1942 army train car used in WWII gains a new life as a beautiful tiny home

January 16, 2019 by  
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For those history buffs out there, a stay in this beautifully converted WWII train car would be a dream come true. Tucked into the Smoky Mountains in Maryville, Tennessee, Platform 1346 , which was previously used as a kitchen car for U.S. Army cooks, has been carefully revamped to provide a serene tiny home retreat in an idyllic setting while still retaining its historic character. The train car goes back to 1942 when it was used as a troop train kitchen car for U.S. Army cooks preparing meals for troops that were being transported to the East Coast to board ships bound for Europe. The car served throughout the war until it was decommissioned in 1955 and placed in a military surplus yard for years. Later, it would be called back to duty in the 1970s during the Cold War, when it would serve as a mobile command car for SAC (Strategic Air Command). The historic car was used to transport large computers and communication equipment until 1988, when it was officially retired from duty. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small After being put up for sale at auction in 2005, the old train car was purchased by a retired Lt. Colonel and transported to Maryville, Tennessee. After the train car sat unused for years, the new owners of the property decided to revamp the structure into a tiny home weekend retreat . The family found most of the materials for the renovation secondhand, scouring Craigslist and estate sales for cabinets, countertops, dishware, appliances and more. After eight months of construction, plumbing and electrical work, the almost 80-year-old train car was given a new life as a tiny Airbnb rental. Located on six acres of pristine wooded land, the Platform 1346 offers a beautiful retreat to enjoy the idyllic surroundings. On the interior, hardwood flooring and white walls make the home feel comfy and welcoming. Multiple large windows flood the interior with natural light and provide stunning views of the natural surroundings. The tiny home escape can comfortably accommodate four guests with one queen-sized bed and a queen-sized pull-out sofa bed. The kitchen offers all of the amenities for enjoying a nice homemade meal, including a dining counter that looks out over the expansive fields. There is also an open-air deck, which is a great place for dining al fresco. After a day out hiking or simply enjoying the fresh mountain air, guests can enjoy a nice soak in the large clawfoot tub. There also is a fish pond and a fire pit on site, making for a relaxing spot to unwind in the evening time. + Platform 1346 Photography by Tayler Smith via Platform 1346

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1942 army train car used in WWII gains a new life as a beautiful tiny home

100architects upcycles phone booths into resourceful community hubs

January 15, 2019 by  
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When was the last time you stepped into a phone booth? If you’re under 30, you might not even be aware that phone booths used to be on nearly every street corner as a means to contact your parents after the football game or call a taxi after dinner. Of course, there are those scenes from the original Superman that might jog your memory. Once cell phones became mainstream, the empty phone booths became easy fodder for graffiti, pollution and public urinal use. But while the era of the phone booth is long gone, in Shanghai, these relics are being upcycled into useful curbside furniture. Many cities in China, like most major metropolitan areas, have grown beyond the need for public phone booths, but the government decided to transform the existing architecture into something more appealing. As contracted by the government, Shanghai firm 100architects took on the challenge of finding a new use for the phone booths on Yuyuan Road, a historic road in the city. The goal was not only to find another use for the phone booths but to make sure the new design was useful and accessible to the public. Related: Martin Angelov upcycles an abandoned telephone booth into public seating While the outside looks like what we remember as a traditional phone booth, the standout orange interior provides shelter and a spot to hang out. Depending on the size of the unit, some have tables while others are standing-room only. One thing they all have in common is a side that is open to the sidewalk and passersby. This is an intentional effort to encourage engagement in a population that has become solitary thanks to individual cell phones. All three “Orange Phone Booth” prototypes include LED lighting that illuminates the structures after dark. They also include a free Wi-Fi connection and USB charging sockets, which are a popular draw for many people on the go or with time to kill. You might also find a newspaper rack, reading lights and an emergency public phone. There are currently five renovated phone booths along Yuyuan Road that work equally as public furniture and statement pieces. + 100architects Via Curbed Photography by Amey Kandalgaonkar via 100architects

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100architects upcycles phone booths into resourceful community hubs

These AI-powered cameras can sense poachers and save wildlife

January 14, 2019 by  
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Animal poaching is on the rise as people find interest in ivory,  fur , skins and more for their financial value. Previous technologies have tried to capture poachers in the act, but often failed because the poachers could ping cell towers and find (and avoid) the tracking technology. Now, Intel is debuting a smart system of cameras that relies on radio frequencies and artificial intelligence to catch the criminals and save the wildlife. We gave this technology a go at CES 2019, and here is how it works. Intel’s new TrailGuard uses “ AI for social good.” This technology is powering cameras with artificial intelligence to stop illegal poachers in their tracks. Each camera is hidden in natural areas where wild animal poaching is common. The cameras use motion sensors that, once triggered, turn the cameras on to start recording nearby activity. Related: Mass poaching in Botswana leaves behind 90 tuskless elephants Because the cameras use artificial intelligence, they can tell the difference between the movement of, say, an animal or wind and specific human activity, such as poacher’s body language or clothing. At CES 2019, these cameras were installed in a dark area designed to mimic nature. Even if you walk carefully, you are no match for these smart cameras. In the low light, it’s nearly impossible to find the cameras, and because they run on radio frequencies, poachers cannot pinpoint and avoid them. But the recordings capture a clear view of poachers, making it easier for authorities to end these activities and save more animals’ lives. Related: This AI food truck could bring fresh produce directly to you In addition to being showcased at CES 2019, the TrailGuard technology is also being deployed in the Congo. + Intel Photography by Inhabitat

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These AI-powered cameras can sense poachers and save wildlife

New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting

January 14, 2019 by  
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While most libraries tend to be filled with nothing more than books, the new VAC library (an abbreviation of the Vietnamese words for Garden, Pond and Cage) in Hanoi is teeming with koi fish and greenery. Vietnamese firm Farming Architects has built the the new open-air library with an impressive aquaponic system to teach the kids about urban farming. Located in a Hanoi neighborhood, the VAC Library is an immense structure comprised of wooden frames with various cubicles filled with books. However, within the almost 600 square feet library is an integrated production system that was designed to teach kids about sustainable food production. Related: URBANANA is Vertical Banana Plantation That Would Bring Tropical Fruit Farming to Paris According to the architects, the library is designed to show children how energy from land, air, water and solar energy can be harvested in order to be completely self-sufficient even within an urban context, “The aim is not only to produce an effective use of natural resources but also favorite experimentation in using different types of plants and animals in the urban environment.” At the heart of its design, the VAC library relies on aquaponic systems to provide a sustainable model. The structure’s fish pond provide nutrients to the plants, which in return purify the water. Built with energy conservation in mind, the system runs on a few pumps powered by solar energy, which also provides the electricity for the lighting system as well. In addition to its impressive sustainable systems , the VAC library is a center of learning. Besides reading the many books on offer, local children enjoy learning about the way that the fish in the ponds are so vital to the vegetable planters and so on. There are also chickens on site whose eggs are used for meals and their waste used as fertilizer for the center’s gardens. + Farming Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An via Farming Architects  

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New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting

These are the most endangered species in the world

January 14, 2019 by  
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As 2018 ended, it brought to light the reality that some  animals — after existing on Earth for millions of years — are gone for good. At the end of last year, scientists announced that three bird species went extinct, and there are even more species that could vanish in 2019. Unlike past mass extinctions , which were the result of things like asteroid strikes and volcanic eruptions, the current crisis is mostly caused by human activities. The Earth is currently losing animal species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate, meaning we could see 30 to 50 percent of the planet’s species going extinct by 2050. Related: 10 species at risk of extinction under the Trump administration According to the Center for Biological Diversity , we are in the middle of the planet’s sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, and this latest wave of species die-offs is the worst we have experienced since the loss of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. “Our results confirm that there is a growing wave of extinctions sweeping across the continents, driven mainly by habitat loss and degradation from unsustainable agriculture and logging,” Birdlife chief scientist Stuart Butchart told USA Today . We have an abundance of animals that help the world’s ecosystems thrive, but what will happen when more animals become endangered and go extinct? Eco2 Greetings has created an interactive map that highlights the animals that have recently become endangered and critically endangered, and it also shows where their natural habitats are based. The world’s most critically endangered species include Vaquita (population 30), Javan Rhino (63), Sumatran Rhino (80), Amur Leopard (84), Cross River Gorilla (250), Malayan Tiger (295), Sumatran Tiger (400), Mountain Gorilla (880), Yangtze Finless Porpoise (950) and Sumatran Elephant (2,600). The world’s most endangered species are North Atlantic Right Whale (325), Indochinese Tiger (350), Black-footed Ferret (370), Amur Tiger (540), Borneo Pygmy Elephant (1,500), Ganges River Dolphin (1,500), Indus River Dolphin (1,816), Galapagos Penguin (2,000), Bengal Tiger (2,500) and Sri Lankan Elephant (3,250). The existence of these animals is in our hands. So now the question is what can we do to boost these numbers and save these species? + Eco2 Greetings Image via Bernie Catterall

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These are the most endangered species in the world

A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps

January 14, 2019 by  
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Designed by Italian architects Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo , the Luca Pasqualetti Bivouac is a prefab mountain shelter that was airlifted to the very peak of the incredibly remote Morion ridge in Valpelline at an altitude of 3290 meters. The tiny bivouac  was built with sustainable and recyclable materials and designed to cause minimal impact to the stunning landscape. The tiny shelter was the brainchild of a group of local alpine guides called Espri Sarvadzo (“Wild Spirit”). Their objective was to attract more adventurous hikers and climbers to the Morion ridge of Valpelline, which, due to its remote location, is often overlooked. The team worked with the parents of Luca Pasqualettie to dedicate the bivouac to their son who passed away in the same area. Related: Tiny alpine hut is a cozy refuge in the harsh yet spectacular Slovenian Alps The rough location and extreme climate (temperatures reach -20°C and winds up to 200 km/h) in the area meant that the shelter had to be incredibly durable and resilient to wind and snow loads. The rugged terrain made building on the site impossible, so complicating the issue further was the fact that the structure had to be lightweight enough to be transported by helicopter to its destination. To bring the project to fruition, the architects designed and built a prefab structure. All of the building’s components, which were chosen for their durability and low-maintenance properties, are also recyclable and ecologically certified. As for the design itself, the shelter is a simple hut with a large pitched roof made out of two composite sandwich panels, wood and steel and can be split into four parts for easy transport. In addition to being sustainable, the design also called for a building that would cause minimal impact on the landscape. As such, the shelter was installed on non-permanent foundations that were anchored into the rock. This will enable the building to be dismounted at the end of its lifecycle without leaving a permanent trace. The interior of the tiny shelter is a minimalist space, optimized to live comfortably in a compact area. A large panoramic window on the main facade was oriented to face the east to take advantage of natural light and heat as well as to provide stunning views. A small solar panel provides additional lighting. As for furnishings, the interior houses a dining table and eight stools, as well as chests for additional seating and storage. There is also a sideboard that folds down for food preparation and various compartments for equipment. At the rear of the shelter ‘s living space is the sleeping area, which is made up of two wooden platforms with mattresses and blankets. + Roberto Dini + Stefano Girodo Via Archdaily Photography by Roberto Dini, Stefano Girodo, Adele Muscolino and Grzegorz Grodzicki via Bivacco Morion

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A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps

MVRDV proposes a glowing Times Square Taiwan with interactive media facades

January 11, 2019 by  
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Prolific Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled a bold proposal to transform Taipei’s Main Station into a “Times Square for Taiwan.” Designed as part of a consortium led by Nan Hai Development, the Taipei Twin Towers aim to reactivate the area with two high-rises clad in interactive media facades. The mixed-use project would offer new retail, office space, two cinemas and two hotels, in addition to the unification and redevelopment of the existing plazas. Located on the east side of the city, Taipei Main Station is currently ensnared in an aging concrete jungle and offers an arrival sequence — the transportation hub includes access to inter- and intra-city buses, metro and the airport railway — that MVRDV principal and co-founder Winy Maas has described as an “anti-climax.” To revitalize the area as a tourist and shopping destination, the architects have proposed stacking a mix of small and large blocks together into “vertical village” skyscrapers. The smaller blocks, located near the bottom, would house different retail outlets while the larger blocks above would contain the offices, cinemas and two hotels. The blocks will be strategically stacked to not only create public atriums  but to also allow for natural ventilation. Landscaped terraces will be located on the top of the retail blocks and connected via escalators and elevated walkways. Some blocks would also be covered with interactive media displays that can be programmed to show major cultural spectacles, sporting events or advertising for the retail tenants. Related: Shimmering bamboo-shaped skyscraper to rise in Taipei “The Taipei Twin Towers will turn this area into the downtown that Taipei deserves, with its vibrant mixture of activities matched only by the vibrant collection of facade treatments on the stacked neighborhood above,” Winy Maas explained. “We break down the required program into pleasant small blocks that echo the surrounding urban quarters, thus fitting the density fit into its surroundings. People can climb over the blocks to the top — a true vertical village . And the space in between allows for social gatherings and natural ventilation.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV proposes a glowing Times Square Taiwan with interactive media facades

Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

January 11, 2019 by  
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Located adjacent to designated wetlands, the Tung House by Seoul-based firm Project Architecture  is a net-zero home that combines conscientious landscape design with energy efficiency. Along with a large photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels to provide power and heating, the home uses a number of passive features to achieve its  net-zero energy use . At 2,900 square feet, the Tung House is a fairly large structure but relatively small in comparison with other homes in the area. One of the reasons that the size was restrained is its location. The home is built in Lincoln, Massachusetts on a strictly preserved site adjacent to designated wetlands. The size limitations imposed by the local government presented a challenge to the architects, who met the restrictions head-on with a gorgeous angular design that aesthetically gives the home a unique character while simultaneously achieving net-zero energy use . Related: This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes At the heart of the design are the geometric features. The roof, which is comprised of various planes, was used to give the home ample space for the photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels . The rooftop solar panels provide sufficient power and heating to the house, and in the summer months, any additional energy is transferred back to the city’s local grid. In addition to making room for solar panels, the multiple roof planes provide several overhangs that shade the interior living space during the warmer months and help provide natural light and heat during the wintertime. Inside, the architects wanted to create an open layout that offered a seamless connection between the living space and the outdoors. From the front door to the upper level, multiple large windows offer views of the serene backyard. Naturally lit by sunlight , a loft-like living room and open kitchen are on the ground floor, which is connected to the upper floors through a mezzanine level. The interior design scheme of all-white provides a contemporary elegance throughout the home, enhanced by the various angular ceilings. + Project Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Project Architecture

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Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

This aerodynamic tiny home embraces flexible indoor-outdoor living

January 10, 2019 by  
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As anyone in the tiny home community knows, space comes at a premium. Most tiny home inhabitants also love to look for ways to incorporate nature and the outside world into their living space. French tiny home builder Ty Rodou has made this goal easier with the release of the Ty Bombadil tiny home. This tiny house offers a breezy outdoor feel along with a very desirable feature — an additional deck to provide ample  outdoor living space. Of course, there is no reason to escape the indoor space, designed with style and functionality in mind. Starting in the kitchen, the Ty Bombadil features an expandable table that folds into the wall when not in use and built-in drawers for storage. The streamlined kitchen offers plenty of counter space, a cooktop stove, a small refrigerator, a sink with drainboard and a unique, rustic shelving area. Related: Stunning micro home features reclaimed materials and large garage door for entertaining A removable ladder mounts to the wall when it isn’t being used to lead up to the loft, which incorporates lift-top storage bays in an L-shaped design around the edge of the space. The outdoor theme is carried throughout the tiny home with branch-shaped handrails at the loft entrance and in the shelving designs. Looking down onto the multi-use living room/bedroom area, you can see the built-in bed or couch frame with pull-out storage drawers below and bed-to-ceiling shelving up the wall along with built-in cabinets above. The small bathroom continues the all-wood decor with a framed-in composting toilet and tower-shaped support for a wooden bowl sink. Related: Off-grid tiny home with beautiful undulating roof was almost entirely built with reclaimed materials The space is bright with several large windows, double doors and an airy feel. In fact, the entire curved design facilitates aerodynamic transportation. + Ty Rodou Via Tiny House Talk Images via Ty Rodou

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This aerodynamic tiny home embraces flexible indoor-outdoor living

This AI food truck could bring fresh produce directly to you

January 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence is trending worldwide, which is why it is also a prominent component of CES 2019 . But as interest in futuristic tech grows, so does consumer interest in fresh, local food. The farm-to-table concept continues to gain popularity, which is why Panasonic has proposed an innovative mash-up of these two seemingly polar opposites — an AI mobile delivery service that operates like an ice cream truck to bring local fruits, vegetables and other grocery items directly to you. SPACe_C eMart is part of Panasonics broader model of mobility solutions called SPACe_C. This particular concept is just that — a proof of concept idea that, once it gains investment, could quickly and easily become a reality. Unlike many current food delivery services, the eMart would not only just deliver fresh produce,  but also teach consumers precise information about the specific products they buy. Related: 5 simple ways to reduce your food waste right now The mobile delivery service would operate like an ice cream truck, traveling through neighborhoods and central locations to make it easy for consumers to pick up groceries, say, on their way home from work or just before preparing dinner. Each grocery item would be equipped with a QR code that could share information on expiration dates as well as notify users if the item is organic or GMO and where it came from. The truck would also feature a unique, refrigerated cabin that would use precise temperature and humidity controls for each type of food to ensure optimal freshness. These high-tech controls and food life cycle tracking systems would be powered by AI. The overall goal of the SPACe_C eMart is to bring fresh, local and healthy foods to consumers in an efficient manner, but we imagine this design could also be implemented further to help provide fresh produce and food education to food deserts and underserved communities. + Panasonic Photography by Inhabitat

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