Breathtaking Coral Greenhouse raises environmental awareness for the Great Barrier Reef

June 24, 2020 by  
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Acclaimed British sculptor and marine conservationist Jason deCaires Taylor has recently completed the Coral Greenhouse, his first-ever underwater building and the largest installation at Australia’s newly opened Museum of Underwater Art in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Constructed in nearly a year’s time, the monumental project weighs around 58 metric tons and comprises diverse scenes of study — from marine science and coral gardening to environmental art and architecture — to raise awareness and understanding of the Great Barrier Reef and its ecology. In addition to providing a fascinating new dive site for scuba divers, the Coral Greenhouse and its 20-plus “Reef Guardian” sculptures will provide new reef habitat for local marine creatures.  Specially crafted for the ocean within a natural inlet of John Brewer Reef, the 12-meter-tall Coral Greenhouse and the surrounding sculptures are made from pH neutral cement compounds, zinc anodes and corrosion-resistant 316 stainless steel. Triangular cross sections feature low centers of gravity for stability while the extensive cement base with integrated cyclone tethers protect against adverse weather conditions. Figurative sculptures — cast from children from local and international schools — as well as locally inspired gardens and paving are placed in and around the Coral Greenhouse as a reminder of our precious relationship with the marine world. Related: Explore eerie wonders at the Museum of Underwater Art “The design of the greenhouse is biomorphic, its form determined by the forces of nature,” deCaires Taylor said in a press statement. “As the Greenhouse is slowly colonized and built upon by the reef , it will be gradually absorbed into its surroundings, illustrating an organic architectural philosophy which centers on the unification and connection of designs to their surroundings. The porous skeletal structure provides a space suitable for ever changing marine conditions, a refuge for marine species. It allows for excellent overhead light penetration and dive access.” Located offshore from Townsville, the Coral Greenhouse is accessed via three large 2-meter entrances. There is expansive floor space to give divers enough room to comfortably rest and explore the artworks .  + Museum of Underwater Art Photography by Matt Curnock via Museum of Underwater Art

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Breathtaking Coral Greenhouse raises environmental awareness for the Great Barrier Reef

Explore eerie wonders at the Museum of Underwater Art

June 16, 2020 by  
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Four years after its initial conception, Australia’s  Museum of Underwater Art  has finally opened to the public, becoming the first-ever underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere. Located off the coast of Townsville North Queensland in the central part of the Great Barrier Reef , the unique museum aims to strengthen the region’s position as a leader in reef conservation, restoration and education. World-famous underwater sculptor and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor conceptualized the first two installations — the Ocean Siren and Coral Greenhouse. As the inaugural sculpture of the Museum of Underwater Art, the Ocean Siren was conceived as an above-water beacon for raising awareness about  ocean conservation . The inspiration for the statue, as reported by CNBC, is 12-year-old Takoda Johnson, a “member of the local Wulgurukaba people, one of two traditional owners of the local land.” The sculpture reacts to live water temperature data from the Davies Reef weather station on the Great Barrier Reef by changing color depending on temperature variations.  Underwater and approximately 80 kilometers from shore, the John Brewer Reef “Coral Greenhouse” welcomes divers to the heart of the Greater Barrier Reef Marine Park with messages of reef conservation and restoration. The installation is the largest MOUA exhibit, weighing over 58 tons and filled with and surrounded by 20 “reef guardian” sculptures. All construction is made from stainless steel and pH-neutral materials to encourage  coral  growth. Related: This stunning underwater art museum is now open in the Maldives “MOUA offers a contemporary platform to share the stories of the reef, and the culture of its  First Nations  people, as well as spark a meaningful conversation and solution to reef conservation,” reads an MOUA press release emphasizing the museum’s many educational opportunities. The Ocean Siren and the Coral Greenhouse were completed as part of MOUA’s first phase; future installations include Palm Island and Magnetic Island. MOUA is estimated to generate over $42.1 million in annual economic output and create 182 jobs through the local tourism and conservation sectors. + Museum of Underwater Art Images via Jason deCaires Taylor

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Recycled wind turbine blades proposed as a playscape for Burning Man

April 23, 2020 by  
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Washington-based architect and designer Michael Mannhard has unveiled designs for BladeYARD, a proposal for a Burning Man 2021 installation built from recycled wind turbine blades. Created as a visual warning of the effects of climate change and shortsighted solutions, the installation mimics a large-scale ruin with parts of the blades submerged in the sands of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Part of Mannhard’s inspiration for the project stems from a recent Bloomberg News article that says wind turbine blades can’t be recycled, and as a result, they are piling up in landfills at a rate of nearly 8,000 blades a year. “What does it mean when this symbol of hope fails us so greatly?” asks Mannhard, who recalls growing up in the Midwest and marveling at sights of the massive turbines. “How is it that the most prominent symbol of our sustainable future was designed in such a way as to simply be buried in the ground at the end of its working life as a blade? These objects are now layered in new meaning as symbols of our shortsightedness in how we approach our built world and the incredible challenge of designing for the whole life cycle of products.” Related: Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art The BladeYARD project would explore those questions by bringing people up close with a “graveyard” of wind turbine blades. The massive blades — some of which can reach 100 meters in length — would be arranged like the bleached bones of an animal carcass, with some elements lying flat and partly buried in the sand while others stick straight up. Burning Man participants would be able to climb atop of, seek shelter under and wander through the sculptural installation. If it is accepted as an installation at Burning Man 2021, Mannhard plans to have BladeYARD dismantled and moved to a more permanent home after the event. Burning Man is scheduled to take place every year at the end of the summer in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. + Michael Mannhard Images by Michael Mannhard

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Recycled wind turbine blades proposed as a playscape for Burning Man

Glowing Wishing Pavilion is made with 5,000 recycled plastic bricks

April 13, 2020 by  
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To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival of 2019, Hong Kong-based studio Daydreamers Design crafted a glowing lantern-inspired pavilion that also raises awareness of environmental issues. Dubbed the Wishing Pavilion, the temporary installation was constructed from 5,000 bricks made of recycled high-density polyethylene, the same type of plastic commonly used in water bottles. Manufactured in seven colors, the plastic bricks created a gradient evocative of a flame, an effect enhanced by the use of sound effects, music and LED lights at night. Commissioned by the Government of Hong Kong, the Wishing Pavilion served as the anchor pavilion for the “Mid-Autumn Lantern Displays 2019” at the Victoria Park Soccer Pitch No. 1, Causeway Bay from September 13 to September 27, 2019. Daydreamers Design created the pavilion as an evolution of its 2019 “Rising Moon” project, which also called attention to environmental issues. The pavilion’s 5,000 recycled plastic bricks are arranged to form a rounded, lantern-like structure stretching 18 meters in diameter and 6 meters tall, with no foundation work needed. The modular design allowed the designers to swiftly assemble the pavilion in just 12 days.  Related: 30,000 recycled water bottles make up this 3D-printed pavilion The pavilion’s lantern-like shape references two Mid-Autumn Festival traditions: releasing candle-lit lanterns with people’s wishes written on the sides into the night sky and burning tall, purpose-built structures for good luck and good harvests. Unlike these practices, Daydreamers Design’s eco-friendly pavilion is fire-free. The recycled plastic bricks were stacked to create a flame-like gradient ranging from yellow to red. The stacks also form a double-helix layout centered on a “burning lantern” sculpture. The pavilion opens up with a 7.5-meter circular skylight to frame the full harvest moon. “Mid-Autumn Festival, falling on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, is when the families reunite to celebrate autumn harvests, light up lanterns and admire the bright moon of the year,” the designers explained. “The rituals and celebration continued for 2000 years; the famous poem by Li Bai signifies the value and meaning of Mid-Autumn Festival. Wishing Pavilion intends to embrace the tradition, recall the harmonious union and raise awareness to today’s social challenge.” + Daydreamers Design Images via Daydreamers Design

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Glowing Wishing Pavilion is made with 5,000 recycled plastic bricks

Urban Beehive Project creates a buzz around honeybee education

January 29, 2020 by  
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In Charlottetown, Canada, a delightful buzz of eco-friendly activity has descended on a new public destination — the Urban Beehive Project, a community installation that highlights the importance of pollinators and their role in a sustainable ecosystem. Local architecture and multidisciplinary firm Nine Yards Studio designed the sculptural community project to not only provide habitat for local bees but also to serve as a platform for hands-on learning and play. Located at Charlottetown’s largest urban garden, the PEI Farm Center, the Urban Beehive Project draws the eye with its two free-standing geometric structures that house demonstration beehives. Each structure is punctuated with two windows — one at child height and the other for adults — to provide glimpses of the bees working inside the plexiglass hive. Visitors can also watch the bees exit and enter the hive at the bee landing pad; a door provides beekeepers access to the hives. The raised installations are built from timber and secured in place by helical anchors to minimize site impact. Related: SCAD students fight food insecurity in Georgia with organic farming and beekeeping “Plan Bee” of the Urban Beehive Project is a three-tiered, 30-foot-by-15-foot amphitheater also built from a series of wooden 3-foot hexagonal blocks. The honeycomb-inspired hexagon blocks are stacked to create seating for small groups on all sides. At the back of the amphitheater is a series of upright hexagonal elements — some with attached graphic interpretation signage about the bees — that rise up to 9 feet above the platform and are large enough for children to sit in. Grass berms surround the structure to provide an extra play element for children. “The Urban Beehive Project has created a dynamic and multifunctional apiary destination in Charlottetown,” the architects explained in a statement. “The project has become a play structure, a sculpture, a garden as well as a tool for hands-on learning. More importantly for us, it has become an example of how design can play an important role in our community, our development and our environment.” + Nine Yards Studio Photography by Tamzin Gillis via Nine Yards Studio

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Luzinterruptus turns plastic waste into Death by Plastic eco-art for COP25

January 21, 2020 by  
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Frustrated with the “ludicrous charade” of the COP25 World Climate Summit in December, Spanish design collective luzinterruptus turned to visual protest by creating the temporary guerrilla art piece, “Death by Plastic.” Made from plastic waste and transparent fabric, the glowing environmental art installation depicts a crime scene-like visual with a series of people-shaped sculptures lying on the ground. Held in Madrid, Spain in the beginning of December, the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference became the target of social unrest by protestors frustrated with the inactions of the negotiators on the climate crisis . Members of luzinterruptus also joined the protest and, disappointed by the adopted resolutions at the end of the event, wrote a statement to express their anger. Related: Archstorming announces winning proposals for a school made of recycled plastic in Mexico “The people from the Climate Summit are already leaving with bowed heads (by taxi or by plane) without having reached any significant agreements, as we all expected,” they said. “Everything was just a mirage. Few effective resolutions and big business opportunities for those who parade the flag of sustainability around. Let’s try again next year, perhaps with lengthier political speeches, but never listening to the scientific community or the citizens. And always under the sponsorship of the most polluting companies, which are always happy to take this opportunity to clean up their image. For now, the ‘climate crisis’ is officially postponed until the most environmentally unfriendly countries find a better time to deal with it. We are ashamed for having provided the scenario for such a ludicrous charade.” To further illustrate their frustrations, the artists installed Death by Plastic, an eco-art piece located near the COP25 gathering at the close of conference. Using plastic waste generated from the Christmas shopping along one of Madrid’s busiest retail areas, the artists created large-scale, people-shaped sculptures illuminated from within. The artists also drew a chalk outline around each of the plastic “bodies” to denote a crime scene. The guerrilla installation was displayed for a few hours, after which the artists removed the artworks. The art pieces have been stored away for future use. + luzinterruptus Photography by Melisa Hernández via luzinterruptus

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Luzinterruptus turns plastic waste into Death by Plastic eco-art for COP25

Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art

January 6, 2020 by  
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In a bid to clamp down on the NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) opposition to wind farms, international design collective Prototype 2030 has created a two-part proposal that would turn wind turbines into interactive public art. The first part of the design, dubbed Windwords, proposes reshaping wind turbines into giant letters to create landmarks representative of the community. To further empower communities with wind farms, the designers suggest allowing local residents to share in the profits and control the wind turbines through a smartphone app. Inspired by community-oriented design processes for public infrastructure, Prototype 2030 believes that the way to wider acceptance of wind farms and wind turbines begins with neighborhood-centered design. The Windwords proposal takes cues from the Hollywood sign and the IAMSTERDAM letters, which are not only iconic landmarks in their respective cities but also attract attention from tourists. Related: LEGO reintroduces Vestas wind turbine set, now made with plant-based plastic “Our point is not, of course, that every wind turbine has to be turned into a giant letter,” the collective explained. “Every site and community is different and will present different needs and opportunities. Big pink words will not be the solution every time. The real lesson is that wind farms need to be designed to mean something to humans — because they do, to neighbors and passersby. Right now, what they say is usually not what we want to hear. They need to be designed to speak human.” To further humanize the relationship between wind farms and communities, the designers have also proposed Windswitch, a smartphone app that would allow local residents to share in the profits from wind energy . The app would also give users the opportunity to “influence the turbines in their backyard” by trading previous earnings in as credits to temporarily pause a wind turbine. + Prototype 2030 Images by Prototype 2030

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Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art

Energy-efficient affordable housing project opens in South LA

January 6, 2020 by  
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As part of its ongoing effort to house Los Angeles’ homeless, local design practice Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has transformed a vacant lot in South Los Angeles into an inspiring example of 100% affordable housing. Certified LEED Gold , the energy-efficient MLK1101 Supportive Housing project not only emphasizes natural lighting and ventilation to reduce reliance on mechanical systems, but also encourages community and public health with the addition of communal spaces and an outdoor garden with raised-bed edible gardens.  According to the architects, over 58,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles County. Working with Clifford Beers Housing, LOHA created MLK1101 Supportive Housing to provide permanent housing for a range of residents, from formerly homeless veterans to chronically homeless individuals and low-income households. The development includes 26 affordable housing units that range in size from one to three bedrooms, all of which include their own bathroom as well as kitchens and living spaces. To encourage neighborly relations, the architects included a community room with shared amenities, an elevated community garden set atop street-level parking, a street-facing stoop and a series of exterior walkways of varying widths that serve as informal gathering spaces. In addition to housing, amenities and 4,000 square feet of parking for cars and bicycles, MLK1101 Supportive Housing also includes two retail units at street level that will generate income to help subsidize housing while providing workforce training to residents. Related: LEED Platinum housing for the homeless takes over a formerly vacant L.A. lot “Further advancing previous experience working with Clifford Beers Housing and other supportive housing organizations like the Skid Row Housing Trust, LOHA’s design acknowledges the successful track record these housing complexes have had with integrating various populations, bringing supportive services in-house, and creating uplifting living environments for people to thrive,” note the architects in a project statement. Other sustainable features of the project include high-efficiency heating and cooling, energy-efficient appliances and fixtures, solar water heating and electric vehicle charging.  + Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects Images by Paul Vu Photography

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Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C.

July 26, 2019 by  
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In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized access to clean water as a human right. To raise awareness about the “questionable privatizations” and climate change threatening this human right, Spanish design collective Luzinterruptus created ‘Let’s Go Fetch Water!’, a temporary art installation made from recycled plastic. Located on the grounds of the Spanish Embassy and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., the art installation features an eye-catching waterfall effect created by a series of angled buckets cascading water sourced from a closed-loop system. When designing Let’s Go Fetch Water!, Luzinterruptus wanted to reference the daily toils that many people — mostly women — around the world must go through to fetch water for their family’s basic supply. As a result, buckets that are used to draw and transport water became the main motif for the piece. “These buckets transport this precious liquid from fountains and wells and are even hoisted down to the depths of the Earth in order to get it,” the designers explained. “They later carry them through long perilous trails during grueling journeys, where not even a drop must be spilled.” Related: A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor To minimize the loss of water, Luzinterruptus used a slow-flowing current and closed-loop system for the waterfall effect. The designers were also adamant about using buckets made from recycled materials rather than take the easy route of purchasing cheap buckets made in China. The buckets were mounted onto a wooden frame, and all of the materials will be recycled after the installation is dismantled in September. The installation is on display from May 16 to September 27 and will be lit up and functional at night as well. “We all know water is scarce,” Luzinterruptus said. “ Climate change is one of the main reasons; however, questionable privatizations are also to be blamed. Governments lacking financial resources give up this resource to private companies in exchange for supply infrastructures. Other governments just sell their aquifers and springs to large food and beverage corporations, which exploit these and everything around dry, leaving local inhabitants in deep crisis. We have enjoyed this particular commission since we have, for a long time, been dealing with issues concerning the recycling of plastic material, and we have experienced firsthand how these companies that sell someone else’s water, and seem to be especially focused on launching awareness campaigns for a responsible use of plastic, only try to deviate attention from this uncomfortable privatization issue.” + Luzinterruptus Photography by David Keith via Luzinterruptus

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Recycled plastic art installation asserts that water is a human right in D.C.

Twisting tree-like sculptures redefine a public space in Montreal

August 6, 2018 by  
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Giant twisting tree-like sculptures have sprouted in downtown Montreal—and passersby are welcome to climb to the top of its gnarled canopy. The striking art installation is the latest work of local artist Michel de Broin , who was invited by the City of Montreal to help activate the recently developed International Civil Aviation Organization Plaza (ICAO). Dubbed Dendrites after the branched projections of a neuron, the large-scale artworks are clad in weathering steel and are equipped with metal stairs with platforms for an interactive element. Spanning both sides of Notre-Dame Street in downtown Montreal , Dendrites comprises two sculptural stairways that mimic the form of trees and neuron structures. The reddish hue of its weathering steel cladding is a reference to ochre tree trunks as well as the urban site’s industrial past and iron infrastructure. “Dendrites encourages climbing through a network of alternate possible routes,” explains the project press release. “When a passer-by ascends the stairs they consistently face a bifurcation, and a decision must ensue. An apt metaphor is found in the way thoughts are formed in the human brain through the transmission of electrical impulses within a larger network of neuronal dendrites; much like the climber in the sculpture discovering the structures of his surrounding environment. From one end of the work to the other — like a neural impulse traveling across the brain — the walker climbs the stairs and ventures into the sculpture, emerging on the other side with a new perspective.” Related: Whimsically windswept cabin-like kiosks are designed to soothe urban stress The emphasis of walking ties into the redevelopment of site, which was formerly a car-centric area that was displaced as a new pedestrian-friendly and cyclist-friendly space. Dendrites’ twisting branches culminate in a series of independent viewing platforms of varying heights, allowing multiple visitors to climb and enjoy the sculpture simultaneously. + Michel de Broin Images by Michel de Broin and Jules Beauchamp Desbiens

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