Minimalist summer retreat in Denmark is like a house within a house

February 6, 2018 by  
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This summer retreat in Denmark may look like a minimalist dream, but there’s a bit of an interesting design twist when you take a closer look. Danish architecture firm CEBRA designed Treldehuset, a timber getaway in Vejle that merges contemporary design with the traditional silhouette of a low gabled roofline. Deep roof overhangs on all side of the home make room for spacious sheltered terraces and give rise to the building’s image as a “double house—a house inside a bigger house,” say the architects, who liken the project to Russian nesting dolls. Set within a beautiful coastal environment with views of the fjord, Treldehuset’s design draws from the surrounding nature and is built to encourage active outdoor living. A restrained materials palette comprising larch cladding outlined by aluminum profiles and dark slate strengthens the building’s clean and simple lines. A sheltered terrace wraps around the inner volume punctuated with large windows and glass doors that slide open for indoor-outdoor living. “The effect of a double house is achieved by placing the thermal envelope beneath and inside a bigger house,” wrote the architects. “In this way, a roofed outdoor area occurs between the thermal envelope, the actual house and the larger shell, which give access to a protected area – a continuation of the interior which allows you, even on rainy summer nights, to eat, grill or maybe clean a newly caught fish. This transitional zone between indoor and outdoor constitutes an interesting space between the characteristic trees with a view of the fjord .” Related: Ancient Bacteria From Norwegian Fjords Could Be Used to Make the Ultimate Sunscreen Larch is used in the interior for continuity and is broken up by whitewashed walls and concrete. The living room, dining area, and kitchen are placed on the west side of the home, where wall-to-wall glazing blur the lines between indoors and out. The private rooms, such as the bathroom and guest room, are located on the east side of the home. + CEBRA Via Dezeen Images via CEBRA by Mikkel Frost

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Minimalist summer retreat in Denmark is like a house within a house

C.F. Mllers Storkeengen tackles climate challenges in a Danish town

January 5, 2018 by  
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The modern age’s best landscape architecture projects aren’t one-trick ponies. C.F. Møller Landscape takes this to heart in their recent design for Storkeengen (Stork Meadow), a multipurpose nature park that offers recreation, beauty, and strengthened protection against storm floods. Located in the Danish town of Randers, Storkeengen aims to “resolve the city’s current and future climate chal-lenges” and bring the townspeople closer to nature and to Denmark’s longest river, the Gudenå River. Created in collaboration with Randers Vandmiljø, Randers Municipality, and Orbi-con, Storkeengen is envisioned as a pioneering project combining water purification , recreation, and climate adjustment. According to C.F. Møller, the riverside town of Randers is threatened by the effects of climate change due to its low-lying position next to the Gudenå River. Thus, the city has developed a vision to protect the town called ‘The City to the Water,’ with the implementation of Stor-keengen as the first step. The 83-hectare Storkeengen is designed to function like a wetland meadow. C.F. Møller designed “cloudburst routes” that direct stormwater runoff into the park, where it’s then naturally filtered in wetland meadow areas before being dis-charged in the river. A dyke will also be installed between the park and the river to protect the nearby residences from flooding and provide new connectivity be-tween Randers and the park. Related: Denmark just opened the “world’s most humane” maximum security prison “Storkeengen is a climate adaption project on Nature’s own terms – also when it comes to the project’s technical wastewater solutions, which are designed to strengthen the nature qualities of the wet meadows,” wrote C.F. Møller. “To in-crease accessibility and enhance the nature experi-ence, new pathways and ac-tivity plateaux are created, so that Storkeengen’s unique flora and fauna, and the wet meadows’ changing habitat, can be experienced at close hand. The plateaux also make it possible to get up close to the area’s grazing cattle, enjoy the sun-set, or navigate the Gudenå stream by canoe.” The project will break ground this fall and is slated for completion in 2021. + C.F. Møller Images via C.F. Møller

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6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

December 26, 2017 by  
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Unless you are from Denmark or Norway, the concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) was likely foreign to you until the past few years when this idea of “cozying around” began gaining serious traction. In this big, loud, harsh world, many of us desire a return to good company, simple pleasures, and mindfulness in the moment, and hygge embodies these ideas and more. We’re sharing six ways to help you create this restorative state of mind beloved for centuries in Denmark (by way of Norway ). Image © @quizzically_yours 1. Host a low-key and intimate get-together Small hang-outs with friends are an ideal hygge-promoting gathering. Hygge get-togethers aren’t pretentious: think board game night , card night, or a bagel brunch in the comfort of your own home. The focus of these gatherings is on togetherness, not on spending five hours baking fussy hors d’oeuvres or desserts, so they are perfect for throwing together at a moment’s notice and are super potluck-friendly . An event that gets people absorbed in each other’s company and a low-tech activity that encourages them to detach from their phones is definitely high on the hygge scale. Linked to the concept of hygge is an appreciation of the outdoors, and Danes are known for prizing their open-air time from a young age: babies in Denmark and all over Scandinavia even take their naps outside . Take your gathering outdoors (weather permitting) to bring together the best of both worlds: huddling around an outdoor fire pit definitely fits the bill as does taking a dip in a hot tub. Image © Maria via Unsplash 2. Or make your own solo hygge experience Although hygge is often associated with cozy, candlelit get-togethers with dear friends, you can create your own hygge vibe when you are by yourself. Fredagsmys , a word from Denmark’s Nordic neighbor Sweden , is an actual term used for curling up indoors on a Friday night. So watch a movie, sit on the sofa, or make yourself some hot chocolate or tea and relax with a book (perhaps in front of a fire). Hygge is focused on the idea of enjoying and being aware of simple moments and experiences, so everything doesn’t have to be “just so”: partaking in a free flowing  yoga  practice or a nourishing  soup making  session applies. Image © Alisa Anton via Unsplash 3. Create hygge-friendly spaces in your home While it may be tempting to get caught up in the hygge-buying fever and feel the desire to suddenly possess a plethora of knit throws, cushy pillows, an array of scented candles, and more items, there’s no financial obligation required for creating a warm, comfortable, friendly space. Putting your favorite vintage and reclaimed  knickknacks on display creates a sociable, lived-in vibe. Ditto for items picked up during memorable vacations and roadtrips. If you have a home with large open spaces, consider arranging the furniture that you already own in configurations that encourage intimate tête à têtes. Even a small side table or an ottoman can be a place to gather around, set down your mug, or put your feet up. Interior designer Dani Arps for TaskRabbit suggests, “Texture and natural materials always add warmth; think chunky or nubby blankets stored in a mesh basket that sits next to a reclaimed coffee table.” Related: DIY Meditation Temple Built from Salvaged Materials Photo © Aaron Burden via Unsplash 4. Make space for quiet/meditation Mindfulness and gratitude are definitely components of a hygge mentality, and they dovetail nicely with many people’s goals of having a regular meditation practice. If sitting cross-legged and reciting a mantra isn’t your cup of tea, then consider making your cup of tea the meditation itself. Give yourself permission to really savor and enjoy your morning beverage  without feeling the need to check social media. Or take an invigorating walk with your dog by your side, soak in the tub , journal or even make a phone call to a friend or family member who you can’t connect with in person-these all align with the idea of creating a soothing and reflective practice. Since mindfulness is the goal, avoid multitasking while you are doing whatever activity you choose. Image via Inhabitots 5. Make comforting and nourishing food and drink If you were to scan Instagram, many of the images hashtagged with hygge would start to resemble each other: hands around a warm mug of something, a table laid out with humble but hearty fare, like this mushroom quinoa risotto , a bowl of oatmeal, or fruit and nut-studded granola. Another central tenet in Danish culture is spending time with family , so pulling out a favorite recipe that has been shared over generations for a family gathering is a great way to honor tradition (not to mention the fact that commonly beloved food seems to have a way of smoothing over many family riffs). A super hygge-friendly activity: create an intimate  multigenerational family cooking class with a matriarch or patriarch of the family teaching the younger set how to make a traditional family dish. A few other ideas to get you started include apple cider served in apple cups , a homemade vegan nutella-like spread , one pot sun-dried tomato and basil pasta , and a decadent vegan chocolate cake made with veggies . Image © Antonia Bukowska via Unsplash 6. Put hygge concepts to work year-round Although the idea of cozying around a fire or snuggled up on the couch with our favorites makes winter the season most associated with hygge, the concept of hygge can be employed throughout the year. After all, hygge is a mindset for making “ essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful ”. To that end, going for a midsummer midnight swim, having a backyard BBQ with a few friends, taking a hike in the spring rain, or organizing a pumpkin picking and carving session could all embody this mind/body/soul-nourishing concept. Lead image ©  Worthy of Elegance via Unsplash

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6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

Nissan’s new EV ecosystem could give free power to EV owners

October 5, 2017 by  
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The future looks bright for electric vehicle (EV) owners. Nissan recently unveiled plans for the four pillars of their EV ecosystem, including a commitment to expand what they called the biggest fast charger network in Europe by 20 percent. They also aim to offer free power for EV owners who have a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, which feeds power from a car’s battery pack to the grid or a home. Nissan sketched plans for the future recently at the Nissan Futures 3.0 event in Norway. They showed off the new Nissan Leaf , which they said can travel 378 kilometers, or around 235 miles, on one charge. They also announced a longer-range all-electric e-NV200 van, which has a 280-kilometer, or 174-mile, range. Related: People in Denmark are earning up to $1,530 just by parking their EVs The second pillar of their plan is their commitment to infrastructure . During the upcoming 18 months, they plan to increase the number of fast chargers in Europe from 4,600 to 5,600. Their third pillar is new home and business chargers; their double-speed seven kilowatt (kW) home charger can recharge a vehicle in five and a half hours. Meanwhile, their 22 kW charger, targeted at businesses, can charge an EV in two hours. They also showcased the xStorage , their home energy storage system. And they have a scheme to get owners free power. xStorage is bidirectional, which means with it EV owners can send power to the grid from a car battery pack. They have been testing the free energy idea in Denmark. Nissan explained in a press release, “Using Nissan bidirectional charging, customers can draw energy from the grid to power their car or van and then ‘sell’ back to the grid for others to use. This means, once a nominal charge has been paid by the business for the installation of a V2G charger there are no fuel or energy costs – just free power for your EV.” They announced a United Kingdom collaboration with OVO allowing owners to buy xStorage at a discounted price, enabling them to charge an EV or start selling power to the grid. Nissan said these owners could make around £350, or around $461, a year. They hope to explore the idea of free power for EV owners in other regions of Europe. Via Nissan and Electrek Images via Nissan

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Drone video offers sneak peek at BIGs LEGO House, set to open next month

August 29, 2017 by  
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After four years, the long-awaited LEGO House is set to open next month—and we can’t wait! Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group , this larger-than-life LEGO building is a treat for the eyes with its 21 interlocking LEGO-like parts and stunning keystone on top. Set to open to the public on September 28, the 130,000-square-foot building will offer free and paid “experiences” all centered around play and exploration in Billund, Denmark. LEGO’s drone video shot earlier this summer shows off the building near completion. The company recently carried out a “test visit” where LEGO employees and their families were invited to try out the building for the first time. Nicknamed ‘Home of the Brick,’ the museum is dedicate to LEGO-themed experiences in all aspects of the building including its many interactive exhibitions, three restaurants, conference space, store, and 22,000-square-foot public square . One of the biggest highlights is a 50-foot-tall, 20-ton “Tree of Creativity” made of over 6.3 million LEGO bricks. Related: BIG’s LEGO House tops out with opening date in September The Home of the Brick is expected to accommodate 250,000 visitors annually. To keep the center open to the community , the interior LEGO Square will be publicly accessible and select activities will be free to the public. Visitors with tickets can explore the four color-coded Experience Zones, each with larger-than-life interactive exhibits that embody the brand’s “Learning Through Play” philosophy. Advance tickets can be purchased on the LEGO House website . + LEGO House + BIG Via ArchDaily

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Drone video offers sneak peek at BIGs LEGO House, set to open next month

New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

August 3, 2017 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter just won a competition to design a new cultural center for one of the oldest settlements in Denmark . The winning proposal, called Kornets Hus (“Grain House”), will be an activity-based learning center in Hjørring focused on the importance of grain to Jutland—a region believed to have been populated 10,000 years ago. Kornets Hus will be of a minimalist and modern design built largely from brick and timber that takes inspiration from the region’s diverse landscapes, folk culture, and agricultural heritage. Commissioned by Realdania , the L-shaped 680-square-meter Kornets Hus is set on a site with an existing farm and bakery. The learning center will offer visitors as well as locals and employees engaging educational experiences about the region’s rich food and farming culture. In addition to educational and exhibition spaces, the building will also include a cafe, store, and offices. Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain The building features a simple and flexible plan to accommodate a wide variety of activities. Two brick-clad light wells , reminiscent of baker kilns, bookend the structure’s two ends. Skylights and large windows also help maximize access to natural light . Glazing on the west facade frame views of wheat fields and connect to an outdoor terrace. A large bread oven forms the heart of the public spaces. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

Light-filled Danish home with flexible interiors welcomes the forest indoors

July 28, 2017 by  
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Who needs wallpaper when you’ve got exquisitely framed forest views in almost every room? C.F. Møller Architects designed Villa Rypen, a 158-square-meter dwelling that blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Built on the edge of a forest in Aarhus , Denmark, this light-filled home offers a lovely contemporary living environment with large glazed openings that offer front-row seats to nature’s changing seasons. Villa Rypen has a rectangular footprint with two roughly triangular outdoor terraces that extend to the garden in the southeast and the forest to the northwest. The single-story interior centers on an open-plan living, dining, and kitchen space that offers easy access to both terraces. Floor-to-ceiling glazing frames views of the garden and forest and allows ample amounts of natural light indoors. Sliding doors give the family the flexibility to change the living environment as they please. One such option is turning one of the living spaces into an extra bedroom for a maximum of three east-facing bedrooms. Related: C.F. Møller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design “Large window sections in a serrated design idiom ensure an inflow of light from several directions, and the view of the forest is exquisitely framed, to provide a unique backdrop to the living rooms in the house,” wrote the architects. The home is built with timber and a terra-cotta tilec screen facade to blend into the forested landscape. + C.F. Møller Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Julian Weyer

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Doctor warns falling sperm counts could lead to human extinction

July 26, 2017 by  
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Will our lifestyle lead to our extinction ? New findings from an international team of eight researchers indicate sperm counts in men from North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe have halved in under 40 years. Lead author epidemiologist Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem told the BBC, “If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future.” Sperm count studies have been controversial in the past. This recent one, published this week in the Oxford Academic journal Human Reproduction Update , is one of the biggest assessments ever undertaken, according to the BBC. Researchers pored over 185 studies between 1973 and 2011. Levine detected a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and 59.3 percent drop in total sperm count in the men from those regions of the world listed above. The rate of decline continues and may even be increasing, according to the researchers. They didn’t see the same decline in men from Africa, Asia, or South America, but said there have been fewer studies from these regions. Related: Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men Levine told the BBC, “Eventually we may have a problem, and with reproduction in general, and it may be the extinction of the human species.” Skeptics say a large proportion of past studies that have pointed to sperm count drops have been flawed, such as only including men who have gone to fertility clinics, and would be likely to possess low sperm counts. But the researchers involved in the new study said they accounted for some of the flaws. Professor Allan Pacey of Sheffield University told the BBC, “I’ve never been particularly convinced by the many studies published so far claiming that human sperm counts have declined in the recent past. However, the study today by Dr. Levine and his colleagues deals head-on with many of the deficiencies of previous studies.” Other scientists praised the quality of the new study but said it may be too soon to come to the conclusion that humans could be on the path to extinction. Researchers at institutions in Denmark, the United States, and Spain were also part of the research. Via the BBC Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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BIG hides an invisible museum beneath Denmarks sand dunes

July 14, 2017 by  
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Don’t be fooled by these gentle sand dunes—hidden in the landscape is an “invisible museum.” Bjarke Ingels Group designed TIRPITZ, a recently opened museum embedded into Denmark’s protected Blåvand shorelines, also a historic war site. The TIRPITZ museum offers a unique experience within a building that skillfully camouflages into the dunes, providing a sharp contrast to its neighbor, a monolithic German WWII bunker . Developed by Varde Museums , TIRPITZ is a cultural complex comprising four exhibitions inside a renovated and expanded wartime bunker. The 2,800-square-meter “invisible museum” is mostly buried underground and looks nearly imperceptible from above until visitors draw close to the heavy bunker and see the walls cut into the dunes from all sides. An outdoor courtyard provides access to the four underground galleries—illuminated with a surprising abundance of natural light let in by 6-meter-tall glass panels—that connect to the historic bunker. “The architecture of the TIRPITZ is the antithesis to the WWII bunker,” said Bjarke Ingels , Founding Partner at BIG. “The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum. The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the Nazi fortress’ concrete monolith. The surrounding heath-lined pathways cut into the dunes from all sides descending to meet in a central clearing, bringing daylight and air into the heart of the complex. The bunker remains the only landmark of a not so distant dark heritage that upon close inspection marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.” Related: Century-old WWI bunker is reborn as a contemporary alpine shelter Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers designed the exhibitions to showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences that adhere to a storyline, from the Hitler-related ‘Army of Concrete’ to the exhibition of amber in ‘Gold of the West Coast.’ The building is built mainly of concrete, steel, glass, and wood—all materials found in the existing structures and natural landscape. The groundbreaking museum is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors annually. + BIG Images by Mike Bink Photography, Laurian Ghinitoiu,  John Seymour, Rasmus Hjortshoj, Colin John Seymour, Rasmus Bendix

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Fossil-free islands: A blueprint for sustainable development?

June 14, 2017 by  
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From Hawaii’s Molokai to Samso, Denmark, islands are becoming a hotbed for experimentation with renewable energy, waste reduction and water conservation.

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