Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

August 18, 2017 by  
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A “green lung” in Qatar’s desert landscape is helping people stay healthy and active, and reconnecting them to nature. Erik Behrens and James Haig Streeter of AECOM recently completed Oxygen Park, a unique public space in Doha’s Education City. Built to promote exercise and social gatherings, Oxygen Park is partly buried underground and features undulating, organic forms masses inspired by the desert’s wind-eroded rocks and landscapes. Oxygen Park derives its name from the elemental life-force of oxygen , which the park also produces with its tree-studded green landscape. The designers wrote: “Oxygen Park is a man-made ‘green lung’ with a design inspired by nature. It is an antidote to the generic indoor gym environment and helps people to get back to nature, while fostering social engagement and promoting active healthy lifestyles.” A series of “balloon lights” float above the subterranean landscape to draw attention to Oxygen Park from afar. Related: SOMA Architects’ luxury Shaza Hotel breaks ground in Doha The park’s exercise features include shaded running trails, subterranean pitches for team sports, and equestrian facilities. More passive recreational areas also punctuate the park in the form of water plazas, sensory gardens, shade gardens, play gardens , and a series of soundscape -filled, folly spheres. The use of water and shade are seamlessly integrated into the design to provide relief from the hot climate. At night, a beautiful lighting scheme illuminates the park and water to create a safe and attractive environment for workouts and strolls after sundown. + AECOM Images by Markus Elblaus

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Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

Frank Lloyd Wright architecture school grad built this beautiful desert shelter for $2K

May 17, 2017 by  
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Students at The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Taliesin West have erected small sleeping shelters on the school’s Arizona desert property in for decades, hearkening back to the early days of the school, when young architects resided in tents as they built the permanent building. Chilean architect Jaime Inostroza just raised his own tiny shelter, and – in keeping with the famous architect’s principles – it is meant to “respond to the landscape of the Sonora desert .” Inostroza named his shelter Atalaya, which means the crow’s nest of a ship, wherein crew members can glimpse the horizon. In his design statement, Inostroza said he wanted to build a sleeping shelter that would let him “dwell within the horizon of the Alameda of the Palos Verdes.” Atalaya is 12 feet tall, the same height as many of the surrounding trees. Related: Taliesin West students built protective desert shelters using mostly local materials With just a $2,000 budget from the school – and honoring Wright’s principles of sustainable design – Inostroza incorporated local stones into his shelter, and reused an old concrete pad resting on the site as a plinth for his new structure. Western red-cedar comprises the wooden parts of the shelter, a type Inostroza chose because it can last for 25 years and was more beautiful than another type of wood he could have picked such as pine. A wall-stair provides access to a small sleeping chamber. Fabric panels intended to amplify the surrounding desert colors cover Atalaya. Inostroza also considered light and the way it changes daily in the desert; he said the site of his sleeping shelter “becomes a distiller of the light” at sunset. He went through several designs before he settled on one, which happened to be the simplest. He told azcentral.com, “I’ve learned to always be asking: What is the essence? What is here? You don’t want to impose yourself on the site, you want to exalt what is already there.” Via ArchDaily , Curbed , and azcentral.com Images © Andrew Pielage /via ArchDaily

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Desert dome camp in Jordan offers tourists "The Martian" experience

April 12, 2017 by  
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Most of us at this point in human history can only dream of journeying to Mars . But Freedomes and SunCity Camp are making that experience almost possible with a dome tent camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan – close to where the 2015 movie “The Martian” was filmed. Visitors can now get that Martian experience inside one of 20 geodesic dome structures dotting the desert . Freedomes is known for their inexpensive DIY backyard dome kits . But you may not know they also created the domed habitat astronaut Mark Watney survives in for The Martian’s set design. Freedomes’ brand F.Domes created smaller versions of that big screen dome suitable as part of their glamping line , and set them up at SunCity Camp in Wadi Rum, allowing visitors to get about as close as they can get to visiting Mars. Related: Create your own backyard geodesic dome with these super affordable DIY kits The camp is near where the movie was filmed, and Freedomes said the sandstone and granite rock formations amidst the desert allow tourists to feel as if they’ve traveled to the red planet. Each dome includes a private bathroom and panoramic window for a sweeping view of the Wadi Rum desert. 5,000 Bedouins reside in the Wadi Rum desert, which they call the Valley of the Moon. SunCity Camp says they can connect visitors to local Bedouin guides, whom they described as hospitable and friendly. The Bedouins have a deep knowledge of the desert; they are semi-nomadic and many still dwell in traditional goats’ hair tents. SunCity Camp has a restaurant which serves Bedouin meals like zarb, or lamb cooked beneath the desert sand. There’s no mention of how much it costs to stay the night in one of the Martian domes; but SunCity’s other tent accommodations range from around $159 to $318 a night. + Freedomes + SunCity Camp Images courtesy of Freedomes and SunCity Camp Facebook

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Desert dome camp in Jordan offers tourists "The Martian" experience

Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

March 17, 2017 by  
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The Sahara Desert we know, with its rolling sand dunes and hot temperatures, used to be a verdant grassland with lakes. Scientists have traditionally attributed the dramatic change to a wobble in Earth’s orbital axis , but now archaeologist David K. Wright of Seoul National University is suggesting actually, humans may have been to blame. A 10,000-year or so wet period called the African Humid Period brought moisture to northern and eastern Africa. But around 8,000 years ago the moisture balance began to change. Today below the sand-dominated landscape can be found signs of rivers and plants, remnants of a greener history. In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science , Wright explained humans used to be thought of as passive agents in the end of the African Humid Period. But he thinks humans might actually have been active agents in the change. Related: The Mediterranean will become a desert unless global warming is limited to 1.5°C Wright said, “In East Asia there are long established theories of how Neolithic populations changed the landscape so profoundly that monsoons sopped penetrating so far inland.” He thinks a similar phenomenon could have happened in the Sahara. People growing crops and raising livestock could have changed the environment , exposing soil, and sunlight bouncing from the soil could have warmed the air, influencing atmospheric conditions enough so there wasn’t as much rainfall, which only added to the desertification of the Sahara. As yet, Wright needs more evidence for other scientists to fully get on board with his ideas. He said, “There were lakes everywhere in the Sahara at this time, and they will have the records of the changing vegetation. We need to drill down into these former lake beds to get the vegetation records, look at the archaeology , and see what people were doing there.” If Wright turns out to be right, his research could yield insights into how we can adapt to large scale climate change . Via Phys.org and ScienceAlert Images via Charly W. Karl on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

Longest cable-stayed bridge in Africa lit up with Philips LEDs

July 21, 2016 by  
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The Mohammed VI Bridge was inaugurated just two weeks ago by its namesake. The bridge spans a section of desert connecting Rabat to the city of Salé with 3,116 feet (950 meters) of roadway, making it the longest bridge of its kind on the African continent. The bridge carries six lanes of vehicle traffic and spans between two 650-foot (200-meter) tall towers. Some 160 cables lend strength to the bridge as well, and provide the perfect support for the Philips LED lighting system that illuminates the bridge’s cables and pillars high above the roadway. Related: Philips announces the most affordable LED light bulb ever, yours for under $5 The futuristic lighting system employs Philips Color Kinetics technology. It allows bridge officials to change up to 16 million colors and can be programmed to display elaborate light shows. In addition to the wow factor of the sight of the illuminated bridge, the LED lighting system can keep costs under control, operating at a level up to 75 percent more energy efficient other existing lighting systems. + Philips Lighting Images via Philips Lighting

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Longest cable-stayed bridge in Africa lit up with Philips LEDs

The power of zero: How to actually build a Net Zero office

March 12, 2016 by  
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A trip to the desert for a look at bleeding edge design in green building.

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The power of zero: How to actually build a Net Zero office

Death Valley springs to life with millions of flowers in rare ‘super bloom’

February 24, 2016 by  
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Michael Jantzen’s Sun Rays Visitors Center Generates Solar Electricity in the Desert

June 13, 2014 by  
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Michael Jantzen has unveiled a conceptual design for the Sun Rays Visitor Center, a steel and concrete educational facility that doubles as a solar electric power plant in the desert. The off-grid facility generates electricity by converting the heat of the sun reflected and focused in hundreds of installed mirrors into steam. The Sun Rays Visitors Center’s yellow radial form was inspired by the way sun rays reflect off of the mirrors and the center also consists of a viewing platform, office space, and exhibition area. + Michael Jantzen The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: michael jantzen , reader submitted content , solar electric power plant , solar electricity , Solar Power , solar power plant , sun rays visitors center

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Michael Jantzen’s Sun Rays Visitors Center Generates Solar Electricity in the Desert

Tumbleweed Robot Draws From Nature to Fight Desertification

February 7, 2014 by  
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Israeli industrial designer Shlomi Mir has created a prototype,  tumbleweed-inspired robot that uses wind power to study desertification and help scientists better understand the phenomenon. The round robot uses an internal fabric sail stretched across a circular steel frame to roll across the terrain and collect data about the formation of sand dunes, planting seeds along the way. In the absence of wind, the robot can lie flat until the next gust picks up. Read the rest of Tumbleweed Robot Draws From Nature to Fight Desertification Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous robot , biomimicry , Climate Change , desert , desertification , industrial design , Israel , nature-inspired robot , sand dunes , seed-planting robot , Shlomi Mir , tumbleweed robot , wind-powered robot        

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Tumbleweed Robot Draws From Nature to Fight Desertification

Solar-Powered Tags Give Threatened Shark Species a Fighting Chance

January 3, 2014 by  
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Great White photo / Shutterstock Studying sharks’ movements and how they behave in their natural environment is an integral part of keeping them safe from overfishing. To aid these efforts, scientists have developed a special solar-powered tag that can be used to monitor a shark’s trajectory for up to two years. Compared with older tags that ran on batteries and occasionally died before being able to transmit their valuable information, the new solar-powered variety may give sharks a fighting chance. Read the rest of Solar-Powered Tags Give Threatened Shark Species a Fighting Chance Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Antonio Fins , battery-powered animal tags , Desert Star Systems , Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation , shark conservation , shark finning , shark migration studies , shark overfishing , solar powered tags save sharks , solar-powered shark tag        

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