Fallingwater Institute adds four timber ‘portals’ to Frank Lloyd Wright landmark

February 15, 2017 by  
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Students participating in the Fallingwater Institute’s summer residence program will now have a beautiful new home-base from which to study the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright design and national monument. Architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson designed four “modest wood portals” to provide updated lodging to the rustic 1960s teaching facilities. Wright completed work on the iconic Fallingwater home in 1939. The stunning design, which was built for the Kaufmann family, sits over a waterfall in southwest Pennsylvania. Today, the home is a National Historic Landmark run by the Fallingwater Institute, which has been offering summer residency programs to architecture lovers of all ages for over 20 years. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright’s unbuilt Trinity Chapel brought to life in vivid renderings Now, students will be able to live a bit more comfortably as they study thanks to four new cabin-like structures built on the High Meadow farm next to the main home. The new residences are made up of four wooden cabins clad in a cedar stained shale gray. On the interior, built-in shelves and most of the furniture were constructed out of simple plywood, and cork flooring is used throughout the cabins. A horizontal pine screen, which was harvested and milled on site , connects the four cabins, which all have stunning views of the surroundinga. The angled nature of the design was strategic to provide shade in the summertime while also optimizing air ventilation throughout the cabins. Bill James, project architect from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s Pittsburgh office, explains that the four new cabins were designed to be subtle, but comfortable additions for summer tenants: “The building’s main entry welcomes visitors into a central screened porch, which joins the new architecture to an existing cabin and serves as the outdoor gathering and dining space,” he said. “A horizontal screen, made of Norway Spruce harvested and milled on site, extends from the main cabin and continues along the walkway leading to the dwellings.” + Fallingwater Institute + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Via Archinet Photography by Nic Lehoux

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Fallingwater Institute adds four timber ‘portals’ to Frank Lloyd Wright landmark

Bill Nye is back with new (real) science show

February 15, 2017 by  
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Scientist and television personality Bill Nye the Science Guy is returning to television with a new show, Bill Nye Saves the World . With bombastic claims about alternative facts and fake news threatening to distract us from issues that matter, Nye plans to inject a little reality into the mix with his new series. According to Netflix , where the show will air on April 21, the program will refute “antiscientific claims that may be espoused by politicians, religious leaders, or titans of industry.” Nye , known for his Emmy-winning children’s program Bill Nye the Science Guy , will target a different audience through his Netflix series. Bill Nye Saves the World will feature a talk show format with what Nye referred to as essentially a monologue, guests, expert panels, and comedy pieces. He’ll approach topics as diverse as climate change , sex, and technology from a point of view that is both entertaining and scientific. Related: Bill Nye the Science Guy backs revolutionary solar company https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-_HKOcYBK8 Some of Nye’s topics, specifically climate change, could be considered political, especially under a president who’s tweeted his denial of global warming . But The New York Times notes the program isn’t a reaction to the November election, as filming finished in October. And according to Nye it wasn’t the climate science community but people in fossil fuel industries that politicized the issue. He pointed out no one has to watch his show, but he does hope it will influence some people. Nye told The New York Times, “You have to be optimistic. You’re not going to solve global problems or address global issues without being optimistic. If you don’t think you can do anything about it, you won’t.” The show will feature 13 30-minute long episodes, released all at the same time. Although Nye doesn’t yet know if the new show will be renewed for a second season, he plans to continue injecting science and critical thinking into political dialogue. Via The New York Times Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and screenshot

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Bill Nye is back with new (real) science show

7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life

February 15, 2017 by  
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Want to make rent and utility bills a thing of the past? We’ve rounded up seven off-grid homes that could be the answer to making your dreams a reality. Stylish and self-sufficient, these eco-friendly dwellings promise freedom from the grid. Many are even set atop wheels to let you move with your home to almost anywhere you desire. Keep reading to see seven charming homes that offer homeowners the chance to live off the grid and rent-free. WOHNWAGON Powered by solar energy and made from recycled materials, the WOHNWAGON is a beautiful mobile and modern home with a housing footprint so small it fits within the size of a standard parking lot. This larch-clad caravan was designed for homeowners who wish to travel the world and enjoy comfortable off-grid living thanks to energy-efficient features including a green roof , triple-glazed windows, graywater recycling, solar panels, highly efficient insulation and more. Developed for mass production, the WOHNWAGON starts at 40,000 Euros and can be individually customized. EcoCapsule For those who want a little off-grid place of their own with more of a futuristic edge, look no farther than the EcoCapsule . Now available for pre-orders, the tiny egg-shaped home that went viral in 2015 has been displayed around the world wowing visitors with its ability to produce all of its energy onsite with rooftop solar panels and a low-noise wind turbine that feed into a 10kWh battery. Developed by Nice Architects , the mobile home can be moved or dropped in place with a crane or helicopter, giving owners the freedom to live almost anywhere they please. POD-Idladla South Africa-based architect Clara da Cruz Almeida collaborated with local design firm Dokter+Misses to create POD-Idladla , an adorable flat-pack home with off-grid capabilities. Targeted at young adults, the tiny solar-powered was conceived as a customizable eco-friendly home at an affordable price. The modular design can also be expanded upon with additional pods to make multi-unit configurations that house up to 12 people. Moon Dragon If homes inspired by fantasy and fairytale are more your style, you’ll love Moon Dragon. Tiny house builder Abel Zimmerman Zyl of Zyl Vardos designed and built this tiny timber off-grid home that looks like it’d be right at home in Middle-Earth. Outfitted with a solar kit for off-grid living, the beautifully detailed mobile home boasts masterful craftsmanship as well as impressive an impressive suite of features, from a five-burner Range cooker with two ovens to a loft bedroom large enough for a queen-sized bed. KODA Lovers of travel and modern, minimalist house designs will feel right at home in KODA, a tiny prefabricated home created by Estonian design collective Kodasema . Designed with off-grid capabilities, KODA can be assembled on a variety of surfaces without the need for foundations or disassembled and prepped for relocation in as little as four hours. Fronted with large quadruple-glazed windows, the light-filled modular house can also be expanded with multiple units. Ark Shelter Designed as an escape from city life, the Ark Shelter was created to reconnect people with nature. The self-sufficient modular cabin is prefabricated from durable timber and placed on site atop raised, mobile foundations. Wind turbines, solar power, and rainwater collection allow the home to go off-grid . Walden Studio home Dutch design agency Walden Studio teamed up with carpenter Dimka Wentzel to design a tiny home that’s big on luxury and freedom. Equipped with all the systems needed for off-grid living, the contemporary mobile home is filled with natural light and natural materials like the cork floors and birch plywood paneling. The 17-square-meter home also contains plenty of multifunctional furniture to maximize its small footprint.

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7 charming off-grid homes for a rent-free life

Massachusetts lawmakers sponsor 100% renewable energy bill

February 15, 2017 by  
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Massachusetts could become the first state in America to be powered entirely by renewable energy . Lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would require an economy-wide transition to obtaining power via clean sources like wind and solar, and 53 state legislators from both the House and the Senate have shown support for the measure. The bill, SD. 1932 , also known as the 100 Percent Renewable Energy Act, would set targets of electricity generation via 100 percent renewables by 2035; other sectors like transportation and heating would have until 2050 to make the switch. Over a quarter of legislature members in Massachusetts have now cosponsored the bill, which has been promoted by environmental advocacy group Environment Massachusetts . The organization’s state director Ben Hellerstein said in a statement, “Now is the time for Massachusetts to go big on clean energy . Getting to 100 percent renewable energy is 100 percent possible – and it’s 100 percent necessary.” Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy State Senator Jamie Eldridge, one of three legislators who first filed the bill, pointed out that even if the Trump administration refuses to act on climate change , states can wage their own war. He said in a statement, “Massachusetts has been a leader on alternative energy policy for over a decade, and now with federal assaults on efforts to combat climate change, it will be up to individual states to protect the environmental and health interests of the public.” The bill would launch a Clean Energy Workforce Development Fund to provide employment in renewable technologies; part of the fund would go towards shifting fossil fuel workers into clean fuel jobs . SD. 1932 would also complement Massachusetts’ 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act, which calls for the state to lower carbon emissions by 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. The bill’s not law yet, but with so much support from Massachusetts lawmakers, a 100 percent clean energy commitment appears promising. Via Environment Massachusetts Images via Doc Searles on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Massachusetts lawmakers sponsor 100% renewable energy bill

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