LAGI announces location for 2018 renewable energy design competition

July 18, 2017 by  
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Energy infrastructure of the past, like oil refineries and rigs, aren’t typically considered beautiful. But as the world transitions to more renewable sources of power, what if utility-scale energy installations could double as art ? That’s the dream pursued by the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), which holds a design competition every two years to present visions for energy-generating art able to power hundreds of homes. 2016’s winners included ethereal sailboats that harvested wind for power and fog for water, and a whale-inspired design generating wind, solar , and wave energy . LAGI just announced the location for their 2018 competition: Melbourne , Australia. LAGI is being sponsored by the State of Victoria to bring their 2018 contest to Melbourne, a city which hopes to be net zero by 2020. Artists, scientists, engineers, designers, and other creatives from around the world will be invited to submit designs tailored to the area for large-scale installations that add to the beauty of the area while generating clean energy . Related: Land Art Generator Initiative Santa Monica winners address California’s energy needs and drought One goal for these designs is to show how renewable energy installations, like solar and wind, can be integrated into the nature and culture of a region. LAGI2018 is part of Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan under Action 13, which calls for “supporting important artistic and cultural sustainability events.” 2016’s top three winners included teams from Japan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. The last four competitions – Dubai/Abu Dhabi in 2010, New York City in 2012, Copenhagen in 2014, and Santa Monica in 2016 – garnered over 800 submissions from more than 60 countries. The competition will launch in around six months, in January 2018, with submissions due in May. Public exhibitions will introduce some of the ideas to the people of Melbourne and nearby cities. According to LAGI, “2018 will be a year to celebrate the beauty of our sustainable future!” + Land Art Generator Initiative Images via Wikimedia Commons and courtesy of the Land Art Generator Initiative

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LAGI announces location for 2018 renewable energy design competition

Light-filled library doubles as a home-like environment in Shanghai

May 29, 2017 by  
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There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book. Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS imbues those feelings of comfort into their design of “Library As Home,” the winning entry in the 110,000-square-meter Shanghai Library East Hall competition held by the city government. The cylindrical library draws inspiration from Chinese traditional architecture and culture while maintaining a contemporary design. In addition to winning first prize in the Shanghai government’s 2016 International Young Architects Design Competition, “Library As Home” recently won a Jury Prize from the 2017 Architizer A+Awards in the Institutional Unbuilt category. “Library as Home, envisions a library as a large house for all, with a rich variety of environments that Shanghai’s citizens could appropriate as their own,” said Eric Bunge, co-principal at nARCHITECTS. Connection with nature was emphasized in the design. The architects connect each of the library’s four open levels to exterior gardens and views of the city, while natural light flows into the building from all sides. The slightly staggered four levels comprise the Patio, Living Room, Atelier, and Study. A variety of spaces are offered, from private and quiet study areas to open spaces geared to social gatherings. Related: This library shows how beautiful sustainable design builds community The cylindrical library is envisioned with a checkered pattern facade that draws inspiration from terra-cotta printing blocks. The tiled facade would feature a glazed exterior to reference the pages of a book and the opposite side that faces the interior would be left unglazed to show off the natural terra-cotta color. The library’s compact urban form extends a large street level and sub-surface plinth below the park level to minimize the footprint of parking and to open up the area for landscaped public space. + nARCHITECTS

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Revolving solar-powered home for veterans wins California’s first tiny house competition

November 9, 2016 by  
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Powered by eight 330 Watt Sunmodule solar panels , the self-sufficient tiny home stores its energy in saltwater batteries that are the first to be Cradle-to-Cradle certified, and the Colossus solar tracking mechanism increases its absorption efficiency by 30 percent. In addition to being completely off-grid, the tiny home on wheels is also beautifully designed for surprising comfort. A transforming Murphy bed in the bedroom maximizes space during daylight hours, the full-sized kitchen has a seating area and fold-out table for the same reason, and the wet bathroom uses a dry-flush toilet to eliminate black water. Related: KODA is a tiny solar-powered house that can move with its owners rEvolve House is not only about as green as they come, with small planters on the facade and a spiral staircase leading to a rooftop terrace, but also boasts deep humanitarian intentions . “The tiny house provides the first step in the journey of empowering veterans to evolve their independence and is a safe haven for them to acclimate and begin training their dogs prior to returning to their respective homes,” the students write in their design brief. “The Tiny House Competition – Build Small and Win Big” is a new competition in the Sacramento region, challenging collegiate teams to design and build net-zero, tiny solar houses, writes the organizer, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD). “The event, held Saturday, October 15 at Consumnes River College, was open to all colleges and universities in California. Participation promoted an interest in energy conservation, energy efficiency and green building and solar technologies.” + rEvolve House Images via Joanne H. Lee/Santa Clara University

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Revolving solar-powered home for veterans wins California’s first tiny house competition

Biodesign Competition winners announced – algae takes center stage

October 5, 2016 by  
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When it comes to design, mother nature has a lot to teach us. The field of Biodesign has emerged as an exciting new discipline which integrates the best ideas from nature with the cutting edge of modern technology, fostering technological breakthroughs that could allow us to live better lives, more in harmony with our environment. We recently invited architects and designers from all across the world to submit their wildest visions for a Biodesigned future, and they delivered so much creativity and ingenuity that it was extremely difficult to narrow it all down to a short-list and then determine a winner. From algae structures, to aquaponic fish homes, to self-healing homes, we were thoroughly impressed by the entrants of our Biodesign Competition . And the winner is… GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Chlorella Oxygen Pavilion by Adam Miklosi Designer Adam Miklosi was inspired by the concept of symbiosis to create a futuristic oxygen bar called the Chlorella Pavillion which would allow tired people to enter, relax, and fill up on energizing, oxygen-rich air. Miklosi proposes piping living algae through the structure to create a swirling “algae fountain” throughout the exterior and interior of the space. Like all photosynthesizing organisms, algae naturally consumes CO2 and produces oxygen through respiration. Humans relaxing (and breathing) in the space would give the algae the CO2 it needs to survive, and, in turn, the algae would give Chlorella Pavilion visitors an extra oxygen boost. HEALING SPACES CATEGORY WINNER: Chlorella Oxygen Pavilion by Adam Miklosi The Chlorella Pavillon was the category winner for ‘Healing Spaces’ in addition to being selected by the judges as the Grand Prize Winner. Designer Adam Miklosi’s algae pavilions are built with molded beech wood and covered with a semi-transparent isolating film. Each pavilion is designed to live and breath interdependently with humans using photosynthesis – exhaled carbon dioxide and fresh oxygen mixes in the central algae fountain. The algae-filled water then circulates in tubes spiraling around the structure that soak up sunlight. Each pavilion is meant to be a “temple of relaxation” in a hectic urban environment. HOUSING CATEGORY WINNER: Self Healing House by Edwin Indera Waskita Designer Edwin Indera Waskita’s Self-Healing House explores the value of social sustainability by fostering communities in which humans, animals, plants, and the environment benefit from a mutual symbiosis. The proposal transforms marginalized city spaces into dynamic and productive zones (like urban farms ) to ensure positive and sustainable social growth. The Self-Healing House relies on community participation to improve both the quality of life of inhabitants and ecological balance, and it benefits residents through improved resource distribution. The Self-Healing House is wrapped in an “ecological skin” of mosses and plants which provide a source of food and water for birds. In exchange, by depositing new seeds and plant life, birds will encourage new growth of the skin. HONORABLE MENTIONS: Aquaponic Future Housing by Mihai Chiriac: Aquaponic Future Houses are 3-story homes made out of 3D-printed biodegradable vegetable-based bioplastic , housing living plants and fish in a closed-loop system, where the plants feed the fish, the fish feed the plants, plants produce oxygen for the home’s inhabitants and the fish produce food. In order to create a more sustainable environment, the building uses built-in hydroponics and aquaculture for growing food at home. The home is intended for neglected urban spaces to help urban dwellers live a greener, healthier life. Jellyfish Lodge by Janine Hung: The Jellyfish Lodge proposes to rehabilitate the world’s most polluted river slums by removing waste , treating water, growing food, and purifying air all through solar power. The structure’s jellyfish-inspired tentacles will remove garbage from the water while testing water toxicity levels, and microbial digestion chambers within the design will break down harmful microorganisms before returning treated water to the river. An aquaponics system would produce food for nearby residents. Oculus emergency shelter by Chalmers University of Technology: Oculus is a prototype for a rapidly deployable shelter inspired by the Beehive house – a traditional Syrian dwelling with bionic geometry. With a focus on material efficiency, the Oculus is a small den-style single-family unit made of expanded polystyrene (EPS). The dwelling consists of 29 rings set inside each other to form a stepping shell structure. The prototype was developed by 4 students at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden focusing on material efficiency, off-site manufacturing and low-tech assembly. It was developed as a case study through work with the Al-Zataari camp in Jordan. Algaevator urban revitalization by Jie Zhang: The Algaevator inserts an algae farm into a weather-tight, transparent and lightweight roofing system that can be used in abandoned buildings to help revitalize urban environments. The algae can be used for various applications in consumer products and alternative fuels. The Algaevator’s funnel shape optimizes sun exposure for algae production and can also harvest rainwater for additional sustainability. Hybrid Fibrous Morphologies by Ruxandra Gruioniu: Ruxandra Gruioniu’s Hybrid Fibrous Morphologies project seeks to create a new bio-integrative material system out of fungus. Gruioniu experimented with fusing living and non-living matter to develop a cost and energy-efficient architectural solution that resembles the biological model. Fungus is a very simple multicellular microorganism consisting of numerous filaments (hyphae) that have the ability to branch out and reconnect with each other to form a biological transport network over a manmade structure, such as a metal lattice. Urban Pure BioTower Dennis Dollens: Urban Pure: BioTowers are environmentally-friendly buildings for housing, schools, or offices. The design for the towers was inspired by the shape of plants and trees to support healthy living. Enhanced using synthetic biology, AI, and biorobotics, BioTowers “eat” air pollution while contributing energy and green spaces to modern cities. + Inhabitat Biodesign Competition

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Biodesign Competition winners announced – algae takes center stage

Giant paper boats use holographic photovoltaic cells to boost California coral growth

September 6, 2016 by  
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A team from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania envisions a bold new world where giant paper boats float off Santa Monica Pier, harnessing solar energy to revitalize California’s coastal ecology. Another finalist of LAGI 2016: Santa Monica , an international design competition that promotes renewable energy and public art, Paper Boats is designed to harness solar energy using concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), reflectors, and Holographic Planar Concentrator (HPC) technology. Unlike other energy and water-generating designs, this energy is redirected to accelerate coral growth. And if you are weary of designs that don’t yet exist, note that LAGI’s competition guidelines require all entries to be technologically and physically feasible. In this way, Paper Boats, The Pipe, and other LAGI designs symbolize potential applications of existing technology . “Throughout the years, over-hunting and over-fishing of some key species have allowed purple urchin to graze on the kelp without competition, Christopher Makrinos, Stephen Makrinos, and Alexander Bishop write in their design brief. “This has led to “urchin barrens,” which offer little in the way of genetic diversity, food, or nesting habitats. Paper Boats has reversed this trend by establishing pockets of coral and kelp (once commonplace here) within underwater “shipwreck” frames that anchor each boat to the historic breakwater.” The team adds that in a process known as accretion, the “shipwrecks” mirror the sculptures above, promoting coral growth . A trickle of direct current electricity produced by the sails, or solar collectors, flows through the rebar, and accelerates coral growth that is said to be five times faster than normal. Paper Boats designers say that accretion was first observed by Wolf Hilbertz. Related: Solar-powered pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California Every boat has four sails. The outer shell uses Fresnel lenses to direct light, while the sail as a whole acts as a concentrated photovoltaic collector . It has an annual capacity of 2,400 MWh. Holographic photovoltaic cells beneath the sails use laser-etched glazing and bi-facial silicone panels to harness sunlight from both directions “with incredible efficiency.” The iridescent sails refract light, a special bonus for people visiting Santa Monica Pier during sunset. “The solar panels are attached to a ceramic-cladded aluminum framework,” the designers continue. “The structure conceals the CPV conduits and acts as a passive heat sink. A trickle of energy is diverted to the “shipwrecks” before entering the main conduit.” “This small charge provides a catalyst for coral growth, strengthening the local marine ecosystem .” + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica

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Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California

August 23, 2016 by  
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“LAGI 2016 comes to Southern California at an important time,” write Rob Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian, co-founders of the Land Art Generator Initiative . “The sustainable infrastructure that is required to meet California’s development goals and growing population will have a profound influence on the landscape. The Paris Climate Accord from COP 21 has united the world around a goal of 1.5–2° C, which will require a massive investment in clean energy infrastructure. For this particular competition, LAGI asked designers to submit proposals that incorporate either an energy or drinking water component, since they are inextricably intertwined, or both. Khalil Engineers from Canada chose to power an electromagnetic desalination device using solar power . And – in keeping with the public art and educational aspect of LAGI’s overall environmental and social crusade – The Pipe is a beautiful design that allows people to seamlessly interact with their source of drinking water without any of the unpleasant side effects typically associated with energy generation. Related: Gigantic solar hourglass powers up to 1,000 Danish homes “Above, solar panels provide power to pump seawater through an electromagnetic filtration process below the pool deck, quietly providing the salt bath with its healing water and the city with clean drinking water,” the design team writes in their brief. “The Pipe represents a change in the future of water.” According to Khalil Engineers, their design, a long gleaming thing visible from Santa Monica Pier, is capable of generating 10,000 MWh each year, which will in turn produce 4.5 billion liters (or 1.5 billion gallons) of drinking water. Given the current drought throughout California , and the dearth of water in general, a variety of urban micro generators such as this can complement utility-scale energy generation. “What results are two products: pure drinkable water that is directed into the city’s primary water piping grid, and clear water with twelve percent salinity. The drinking water is piped to shore, while the salt water supplies the thermal baths before it is redirected back to the ocean through a smart release system, mitigating most of the usual problems associated with returning brine water to the sea.” The winners of LAGI 2016 will be announced on October 6, 2016 at Greenbuild 2016 . + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica + Khalil Engineers

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Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California

Monstrous goldfish found in Australian rivers were released as pets

August 23, 2016 by  
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Australian researchers are warning of a new, invasive threat to the continent’s native wildlife: goldfish that were abandoned by their owners and released into the wild. Most of us think of goldfish as a small and harmless species, but apparently Western Australia’s rivers contain just the right conditions to allow the fish to grow into two kilo monsters that wreak havoc on the local ecosystem. There are a number of reasons why these fish pose such an environmental hazard. For one, they tend to eat the eggs of native species. But even when they aren’t directly affecting the reproduction of other fish, they’re releasing a nutrient-rich waste into the water column which creates dangerous algae blooms . They’re also carriers of nasty diseases that don’t naturally occur in Australia’s waters. Related: Great Barrier Reef tourist pollution may be causing turtle-specific herpes outbreak It’s believed that pet owners who dump unwanted fish in local waterways are to blame. The practice is called “aquarium dumping.” Once they are released into the water, they breed at a rapid rate, taking over the area. Because they can travel quite far, up to 230 kilometers per year, they’re incredibly difficult to eradicate. In fact, scientists from Murdoch University are calling them “one of the world’s worst invasive aquatic species.” This isn’t the first time pet goldfish have caused an ecological crisis. In 2013, researchers at Lake Tahoe in the US found abandoned goldfish that had grown over and foot and a half long terrorizing the waters. Via Gizmodo Images via Murdoch University

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Monstrous goldfish found in Australian rivers were released as pets

Beautiful Våler church in Norway pays homage to a 19th century church that burned down

April 1, 2016 by  
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Here’s what the environmentally-friendly cemetery of the future could look like

March 10, 2016 by  
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Did you know there is a DeathLab at Columbia University ? Operating under the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation , DeathLab pursues sustainable designs for futuristic cemeteries, and they recently won a design competition for a concept that would turn the traditional cemetery into a beautiful memorial forest lit by a constellation of biomass-powered “stars.” Not only would the idea be a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one, but it is also much more environmentally friendly than our current system. Read the rest of Here’s what the environmentally-friendly cemetery of the future could look like

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Wooden Orchids reimagines the shopping mall as a living, breathing ecotopia

June 5, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Wooden Orchids reimagines the shopping mall as a living, breathing ecotopia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bioclimatic design , biomimicry , china , conscious consumerism , Design Competition , eco design , eco shopping , geothermal heating and cooling , green design , organic foods , ount Lu Estate of World Architecture Competition , passive design , rainwater harvesting , recycling , renewable energy , responsible shopping , sustainable design , vincent callebaut , wooden orchids

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