraordinary climate. Related: Virtual pavilion looks into the future of sustainable design The design of this beacon takes the form of a digitally-fabricated wood ring, which reinterprets aboriginal ceramic art pieces from indigenous inhabitants of the islands . An image reflects the appearance of sun god Magheq, who is often represented through circular shapes and geometric patterns. The ring stands vertically with a north-south orientation. Carved surface patterns celebrate the diverse and varied cultural differences of multiple islands here. The northern face contains a video screen that broadcasts real-time environmental data and other information about tourist facilities in the area. The southern face holds solar panels to charge the device. “The totem infrastructural network acknowledges the more than 2,000 years of the creative relationship of the Canary Islands with the sun,” said LPA Studio. “The design solution bridges past and future: from marking the solstices for agricultural purposes in ancient times, to the current sun and beach tourist industry and the critical challenge of transitioning to a renewable energy economy .” Collaborators on the project include Project Director Juan Palop-Casado and Design Lead Ignacio Lopez with an assist from MEP Engineering. + LPA Studio Images via LPA Studio

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Will Biden keep his oil promises after COP26?

November 16, 2021 by  
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Now that the world leaders have left the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, citizens around the world are wondering if they will keep their promises to cut carbon  emissions . As for U.S. President Biden, the verdict is mixed. He is trying to protect some of the world’s most sacred and important Indigenous sites at New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon with a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing. On the other hand, critics say he could do more to halt a whopper of an oil sale in the Gulf of Mexico. Chaco Canyon was a cultural hub for  Pueblo  peoples from about 850 to 1250 A.D. The landscape still holds outstanding remains of buildings used for homes, business, astronomy and ceremonies. The Biden administration proposed a 20-year moratorium on any new oil and gas leasing within 10 miles of the  Chaco Culture National Historical Park , which is a National Park Service unit. Related: Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land “Chaco Canyon is a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked, and thrived in that high  desert  community,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, as reported by Huff Post. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, is the first Native American Cabinet secretary. “Now is the time to consider more enduring protections for the living landscape that is Chaco, so that we can pass on this rich cultural legacy to future generations.” Chaco is not safe yet. The Interior Department will pause new leasing for two years while it assesses  environmental  factors and considers public comments. Meanwhile, drillers are rubbing their hands together in eager anticipation of a ridiculously big area of the Gulf of Mexico the Department of the Interior is opening for lease sales. The 80 million acres could produce over a billion barrels of  oil  and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The  Biden  administration has protested this enormous invasion of the seabed. But in June, a federal judge in Louisiana managed to strike down Biden’s executive order to halt new gas and oil leases in federal waters and lands. Critics suggest that Biden could fight harder if he were willing to take more political and legal risks. Via HuffPost Lead image via Pexels

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Chinese hospital’s biophilic design values patient wellness

November 16, 2021 by  
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B+H Architects has just unveiled their design for the new Jiaxing Kaiyi Hospital in Zhejiang province in China . It is designed with sustainability and patient wellness in mind. Opened in October 2021, the 500 bed hospital sets a new standard for wellness-oriented healthcare and includes natural ventilation, trees to buffer the facility from road noise and biophilic design in the interior, which brings outdoor growing spaces indoors. The hospital is built around the idea that patient wellness doesn’t just depend on good medical care, but on a connection to non-medical wellness , including fresh air, a peaceful environment, good food and a connection with growing things and the surrounding natural environment. Related: Check into Moliving’s mobile hotels Half of the patient rooms in the Integrated Procedures Unit in Jiaxing Kaiyi Hospital face south to maximize natural light. Other features include wider hallways for pedestrian comfort, optimized views of the outdoors , temperature and lighting interfaces that patients and their families can control and calming colors throughout the hospital. There is also more comfortable visitor seating and increased walking space around beds and waiting areas. Additionally, there are spaces specifically designed for families visiting the hospital. A family meeting hub and a lecture hall are designed to foster community in the facility. There are also sunken gardens, rooftop gardens, a restaurant, horizontal and vertical green spaces and a public garden with water features. Gingko leaf prints are used throughout, along with warm colors and tailored fabrics that complement natural wood and stone for an at-home feel. Materials are environmentally friendly and should exceed the energy savings and air quality standards of China Green Building Two Star sustainable standards. + B+H Architects Images via B+H Architects

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Chinese hospital’s biophilic design values patient wellness

New resort area in Saudi Arabia breaks ground with Desert Rock

October 13, 2021 by  
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Saudi Arabia is about to see major development along the wadi vistas in the westernmost part of the country. The project being designed for The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) will be an expansive investment in driving tourism to the scenic and historic area. Award-winning firm Oppenheim Architecture is behind the current installment called Desert Rock, which is part of the larger Red Sea Project that will eventually see 50 resorts, 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 residential houses. Desert Rock broke ground this past summer and is expected to open for visitors at the end of 2022. Related: Mixed-use complex aims to minimize heat gain with greenery in Saudi Arabia Desert Rock is aptly named as it’s more than built from the ground up. It’s built into the side of a massive rock. While some might question the  environmental aspects of renovating the natural structure, the company has stated sustainability is high on its list of priorities. The rock that is removed from the mountainside will be used as a building material for interior and exterior walls and floors. Additional stone will be ground and, along with existing sand, used as the main building material. Processes within the building will focus on energy-efficient design elements that minimize energy consumption and aim to achieve the highest level of LEED certification. In addition to  passive design  techniques and energy-efficient systems, the building will incorporate water reduction strategies through rainwater harvest and native plants in the surrounding area.  Chad Oppenheim, founder of Oppenheim Architecture, said, “Desert Rock is one of the most dramatic desert landscapes in the world, which is why we wanted to use the architecture as a way to honor and respect it. By utilizing  natural materials  and integrating the resort into the rock, guests can connect physically with the destination and experience Saudi Arabia’s stunning, natural beauty.” Planners want to make the resort a cultural destination, hiring locals to educate visitors about the culture and history of the land. They also want to promote culture through art facilities. The outdoor and athletic opportunities include a spa and fitness center, remote dining, a lagoon, hiking, dune buggies and star gazing. Desert Rock is part of phase one of the project, which will include 16 hotels with a 2023 expected completion date. The destination will include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, leisure facilities and an international airport. A 100-hectare landscape nursery that will provide an estimated 15 million  plants  to the resorts is up and running, while housing for 10,000 builders is complete and housing for an additional 14,000 workers is underway.  + Red Sea Development Company Via Oppenheim Architecture Images via Red Sea Development Company 

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New resort area in Saudi Arabia breaks ground with Desert Rock

Furniture made from the sea plant eelgrass

October 12, 2021 by  
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Natural material selection for products can provide a low environmental impact and carbon emission output. Architect and designer David Thulstrup incorporated this idea into his recent exhibit called the MOMENTUM collection.  The collection is made up of four limited-edition pieces — low table, high table, podium and screen — exploring eelgrass. The sea plant was converted into legs for the furniture and screen material in the form of a product engineered by Søuld called Acoustic Mats. Related: Charlotte McCurdy, Phillip Lim design carbon-neutral algae sequin dress Building up from the Acoustic Mats, MOMENTUM also integrates glass and steel into the pieces. With the basis of natural, plant-based material, the furniture naturally battles carbon emissions, while bringing a bespoke interior design element to the space. Using eelgrass in building is not a new idea. It was formerly popular as a roofing material in traditional Læsø, located off the coast of the Danish mainland, seaweed houses. Surrounded by sea , eelgrass is prolific and is known to be used in construction dating back to the 1600s. Søuld converted that traditional building process into a modern option through innovative technology and ten years of research and development. Its Acoustic Mats have offered a welcome alternative in the construction industry, but MOMENTUM is the first example of using the material in furniture. “This collaboration has given us the opportunity to explore the material’s possibilities beyond the context of building construction,” explained Søuld’s Co-Founder Pi Fabrin. “[Thulstrup’s] purist material approach also highlights its natural beauty and tactility, and his designs respect the cultural heritage of eelgrass whilst meeting the design and environmental needs of today.” While the designs promote a connection between home interior design and nature, the function of the Acoustic Mats improves acoustics and speaks to the cultural heritage of the region. It not only provides an alternative to less environmentally-friendly options, but it also creates healthier indoor air quality. Søuld’s eelgrass products offer thermal and moisture-absorption properties. Similar to the characteristics of cork, eelgrass is highly resistant to fire, mold and rot and contains no toxic additives. “Working with eelgrass feels rewarding not only because of its truly unique characteristics, but also the fact that it’s natural , sustainable and revolutionary,” Thulstrup said. “I especially love the surface of the eelgrass, its warm hue and the smell of salt.” + Søuld Images via MOMENTUM by David Thulstrup for Søuld

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Netherlands’ massive vault of sustainability and art

October 11, 2021 by  
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Located in Amersfoort, Netherlands, the CollectionCentre Netherlands (CC NL) designed by cepezed architects is a masterpiece of modern architectural design . From the impressive exterior design, to the functionality of the collection center, the CC NL is a true reflection of the future. The building was officially launched on September 13, 2021 by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid Van Engleshoven. With a storage space of about 30, 000 square meters, the building is home to over 500, 000 pieces of art and historical objects , including artifacts, evidence, paintings, jewelry, clothing and furniture. The CC NL holds pieces from the Rijksmuseum, Netherlands Open Air Museum, Paleis Het Loo and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Related: Sculptural roof tops eco-minded Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts expansion CC NL is designed in three sections: the ”head,” ”neck” and ”trunk.” The “neck” is the busiest of the three sections of the building, functioning as workshops where all the objects are processed, shaped and preserved before being transferred to storage rooms. It is also home to the freezer room, oxygen-free area, photo studio and X-ray room. The “head,” on the other hand, contains the entrance and walkways. Lastly, the ”trunk” forms the most co-pact part of the collection center. The CC NL has four stories with large pans for the storage of key objects. The storage in this section features maximum protection and also has small fire compartments. It has rooms with highly classified information stored under special rooms in special facilities. The aim of the building is to achieve durable, sustainable and beautiful preservation of history. To achieve this, the designers constructed the building with special rooms where museum species can be taken to get rid of harmful pests through freezing. With open access, the building’s resources can be used by research institutions. The CC NL is ranked the 15th most sustainable in Holland. The roof and facades used in the construction of the building give it a highly insulating outlook. The ground is less insulated since it was intended to act as a buffer. Its direct contact with the earth buffers the environment within, cutting down the need for air conditioning. On average, internal temperatures are maintained at about 12 and 15 degrees Celsius. This ensures the safety of the CC NL and reduces the risks of fires.Other aspects of the building that make it stand out in terms of sustainability include water recycling and renewable energy . With over 3,600 square meters of solar panels on the roof, the center can manage most of its energy needs without requiring external support in sunny months. It is also fitted with an ATES and gray water flushing toilet. The center also uses a rural rainwater collection system , that acts as an infiltration facility for the local vegetation. The widespread ecological landscape with detailed integration of flora and fauna makes the design one of the most sustainable section centers in the world. For those who work at the CC NL, the breathtaking beauty , comfort and usability are key factors. The working space here is among the best in Europe and will remain so for years. + cepezed architects Photography by Lucas van der Wee

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Cooking inspiration from vegan recipes all over the world

October 1, 2021 by  
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Nearly every healthy diet on the planet points towards a heavy emphasis on plant-based whole foods. Whether that means adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, making one meatless meal each week, or taking away all animal products in favor of vegan eating, every step is a step towards a healthier body and planet.  If you’ve decided to explore the world of vegan eating, looking globally gives you a vast array of flavors to explore above and beyond those you may have been exposed to in your regional area. While some ingredients may be difficult to source, others are readily available if you know where to look. Check out the international section of your supermarket, stop into the specialty food store, or look online for spices and other foods you may not already have in the pantry.  Related: Easy and unexpected radish recipes Italy When you think of Italy, you likely think of pasta, but it’s a country full of culinary surprises where you’ll find plenty of tomatoes along with onions, garlic and peppers. Italians love to flavor with fresh or dried herbs, and of course, don’t forget the olive oil. Bean and lentils are another large part of the equation. Try all these flavors in this  Quick Italian White Bean Soup  from the Blue Zones Meal Planner.   Okinawa, Japan The Okinawan diet benefits from its location as a trading post for hundreds of years. The influences run deep from around the world. In addition, the archipelago is part of Japan and has picked up much of the culture since its annexation in 1879, yet remains an ‘island’ of unique tropical fruits and vegetables rare to other places. It’s worth noting that Okinawans maintain one of the longest lifespans of anywhere on the planet, so they must be doing something right.  To experience Okinawan cuisine, one must start with the base of most meals, dashi. Dashi is a seaweed broth used as a flavor boost and nutritious additive. Explore the umami flavor of kelp in this  Authentic Miso Soup  from Allrecipes, or get creative with these  Simmered Vegetables  from Recipe Tin Japan. Greece The colors and vibrant culture of Greece come to life in the food. Although much of the country incorporates seafood from the nearby ocean, plant-based eating is well established, wholesome and delicious. Consider this  Greek Bruschetta  from The New York Times or dig into  this version  from The Speckled Palate. Another cornerstone of Greek cooking comes in the form of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. The beans create a basis for a variety of dishes from simply roasting them with some seasoning, to soups,  a salad topping  (substitute the goat cheese in this recipe), and of course, the ubiquitous  hummus .  Try this family favorite from our home: Roasted Garbanzo Beans 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon agave 2 teaspoons lemon juice 3 garlic cloves 1 teaspoon paprika A dusting of garlic powder and a dash of cayenne Simply mix all the ingredients together. Spread the beans out in a pan and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to coat. Yum! Africa If you’re really looking to break out of the “What’s for Dinner?” rut, look into African cuisine. You can start with this compilation of recipes from  Eluxe Magazine . Africa is another region with a rich history that has influenced food. The sheer size of the region, with varying climates, growing conditions and cultures, adds to the complexity of ingredients. These ingredients include greens, okra, rice , plantains, beans and flavor-boosting spices like turmeric and cardamom. Perhaps the most quintessential African dish is peanut stew. Try  this version  from AfroVitalityEats. Mexico Mexico offers a plethora of spices and flavor combinations unmatched in other areas of the planet. Beans , rice, peppers, corn, lime, avocado and root vegetables are mainstream components of the recipe profile so it’s pretty easy to dish up a vegan meal. Take, for example, ceviche, an adaptive dish for many parts of the world. Where some countries include fish or shrimp, others give it a local flair. Try this  Mexican Ceviche  for a vegan option with all the flavors of Mexico. Many other Mexican dishes can easily be tweaked for vegans, such as these  tamales ,  Chiles En Nogadas , and  Pozole . India Curry comes to mind, and it should since it is a linchpin of Indian cuisine. But you’ll also find a host of spices like turmeric, cardamom, cumin, mustard seed, tamarind and fennel, to name a few. India might have the deepest relationship with spices of anywhere in the world, which makes it a great place to find culinary inspiration.  Even with all those spicy options, the place to start might be with naan. After all, you need something to balance out the flavors. Here’s one  naan  option from Rainbow Plant Life. You might also want to try this  dosa  recipe. Pair these breads with some  Vegan Chickpea Curry  or the more subtle  Pea Pulao with Lemon . Wherever in the world your vegan culinary exploits take you, remember to be adventurous in your travels, even if you don’t leave the kitchen.  Images via Pexels and Pixabay 

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Coral-like architecture in the Philippines is stackable

September 30, 2021 by  
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Architecture can reflect the culture of the area and showcase sustainable design. The Cagbalete Sand Clusters, located in Taguig, Philippines, is a multi-use development designed with respect for the surrounding ecology and history of farming and fishing in the area.  Cagbalete Sand Clusters is made of prefabricated sections that can be placed and added on to in a horizontal or vertical direction. Each of the units, individually or placed together, showcase the coral design inspired by the local marine ecology .  Related: GOMMAdesign’s Coral City is a Self-Sustaining Eco-Village for the Philippines Lead architect Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. and client C Ideation envisioned a community they described as “ farm leisure.” They are developing a self-sustaining group of clusters that rely on electricity produced from solar umbrella pods and passive design techniques such as natural ventilation.  The structures include a private family home and a restaurant that offers farm-to-table endemic plant species and seasonal mud crabs from nearby farms. This not only speaks to healthy living and local industry, but mud crab farming is also credited with preventing soil erosion and protection of vital mangroves. Hapa nets throughout the structure offer protection from the weather and insects while reflecting the historic use of the nets. “They have elevated the humble hapa net into something beyond its utilitarian origins,” stated the press release. “It is now both part of the structure’s construction membrane, a tool for food production, and a web that facilitates the daily activities of the structure’s inhabitants, enmeshing time, culture and space .” For residents and visitors, the design includes a saltwater grotto, along with mud pools and soaking pools. The designers hope the multi-focused design elements cater to tourists, specifically eco-tourism, while honoring the Filipino culture — which spans 7,641 islands made up of varying natural and community elements.  Cagbalete Sand Clusters won the Food Category of the WAFX Awards this year. The project is also a finalist in the “Experimental” Category of the World Architecture Festival, which will be held this December 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal. + Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.  Images via Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.

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Passive design keeps House Under Shadows cool and near net-zero

August 30, 2021 by  
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House Under Shadows is actually two houses, connected through  passive design  elements to provide efficient space for two families in a sustainable way. The structure is located in Karnal, Haryana, India, and was designed by Zero Energy Design Lab. The two separate houses each feature all the elements of comfortable housing with attention to net-zero features while honoring the culture of the area. In a press release, the architects reported, “the design was inspired by the proximity and architectural elements of a palatial hotel in Karnal – Noor Mahal’s ‘chowk’ and ‘chhatris’ which are elements derived from the traditional Indian ‘havelis.’” Related: The Cantilever House combats a hot climate with sustainable design The homes are oriented north to south to take advantage of natural sun and cooling in the North Indian climate. Glazed windows minimize heat and glare while allowing  natural light  and views. They also facilitate natural ventilation. A central courtyard between the two homes is clad in stone, taking advantage of its strong thermal attributes. Meanwhile,  vertical gardens  filter the air while helping to cool the space. The pool, central to each home, acts as a heat sink, collecting heat during the day and releasing it at night. Cantilevers throughout the design shade and shelter vertical walls for further heat reduction. The most strikingly innovative feature of House Under Shadows is the additional roof that spans the courtyard and residences, bringing the separate units under a singular roof while maintaining privacy for the residents. According to the architects, this pergola reduces solar exposure by 50%, adding to the  energy-efficient  aspects of the space. The Voronoi pattern throws light and shade throughout the interior space for an intriguing visual appeal. The shadow pattern is essentially part of the  interior design , an element that is combined with the art and furnishings centered around natural colors and textures.  The team relied on a material palette of locally sourced materials with low and neutral carbon footprints that reflect heat and minimize the need for artificial cooling and lighting. This includes stone cladding and natural  wood  ceilings. + Zero Energy Design Lab   Via ArchDaily   Images via Zero Energy Design Lab

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ACPV designs Building D, an office focused on employee health

July 14, 2021 by  
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A previously industrial area in the southern part of Milan has a long-term plan for renewed development. Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel (ACPV) is putting the finishing touches on a building in the area that not only honors sustainable practices but aims to create a uniquely healthy environment for employees, too. Dubbed Building D, the office building is the second to be completed in the Symbiosis business district in Milan , Italy. Investment real estate firm Covivio is the client behind the project and works under the mission to “Build sustainable relationships and wellbeing.” With this in mind, the design team at ACPV has redefined what the company’s workspaces look like. Related: A LEED Gold-targeted office will enhance worker wellbeing Encompassing 20,000 square meters, Building D features a four-story section with a roof garden and cantilevered design along with a nine-story volume that includes a rooftop outdoor space for employees to stroll or exercise. Inside, the building features flexible workspaces to accommodate the changing and varied needs of employees, including areas to collaborate and easily connect with remote workers. It also includes a kitchenette, gym and resting spaces that emphasize healthy lifestyles for employees. “As business increasingly moves online and a growing number of people choose to work remotely, the culture of work is changing fast and in various ways,” said architect Patricia Viel. “Building D addresses this shift by transforming the traditional office into an attractive and welcoming meeting place where people want to work precisely because they can find spaces and services they may need throughout the day.” Building D is being built to WELL core (Bronze minimum) certification and LEED core and shell Platinum certifications. This means it not only caters to high energy-efficiency standards but also places attention on air and water quality, water management, ergonomic design and even cleaning products used in the space. The project is part of a larger urban development plan with several structural elements that mirror the completed Fastweb Headquarters next door. Public pathways invite visitors into and between the buildings, both designed by ACPV. + ACPV Images via ACPV 

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