Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

June 23, 2017 by  
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French rustic charms and modern luxuries come together in this beautiful tiny home on wheels. France’s tiny house company Baluchon has outdone themselves again in their latest build called the Ostara, a tiny home built on a six-meter trailer. Currently located near a horse farm in Toulouse, the light-filled timber abode looks surprisingly spacious despite its small size and sleeps two in a loft bedroom. Custom built for clients Nathalie and Sebastien, Ostara was named after the stable close to the tiny home’s location. Although charming and rustic on the outside, the spruce -clad Ostara makes a grand impression with its large French doors flanked with curtains that open up to a light-filled living room. A large 1.8-meter-long sofa forms the living room’s focal point and can also comfortably lodge an overnight guest. A small bookcase, wood-burning stove , and a small dining table that accommodates three people is located to the left. To the right of the living room is the kitchen with a full-size sink, pantry, two-burner stovetop, fridge/freezer, and a gorgeous extendable wooden countertop. The bathroom with a full-size shower and composting toilet are tucked into the end of the home. Related: Fully-furnished tiny house from France easily fits a family of three A corner staircase with built-in storage leads up to the mezzanine with a large loft bed . Multiple double-glazed openings, including a broad bay window and one-meter-wide circular window, punctuate the home and provide views of the horses and rural surroundings. Sheep wool, cotton, linen, hemp, and wood fibers were used for insulation. The home is made from locally sourced materials. Baluchon’s beautiful homes are only delivered in France due to the company’s desire to limit carbon emissions. + Baluchon Via Tiny House Talk

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Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

G7 leaders openly say climate change consensus does not include US

May 29, 2017 by  
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The rest of the world is beginning to count the United States out of the climate change battle, if a recent statement after the 2017 Group of Seven (G7) summit is any indication. The G7 leaders met late last week in Taormina, Italy, and naturally climate change was on the agenda. But in a rather blunt statement, they said America “is not in a position to join the consensus” on the Paris Agreement and one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today. Leaders from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Japan, and the European Union met at the G7 summit to discuss what they described as their citizens’ greatest concerns, which ranged from trade to the global economy to gender equality to climate change. The statement released after the summit declared the leaders committed to strengthening energy security and harnessing economic opportunities stemming from clean energy . The leaders also reaffirmed their dedication to the Paris Agreement – that is, all did but President Donald Trump . Related: China, Canada, EU join forces on climate action – without Trump The statement reads, “The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics. Understanding this process, the Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, as previously stated at the Ise-Shima Summit.” There were mixed feelings over the results of the G7 summit. Trump called it an “tremendously productive meeting.” Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said they were satisfied after the meeting but was open about disagreements with the United States: “We do not disguise this division. It emerged very clearly in our conversations.” Recently elected President of France Emmanuel Macron seemed optimistic, saying he was certain Trump would support the agreement after conversations at the summit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t seem as hopeful. She told reporters, “The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying. There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.” Via Reuters Images via G7 Italy 2017 on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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G7 leaders openly say climate change consensus does not include US

Casa Pjaro de Plata offers stunning views of the Costa Rican jungle

May 29, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous house nestled amidst the Costa Rican jungle offers panoramic views of its lush natural surroundings. Architect John Osborne of OS Arquitectura designed Casa Pájaro de Plata (which translates to ‘Silver Bird House’) to resemble a bird in flight. The house has a simple shape and it sits on a promontory surrounded by a lush jungle. The architects combined natural stone with white marble and wood to create a variety of warm spaces that allow the owners to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. These beautiful photos by Fernando Alda capture serenity of the location and the house. Related: Tropical solar-powered home boasts spectacular views of the ocean and jungle The white marble terrace features an infinity pool that seems to flow into the surrounding tree tops. Open-plan spaces dominate the interior, with wooden elements appearing throughout the house – including in the bathrooms and a pathway that leads through the woods to a viewing platform . + OS Arquitectura Photos by Fernando Alda

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Casa Pjaro de Plata offers stunning views of the Costa Rican jungle

Nature-inspired Chrysalis pavilion pops up in a Maryland forest

May 18, 2017 by  
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New York-based architecture studio MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY completed an experimental amphitheater that “provides an experience around the clock.” Located in Merriweather Park of Columbia, Maryland the organic, nature-inspired venue, called The Chrysalis, comprises cascading green arches that give it a sculptural appearance. In addition to their eye-catching beauty and structural support, The Chrysalis’ arches also vary in size and function. The largest arch frames Stage A, the main area for events located next to the smaller Stage B. Other arches frame a truck loading dock, a grand staircase entrance, and balconies with views to the city. The digitally designed amphitheater was created with a self-supporting shell with an exoskeleton of steel tubing. Despite the 12,000-square-foot venue’s lightweight appearance, the sturdy structure can sustain 2,000 pounds of equipment on each of its 70 point loads. Nearly 8,000 aluminum shingles fabricated by Zahner clad The Chrysalis. Related: MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY’s ultralight informal amphitheater in France looks like an opening chrysalis “Each shingle is painted one of four shades of green that is taken from nature and pushed to the point of artificiality,” write the architects. “Together they amount to a subtle green gradient that renders The Chrysalis an iconic signal at the same time that it is camouflaged into its natural surroundings.” + MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY Images via MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY and Zahner

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Nature-inspired Chrysalis pavilion pops up in a Maryland forest

Barn ruins transformed into contemporary home with spa

April 27, 2017 by  
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Parisian architecture studio Antonin Ziegler converted an abandoned barn into a metal-clad home crafted to evoke a “contemporary ruin.” Located in France’s Regional Natural Park of Boucles de la Seine, the adaptive reuse project, called The Barn, sits between a wheat field and river and was formerly used to store fodder for horses. With the barn’s weatherboarding worn away, the architects encased the timber structure in a new shell of zinc to preserve the building’s monolithic and distinctly agricultural gabled shape. The metal cladding was left untreated and will develop a patina over time. The original timber framework, however, is still visible from the outside and peeks through along a window that runs along the home’s stone foundation base. “The framework is the fundamental element of the new residence,” write the architects. “From the outside, it remains partially visible, beneath the zinc envelope, thus conferring an incomplete aspect to the construction, as though eroded by the surrounding nature. The windows and doors are visually understated: the archetypal house is kept at bay to give rise to another kind of habitat, more in keeping with the surrounding wilderness. A lone crack that pierces the roof and walls thus gives the project the appearance of a contemporary ruin .” Related: Zinc-clad Midden Studio hides a cozy interior with a see-through floor The interior echoes the facade’s simple and rustic appearance with a material palette of breezeblocks, battens, and exposed concrete. Natural light pours into the home on all sides and the windows frame views of the river and landscape. The ground floor is mostly open plan with few partitions, with the double-height kitchen, dining room, living room on one end, a double-height swimming spa on the other, and a master bedroom and utility room located in the middle. Four bedrooms are tucked away on the upper floor in the former hay loft. + Antonin Ziegler Via ArchDaily Images via Antonin Ziegler

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Flying water taxis are hitting the rivers of Paris this summer

March 31, 2017 by  
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Parisians will soon have the opportunity to glide down rivers  in flying water taxis to get around the city.   SeaBubbles , a company creating flying water taxis, will debut their innovative mode of green transportation in Paris this summer on the River Seine. Instead of riding in polluting road vehicles, up to five people can hop aboard a SeaBubble and pay rather low fares – think Uber , but for rivers. SeaBubbles is pioneering the environmentally friendly transportation of the future with their flying water taxis, which are equipped with a battery driven propulsion system. Wings submerged below a waterway’s surface allow the vehicle, designed by Alain Thébault and Anders Bringdal, to appear as if it’s flying – and even at full speed the company says a SeaBubble doesn’t generate waves. The water taxis are silent, with around a 50 to 62 mile range, and can glide atop the Seine at speeds of almost 20 miles per hour. Related: Cal Craven’s CAT Aquatic Car Is the Water Taxi of the Future People will be able to climb aboard a SeaBubble via special docks along the river, and four people plus a driver will be able to travel inside. Prices comparable to Uber could make this eco-friendly option an affordable one as well. SeaBubbles also sees their creative vehicles as an answer to the trend of more people moving to cities . On their website they say by 2050 there could be around 10 billion people on Earth, and more than 75 percent could dwell in urban areas. To cut pollution generated by that amount of people residing in cities, and offer a clean, rapid form of transportation accessible for more people, SeaBubble taxis could offer a solution to a few issues at once. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is all for SeaBubbles. She said, “I really believe in the development of river transport. Most of the world’s big cities were built on riverbanks, an advantage we have to use to reduce our reliance on polluting cars.” . @SeaBubbles wants to be the Uber of water taxis, and we have the exclusive footage https://t.co/d9W7tZKsh0 pic.twitter.com/0w5rAk6vsx — Andrew J. Hawkins (@andyjayhawk) March 30, 2017 Watch for SeaBubbles this summer. + SeaBubbles Via My Modern Met Images via SeaBubbles

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Flying water taxis are hitting the rivers of Paris this summer

Harvard scientists claim they’ve made Earth’s first metallic hydrogen

January 27, 2017 by  
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For 80 long years, scientists have attempted in vain to produce a metal from hydrogen . A super substance thought to be present on other planets , metallic hydrogen could generate a rocket propellant around four times more powerful than what we possess now, allowing us to make advanced technologies like super-fast computers. Now two scientists at Harvard University say they have achieved the near miraculous. But other scientists are skeptical – the sensational discovery may just be too good to be true. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qitm5fteL0 Ranga Dias and Isaac Silvera of Harvard University say they’ve been able to create metallic hydrogen in the laboratory by squeezing hydrogen between diamonds inside a cryostat, at a pressure even greater than that at the Earth’s center. The journal Science published their astonishing findings this week. In a Harvard press release, Silvera said, “This is the Holy Grail of high-pressure physics . It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.” Related: MIT’s new carbon-free supercapacitor could revolutionize the way we store power But other scientists aren’t so sure. A string of failed tries, from scientists around the world, precede the Harvard news. One physicist from France’s Atomic Energy Commission even said, “I don’t think the paper is convincing at all.” The Harvard scientists maintain they were able to polish the diamonds better, to remove any potentially damaging irregularities, and were able to crush the hydrogen gas at pressures greater than others have. Silvera said they produced a “lustry, reflective sample, which you can only believe is a metal .” But that shiny substance could be nothing more than alumina (aluminium oxide), according to geophysicist Alexander Goncharov from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. That material coats the diamonds’ tips, and could act differently under the pressure. Silvera said they wanted to break the news before starting confirmation tests, which could ruin their sample. Now that their paper is out, they plan to perform more experiments. Stay tuned. Via Scientific American and The Independent Images via screenshot and Isaac Silvera/Harvard University

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Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017

November 25, 2016 by  
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Solar-generating roadways could soon be a reality on roads everywhere, thanks to new technology from Europe. According to Bloomberg , Colas SA, a subsidiary of France’s Bouygues Group has been working on solar panels that are tough enough to handle the load of an 18-wheeler truck – and are currently building them into some French road surfaces, with plans to test the technology across four continents in 2017. These panels have already undergone five years of research and laboratory tests, but before they hit the roads in a major way, the company plans to test them further by building 100 outdoor test sites over the next year. “We wanted to find a second life for a road,” Colas SA’s Wattaway Unit chief technology officer told Bloomberg. “Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.” How does a road made of solar panels withstand the weight of a massive semi truck, you might ask? According to Bloomberg , while the panels are made with ordinary solar cells such as those that might be on your roof, they are layered with several types of plastic on top to create a sturdy casing that can withstand abuse. It has electrical wiring embedded, and is coated with a layer of crushed glass to create an anti-slip surface. Related: Solar Roadways unveils super strong solar panels for roads in a prototypical parking lot Wattaway began testing the new product last month on a kilometer-long site in the French town of Tourouvre. At 2,800 square meters in area, the embedded solar panel array is expected to generate about 280 kilowatts of energy at peak capacity. The company says that’s enough power to light up a town of 5,000 people for a whole year. They also told Bloomberg they intend to test the technology in Calgary, Canada, Georgia, USA, throughout the European Union, Africa and Asia, with plans to commercialize in 2018. Add this innovation to Tesla’s solar roof and what Solar Roadways is doing in the U.S., and it’s been a good year for unconventional applications of solar power. Via Bloomberg Images via Wattaway

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Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017

The future of food: how dry farming could save the world

November 15, 2016 by  
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You’ve heard the line: water , it’s everywhere, not a drop to drink. Only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh, 75 percent of which is stored in glaciers. Much of the drops accessible for drinking are often diverted to the roots of thirsty plants. Currently, more than two-thirds of available potable water is used for agriculture , yet the global demand for water is soaring. In a water-scarce world, innovative growers are incorporating modern and ancient methods of dry farming into their practices to conserve water and provide healthy food to a growing population. According to the United Nations , up to two-thirds of the world population, which will rise to nearly 10 billion, may suffer from water scarcity by 2025. This makes the adoption of less water intensive farming techniques all the more urgent. In urban areas, where the vast majority of people live, some growers have switched to a soil-free growing system in which plants are watered via mist rather then traditional irrigation. This can result in water savings of up to 95 percent. Related: 6 innovative ways to harvest and harness rainwater However, dry farming also has its roots in more holistic, historic practices of cultivating plants directly in the ground. In-ground dry farming involves the preparation of soil to retain as much moisture as possible, through mulching, ground cover plants, and other practices. Dry farms also benefit from geographic features such as mountains and hills, at the bottom of which runoff water accumulates. Dry farming has proven to be particularly suited for vineyards . “In France irrigation is forbidden — you cannot irrigate grape vines,” says Tod Mostero, viticulturist at Dominus Estate in California’s Napa Valley. “There’s a reason for that. It makes sense that you plant crops where they belong, and not in places where they don’t.” While dry farming serves a practical and environmental purpose, this practice also enhances the final product. “We don’t believe you can make a wine that has true character, or at least the character of your vineyard, unless it’s dry farmed. Because only if it’s dry farmed will it have that connection with the soil.” Another form of dry farming that is more applicable over a variety of climates is known as partial root drying. Designed by University of Lancaster professor and crop scientist Bill Davies, this method involves splitting a plant’s roots into two sections, which are alternatively watered while the other remains dry. This process is particularly adept for rice growing. “Rice uses a ridiculous amount of water,” says Davies. “Probably about a third of fresh water on the planet. We have to grow rice with less water… As the climate changes , it’s getting hotter and drier in many food-growing areas. Our systems have to change. Farming has to respond now.” Via CNN Images via Ed Clayton  and Alex Lines

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The future of food: how dry farming could save the world

This reverse pyramid is a green urban community in the skies of Paris

October 25, 2016 by  
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The 127 residential units on the top of this bold building may be the world’s first village built out of bio-based materials. It is an inhabited natural ecosystem, where the apartments are surrounded by nature while being in the center of the French capital. While the roof of the Mille Arbres comprises a sustainable community in the middle of forest, the street level of the building is an urban park. Conceived as a work of land art, the park features a characteristic topography that lifts up or slopes down to provide convenient access throughout. Among other things, this landscape offers the experience of a real forest ecosystem. Managed by the Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (League of the Protection of Birds), it will also be a place for classes and workshops. Related: Sou Fujimoto’s latest masterpiece in Japan spreads its branches like a real tree Fujimoto’s Mille Arbres will also include La rue Gourmande , an inner street and food court designed by Philippe Starck . In addition to housing and a food court, Mille Arbres will include a 4-star hotel with 250 rooms, over 27,000 square meters of office space, an ultra-modern integrated bus station, and a kindergarten with a large covered playground. The Thousand Trees project will rise above the ring road of Paris , absorbing pollution created by the traffic below and bridging the border that currently divides the inner and outer parts of Paris. Mille Arbres is the winner of the three-stage open competition Réinventer Paris . Its construction is expected to be completed by 2022. + Sou Fujimoto Images via SFA+OXO+MORPH

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This reverse pyramid is a green urban community in the skies of Paris

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