Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

May 17, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wanted to own your own castle – or perhaps an Italian monastery? Here’s your chance. As part of Italy’s Strategist Tourist Plan, the country is giving away 103 historic sites – including old houses, farmhouses, inns, monasteries and even ancient castles. However, only those who intend to renovate and transform the structures into tourist hotspots (such as restaurants and spas) will be granted a plot of historic property. The State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage are responsible for spearheading the project, which aims to relieve some of the strain on the country’s most popular and overcrowded areas. In effect, lesser-explored destinations will receive an influx of tourists and local economies will benefit. State property agency employee Roberto Reggi told The Local : “The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector. The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists.” In total, 103 historic sites are available across the country. Many are located near the famous Appian Way – the Roman road that connects Venice with Brindisi on the southern coast. After the initial properties are claimed and foreigners begin exploring more destinations aside from Venice , 200 more sites will be included in the project over the next two years. This isn’t the first time Italy has relied on the public to restore its historic sites. The “ Lighthouse Project, ” for instance, has resulted in the Italian government auctioning off approximately 30 historic lighthouses to investors over the past two years. The requirement has been the same: transform the ordinary structures into hotels and tourist facilities . Additionally, the country raised €502 million for its “ Kill Public Debt Plan ” by putting 50 of its most prized sites up for action in 2013. Full details of the project can be found (in Italian) on the State Property Agency’s website . + State Property Agency Via The Local Images via Hand Luggage Only , SUWalls , Pinterest

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Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free

Dutch farmhouse renovated as a vibrant meeting space with a hipped roof

January 30, 2017 by  
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An extensive renovation turned this historic farmhouse in the Netherlands into a vibrant meeting place that sources its food from local farms. Architecture firm Eek en Dekkers kept many of the original design features of the 1904 building, accentuating its rustic quality yet offering a series of modern amenities. The farmhouse is located in the Friesian town of Woudsend in the Netherlands . Surrounded by farms and mills, the project retains the rustic qualities of the original structure dominated by handicrafts, hipped wooden roof and brick walls. The architects kept the existing roof structure, removed the mezzanine floor, and created a large atrium that shows off the beauty of the historic roof. Related: Mid-century Dutch farmhouse gets a bold contemporary makeover Currently functioning as a meeting place , the former farmhouse sources all its food locally– the milk and meat come from Frisian cows and the flour is sourced from the village mill. + Eek en Dekkers Via Archdaily Photos by Thomas Mayer

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Dutch farmhouse renovated as a vibrant meeting space with a hipped roof

Dubuc Motors unveils Tomahawk electric sports car with a 370-mile range

January 30, 2017 by  
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Dubuc Motors just unveiled the Tomahawk – a 2+2 electric sports car that can go from 0-60 miles an hour in a zippy three seconds. Even more exciting, the car’s EPA-estimated range is a crazy 370 miles. The Tomahawk is manufactured entirely in North America, and the company reportedly spent 12 years researching and developing clean technology to create the green vehicle. Dubuc Motors ‘ Tomahawk feature sleek scissor doors, a panoramic roof, a built-in WiFi hotspot, hands-free voice commands, and a live 360 degree camera. The car is made of aluminum with a carbon fiber interior. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SFM2YCY3B0&feature=youtu.be Related: The Immortus electric sports car can drive all day using just the power of the sun Dubuc Motors sees themselves as fulfilling a niche market; on their crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine , they describe the Tomahawk as ” Tesla ‘s cousin” and explain, “While Tesla offers a sedan and an SUV, we want to complete their product line with our sports car.” With the electric vehicle (EV) market exploding – demand could exceed 35 million units around the world by 2022 – Dubuc Motors is angling to uniquely position themselves to fulfill demand for luxury EVs. Dubuc Motors has raised over $6 million in reservations . You can’t snag one of the cars quite yet, although you can reserve one for $5,000 on their website . There they offer six colors: green, black, two tone, red, yellow, and orange. The car’s retail price will be $125,000, and the company plans to begin production this year. + Dubuc Motors Images courtesy of Dubuc Motors

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Dubuc Motors unveils Tomahawk electric sports car with a 370-mile range

Al Gore will now host the climate change event the CDC canceled

January 30, 2017 by  
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This month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called off a Climate and Health Summit – and many suspect it’s because of President Donald Trump’s dubious views on climate change . Fortunately, environmentalist Al Gore stepped in – and he’s planning to lead a one day Climate and Health Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The new conference will convene the American Public Health Association (APHA), Gore’s Climate Reality Project , Dr. Howard Frumkin , the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment , and the Harvard Global Health Institute . They will only be able to meet for a single day (instead of the CDC’s planned three day event) due to the late notice, but they still feel the vital meeting should occur. Related: Al Gore fights climate change with “An Inconvenient Sequel” Gore said in a statement, “They tried to cancel this conference but it is going forward anyway. Today we face a challenging political climate, but climate shouldn’t be a political issue. Health professionals urgently need the very best science in order to protect the public, and climate science has increasingly critical implications for their day-to-day work. With more and more hot days, which exacerbate the proliferation of the Zika virus and other public health threats, we cannot afford to waste any time.” APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin said climate change is already impacting health, and the meeting would “strengthen the public response to this growing threat.” The meeting will take place on February 16, 2017, and it will retain the focus of the CDC summit: a working session with information from public health professionals. If you want more information you can sign up for updates from the Climate Reality Project here . Via Vox and The Washington Post Images via COP PARIS on Flickr and Al Gore Facebook

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Al Gore will now host the climate change event the CDC canceled

Historic Belgian farmhouse is renovated into a modern solar-powered home

August 19, 2016 by  
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The architects preserved the brick from the original farmhouse, where it can be seen in both the facade and interior, however the two stepped additions are clad in timber for a contemporary touch. “Old and new work remain visible,” said architect Tom Vanhee, according to Dezeen. “The new volumes are clad in wood, and the old brick exterior can be seen inside the entrance.” The original building and the extensions are united under a pre-weathered zinc roof. The original brick structure comprises the main living spaces, including an open-plan living room, kitchen, and dining area in a spacious double-height room, as well as four bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper level. The smaller timber-clad additions house the entryway, hallways, storage, utility spaces, and a garage. White walls and surfaces dominate the minimally but stylishly decorated interior and are broken up by remnants of salvaged brick and timber beams. Large windows punctuate all three interconnected structures, filling the home with natural light and framing views of the surrounding countryside. In addition to expanding the building footprint and updating the appearance, the architects added energy-efficient features. The air-source heat pump was installed to warm water and power underfloor heating . Solar energy satisfies the bulk of the home’s electricity needs. The windows and insulation are constructed for airtightness. + Atelier Tom Vanhee Via Dezeen Images via Atelier Tom Vanhee

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Historic Belgian farmhouse is renovated into a modern solar-powered home

Branching addition cuts through existing Swiss farmhouse to increase structural integrity

July 28, 2016 by  
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The concrete structure branches inside the old barn, allowing it to be easily converted into two residential units. Made up from board-marked concrete and extending across all three floors of the building, the addition forms doorway arches, service islands, and holds all the bathroom and kitchen accommodations and storage spaces . Related: Stacked timber beams act as multi-use office furniture in this renovated barn in Belgium Birch plywood and concrete dominate both the exterior and interior of the building, with patchwork patterns of stone, brick and timber marking the original walls deliberately left exposed to accentuate the rustic quality of the space. + Freiluft Architektur Via  Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by David Aebi

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Branching addition cuts through existing Swiss farmhouse to increase structural integrity

Modern timber-clad addition spruces up an old Austrian farmhouse

June 7, 2016 by  
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Designed in the Mühlviertel Bauernsacherl style, the original property was built in the local rural vernacular with a half-hip roof and white granite walls. Hammerschmid Pachl Seebacher Architekten’s renovation carefully preserves the building’s character while adding an L-shaped extension that’s both contemporary and complementary. The spruce-clad addition is topped with an asymmetric fibre-cement gabled roof. Related: Austrian S House is Elevated on Stilts so a Lush Garden Can Grow Below It The interior features mostly white-painted surfaces with exposed timber ceiling beams and floors for a clean and modern appearance. The client’s family of four live on one side of the house with three bedrooms on the upper level of the old building that connect to an open-plan communal area with the kitchen, dining room, and living area in the new wing. The client’s mother lives on the lower level of the farmhouse, which was converted into a self-contained apartment with access to a small winter garden. + Hammerschmid Pachl Seebacher Architekten Via Dezeen Images via Hammerschmid Pachl Seebacher Architekten

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Modern timber-clad addition spruces up an old Austrian farmhouse

Historic Dutch farm in South Africa renovated for ultimate bliss and relaxation

May 20, 2016 by  
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The farm at Babylonstoren , where more than eight acres of fruits and vegetables are grown, dates back to 1692. Over the years, a slow series of renovations have seen some original farm buildings renewed to benefit visitors, such as the disused cow shed that was transformed into the current-day Babel restaurant, one of two on the grounds. The Farmhouse renovation is the latest in a series of investments by owner Karen Roos and general manager Terry de Waal, and it officially opened this year. Related: South Africa’s historic Babylonstoren farm retreat reconnects guests with nature Chris Fick of Malherbe Rust Architects partnered with the farm ’s management to design a renovation befitting the historic nature of the property, similar to previous renovations on the farm. The result is an indulgent getaway, where guests can enjoy a heated swimming pool in the Farmhouse’s courtyard, or step inside the spa, where there is a salt room, sauna, steam room, experience shower, and ozonated vitality pool. The guest rooms and suites are cozy and simply adorned, featuring a mixture of modern and Victorian furniture. The common area Butterfly Room, so named for the rare butterfly collection on display, houses a library and fireplace, creating an inviting space for relaxation after a long, hard day of soaking and steaming. Via Visi Images via Dook

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Historic Dutch farm in South Africa renovated for ultimate bliss and relaxation

Howe Farm is an air-tight timber-clad farmhouse with a fresh new design

March 15, 2016 by  
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Pigeons with backpacks are tweeting about London’s notorious pollution

March 15, 2016 by  
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In London , pigeons are a ubiquitous part of the cityscape. They can be seen in the streets and squares, chortling about in search of insects and crumbs. Some of the small grey birds are taking on a big job this week by monitoring the city’s air quality for three days , as  Plume Labs launches the Pigeon Air Patrol project. Aimed at raising awareness about London’s polluted skies, the project relies on Twitter to connect residents with backpack-sporting pigeons to get air quality information specific to their location in real time. Read the rest of Pigeons with backpacks are tweeting about London’s notorious pollution

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