California drought requires water rationing

May 6, 2022 by  
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Millions of California residents risk lacking water for essential use in the near future if they do not start rationing it now. Over six million residents of Southern California are called upon to cut their water usage, following a once-in-a-millennium  drought  that has lasted longer than expected, driving the water levels in reservoirs to historic lows. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California , which serves over 20 million people, faces the worst restrictions. This is the first time in nearly a century that the locals will have to be content with up to a 35% cut in their daily water usage. Related: California farmers find ways to work with less water Adel Hagekhalil, the general manager of the district, has urged residents to limit outdoor water usage. Those who use water for gardens have been asked to restrict watering to once a week. Further, they have been advised to cut water used for other outdoor activities such as car washing. “This is real; this is serious and unprecedented,” Hagekhalil told publication Al Jazeera. “We need to do it, otherwise we don’t have enough water for indoor use, which is the basic health and safety stuff we need every day.” While the district has faced water shortages previously and imposed restrictions, there has never been a case of this magnitude. “This is the first time we’ve said we don’t have enough water [from the Sierra Nevadas] to last us for the rest of the year unless we cut our usage by 35 percent.” Southern California mainly relies on stream water that originates from the Sierra Nevadas and the Rocky Mountains. When the snow melts from the mountains and flows downstream, the water is captured in reservoirs for future use. The system has worked effectively for the past century, but the last two decades have been a problem. Prolonged droughts fueled by the climate crisis have significantly reduced water levels, hence the depletion of reservoirs. The high temperatures caused by climate change have already cut down the snowpack on the Sierra Nevadas by 32% of its normal volume this year. The result is prolonged droughts with less water. Further, lack of precipitation over very long periods now necessitates water rationing. Officials are now urging residents to use greywater from other house chores to water their gardens. However, they are asked to only apply this to the ideal types of vegetation. Via Aljazeera , LA Times Lead image via Pexels

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California drought requires water rationing

AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

May 4, 2022 by  
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In Mexico City , MIRA’s new urban concept Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco explores art and wellbeing with a look at the possible future of the Nuevo Polanco area. It’s a real estate complex owned by Ivanhoe Cambride and developed by MIRA to center on mobility, art, urbanism, design, community and efficiency. The development will house Latin America’s first artificial intelligence work of art. “The Eye of Mexico” is an installation curated and produced by MASSIVart and created by studio Ouchhh. What is Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco? It’s a mixed use complex designed to reflect the concept of community in a futuristic, sustainable way. Instead of just focusing on environmental sustainability, the city aims to make a positive impact on inhabitants through design. Related: California teenager invents AI-powered tool for early wildfire detection The development has an intertwining system of streets, blocks, plaza and recreation areas. It aims to restore a sense of belonging through an integrated, walkable urbanism. “The distinctive characteristics of our urban spaces contribute to the evolution of cities, guarantee them a future and offer quality time to those who live in them so that their daily lives are extraordinary,” said Roberto Pulido, CEO of MIRA. The heart of Cuadrante Neuchatel will be “The Eye of Mexico.” MIRA partnered with MASSIVart for this piece. They are a global creative public art consulting and production firm that aims to make art more accessible for cultural impact. Thereby, seeks to create experiences that result in stronger, more authentic connections between their clients and audiences. “Neuchatel Cuadrante Polanco is an extraordinary opportunity to provide a sustainable place to live, work, play, shop, eat and more. The project is attractive to people who seek a healthier work-life balance, and who want to stay connected with their community. We are delighted to collaborate with MIRA on this great project whose heart, ‘The Eye of Mexico ,’ highlights its modernity,” said Jorge Margain, managing director of Ivanhoe Cambridge Mexico. “The Eye of Mexico” will use artificial intelligence to express, through audiovisuals, a performance with data referring to the way in which the inhabitants of Mexico City move. This will convey to spectators the relationships that exist between art, science, technology , urbanism and mobility. + Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco Images via Neuchâtel Cuadrante Polanco , MIRA and MASSIVart

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AI art stands in the middle of Mexico City

Managing your mental health in the face of climate anxiety

March 25, 2022 by  
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If your eyes are open to the nearly incomprehensible consumption and waste in our world, you likely have your finger on the pulse of the  environment.  The sheer amount of plastic, increasing dangers to marine animals and deforestation are just a few primary concerns. Then there is loss of biodiversity, endangered wildlife, water shortages, copious energy consumption and rising temperatures. The fact is that the effects of climate change are all around us, and with them comes a sometimes paralyzing amount of climate anxiety.  Garbage along the roadside, overflowing landfills and rising sea levels leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. But there are many, many ways to take action and manage your mental health while we address the issues. Related: Climate anxiety: Is hopelessness preventing us from confronting our biggest challenge? Internalizing the planet’s stress isn’t anything new. For generations, people have expressed concerns over toxic waste, damage to rainforests, decreasing  wildlife  habitats and similar issues. Objections at city council meetings across the country have battled new development at the cost of lost wetlands and other areas. Indigenous people recognized these issues long before governments started slowly respecting their voices on  land management . Understanding climate anxiety As a result of our failure to unify, make policy changes and facilitate a cleaner lifestyle, we’ve pressed Earth to its limits. The overwhelming feeling of depression is real. Psychologists refer to it as climate grief, and it can be just as debilitating as any other kind of grief. The stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are the same.  Specifically, climate grief relates to ecology loss with a focus on what’s happened in the past. Another term, climate anxiety, refers to dread about what will happen in the future. If you’re feeling either of these conditions, know you’re not alone. In fact, a 2019 study by the American Psychological Association reported 68% of U.S. adults dealt with some degree of anxiety about climate change. Perhaps more pressing is that almost half (47%) of those aged 18 to 34 said their climate anxiety affected their daily lives. Depression and anxiety related to the state of the environment is valid and should not be dismissed. Managing symptoms of climate grief or eco-anxiety is much the same process as other types of depression and anxiety.  Acknowledge the problem Start by acknowledging it. Give it a name. Say it out loud. Talk to your therapist, spouse or friends about your concerns.  Give yourself permission Be sad. Be concerned. Be overwhelmed. Whatever the feelings are, sit with them and allow yourself to feel. The body needs time to acknowledge the feeling to digest it. Basically, allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. It’s part of the process of allowing it to move through you. If you try to suppress it, the process stalls, only to revisit later. Although facing depression and anxiety doesn’t feel good, dealing with it is a faster and healthier solution than stifling it.  Find like-minded people Group therapy is a valuable resource. It allows you to understand you’re not alone or isolated in your feelings. However, your group doesn’t have to be others affected by depression or anxiety. It can be people who are taking action against climate change. Sometimes just the act of working with like-minded people brings hope and empowerment. It’s even better if the group takes physical action since exercise is a primary tool in treating depression. Get outdoors for a beach cleanup, organize a neighborhood event or join in on a day of planting trees . Look for national groups organizing events in your area. If you don’t have any local groups, start one! Recognize your contributions, not your limitations Depression and anxiety can connect to a feeling of not having control. Climate change isn’t going to reverse overnight. One person can’t be a singular solution to the problem. But, every person can make a difference. Give yourself credit for everything you’re doing. Whether you work for a non-profit full time, volunteer one day each month or simply take your containers to the bulk section when shopping for  food , your contributions matter. Don’t try to take on the entirety of the climate crisis, but celebrate your achievements instead.  Read the (good) news Similarly, look to the bright side of what is being done on a broader scale. Instead of focusing solely on stories about oil spills, endangered animals and plastic waste, fill your feed with positive messages. Subscribe to uplifting news, read about people taking action all over the world, and join in positive conversations.  Tools to combat climate anxiety Even after you’ve acknowledged your feelings, discovered you’re not alone and reset the messaging in your life, you’re going to have bad days. You’ll still feel crushing defeat at times. You’ll feel small and insignificant. You’ll wonder if anything you do really matters in the grand scheme of things.  When this happens, be kind to yourself. Practice meditation , go for a walk, get a massage, take deep breaths and have an understanding friend on speed dial. Learn to recognize when the feelings are rising so you can hit the reset button on your thinking.  In the end, repairing the damage of climate anxiety requires a focused effort. Just like fighting climate change, the results are gradual but worth every ounce of strife. Via NPR and PSYCOM   Images via Pexels and Pixabay

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11 vegan meal delivery services to eat from

February 24, 2022 by  
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Meal delivery services have come a long way. Simply make your selections online and wait for the fully or partially-prepared meals to show up. Offerings start at once a week or can supply you with nearly every breakfast, lunch and dinner. On average, people get meals delivered a few times each week, lightening the burden of meal planning and preparation. You can filter options based on your eating preferences and dietary restrictions. Whether you’re trying to cut out meat for meatless Monday or you live a strictly vegan lifestyle, there’s an option for you in the home delivery world.  Related: 6 Indian street foods that are traditionally vegan Most companies offer food delivery for two, four and sometimes six people. You can receive orders as infrequently or often as you choose. Perhaps the best part of meal service is the variety of foods available. You can even combine two different delivery services if you want smoothies and bowls from one and salads from another.  Watch for packaging when researching companies. Some pride themselves on recyclable materials, but they may not be recyclable curbside in your area. Most abide by environmental standards with biodegradable ice and cardboard packaging where possible. Purple Carrot It’s a passion project meant to inspire people to eat a healthy, plant-based diet. Set up breakfast, lunch and/or dinner three or four times each week for two or four people, and add extra pantry items when they’re available. Meals can come prepared or as a meal kit you put together yourself. Reviewers remarked the recipes are unique and encourage you to try new things. In fact, you can try a different menu each week.  The Green Chef The company is organically certified and offers different meal sizes delivered a few times each week. The kit comes with pre-measured ingredients and recipes. First responders, medical providers, nurses, teachers, military and veterans receive an additional discount. The company proudly offsets plastic and carbon produced in the transport and packaging of the kits.  Sunbasket The ingredients for each Sunbasket menu are ethically-sourced and organic. There is no commitment, so you can cancel anytime after trying out some meals. There are many ways to filter the diet types and ingredients to avoid meat, dairy, grains, soy , etc. Sunbasket also offers two levels of preparation. You can receive the ingredients and corresponding recipes or get premade meals you simply need to warm up after a long day.  Factor In addition to meals arriving cooked and ready to reheat, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet with a registered dietician for a one-on-one consultation. After deciding on your meals, order up some cold-pressed juices and vitality shots too.  Veestro This brother and sister duo must have enjoyed time in the kitchen while growing up. They offer a delivery service with a range of dietary preferences and the flexibility to keep the prepared meals in the fridge for dinner this week or in the freezer for a meal when the need arises.  Sakara When childhood friends get together, they often cook together. That was the case with Sakara founders Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise. Now they spend their time together creating organic, plant-based , gluten and dairy free, refined-sugars free and non-GMO meals for vegans everywhere in the U.S. All meals are ready to eat. Choose from a variety of plan options and check in with wellness coaches as part of the Sakara plan. CookUnity This restaurant-style service is currently only available in the northeast, but they do have plans to expand. You can filter your orders through your dietary preferences or order from your favorite of around 37 chefs around New York City . Look at menus a few weeks ahead of time to consider your options and order between four to 12 meals weekly. Hungryroot In addition to quick, healthy meals, you can ship in groceries for delivery too. Collect information on snacking, meal prep and recipes that match your dietary needs. It’s more than a meal prep service. The goal is to help make planning, shopping and cooking faster and easier.  Sprinly If you’re looking for fresh rather than frozen, Sprinly is worth considering. Meals are vegan, organic and void of gluten, artificial preservatives and refined sugars. Because they’re vegan, they’re good for the environment too. Select from six to 18 meals weekly and change your plan as your busy life and needs change.  Daily Harvest If you’re looking for vegan, organic, gluten and dairy-free meals that require little to no preparation, Daily Harvest might be for you. The service provides a lot of flexibility if your schedule changes from one week to the next.  Splendid Spoon When a culinary-trained chef doesn’t like what she sees people eating, she sends inspiration their way. Splendid Spoon was started in 2013 with soup options. Now, the menu includes many other low-sodium, dairy-free, non-GMO meals that contain no artificial sweeteners or colors. Select from four plans and receive your delivery one to four times each month.   Images via Pexels

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4D printing is revolutionizing the printing world

February 14, 2022 by  
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It wasn’t so long ago that 3D printing was the new kid on the block. Now the term 4D printing is making headlines, stretching our ability to conceptualize once again. To understand 4D printing, it helps to have a better familiarity with 3D printing. But first: What is 3D printing? 3D printing was originally developed in 1984 by Charles Hull. However, it was 2007 before anyone other than businesses and the one ultra-techie neighbor on the block gained access to 3D printers that used filament instead of ink. That’s because they finally became affordable for the house user around that time. Since then, like most technology , 3D printers have become smaller, faster, cheaper and more versatile.  Related: IKEA introduces new 3D-printed consumer line in Germany   The first 3D printers were slow, meticulously producing a  single letter or a small figurine over a 12-hour window. Now we’re printing 3D houses, replacement parts, interior design pieces, furniture and so much more. What is 4D printing? In brief, 4D printing expands 3D printing with a fourth dimension that is temporal or relating to time. It means that the fourth “D” allows the product to change shape over time.  This additional component will create exponential growth in printing opportunities. A fraction of that potential comes from the process itself. But in major part, it’s due to the materials that will be used once the technology is worked out.  The materials will have the capability to come to life, responding to elements in the environment surrounding it. While 3D printing is rigid, 4D will bring movement to the final products without mechanical systems. That basically means that the smart materials used in 4D printing will be able to respond to fluctuations in heat, light, pressure and other external stimuli, while still having a foundation in the solid components introduced from 3D printing.  How does 4D printing work? The process is a reflection of nature. Imagine how plants respond to changes in weather, such as flowers closing when it rains or releasing seeds when the seasons change. From that, you’ll get a better idea of the response capabilities of 4D-printed materials.  The applications for 4D printing are expansive and varied. In the construction realm, it could be used to make rigid, yet flexible, pipes that expand under pressure of high-water flow and contract as needed. It can provide materials for anything from cars to rockets to artificial limbs. Remember those dehydrated washcloths and towels that are about the size of a quarter but grow once submerged into water ? Now imagine it was originally 4D printed. If it was 3D printed, it would stay in the rigid 3D form. But as a 4D-printed object, it has the ability to respond to stimuli, such as hot water, just like the growing towels.  “This is truly a radical shift in our understanding of structures, which have up to this point, remained static and rigid (aerospace, automotive , building industries, etc.) and will soon be dynamic, adaptable and tunable for on-demand performance,” said Skylar Tibbits from The Self-Assembly Lab, MIT. “4D printing enhanced by multi-materials technology may likely revolutionize our ability to control and precisely program materials from idea-conception to printing shape-changing transformations.” What is possible with 4D printing? The technology holds promise in the fight against climate change and manufacturing waste . As with 3D printing, 4D produces basically zero waste. Since the printing is commanded by software, immediate adjustments in the command prompt means there won’t be copious prototypes filling up landfills. In other words, design changes happen in keystrokes rather than creating physical waste.  In addition to efficiency in printing design, the materials used in 4D printing offer cleaner and more sustainable options. The sky’s the limit with material selection. The few labs working to develop the systems don’t even fully grasp the possibilities. However, considering the relatively quick advancements in 3D technology since its introduction, it’s promising to contemplate what might result from 4D technology. It could mean using completely natural materials , relying on recycled ingredients. It could also mean building anything from life-saving medical supplies to bridges without plastic.  The technology is still in its infancy, yet the possibilities are enthralling to consider. We are looking at a future with artificial veins that expand and contract, pipes that mend themselves when cracked and the capacity to build shoes that respond to the movement of your foot. 4D printing is a viable solution for printing in outer space or even remote areas of our planet.  The technology will also provide greater flexibility for printers. Where we are currently limited by the size of the printer, with 4D printing, products can be printed in small form and set to grow into its final shape once on location. This opens the door for chairs that expand, stents that can be inserted into the human body and programmed to open once in the right location and solutions to emergency housing.  As futuristic as it all sounds, 4D printing will likely be part of our everyday lives in ways we’re still trying to imagine.  Via Stulpteo and Arch Daily Images via David Correa / Achim Menges and Self-Assembly Lab, MIT; Carbitex LLC; Autodesk Inc.

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Air filtration machine MinusDUST looks like a refrigerator

February 2, 2022 by  
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Poor air quality gets relatively minimal attention compared to other environmental concerns like plastic waste or ocean pollution. It’s one of those things we’re aware of, but have just lived with. VODD Design has developed an air filtration system that’s modular, multi-functional and beneficial to small and large communities.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 91% of the planet’s population is breathing in air that exceeds the recommended pollution limits. Except in areas with visible smog, smoke or emissions, we mostly don’t see the problem. But our bodies do. In fact, the WHO attributes 4.2 million deaths per year to poor air quality. Related: Rolloe is a bike wheel that filters outdoor air while you cycle VODD, innovators in air quality solutions, have moved beyond standard indoor air filters to tackle outdoor air. Their distributed air pollution capture system MinusDUST is a unit comparable in size to an air conditioner or refrigerator. The mechanism takes in surrounding air and filters it inside the large, yet unobtrusive, units to increase air exchange.  The machines can be placed just about anywhere, making them ideal for urban areas. However, the company feels they are particularly useful in high-toxin zones such as near road builds and repairs, factories or construction sites.  “Poor air quality continues to damage the health of all living beings, particularly in the urban areas,” said VODD in a press release. “A mix of factors like vehicular and industrial emissions , dust, weather patterns, construction sites and more make the air quality highly toxic posing an imminent threat.” MinusDUST helps the planet do the job it does naturally — filter the air through trees and plants — when humans aren’t overtaxing the system. With all the daily activities releasing pollutants in the air, clean air should be a major priority for the health of people and animals . MinusDUST units are intended to sit front and center rather than being tucked away in the back of the building or the basement. With this in mind, the facade of the unit can be used for advertising or maintain a subtle color or pattern that blends with the surrounding environment . The units are versatile and scalable, so they can be used on a single level of a construction project or outside the front door of a business . As a network working together, MinusDUST offers a low-maintenance and quiet way to provide cleaner air for employees, visitors and the general public.  + VODD Design Images via VODD Design

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Air filtration machine MinusDUST looks like a refrigerator

8 Ways to Reduce Your Impact Today

January 31, 2022 by  
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Make sure your daily routine is keeping the Earth in mind! The post 8 Ways to Reduce Your Impact Today appeared first on Earth911.

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Coal production in China reached record high in 2021

January 18, 2022 by  
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Despite global cries for an end to  fossil fuel  use, China’s coal production reached record levels last year. The government encouraged miners to ramp up production, working at maximum capacity to increase China’s economic growth. China  is the world’s biggest coal producer. Last month, the country set a new record by mining more than 384 million metric tons of coal. In 2021, China hit an all-time high for coal output, topping 4.07 billion metric tons, an increase of 4.7% from 2020.  Related: US and China make big climate pledges at UN General Assembly These figures come just a couple of months after the huge  COP26  climate talks in Glasgow. At COP26, countries fiercely disagreed over coal use. COP26 president Alok Sharma was deeply frustrated and claimed that China and India would “have to explain themselves to poor nations” for clinging to coal. During the talks, India diluted the language around coal, changing the pact from “phasing out” to “phasing down.” So far, China’s phase-down has yet to start. In fact, last month a new major power project in Inner Mongolia opened the first of four 1,000-megawatt generating units. The project is located in Shanghaimiao town in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The area has  coal  resources covering more than 4,000 square kilometers, with reserves of somewhere between 14.3 and 50 billion tons. Meanwhile, China is feeling the effects of  climate change . According to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), the country endured historic temperature highs last year. China’s average temperature in 2021 was 10.7 degrees Celsius, or about 51 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest since the CMA began tracking the weather in 1961. This is about one degree Celsius higher than usual. While the CMA did not explicitly cite climate change as the reason for increased temperatures, Jia Xiaolong, deputy director of the CMA subsidiary National Climate Centre, has implied a connection. “The multiple and frequent occurrences of extreme weather events have become normal against a backdrop of global warming, posing great challenges to meteorological disaster prevention and mitigation,” he said, as reported by Carbon Brief. Via The Guardian , Carbon Brief , China Daily

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Coal production in China reached record high in 2021

Seoul green city has food within a 10-minute walk anywhere

November 15, 2021 by  
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Hyundai Development Company hired UNStudio in 2019 to design a green, mixed-used neighborhood in Seoul, Korea , a 10-minute city for the new digital economy. That means mixed-use spaces, green energy and digital packages for residents who are expected to live, work and play in the 504,000 square meter neighborhood. Project H1’s added technology lifestyle package is designed to go beyond traditional smart city models to serve residents in ways that free up time for leisure. Digital infrastructure also can manage energy production and consumption, communal spaces and local food production. Will it work? The plan is to create all desired amenities from a larger city, including food within a 10-minute walk of anyone’s home within the development. “For the H1 masterplan, we have aimed to create the ultimate contemporary 10-minute city , where the daily life experience of the residents is the top priority,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio who helped head the project. “We do this through the inclusion of a rich density of uplifting, curated on-site experiences that provide an extensive range of options for how they can spend their living, working and leisure time, thereby also saving them the time needed to travel elsewhere in the city — because with time that is saved, more time is created.” The plan proposes to achieve these goals through System Design, which focuses on flexibility, adaptability and arranging components of a neighborhood according to varying needs. “We have taken an approach of ‘flexible urban density.’ This enables the multi-functional use of public space and employs mixed-use organizational models to ensure that the residents can meet, connect and socialize, both in planned and spontaneous scenarios,” added Berkel. “The components of the masterplan not only encourage the creation of strong community bonds, the proposed digital service packages also create an unprecedented level of convenience for the residents.” + UNStudio Images via WAX & Virgin Lemon

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Aeon is a point between two worlds

November 15, 2021 by  
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From the steel door entrance, to the soft lines, to the stark contrast in the interior design , Aeon is all about embracing and breaking boundaries.  The two buildings that make up Aeon, a hotel and wellness center, repeatedly return to the theme of connected, yet separated. The architects at noa* network of architecture describe the balance as a place “where two worlds meet. Between past and future, between dream and reality, between inside and outside: noa* makes the invisible lines visible, which become part of the full picture and, above all, instead of a separation, a connection between two worlds.” Related: French wood house builds a connection with its environment Aeon sits nestled in the Italian countryside, surrounded by views from the Sciliar, to the Rittner Horn, to the Merano Alps and the Dolomites. The 500 year old farmhouse, inn and barn served as inspiration for the project. In honor of the site’s history, the team focused on minimal site impact with an artificially-created hill that essentially creates an underground connecting tunnel. More visible is a stone above-ground walkway between the two structures.  The layouts and exterior look of the buildings nod to the past as well. “The creation of an ambivalent tension between the centuries-old tradition of the rural complex and an exclusively modern statement was the basic principle underlying the design process,” explained Architect Christian Rottensteiner. The team emphasized the importance of keeping the green surroundings instead of consuming it with architecture. One building houses a public gathering area that includes a restaurant , bar and wellness area. The other building is a hotel with 15 guest suites and between the two is a courtyard. The primary building material was wood sourced from trees on the property. They feature gabled roofs and a striking façade design that appears different from each angle of approach. Uniquely-shaped trapezoid windows offer eye-catching visual appeal, providing natural light throughout the space. Once inside the buildings , the interior design elements take center stage with a stunning use of contrasting blue and creamy white coloring that shifts at eye level. It’s a clear defining line that offers an atmosphere of mystery yet familiarity. “The past has grown like stone, wood and nature,” said Interior Designer Patrick Gürtler about the color choices. “The future, on the other hand, is veiled, mysterious and artificial (i.e. it is intangible like the sky, the night or the ocean). In between is the moment, a sharp, unconditional break, but also a point of contact.” This idea of breaking away while staying connected is seen in the transition when the blue and cream colors flip between the wellness area and the other public spaces.  “We have carefully chosen the fabrics , woods and colors that play both with and against each other at the same time,” added Gürtler. + noa* network of architecture  Photography by Alex Filz and Andrea Dal Negro

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