Airtight prefab House in the Woods pops up in just ten days

May 8, 2017 by  
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Airtightness , minimal site disturbance, and speedy construction are just a few benefits of the striking House in the Woods. Designed by London-based architecture firm alma-nac , this prefabricated timber home is nestled within a particularly beautiful wooded lot in England’s South Downs National Park. Constructed from structural insulated panels (SIPs), the fully insulated, watertight building frame was erected in a speedy ten days. House in the Woods was built to replace a bungalow that had been in the family for over sixty years. Despite the new home’s contemporary appearance, the design pays homage to its traditional predecessor with its single-story dual-pitched appearance and occupies roughly the same 240-square-meter footprint. Ample glazing and large sliding doors connect the home with the landscape while a large deck and roof terrace extend living spaces to the outdoors. Related: Ancient Party Barn blends historic preservation with energy-smart design The adaptable interior can accommodate up to ten people in five bedrooms thanks to full-height sliding partitions . When not in use by guests, the home can be comfortably transformed to a one-bedroom home with a studio and study. Heat zoning allows for areas of the home to be controlled independently to minimize energy loss. Energy efficiency is further improved thanks to SIPs construction with rigid insulating lining that offer high levels of thermal efficiency and air tightness. + alma-nac Via ArchDaily Images © Jack Hobhouse

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Airtight prefab House in the Woods pops up in just ten days

Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin

May 3, 2017 by  
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Austin-based Andersson-Wise Architects designed a unique boathouse that blends into its surroundings and, according to the firm, “appears softly in a state of natural decomposition.” Set on the shore of Lake Austin, the Bunny Run Boat Dock is a breezy two-story building constructed from different species of wood for textured effect. Reclaimed materials hailing from different regions of the world punctuate the interior and give the boathouse an electric and worldly vibe. The 2,563-square-foot Bunny Run Boat Dock features two boat slips on the ground level and an outdoor bar and living area on the upper level. The steel frame superstructure is clad in vertically oriented cedar planks irregularly spaced to allow for views and natural light. The sense of openness and connection with the outdoors is a theme throughout the design, with only a few moveable screens dividing the living spaces from the landscape. The railing that wraps around the terrace, for instance, can be removed so the space can be used as a diving platform. Related: Gorgeous Flathead Lake Cabin is a Minimalist Home for the True Adventurer Different timber species were used in the construction, from the cedar patchwork cladding and interior cedar boards to the Douglas fir ceiling and sinker cypress flooring. The summer retreat’s fun and eclectic atmosphere comes from the selection of reclaimed materials that add texture and color. “The architectural palette is complemented by several reclaimed items: antique doors from India, a timeworn butcher block from England and a steel structure that weathers naturally,” the architects said to Dezeen . “The experience is intended to be an inviting homage to the beautiful climate and setting – a place to become connected to and surrounded by nature.” + Andersson-Wise Architects Via Dezeen Images via Andersson-Wise Architects , by Andrew Pogue

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Disturbing photoshoot imagines our meals in a climate change-induced dystopia

April 25, 2017 by  
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If countless scientific studies can’t convince climate change deniers of the imminent threat to the world, perhaps a stark glance into our future food supply might do the trick. Artist Allie Wist has created a bleak photo series, called Flooded , which provides an alarming depiction of a dystopic dinner party set in the age of massive flooding caused by rising sea levels . Wist and her team, made up of photographer, Heami Lee , stylist Rebecca Bartoshesky , and food and recipe specialist C.C. Buckley, shot the images in areas threatened by rising sea levels . As for the menu, the team decided to put the focus on relatable dishes and their future potential demise. Using some of the most common recipes found in the New York and New England area, the dystopic photoshoot depicts how these beloved dishes would look in a flood-filled future. Related: What you need to know about Sea Level Rise Wist told Gizmodo that her inspiration for the series came from the common disconnect people seem to have between climate change and its effects on their personal lives, “Climate change is a really abstract phenomenon for a lot of people. They don’t really associate it with their daily lives. I think food is one of the most intimate substances we encounter. It can lend an emotional intensity and connection that people won’t have to these abstract scientific concepts.” + Allie Wist Via Gizmodo Images via Allie West

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Disturbing photoshoot imagines our meals in a climate change-induced dystopia

UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic

April 25, 2017 by  
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Around 24.8 million miles of roads crisscross the surface of Earth. And hundreds of millions of barrels of oil have been used for that development. Engineer Toby McCartney came up with a solution to that waste of natural resources and the growing plastic pollution problem. His company, Scotland-based MacRebur , lays roads that are as much as 60 percent stronger than regular asphalt roads and last around 10 times longer – and they’re made with recycled plastic. Our city roads require a lot of maintenance over time as weather deteriorates them and potholes open up. Meanwhile there are around five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. McCartney came up with an answer to both issues. He turns 100 percent recycled plastic into what he calls MR6 pellets, or small pellets of waste plastic, which replace bitumen , the material used to bind roads together (extracted from crude oil) and sold by oil companies like Shell. Related: Vancouver Becomes First City to Pave Its Streets With Recycled Plastic Normal roads are comprised of around 90 percent rock, sand, and limestone, with 10 percent bitumen. MacRebur’s process replaces most of the bitumen, using household waste plastic, farm waste, and commercial waste. Much of the trash would have otherwise ended up in a landfill . At asphalt plants the MR6 pellets are mixed with quarried rock and a bit of bitumen, and a plant worker told the BBC the process is actually the same “as mixing the conventional way with additions into a bitumen product.” McCartney was inspired to design plastic roads after his daughter’s teacher asked the class what lives in the ocean, and his daughter said, “Plastics.” He didn’t want her to grow up in a world where that was true. He’d also spent time in India, where he saw locals would fix holes in the road by putting waste plastic into the holes and then burning it. He started MacRebur with friends Nick Burnett and Gordon Reid. MacRebur’s first road was McCartney’s own driveway, and now the company’s roads have been laid in the county of Cumbria in the United Kingdom . + MacRebur Via the BBC Images via MacRebur Facebook

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UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic

World’s first mobile recycling plant turns trash into tiles

April 25, 2017 by  
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Waste management is a pressing problem all over the world, but it’s especially hard for isolated communities that lack access to recycling facilities. Taiwan-based architecture studio Miniwiz has come up with an environmentally friendly solution: TRASHPRESSO, a traveling solar-powered recycling plant that turns trash into tiles. Wherever it goes, TRASHPRESSO takes local waste and recycles it into tiles for use in architecture. The mobile recycling plant is in a 40-foot container platform that a trailer truck can transport, and Miniwiz says the plant opens up similar to how a satellite unpacks in orbit. It can recycle plastic and fabric waste, running on solar power . Garbage is “washed, shredded, melted, and molded” into architectural tiles, and the water to clean the trash is reused in the process. Related: Verti-Cult: Miniwiz Unveils Glowing Green Wall Made From Recycled Bottles The off-grid plant can pump out 10 square meters, or over 107 square feet, of the architectural tiles every 40 minutes. Each tile contains the equivalent of five plastic PET bottles . They can be utilized for exterior or interior floor finishes, according to Miniwiz, “or sold as raw material for further upcycling manufacturing processes like yarning, injection, and extrusion.” Miniwiz CEO and co-founder Arthur Huang said in a statement, “Until now, industrial grade recycling was limited to plants. The TRASHPRESSO overcomes the distance and energy barriers by showing that recycling is possible everywhere. Not only does it serve to transform trash on-site, it also serves as an educational tool in isolated communities.” The TRASHPRESSO will be deployed for the first time this summer to NianBao Yuze on the Tibetan Plateau. The natural beauty of the glacier region has been trashed by tourists who leave behind litter. From there TRASHPRESSO will travel to other remote areas where garbage gathers, such as beaches, lakes, reservoirs, or rivers. Miniwiz showed off the TRASHPRESSO recently in Shanghai to celebrate Earth Day . They’ll bring the recycling plant to NianBao Yuze in partnership with Jackie Chan’s Green Heroes documentary series on National Geographic . + Miniwiz Images courtesy of Miniwiz

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Plastic-eating caterpillar could revolutionize waste treatment

April 25, 2017 by  
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The answer to our global plastic catastrophe may be in sight. Spanish researchers have discovered that the wax worm, a caterpillar known for munching on the wax within beehives, is able to devour and biodegrade polyethylene plastic, converting it into a form of alcohol found in antifreeze. Federica Bertocchini, a scientist at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria, first uncovered the worm’s unique abilities by chance, when she attempted to clean up a wax worm infestation in one of her home beehives . She placed the worms in a plastic bag, tied it off, and left it in her house – only to find that the worms had chewed through the plastic and escaped. In a new paper published in Current Biology , she describes how 100 of the worms can chew through an ordinary polyethylene shopping bag in 40 minutes. At first, Bertocchini and her colleagues assumed the worms might be simply chewing through the plastic and shredding it. But then they took slightly nauseating step of pureeing the worms and leaving the resulting paste in contact with the plastic itself. Related: Scientists develop way to efficiently degrade plastics into diesel fuel The results were bizarre – after 14 hours in contact with the worm paste, 13 percent of the plastic had dissolved and degraded into ethylene glycol, the main component in antifreeze. Rather than simply shredding the plastic with their mouths, this showed that some compound in the worms’ digestive systems is actually breaking down and digesting the material. There have been attempts to degrade plastic before using fungus and bacteria, but none of these experiments have yielded results within a matter of hours. This finding could revolutionize the way that we currently manage waste. At the moment, landfills around the globe are packed with polyethylene shopping bags , which take between 100-400 years to degrade naturally. If researchers can isolate the enzyme the wax worms use to digest it, they could potentially treat the plastic in landfills with the substance to help it break down faster. Via Daily Mail Images via Pixabay and the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria

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This insane giant traffic roundabout in England will make your head spin

April 21, 2017 by  
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Europe’s many traffic roundabouts are complicated enough – but this head-spinning, multi-directional traffic intersection in the UK is enough to make you walk to your destination. Located in Swindon, the famed Magic Roundabout is actually five mini roundabouts placed around a larger central, counterclockwise roundabout. Designed by engineer Frank Blackmore of the British Transport and Road Research Laboratory, the intersection was built in 1972 as an innovative attempt at controlling traffic flow in the area . When the complicated layout was unveiled, the mini roundabouts weren’t even marked in order to leave room for reconfiguration after further studies were conducted. At the time, a police officer was stationed at each circle to direct traffic. Related: LA’s most dangerous intersection made safer with innovative crosswalk “scramble” Today, although locals surely have a handle on its complicated rules, driving the 7-circle roundabout still requires nerves of steel. Once inside the vehicular labyrinth , traffic flows counterclockwise around the outer roundabout, while interior traffic flows in a clockwise manner around the five mini roundabouts, which all lead to various exists located on the outer loop. Forty-five years after its inauguration, the intersection has become more and more famous, or infamous. In 2007, BBC News published a survey that named the Magic Roundabout as one of the “ 10 Scariest Junctions in the United Kingdom “. However, despite its harrowing appearance, the roundabout has an excellent safety record, mainly due to the slow traffic pace required once inside the crazy intersection. Via Boing Boing Images via Wikipedia and Wired

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Zaha Hadid Architects unveil plans for spectacular Eco Park in England

April 7, 2017 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects just unveiled plans for a state-of-the-art technology hub and slatted-timber footbridge at a new eco park in Gloucestershire, England. The architects previously won a competition to design the entire business park, including its Green Technology Hub, the new Forest Green Rovers football stadium and a footbridge linking the two main sides of the development. The 100-acre Eco Park, commissioned by renewable energy company Ecotricity, will offer state-of-the-arts sporting facilities and an additional 50 acres for a green technology business park expected to create up to 4,000 jobs. Aiming to become carbon neutral or negative by generating energy on-site, Eco Park is expected to enhance biodiversity and create a unique connection between sustainability, sports and technology. Related: Jared Kushner’s 666 tower by Zaha Hadid gets reimagined as the Eye of Sauron Eco Park’s glasshouse-like Green Technology Hub features distinctive timber slates that cover the buildings and match the material of the bowl-shaped stadium and the footbridge . “The Green Technology Hub proposals apply the latest sustainable design technologies with ecologically sound materials and construction methods to create an integrated community for world-leading research and development,” said Zaha Hadid Architects. Related: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza focuses on environmental sustainability “The bridge design creates one single, fluid form by fusing together individual timber elements,” added the architects. “This important, unifying gesture builds connections for the community, conveying Eco Park as a facility for all.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Via Dezeen

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Zaha Hadid Architects unveil plans for spectacular Eco Park in England

Salvaged wood clads handsome mountain cabin in Vermont

April 7, 2017 by  
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This handsome timber cabin nestled in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains stands out from the pack with its asymmetrical roofs and weathered, recycled timber cladding. Richmond-based Birdseye Design designed Woodshed, a cabin that infuses contemporary elements into the traditional woodshed vernacular. The cabin’s Douglas fir and pine cladding were repurposed from snow fencing and horse corrals. Set on a clearing on a steeply sloping and heavily wooded site, the Woodshed in Pomfret blends into its forested surroundings with its timber-clad facade. Conceived as a guesthouse and entertainment space for the main residence down the road, the residential project takes cues from the iconic woodshed found in the Vermont landscape. The main building comprises two asymmetric gabled roof volumes connected via a central entryway. A small auxiliary garage sits off to the side. Related: Origami-like alpine cabin brings contemporary style to Chile’s mountains “The western, public elevation presents the continuous, wood textured wall that evokes the expressive, scrim wall of a traditional woodshed,” write the architects. “The project purposefully projects a minimal familiar elevation to the non-view, public street side and an engaging, contemporary open elevation to the private hillside.” Large expanses of glazing wrap around the east facade to frame views of the landscape. Exterior terraces expand the footprint of the home to the outdoors. + Birdseye Design Via ArchDaily Images via Birdseye Design

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Salvaged wood clads handsome mountain cabin in Vermont

British supermarket chain launches trucks powered by food waste

February 13, 2017 by  
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Food waste has always been something of a bugbear with Waitrose , an upscale British grocer that stopped shoveling its leftovers into the landfill as early as 2012. It even packages some of its fusilli pasta in boxes made, in part, from recycled food scraps, which it says reduces the use of virgin tree pulp by 15 percent while lowering greenhouse-gas emissions by a fifth. But Waitrose wants to take the issue further, both literally and figuratively. The supermarket just announced that it’ll be running its delivery trucks entirely on biomethane gas generated from food waste—making it the first company in Europe to do so. Food waste is a looming concern in the United Kingdom. At a time when 8.4 million U.K. families struggle to feed themselves daily, the volume of household food waste continues to soar, amounting to an estimated 7.3 million metric tons in 2015. Waitrose, according to the Times , is partnering with CNG Fuels to juice up 10 of its trucks with 100 percent renewable biomethane. The trucks can run up to 500 miles—almost twice the current average—on what is essentially rotting food. “We will be able to make deliveries to our stores without having to refuel away from base,” Justin Laney of the John Lewis Partnership , which operates Waitrose, said in a statement on Thursday. Related: Toronto Rolls Out Biogas-Capable Garbage Trucks Because its biomethane costs 40 percent less than diesel, any upgrades will pay for themselves in two to three years, CNG Fuels said. “Renewable biomethane is far cheaper and cleaner than diesel, and, with a range of up to 500 miles, it is a game-changer for road transport operators,” CNG Fuels CEO Philip Fjeld said. Another plus? The alternative fuel emits 70 percent less carbon dioxide, which would give a much needed boost to the European Union’s pledge to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 under the Paris Climate Agreement . + Waitrose Via Grubstreet

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