Luxurious solar home wraps around a sloped green roof

June 14, 2017 by  
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Architecture and landscape unite in the MeMo House, a solar-powered home in Buenos Aires built to maximize green space. Located between infill buildings, the MeMo House is the work of local studio Bam! Arquitectura , which based the design on sustainable design principles, such as low energy consumption and native plantings. The light-filled home embraces nature with its back garden and sloping green roof that connects all three floors. Located on a dense urban plot in San Isidro, the compact MeMo House was created for a client with a passion for landscaping and the environment. To minimize the loss of green space, the architects created a system of landscaped ramps that zigzag along the building’s three levels to create a continuous and accessible garden terrace. Planted with native flora, the landscaped ramps are visible from the exterior and interior, where they’re enclosed in full-height glazing . Solar panels top the MeMo House and provide renewable energy for heating, ventilation , and air conditioning. Energy consumption is further minimized with effective insulation. Sun studies informed the building’s site placement to maximize solar energy and natural lighting. Related: Breezy Buenos Aires holiday home embraces nature with a wildflower-growing roof Reduction in water consumption is achieved through efficient wastewater technology and the use of harvested rainwater for irrigation. “We conceive the sustainability of the project as a path, not as a goal,” wrote the architects. “Hence, we base our path on the LEED standards and we incorporate the concepts of durability and economy which are fundamental in our architectural works, thus satisfying the needs of the present generation without endangering the possibilities of future generations since the impact on the environment and its inhabitants is significantly reduced.” + Bam! Arquitectura Via ArchDaily Images © Jeremias Thomas

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Luxurious solar home wraps around a sloped green roof

Nike makes Air Max shoebox from recycled milk jugs and coffee lids

June 13, 2017 by  
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Nike is thinking inside the box—the shoe box, that is. 30 years after the Air Max 1 changed the sneaker industry forever, the sportswear giant is revolutionizing the shoe’s packaging with a polypropylene receptacle derived entirely from post-consumer recycled milk jugs, juice containers, and coffee-cup lids. The brainchild of Arthur Huang, CEO of Taipei-based engineering firm Miniwiz , the revamped shoe box features a modular design that makes stacking for storage or display a cinch. Even better, it can be repurposed as a hardshell backpack. Another bonus? At the end of its life, the shoe box can easily be recycled. No waste, no haste. The container’s pro-planet traits dovetail neatly with Miniwiz’s own business philosophy, Huang said in a statement. “These are all intentional features and qualities which revolve around the intent of every Miniwiz product—reducing the impact on the environment in every way it can,” Huang said. “In this case, we’re adding features and efficiency to an existing product—shoe boxes—and by reusing non-virgin materials in a sustainable and responsible way.” Related: Clever Little Bag: Fuseproject and PUMA revolutionize the shoe box The sneaker the container was designed to support, the NikeLab Air Max 1 Royal, takes a similar resource-conserving tact. It’s clad in Nike’s Flyknit fabric, which the company stitches together using a seamless technique said to produce 60 percent less waste than conventional cut-and-sew means. Related: Nike’s stunning Flyknit Feather Pavilion lights up the night “We love Flyknit as a technology,” Huang said. “It gives designers a new canvas to create cool, while lowering environmental impact. We want to be associated with that and are glad that we are a part of this revolution.” + Nike Air x Arthur Huang Via Dezeen

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Nike makes Air Max shoebox from recycled milk jugs and coffee lids

Portland debuts newly designed thief-proof bike racks

June 13, 2017 by  
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Portland , Oregon is home to more bike parking spaces on city streets than any other city in North America. But that also means there are more opportunities for bike thieves . So the city is rolling out a new bike rack design to deter would-be crooks. Bike burglars in Portland have recently attacked not a bike’s lock, but the rack to which it’s connected. Bike owners lose their ride, and the city has to replace the racks. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), which wants city residents to feel their bikes are safe, turned to a new design to thwart thieves. Related: Crazy SkunkLock makes would-be bike thieves vomit From the outside the new racks don’t look like anything special – CityLab described them as tubular arches. But inside there is a “free-floating, steel-wire cable routed through the hollow steel piping of the rack,” according to PBOT communications specialist Hannah Schafer. “This makes it difficult to cut through, because the wire moves when the blade attempts to get purchase.” Then, 10 inches above the ground is a bar spanning the bottom of the rack for extra security. The bar prevents a thief from unscrewing bolts to slip a U-lock around the bottom of the rack, according to Schafer. She told CityLab, “In addition, if a potential thief were to cut through the bike rack and wire rope, the bar makes it difficult to pry the rack apart and slip a U-lock off.” Radius Pipe Bending manufactures the new bike racks for the city. PBOT said they’re not able to replace all 7,000 racks currently in the city with the new design – the new racks cost around $5 more than the old ones – but new installations and maintenance will feature the new robber repellent design. Check out the city’s schematic here . Via CityLab and the Portland Bureau of Transportation Images via BikePortland.org Facebook and Portland Bureau of Transportation

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The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

June 13, 2017 by  
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The world’s first self-driving supermarket just landed on the streets of Shanghai – and it could be coming to your neck of the woods in the near future. Developed by the folks behind the Wheelys bike cafe , the Moby is a solar-powered market on wheels that actually helps the environment by filtering smoggy air. It’s also packed with artificial intelligence, it features drone delivery, and it’s open round-the-clock without staffing. Wheely’s Moby Store is the future of shopping. Instead of driving to the store and waiting in line, the store will come to you – and you can check an app to see if a Moby is nearby. The Moby is powered by the sun and is able to run autonomously – although stores will be controlled by remote or human drivers until self-driving vehicles are legalized. Related: New Wheelys 4 bike café cleans smoggy air and turns coffee grounds into fertilizer Shopping at Moby couldn’t be easier: you just step in, take what you need and head out. All purchases are automatically tallied without the need for a checkout counter. Or you can order a drone delivery – each store has 4 drone pads for quick delivery. Moby keeps track of what is purchased and uses artificial intelligence to restock inventory. When the store needs to be restocked, it will drive itself to the warehouse and fill up. The Moby Store can also operate as a mini pharmacy and coffee shop, features first aid devices (like a defibrillator), and provides an ATM in addition to the usual grocery fare. Lest you miss the interaction with a clerk, shoppers will be greeted and helped by the holographic store assistant, Hol. If the store doesn’t have what you need – or if you have a special order – you can just tell Hol and it will be ready for you next time you drop by. The Moby store was developed in cooperation with Himalayafy and Hefei University and it’s currently in beta testing in Shanghai. + Wheelys

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The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai

LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

June 12, 2017 by  
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LEAPfactory , the Italy -based company known for building gorgeous prefabricated structures in extreme locations , just unveiled their very first LeapHome . Frame is a two-story, 1,400 square foot house built with minimal impact on the environment . The home’s design is super energy efficient , so it can easily go off-grid . LEAPfactory was inspired by the idea of living in harmony with nature to create Frame. The home can be customized and configured according to a buyer’s desires and budget, and includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study area, a kitchen, dining area, an outdoor terrace, and a double height living room. Forest Stewardship Council certified wood , metal sheet cladding, and finishes made with ecological materials comprise the home that includes prefabricated components. Related: LEAPfactory unveils prefab snowboard school at the foot of Mont Blanc The outdoor shell of the home was designed with energy efficiency in mind, so the home doesn’t consume as much power as others do. Solar energy powers the home, which heats water with a solar thermal system. LED lighting and radiant technology electric systems recycle heat in Frame. According to the company’s website , “The structure is designed to maximize air circulation and distribute heat and humidity.” LEAPfactory says the home could potentially be set up in off-grid configurations – sewage can be independently managed thanks to a biological liquid waste treatment system and other sanitation systems. Panoramic openings in the home also serve to connect an inhabitant with nature. Large sliding glass doors, a bay window , a skylight, and a vertical ribbon window can all be part of the design . LEAPfactory co-founders Stefano Testa and Luca Gentilcore said in a statement, “Living immersed in nature represents one of the most important choices to embrace a new style of life. We like to think that we can combine the comforts of a modern home with the profound freedom and the pioneering spirit of a life in perfect harmony with the environment that surrounds us.” LEAPfactory’s process allows them to go from a design to a fully furnished and functioning house “within weeks” according to their website . + LEAPfactory + LeapHome Images courtesy of LEAPfactory

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LeapHome unveils sustainable, super-efficient Frame prefab

Naturally cooled Otunba Offices has a small footprint but a large social impact

June 9, 2017 by  
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This low-cost sustainable office building in Lagos, Nigeria, can be easily and affordably replicated anywhere in the world. With its minimal footprint and ample public space, the design allows work productivity to flourish while nurturing a sense of community. The innovative space by Domaine Public Architects  features passive house principles including natural ventilation and the clever use of vegetation to minimize energy use. Affordability and replicability were the main ideas behind the Otunba Offices, a new low-cost office building prototype that can be built anywhere with minimal financial impact on project budget. The building lessens its impact on the environment by minimizing its footprint and expanding upper floors. This design approach allowed the architects to form communal areas that communicate with the neighborhood and the city and provide multi-purpose areas for social interaction. Related: WOHA revamps Singapore office with lush ‘pocket parks’ The project utilizes passive house principles to achieve a high energy performance. Its orientation provides natural shading, while a double layer of vegetation, flexible louvers and natural ventilation lower the reliance on mechanical cooling systems. The concept, currently under construction, has received commendation by the jury of AR Future Projects Awards, in the “Offices” category. + Domaine Public Architects Via v2com

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Naturally cooled Otunba Offices has a small footprint but a large social impact

This may be the world’s coolest kindergarten

June 9, 2017 by  
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Who knew that the world’s coolest kindergarten is located in Sydney, Australia? Designed by PAL Design , NUBO is a beautiful space strategically designed to give children the ultimate in “pure play” while managing to keep the space pleasantly clutter-free. The 820-square-foot  kindergarten is open and bright, thanks to a wall of large glass windows and plenty of storage space . The interior design focused on creating a fun and flexible space that is stimulating, but clutter-free to provide ample space to encourage creative and energetic play. According to the architects, the area is especially “suited for children in their various stages of learning to safely and explore the entire space, the overall design takes a minimalist approach to remove unnecessary furniture and equipment – with just enough to invent their own games.” Related: This timber kindergarten is embedded into the hills of a small Northern Italian village The interior layout is designed to be ultra kid-friendly with designated activity areas including an extensive children’s library with reading nooks, a building block room, and numerous toys for all ages. The space even has a kitchen area that lets budding chefs concoct a range of healthy dishes. And for those times when you just have to move, there’s an active area that encourages kids to run, slide, climb and hide. + PAL Design Via Arch Daily Photograph by Michelle Young, Amy Piddington

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Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home

June 9, 2017 by  
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Australian architecture firm Alexander Symes has given an old building a new lease on life by repurposing its materials into a beautiful new home. Although the old structure was completely demolished, the architect – inspired by a “closed-loop zero-waste” ethos – decided to rescue the materials and implement them in the a house. Located in Blackheath, Australia, the 1,100-square-foot Upcycle House is a three-bedroom, two-bath family home with a large living area. The design team worked on the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and if it is broke, fix it” to sustainably build out the home’s exterior and interior with upcycled materials . Related: Lendager Arkitekter Unveils Incredible House Made Entirely From Recycled Materials The home is reinforced with insulated brick, and a solar pergola installed over the entrance pulls double duty as a sun shade and energy generator. Repurposed railway sleepers were used to create a walkway to the home’s sculptural entrance, where unique tile work gives the impression of an open, broken gap in the wall. The home’s interior is heavily influenced by Scandinavian design with clean simple spaces with a touch of whimsy throughout. The layout was strategically optimized to take advantage of the building’s East-West orientation, which gives the home optimal daylight, and reduces energy consumption . The living space floors feature colorful recycled tile mosaics that contrast nicely with the all-white walls. Ample bookshelves and hidden storage areas help residents avoid clutter. + Alexander Symes Architect Photography by Barton Taylor

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Australia’s amazing Upcycle House is made from the ruins of an old home

Bio-inspired wind turbines with flexible blades 35% more efficient

June 8, 2017 by  
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Wind energy already yields four percent of Earth’s power, but five researchers at French institutions recently drew inspiration from nature to make wind turbines even better. Inspired by creatures like dragonflies, they found flexible blades on wind turbines make the machines much more efficient. Wind turbines today work best under optimal wind speeds, but the new bio-inspired design could offer a way around that fact, making wind power even more accessible. Wind speeds impact the functioning of a wind turbine. If the wind is too slow, the turbine won’t turn and generate energy; if the wind is too fast it could damage the turbine. Wind also must hit the turbines at the correct pitch angle to apply the correct amount of torque to the generator, according to Science. The new research from scientists at Sorbonne University and École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers-ParisTech fixes these issues with flexible blades much like insect wings. Related: Revolutionary flapping wind turbine mimics hummingbirds to produce clean energy The researchers constructed prototypes with regular hard turbine blades, slightly flexible turbine blades, and very flexible turbine blades. The last design turned out to be too floppy, but the slightly flexible blades outperformed the rigid ones, offering as much as 35 percent more power . They also continued to work in lower wind conditions and weren’t as susceptible to damage in high winds. The journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A published the research online in February. But the scientists’ work isn’t yet done: they now need to search for the right material that’s “flexible, but not too flexible,” according to lead author Vincent Cognet, to scale up the findings. Engineer Asfaw Beyene of San Diego State University, who was not part of this study, told Science, “The fluid mechanics and the physics make absolute sense. There’s no reason why we cannot make morphing blades that will adapt to wind conditions.” Via Science and Tech Xplore Images via Joi Ito on Flickr and Pexels

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Giant glass orb in Paris is wrapped with a rotating solar sail that follows the sun

June 7, 2017 by  
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Architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines teamed up to create the stunning, solar-powered Seine Musicale located on Seguin Island in Paris. The shimmering glass globe is framed within by Ban’s beloved timber , and its exterior is wrapped with a massive solar panel “sail” that rotates around the building to follow the sun. Located in Paris’ Boulogne-Billancourt suburb, the urban project is part of Jean Nouvel’s Island Master Plan for Seguin Island . The multi-use building comprises a concert seating hall with a capacity of 4,000, a classical music hall that seats 1,150, along with various rehearsal and recording rooms. Additionally, the building is surrounded by ample green space for visitors and practicing musicians. Related: Elliptical Music Pavilion in Austria is made from locally-sourced silver fir Although the exterior is clad in glass panels, that doesn’t mean that timber-loving Ban has forsaken his green building material of choice. The hexagonal globe frame, including the building’s beehive ceiling, is made out of timber. However, the star feature of the design is undoubtedly the massive triangular sail covered in solar panels. The sail will constantly rotate, following the path of the sun in order to provide the building with optimal solar energy throughout the day. The large covering also acts as a solar shield for the building’s all-glass Grand Foyer. A spokesperson from Shigeru Ban Architects explained that the building’s design was carefully crafted to fit into Nouvel’s urban plan for the area, hopefully becoming an eco-friendly icon for the developing area, “This environmentally friendly sail will ultimately become a new identity for the complex. It is expected to become a new symbol as the western gate into Paris.” + Shigeru Ban + Jean de Gastines Via Arch Daily Photographs via Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia

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