Amazon hands Mercedes-Benz its biggest electric vehicle order to date

August 28, 2020 by  
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Amazon hands Mercedes-Benz its biggest electric vehicle order to date Katie Fehrenbacher Fri, 08/28/2020 – 00:00 German auto giant Mercedes-Benz announced its largest order of electric vehicles to date Friday: 1,800 electric delivery vans for retail giant Amazon to use across Europe. The deal shows how companies are increasingly paying attention to ways to decarbonize transportation including buying more zero-emission commercial vehicles. In particular, the market for electric last-mile delivery vehicles is starting to grow quickly as logistics companies such as FedEx and Amazon, as well as retailers such as IKEA, set and strive to hit climate goals.  Mercedes-Benz, a subsidiary of Daimler, has been a longtime partner of Amazon, as well as global shipping companies. Two years ago, Amazon bought 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans to launch its local franchised shipping program in the United States. However, those were internal combustion vehicles. The world’s largest automakers have been relatively slow to build and market electric trucks and buses, citing a lack of demand from customers and technology that isn’t ready for prime time. That’s left an opening for startups such as Rivian, which has a deal to sell Amazon 100,000 electric trucks.  But Mercedes-Benz appears to be making up for lost time. The automaker also announced Friday that it’s joining the Climate Pledge, an initiative coordinated by Amazon and firm Global Optimism that commits signatories to achieving the objectives laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement by 2040, a decade earlier than the agreement’s 2050 goal. Mercedes-Benz says it will become net carbon-neutral by 2040.  Amazon plans to use the 1,800 electric delivery vans — 1,200 e-Sprinter vans and 600 e-Vito vans — to deliver goods in countries in Europe. European countries including England, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Sweden are acting aggressively to decarbonize transportation emissions and are more swiftly adopting electric trucks compared to the U.S. Mercedes-Benz says by the end of the year it will offer five electric vehicle models and 20 plug-in hybrid vehicle editions. Its vehicle and battery production also will be carbon-neutral, using clean energy. Amazon is adding 1,800 electric delivery vehicles from Mercedes-Benz as part of our journey to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world, and we will be moving fast to get these vans on the road this year. Transitioning to electric vehicles after decades of making gas and diesel-powered ones won’t be easy. The German auto industry is losing jobs and profits as it refashions its factories to make electric vehicle drive trains, and reduces production of the traditional engine and gas tank.  At the same time, big companies such as Amazon increasingly are making global climate commitments in an effort to stay competitive, protect their brands, meet mandates and retain employees. Amazon plans eventually to have all of its shipments to customers become net-zero carbon, with 50 percent of all shipments net-zero by 2030. Electrification of its fleet will play a large role in those goals. In the release, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that Amazon is buying the electric vans from Mercedes-Benz in an effort “to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world.” Pull Quote Amazon is adding 1,800 electric delivery vehicles from Mercedes-Benz as part of our journey to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world, and we will be moving fast to get these vans on the road this year. Topics Transportation & Mobility Daimler Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Amazon Close Authorship

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Ugakei Circles sustainable nature park set to open in 2021

August 5, 2020 by  
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It’s no secret that tourism is often an incredibly important component to a destination’s economy. In the past, overconsumption and polluting modes of transport have given tourism a bad name. Now more than ever, the future of tourism is focusing on sustainability, and Inabe, a city located between two of Japan’s busiest cities (Kyoto and Nagoya), is no exception. This is the setting for Ugakei Circles, a sustainable tourism project set to open in spring 2021, consisting of overnight glamping cabins, estuary camping sites and a centralized communal area. The project is a collaboration between Danish and Japanese design teams focused on sustainable tourism development and low-impact, regenerative tourism. Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences Responsible for the project are Danish architects Tredje Natur, Japanese engineers Structured Environment and sustainability experts Henrik Innovation. The plan is to build the new park on an existing campground using only renewable materials and repurposed building waste . Design plans for the center building and the central courtyard feature optimal micro-climate conditions with wind protection and an optimized roof profile that catches the sun rays in the winter and provides shade in the summer. The park will include an overnight section that accommodates permanent Nordic cotton tents and cabins suited to glamping as well as a public river plateau where guests can pitch their own tents. All guests can take advantage of the property’s hiking routes, ocean views, mountain creeks and several natural waterfalls. There is an education center for children and adults to learn more about the nature that surrounds them through activities, a community hub, reception area and spaces for shops and workshops. The nature park proposal highlights the importance of outdoor activity and circular gatherings, as early civilizations in Denmark and Japan often centered their communities around the universal shape. “We believe the future is about circularity,” said Flemming Rafn Thomsen, lead architect and co-founder of Tredje Natur. “Our proposal is composed by a family of circles that define a series of sustainable communities. The master plan and buildings embody a unique environment and a regenerative ‘hygge’ experience in nature. It is our hope that our project will become the base camp for a new type of regional nature-based development that promote sustainable awareness and brings the gift of nature to many urban dwellers.” + Tredje Natur Images via Tredje Natur, Structured Environment and Henrik Innovation

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Ugakei Circles sustainable nature park set to open in 2021

This fashion boutique in India is crafted from recycled materials

August 5, 2020 by  
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Located in Gujarat, India, this boutique shop designed by Manoj Patel Design Studio is completely made out of recycled materials . The 350-square-foot space, completed in 2020, sells fine women’s wear and combines two rooms together to create a contemporary consumer experience using reused traditional and scrap materials. Not only do the sustainability features make this project cost-effective and environmentally responsive, it has introduced a series of unique wall patterns and buying conditions for the owner’s clients. When customers enter the store, their attention is immediately grabbed by the dark, contrasting colors in the ceiling mural and the bright, green accent walls. A custom arrangement of earth-toned waste clay tiles adds texture and a dramatic effect to the walls by resembling old-fashioned floor and ceiling interiors. Related: This green wall uses upcycled clay tiles for natural cooling Materials include reused clay roof tiles, recycled beer bottles , recycled window shutters, unused sample tiles, wasted metal rings and old mirror cladding. The client, a fashion designer, provided their own reclaimed fabrics to reupholster the seating as well. The designer chose these specific upcycled materials for both their longevity and their aesthetics. The layout, which combines two older rooms to form the studio, incorporates graphics and material frames in various sections to give guests a different perspective when viewed from particular angles. One such accent area is meant to resemble the traditional designs of Indian saris, while another uses reclaimed glass bottles to reflect the pattern of a necklace. Recycled table legs are used as door handles, and the clothes-hanging area was constructed by turning old metal rings into floral hooks. Broken tiles are arranged into mosaics, depicting flowers and leaves on the studio’s floor. Architect Manoj Patel is passionate about climate-responsive architecture, and his firm has continued to reflect recycled construction techniques, nature preservation and sustainable building materials since it opened in 2015. + Manoj Patel Design Studio Photography by Tejas Shah Photography via Manoj Patel Design Studio

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New metro stations extend sustainable, site-sensitive transit in Denmark

July 10, 2020 by  
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Copenhagen-based architecture firm Cobe teamed up with Arup on the recently completed Orientkaj and Nordhavn — two new metro stations that connect Copenhagen’s northern docklands with the city center. Developed as part of one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Northern Europe, the metro stations aim to revitalize the post-industrial area with a passenger-focused design and appearance reflective of the urban areas they serve. The two metro stations are expected to serve 9,000 daily users by 2025. Recently opened in March 2020, the two metro stations connect Copenhagen Central Station to Nordhavn in just 4 minutes. Each metro station was designed with site-specific characteristics. The overground Orientkaj station takes inspiration from a shipping container as a nod to the Brutalist and large-scale dockland buildings with boxy construction built of glass, concrete and aluminum. Large spans of glazing frame views of the area across Øresund into Sweden. Set above the Orientkaj dock and clad in reflective anodized aluminum cladding, the station was created as an eye-catching local landmark and a prototype for future overground stations in Nordhavn, a new city district designed by Cobe that will eventually encompass over 1,500,000 square meters of sustainable, mixed-use development. Related: COBE unveils images of LEED Gold-targeted Adidas HQ in Germany In contrast, the underground Nordhavn station is defined by folded, origami-like ceramic panels and an interior clad in red tiles characteristic of Cityringen’s interchange stations for design consistency. Both the overground Orientkaj station and the underground Nordhavn station emphasize passenger comfort with clear wayfinding elements and an abundance of lighting to provide comfort and safety. “Nordhavn is a city of sustainable mobility , where it is easier to walk, bike or use public transport, than it is to drive your own car,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of Cobe. “The two metro stations unlock the potential of this new Copenhagen city district, enabling more efficient and sustainable transport between the individual neighborhoods, and to the rest of Copenhagen, while adding a new chapter to the story of the Copenhagen harbor front.” + Cobe + Arup Images via Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST / COBE

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New metro stations extend sustainable, site-sensitive transit in Denmark

Discover the powers of nature in Denmarks newly opened NATURKRAFT exploratorium

June 17, 2020 by  
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Last week, Denmark’s NATURKRAFT officially opened to offer the public a new space for experiencing the “physical and aesthetic powers of nature.” Designed by Thøgersen & Stouby and SLA , the new landmark at the western coastal town of Ringkøbing is a 50-acre exploratorium showcasing the importance of environmental stewardship. The project, which was funded by private equity and the Municipality of Ringkøbing-Skjern, cost 300 million Danish kroner ($45,329,550) and is expected to attract 280,000 visitors annually. Naturkraft — Danish for “Nature Power” — consists of three connected zones that are separately guided by the themes of observation, participation and understanding. The first “observation” zone is marked by a 600-meter-long ring was that rises to a height of 12 meters and provides views of the Ringkøbing Fjord and the flat surrounding landscape. The second zone, which focuses on “participation,” comprises an inner nature and adventure park with playful installations and a 17-kilometer-long “cross section” of the local biotopes throughout the western Jutland of Denmark . Eight specially designed nature typologies are represented, from the sand dune and the heathland to the marsh and the carbon forest. Related: Climate-adaptive park in Copenhagen wins Arne of the Year Award The theme of “understanding” guided the creation of a 5,500-square-meter building for exhibitions. Located on the highest point of the ring wall, the building features a tent-like translucent facade constructed from lightweight ETFE to emphasize a constant connection to the outdoors. The inner nature arena also includes “dissemination installations” for furthering conversations on the importance of nature for humans. “Naturkraft is both about the visible nature powers that humans experience and use in nature, and about the deep-seated aesthetic sense of nature that nature phenomena awaken in us,” said Stig L. Andersson, design director and founding partner of SLA. “Nature is what allows us humans to live good and meaningful lives. For both survival and living. In Naturkraft we show how the use of natural processes can shape our future cities and communities. Not by hitherto destroying existing nature , but by learning from nature and living with and not against it.” + SLA Photography by Torben Petersen and Thøgersen&Stouby via SLA

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Discover the powers of nature in Denmarks newly opened NATURKRAFT exploratorium

Food waste startup backed by Oprah Winfrey snags $250 million

May 26, 2020 by  
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Food waste startup backed by Oprah Winfrey snags $250 million Heather Clancy Tue, 05/26/2020 – 06:01 While overall startup funding is down this quarter because of the economic disruption brought on by COVID-19, entrepreneurs focused on solving climate-related problems have been bucking the trend . This morning brings one of the biggest deals yet this year: an infusion of $250 million in new financing for food waste crusader Apeel Sciences . What’s more, the funding pushes the Santa Barbara, California-based company’s valuation to more than $1 billion — a status dubbed in VC circles as “unicorn.” Cumulatively speaking, Apeel has raised $360 million, including the new funding. The lead backer on the latest round is Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, which explicitly embeds sustainability considerations into its investments. Other “participating” investors are Viking Global Investors, Upfront Investors, Tao Capital Partners and Rock Creek Group. There are also two highly recognizable minority “non-participating” investors: pop star Katy Perry and media queen Oprah Winfrey, who previously invested in Apeel in 2019.  “I hate to see food wasted, when there are so many people in the world who are going without,” Winfrey said in the funding press release. “Apeel can extend the life of fresh produce, which is critical to our food supply and to our planet too.” Food waste is responsible for generating close to 6 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions: for perspective, that’s three times the amount generated by the aviation industry. The issue has been exacerbated by the pandemic: Farmers have been forced to bury vegetables and pour milk down drains, while livestock operations have been forced to euthanize animals with slaughtering capacity idled during the quarantine. Apeel, which got its start in 2012 with a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has attracted funding from many high-profile funds, such as Andreessen Horowitz, as well as several firms that have championed a focus on climate tech including S2G Ventures, DBL Partners and Powerplant Ventures. The startup’s product is literally a peel — made from fruit and vegetable matter — that can be used to coat everything from limes to avocados to mandarin oranges to apples. It’s applied in packaging facilities or warehouses using a water-based formula. That layer extends the shelf life of the produce so that it is less likely to spoil during its journey to the retailer and so that it lasts longer on display. The company says each item can last two to three times longer, because Apeel’s coating slows water loss and oxidation. What’s more, the coating is edible and because it’s made from plant matter, it can be used on organic products. One reason Apeel’s approach is so, well, appealing is that it’s intended to give nature a boost: fruits and vegetables already seal themselves with a substance called cutin; Apeel’s product helps make that seal last longer .   I think it gives confidence to put more product on the shelf. What we have seen is like a 50 percent [reduction] of waste, and then also a double-digit growth of sales. “I think it gives confidence to put more product on the shelf. What we have seen is like a 50 percent [reduction] of waste, and then also a double-digit growth of sales,” Adrielle Dankier, chief commercial officer for Nature’s Pride, a Dutch importer of fruits and vegetables that is applying Apeel to avocados, said in a customer video. Since 2018, the company has saved more than 3 million avocados by using the product, according to the testimonial. Other organizations featured in the customer video (below) are Cata Fresh, a Spanish exporter of everything from melons to onions, and Sage Fruit, which specializes in pears, cherries and apples. The company is working with suppliers, retails and growers — “ranging from smallholder farmers and local organic growers to the world’s largest food brands and retailers.”  Some of its partners include Kroger (the largest U.S. food retailer), Edeka (Germany’s biggest supermarket company) and Sailing Group (the largest retail group in Denmark). Apeel’s coating is being used in dozens of produce categories. This year, it could save up to 20 million pieces of fruit from going to waste in stores — it also can help extend the shelf life at home. The new funding will enable Apeel to continue is international expansion, especially in places such as sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and South America — places where there are higher rates of both food waste and food insecurity. The company operates primarily in the United States and Europe today. In a statement emailed to GreenBiz, a company spokesperson said interest in Apeel has grown since the pandemic. “Our capital raise comes at a critical time — making it possible to accelerate our efforts to improve resilience across the supply chain while it works to rebuild, and provide a better path forward now and into the future,” the Apeel spokesperson said in emailed answers to several questions submitted about the funding. “Food service organizations are also an integral part of the fresh food supply chain and another channel that has been greatly impacted as a result of the pandemic. Our efforts to improve efficiencies through the supply chain will absolutely include this sector, as well as work to help food service distributors and operators reduce waste.” Pull Quote I think it gives confidence to put more product on the shelf. What we have seen is like a 50 percent [reduction] of waste, and then also a double-digit growth of sales. Topics Food & Agriculture Climate Tech Food Waste Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Apeel coats fruits and vegetables with an edible layer that can is designed to extend shelf life by two to three times. Courtesy of Apeel Sciences Close Authorship

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Food waste startup backed by Oprah Winfrey snags $250 million

Henning Larsen unveils plans for Copenhagens first all-timber community

January 23, 2020 by  
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A sustainable, nature-filled neighborhood unlike any other in Denmark could soon take root just beyond Copenhagen’s city center. Scandinavian architecture firm Henning Larsen has collaborated with biologists and environmental engineers from MOE to design the Fælledby community, a proposal for Copenhagen’s first all-timber neighborhood. Proposed for a former dumping ground site, the development promotes sustainable living, a reduced carbon footprint and a harmonious relationship with nature. Designed to accommodate 7,000 residents on an 18.1-hectare project site, the Fælledby community features a hybrid architectural design that merges traditional Danish urban design with rural typologies and includes a mix of housing types. The development, which would be about the size of Billund, would be built in phases and comprise three radial village-like “cores” that accommodate about 2,300 people each. These cores are connected via a series of native-planted green corridors, thereby maximizing access to nature and ensuring free movement for local wildlife . For any given residence, nature will be less than a 2-minute walk away. Related: Henning Larsen completes award-winning Wave apartments in Denmark The green corridors will be part of the undeveloped habitat for local flora and fauna, which make up 40% of the development. Nature will also be integrated into the built environment with nests for songbirds and bats built into the walls of the houses. A pond that occupies the center of each of the three Fælledby “villages” will offer a habitat for frogs and salamanders, while community gardens would attract other local species and encourage neighborly relations. “Deciding to build the natural landscape around Fælledby comes with a commitment to balance people with nature,” said Signe Kongebro, partner at Henning Larsen. “Specifically, this means that our new district will be Copenhagen’s first built fully in wood and incorporating natural habitats that encourage richer growth for plants and animals. With the rural village as an archetype, we’re creating a city where biodiversity and active recreation define a sustainable pact between people and nature.” + Henning Larsen Images via Henning Larsen

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Henning Larsen unveils plans for Copenhagens first all-timber community

A nearly century-old Copenhagen school gets an eco-friendly makeover

January 14, 2020 by  
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Danish architectural practice JJW Architects has used recycled bricks and Cradle-to-Cradle certified mortar to renovate Copenhagen’s Grøndalsvængets School. Originally built in 1929, the building had long been hidden away from the surrounding neighborhood; this comprehensive transformation, completed in 2019, has now integrated the structure into the urban fabric. The school has also been expanded to support modern principles of learning and a larger educational program.  The Grøndalsvængets School renovation project targeted three main objectives: an improved connection with the neighborhood, new differentiated learning environments and sustainable building practices. To better integrate the school with its surroundings, the architects first took down the tall hedge that had visually separated the school from the city. The pair of two-story buildings that were added on the outer corners of the site are topped with gabled roofs in a nod to the pitched rooflines of the area. Related: A massive pollution-fighting green wall engulfs this Dutch city hall The two new buildings were built for teaching, sports and music and are part of a greater plan to cultivate a campus-like environment within the school. In addition to the renovation of the main building, the Grøndalsvængets School’s expansion focuses on creating a flexible and differentiated learning environment that can support the needs of its students. The two new buildings were built with recycled bricks from a nearby hospital and assembled with Cradle-to-Cradle certified mortar to ensure that those bricks can be reused again in the future as part of a long-term circular economy strategy. “The old school building becomes new and the new school buildings carry on an old story from the beginning,” the architects explained in a project statement. “ New and old meet each other in respect and create a school that is cohesive and interlinked with the surrounding neighborhood.” + JJW Architects Photography by Torben Eskerod via JJW Architects

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A hotel suite inside a shipping container hovers over the landscape in Brazil

October 16, 2019 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm Bruno Zaitter arquiteto has once again given new life to a shipping container with the Bosque Refuge, one of the Hotel Fazenda Cainã suites in Balsa Nova, Brazil. Fitted with massive walls of glass to blur the line between indoors and out, the modern suite immerses guests into nature with breathtaking views and a natural materials palette. The recycled container is elevated on stilts and carefully sited to minimize landscape impact. Nicknamed Baruch Spinoza after the famous 17th-century Dutch philosopher, the compact hotel suite measures 58 square meters and features an open floor plan. The building was strategically placed for both privacy and views — the suite backs into a large native forest in the southwest and opens up to dramatic mountain views on the northeast side. The 12-meter-long container was modified to include the washroom facilities on one end, the kitchen on the other and the bedroom and living area in the middle. The container footprint was expanded with a precast metal structure to make room for the living space, entrance and an outdoor seating area. Related: 3 stacked shipping containers create a diving tower in Denmark “The outer connection — nature — and interior — refuge — forms the main inducing element of the design process of the refuge,” explained Bruno Zaitter in a project statement. “The concept of causing minimal impact to the natural environment made it possible to reach the formal architectural party where the purity of the right angles of volumetry and the facades with few elements further value the living and dynamic atmosphere of the environment.” To soften the building’s appearance and to create a cozy atmosphere, timber was used to the line the interiors and exteriors. The green wash on the exterior facade helps the building blend into the forested landscape. + Bruno Zaitter arquiteto Via ArchDaily Photography by Sergio Mendonca and Ale Carnieri via Bruno Zaitter arquiteto

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A hotel suite inside a shipping container hovers over the landscape in Brazil

A striking new gateway to Copenhagen celebrates green transit and Danish design

October 14, 2019 by  
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Earlier this summer, Copenhagen officially opened Køge Nord Station, a stunning new transportation landmark that raises the bar for beautiful urban infrastructure. Designed by COBE and DISSING+WEITLING architecture , the transit hub features a futuristic 225-meter-long covered footbridge that connects the new double-track high-speed rail line between Copenhagen and the city of Ringsted with the existing commuter urban-suburban S-train line. The 9-meter-wide footbridge spans the width of the Køge Bugt Highway and is punctuated with multiple windows to provide 180-degree panoramic views of the highway and the cultural landscape. Completed in less than three years after its groundbreaking, the Køge Nord Station is the result of an international competition that drew 38 submissions from around the world. Described by COBE and DISSING+WEITLING architecture as a “unique example of Danish architecture and engineering,” the firms’ winning design includes a vision plan, a train station, parking and transit facilities and the project’s crown jewel — the eye-catching covered footbridge . Installed in six sections, the footbridge is clad in 48,000 square meters of anodized aluminum panels and can carry up to 1,800 people. Related: Curvaceous bicycle bridge brings new life to Copenhagen’s harbor To provide a comfortable and attractive commuter experience for the 8,000 passengers expected to use the station daily, the interior of the covered bridge is lined with cozy timber and emphasizes a sense of continuous flow with curvaceous lines and open views to the north as well as with smaller south-facing apertures in the interior wood panels.  ”People spend many hours of their life in transit ,” said Jesper B. Henriksen, architect and partner at DISSING+WEITLING architecture. “That’s why we sought to give the footbridge a quality that goes beyond the purely functional and practical. The interior space is covered with wooden slats that provide a warm, tactile experience in transit and waiting situations. It is, quite simply, a welcoming and inviting space, unlike what you often see in stations and transport facilities. The interior space is contrasted by the smooth, cool aluminum exterior that enters into a dialogue with the infrastructural expression of the place.” + COBE + DISSING+WEITLING architecture Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST via COBE

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