Self-assembling shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing

February 16, 2017 by  
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Emergency shelter design is becoming increasingly important due to the various refugee situations occurring around the world. Although some designs have already been awarded for their crucial role in providing emergency housing, other forward-thinking designers such as Haresh Lalvani are actively working to create a biomimicry-based system where shelter structures would be able to assemble themselves. As cofounder of the Pratt Institute Center for Experimental Structures , Lalvani is employing a “wildly interdisciplinary range of tools” to create a type of generative geometry that would be able to assemble and repair, grow, and evolve all on its own. The designer is using concepts found in biology, mathematics, computer science and art to create systems where matter would start encoding information, a similar process to that of stem cells and genes in the human body. Lalvani explains that these biological systems are “the only place where software and hardware are the same thing.” Related: ASU’s new Biomimicry Center offers first-ever master’s degree in biomimicry https://youtu.be/fh-fMUo0Kjk Using biomimicry as inspiration, Lalvani is testing the potential of giving physical objects the power to assemble through a similar system of genomic instructions encoded into the raw material. His prototypes stem from a concrete and humanitarian approach that could potentially create, for example, rapidly deployable disaster housing . Creating an “inherently ephemeral building type”, however, is no easy task, and one that requires a futuristic level of technology. Working with metal fabricator, Milgo/Bufkin, Lalvani has managed to convert 2D sheets of perforated metals into rigid 3D structures using a computer controlled laser cutter that perforates “variable openings” into the sheets. Using a force such as gravity for instance, the spaces can be pulled apart or stretched, therefore creating another, more flexible form that is completely distinct from the original material. This type of installation could be a potential game changer for shelter design considering some of Lalvani’s installations take less than one minute to bend into shape. Additionally exciting is the fact that the raw material is just one thin sheet of metal, and can be easily transported and requires no tools for assembly, making it especially useful for emergency situations. + Haresh Lalvani + Pratt Institute Center for Experimental Structures Via Archdaily Images via Haresh Lalvani

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Self-assembling shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing

Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight

February 16, 2017 by  
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There’s another continent on Earth , and it’s been lurking in plain view for a long time. Geologists have traditionally identified six continents, combining Asia and Europe into Eurasia, but a new study reveals New Zealand and New Caledonia are actually part of a seventh geologic continent called Zealandia. In the Geological Society of America ‘s journal GSA Today , 11 scientists from institutions in New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Australia revealed the find. They claim New Caledonia and New Zealand aren’t just an island chain as was once thought, but are part of one 1.89 million square mile piece of continental crust that comprises Zealandia. Once part of the supercontinent Gondwana, now just around five percent of Zealandia is above the ocean’s surface. Related: Scientists find evidence of lost continent beneath Mauritius To discern a continent, geologists consider four criteria: first, elevation above the ocean floor; second, if igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks can found; third, if the land is comprised of a thicker piece of crust compared against the ocean floor; and fourth, if there clearly defined limits around an area bigger than a continental fragment or microcontinent. Geologists have known for decades New Zealand and New Caledonia fit criteria one through three, but in their new study, the 11 scientists drew on satellite gravity data to help recognize Zealandia as a continent around the size of greater India. If you think you’ve heard the word ‘Zealandia’ before, it’s because geophysicist Bruce Luyendyk, who wasn’t part of the new study, coined the name back in 1995, to refer to the two islands and other submerged pieces of crust that once broke off Gondwana. Luyendyk said he wasn’t trying to describe a new continent then, but he thinks the scientists’ find will be accepted. He told Business Insider, “These people here are A-list earth scientists. I think they have put together a solid collection of evidence that’s really thorough. I don’t see that there’s going to be a lot of pushback, except maybe around the edges.” Luyendyk said there are clear economic implications to the study. United Nations agreements often describe continental shelves as boundaries that help determine resource extraction, and according to Business Insider New Zealand might have tens of billions of dollars of minerals and fossil fuels near its shores. Via Business Insider Images via Wikimedia Commons and N. Mortimer, et al./GSA Today

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Young carpenter builds cost-effective timber cabin for his first home

February 16, 2017 by  
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When a young carpenter with a modest budget wanted to build his first home, he turned to Atelier l’Abri for help with the design. The Montreal-based architecture firm responded with a modern and uncomplicated design for a cabin that recedes into its forested surroundings of Bolton in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. The self-build project is l’Abri’s first built house design and is named Wood Duck in reference to the project’s use of timber for the structure, cladding, and interior finishes. The architects kept the design of the Wood Duck as simple as possible to accommodate the client’s tight budget. To make the most of its compact footprint, the boxy home faces south to overlook the valley with views of the ski slopes of Mount Glen and river below. Three large windows on the south facade take advantage of these vistas and their size help blur the boundary between indoors and outdoors, visually expanding the home’s small footprint. Hemlock spruce, a cost-effective and rugged material, clads the exterior and helps the cabin blend into its surroundings. Related: Stunning Finnish Micro-Cabin Built For Just $10,500! The home is square in plan and spans two floors. Entered from an east door, the Wood Duck’s ground floor features the open-plan and double-height living room, dining area, and kitchen in the south, while the service-oriented rooms, like the laundry and mudroom, are tucked away in the north. The open-plan living areas are bathed in natural light and overlook the landscape and an outdoor deck. The master bedroom, secondary bedroom, office, and shared bathroom are located upstairs. + Atelier l’Abri Via ArchDaily Images via Atelier l’Abri , © Jack Jérôme, Alexandre Desourdy, Jean-Christophe Laniel

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Tiny new flat-packed off-grid homes offer affordable housing breakthrough

September 21, 2016 by  
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For 11 years, Australia ‘s five major cities have been listed as “severely unaffordable” – making home ownership just a dream for many. Architect Alex Symes realized home ownership is typically tied to land ownership, but land prices are now so high, most people can’t afford to buy. As a result, Alex started Big World Homes . The goal is to disrupt expensive city housing with tiny , flat-packed, off-grid homes that sell for between $60K and $80K in Australian dollars, or around $45K to $60K. https://vimeo.com/180534968 A Big World Home is created with 39 flat-pack panels, which are comprised of ” low environmental impact materials “, including plywood, thermal insulation, and lightweight cladding. Even people without building experience can erect a Build World Home using a drill and a hammer, with access to online support. Related: Solar-powered POD-Idladla is a tiny flat-pack home for two that lets you live almost anywhere A basic home is equipped with a bed, living room, and bathroom complete with plumbing. The home is powered by solar panels and receives running water via rainwater tanks. The whole home, built atop a trailer, is portable. A Big World Home can even grow with a family; owners can add more modules to add more space to their home. Land is still a factor, but Big World Homes partners with ” developers, councils, community groups, and individual landowners ” to find land spaces from unused plots to backyards where one Big World Home or a pop-up community can be erected. On September 29 in Waterloo, Australia, a group of “non-skilled volunteers” will build a Big World House in a few hours using solely a drill and a hammer. That home will be displayed at the Sydney Architecture Festival from September 30 to October 3, 2016. Big World Homes is also crowdsourcing via Chuffed to build that first home and a pioneer community. You can donate here . + Big World Homes + Big World Homes Chuffed Campaign Images courtesy of Big World Homes

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Germany unveils worlds first zero-emissions hydrogen-powered passenger train

September 21, 2016 by  
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French company Alstom unveiled the first-ever passenger train powered completely by hydrogen at this week’s Berlin InnoTrans trade show . The hydrogen train or “hydrail” will be put into service on Germany’s Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony by December 2017. After two years in development, the “Coradia iLint” train offers a zero-emissions alternative to Germany’s existing fleet of diesel trains, thanks to a roof-mounted tank of hydrogen fuel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3bUE9uHkqM The hydrail is an electric train operating with a hydrogen fuel tank on its roof that powers a fuel cell to generate electricity. This train, and others like it to come in the future, are part of a big push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The Coradia iLint will be the first of its kind to carry passengers along the railway, as most other innovations in hydrail technology have been focused on cargo transport. Related: China develops first fuel cell light rail locomotive “Alstom is proud to launch a breakthrough innovation in the field of clean transportation which will complete its Coradia range of regional trains,” said Alstom chairman and CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge, in a statement. “It shows our ability to work in close collaboration with our customers and develop a train in only two years.” Due to its electric engine, the Coradia iLint is much quieter than traditional diesel trains. In fact, even at its top speed of 87 miles per hour (140 km/h), the only sound passengers will hear comes from the motion of the wheels and air resistance. Although the hydrail trains are reportedly more expensive than existing diesel models, officials in other parts of Germany, as well as in the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, are interested in bringing the clean running trains to their regular rail services as well. Via The Local Images via Alstom

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Object Works’ Cuckoo Clock offers a modern twist on an old wind-up favorite

October 27, 2015 by  
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Cuckoo clock fans will get a kick out of this contemporary interpretation of the traditional wind-up clock. Minneapolis-based studio Object Works crafted a new and unique wall-mounted cuckoo clock that features a laser-cut face made from walnut veneered MDF and furniture-grade plywood, as well as a quartz cuckoo clock mechanism. The 8.5-pound clock is equipped with a light sensor that shuts the cuckoo off at night. + Object Works The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Luke Brabants turns old skate decks into art for your wall

October 27, 2015 by  
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Luke Brabants is recycling, one skateboard at a time. Anyone serious about skateboarding knows that you can go through decks like tissue paper.  So Brabants takes old skateboards that have been piling up, turning them in to new pieces of art for the wall. These old skate decks become unique reclaimed art, with grind marks and all the history of each deck engrained in to them to make each one truly unique. Brabant uses organic shapes from fauna to flora to transform the shape of these decks and then hand cuts using a jigsaw to create a truly different piece of art. + Luke Brabants The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Luke Brabants turns old skate decks into art for your wall

Luke Brabants turns old skate decks into art for your wall

October 27, 2015 by  
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Luke Brabants is recycling, one skateboard at a time. Anyone serious about skateboarding knows that you can go through decks like tissue paper.  So Brabants takes old skateboards that have been piling up, turning them in to new pieces of art for the wall. These old skate decks become unique reclaimed art, with grind marks and all the history of each deck engrained in to them to make each one truly unique. Brabant uses organic shapes from fauna to flora to transform the shape of these decks and then hand cuts using a jigsaw to create a truly different piece of art. + Luke Brabants The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Luke Brabants turns old skate decks into art for your wall

Chile rocks adaptive reuse again with the sophisticated Barn House in Los Ríos

October 27, 2015 by  
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Nanoleaf launches new smart hub that allows you to control your lighting using Siri

October 27, 2015 by  
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We have seen major leaps and bounds in the past decade or so when it comes to efficient home lighting and the options available to the public keep getting better. The designers at Nanoleaf  are at the forefront of this movement and have successfully completed two Kickstarter campaigns for their unique products. Now, Nanoleaf has just launched their newest innovation on Indiegogo : the Nanoleaf Smarter Kit. One of the first products enabled with Apple’s much-anticipated HomeKit capabilities, it enables homeowners to control their lights with a simple verbal request to Siri. Read the rest of Nanoleaf launches new smart hub that allows you to control your lighting using Siri

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