Tiny mobile dwelling celebrates local Shinshu larch in Japan

October 9, 2020 by  
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In only three months, eco-conscious Japanese architect  Tono Mirai  crafted a charming tiny timber structure that can be moved by truck. Dubbed the Red Container, the compact building was primarily designed as an exercise to promote Shinshu larch, a beautiful local larch species in the Saku area of Japan’s  Nagano Prefecture that had long been overlooked because of its tendency to warp and twist. However, due to advancements in drying technology, says Mirai, Shinshu larch can now easily work in construction projects — as demonstrated by the stunning Red Container project. Designed over the course of half a year and constructed in just three months, the minimalist Red Container dwelling can be moved by a four-ton truck. The prototype building, which measures just under 10 square meters (107 square feet), can adapt to a variety of functions, from a small mobile store to a  tiny house , and can be custom made to order. The working prototype includes electricity, light fixtures and air conditioning, while its large operable windows facilitate natural ventilation.  Larch  features prominently in the build — the project name is a nod to the natural reddish tones found in Shinshu larch — and shows up in the structural frame’s beams and columns as well as the walls, eaves and furnishings. The wood is left exposed so that users can appreciate the natural grain and craftsmanship from the local carpenter who used local, traditional methods to construct the timber interior.  Related: This rammed earth passive house in Japan is shaped like a shell “In addition, a new blue larch that tends to give a dark and smooth impression, I tried a different expression such as blue material (color change material due to fungi) that is not normally used as the floor material, and 30 mm wideness larch material with unevenness is used to the inner wall,” Mirai explained in a statement. He also added an accent wall to the interior built of  clay  sourced from the local Kita-Aika village in Nagano. A twisted asphalt shingle roof tops off the building. + Tono Mirai Photos by takeshi noguchi

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Zoos struggling to survive during pandemic

August 4, 2020 by  
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Hundreds of zoos and aquariums across the U.S. risk being closed due to financial constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic . At the start of March this year, zoo and aquarium operators were forced to shut down to contain the spread of the virus. Four months down the line, the zoos are now on the brink of survival. Case in point is the Oakland Zoo, which has been in existence for nearly 100 years. Since zoo visitors stopped streaming in, it has been difficult for the zoo. The animals in the zoo require just over $50,000 worth of food on a daily basis, making it challenging for the zoo to continue operating without revenue from regular zoo visitors. Joel Parrott, president of the Oakland Zoo, said in an interview that the zoo will soon run out of supplies and may not survive further without funding. Related: Tigers, humans at risk for coronavirus as ‘Tiger King’ zoo reopens “We have already lost the bulk of our summer revenue and are living off whatever reserves we have left, but they are going to run out at some point,” Parrott said. The situation being faced by the Oakland Zoo is replicated across hundreds of other zoos and aquariums in the country. This month, the state of California allowed the Oakland Zoo to reopen its doors to visitors. But the slow revenue generated from reopening activities cannot sustain the daily maintenance and feeding needs of the animals . Zoos and aquariums in most states are seeing fewer numbers of visitors, prompting administrators to appeal for support from the local communities and governments. The National Association of Zoos and Aquariums says that about 75% of the zoos represented by the association have reopened. However, reopening does not solve the problem of financial constraints. According to Dan Ashe, president of the association, most zoos are only hitting 20% to 50% of their normal revenues. This leaves a big gap that has to be filled from other sources. With a significant drop in revenue, it becomes impossible to continue running these facilities. Tara Reimer, president and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center, said, “If we don’t have enough money to make it through the winter, we have no option but to send these animals away and close the facility.” Via Huffington Post Image via Todd Dailey

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Zoos struggling to survive during pandemic

COVID-19 reduces UK carbon emissions by 30 million metric tons

August 4, 2020 by  
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Toward the end of March, the coronavirus pandemic began to take over in many European countries. Since then, major cities across the world have experienced some form of lockdown. While the virus has come at many costs, the lockdowns have had some positive environmental impacts. Research carried out by The Eco Experts between the months of March and July has revealed that carbon dioxide emissions in the U.K. dropped significantly — by 30 million metric tons — due to reduced travel and power consumption. The report shows that carbon emissions have dropped in five key areas: public transport, road vehicles, air travel, energy usage and pollution in London. In the past 3 months, public transport journeys have dropped to a mere 11.7% of normal levels, leading to 1.89 million metric tons less of carbon emissions. Further, road journeys decreased to 52.6% of normal levels, leading to a reduction of 15.2 million metric tons of carbon emissions. Related: Coronavirus and its impact on carbon emissions Besides public transport and road vehicles, the study also surveyed air transport and energy consumption throughout the U.K. It found that there were 295,713 fewer flights than normal. This led to a 6.9 million metric ton reduction in CO2 emissions. However, the study established that there has been an increase in domestic power consumption, which rose by 30%. On the flip side, the overall power consumption reduced by 15%, because of the reduction in power demand in businesses. Since March, most major industries have either been closed or have reduced production. Consequently, less power has been consumed over this period. In this sector, the U.K. has saved up to 6.4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions . The reduction in power consumption and transport has impacted emissions in many cities. The analysis took a closer look at U.K.’s most polluted city, London, and found that the restrictions have led to a reduction of 1.17 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. Further, there has been a 26% reduction in nitrogen dioxide in central London . Globally, there have been significant drops in greenhouse gas emissions over the past few months. As the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, it is a time to reflect and look for the positives. We could take some lessons from this pandemic that will help us care for the environment in the future. + The Eco Experts Image via Liushuquan

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Solar-powered House of Music mimics the shape of an orchestra

August 4, 2020 by  
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Bologna-based Mario Cucinella Architects has crafted the House of Music, a solar-powered community landmark in the nearby commune of Pieve di Cento that celebrates the town’s long-standing musical tradition. Designed to represent an orchestra with its individual instrumental sections, the timber-clad building comprises nine small, circular music rooms that connect to a central open space. The ventilated curved oak facade, a nod to musical instruments, not only helps to amplify sound like an instrument’s music box, but it also ensures high levels of energy efficiency .  Completed in 2017 after four years of planning and construction, the House of Music for Pieve di Cento is located in the former Lamborghini production area that had been previously reclaimed and transformed into a recreational park. The recently completed building benefits from an existing cycling path that connects the House of Music to the town center and beyond to an expansion area to the south. The public is encouraged to engage the building via the long curved bench that wraps around the exterior of the building and faces views of the park. Related: Mirage Architecture envisions a solar-powered glass cube for Lithuania’s national concert hall To maintain high levels of thermal inertia and sound insulation, Mario Cucinella Architects constructed the House of Music with a load-bearing masonry structure wrapped in curved oak slats. The flat roofs are topped with a series of curved and elevated disks that help deflect unwanted solar gain and are engineered to promote natural ventilation into the building. A photovoltaic array is located atop the roof as well. The energy-efficient design was informed by the architects’ bioclimatic study of the site.  The well-insulated interiors feature materials that enhance acoustics and reduce reverb. The nine music rooms open up to a central outdoor space that serves as a meeting space and area for ensemble rehearsals and recitals. The architects noted, “The House of Music’s exterior lighting makes it some sort of comforting lighthouse that encourages people to resume musical and recreational activities after the earthquake that shook the area in 2012.” + Mario Cucinella Architects Photography by Moreno Maggi via Mario Cucinella Architects

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Solar-powered House of Music mimics the shape of an orchestra

New York City’s nuclear power plant leaking ‘uncontrollable radioactive flow’ into Hudson River

February 26, 2016 by  
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New York governor Andrew Cuomo recently called for an investigation after Indian Point, a nuclear power plant on the Hudson River, reported a leak of radioactive material flowing into the groundwater. Now, new samples taken from the local groundwater show that contamination levels are 80% higher than previous samples, prompting experts to claim this leak is spreading in “a disaster waiting to happen” and calling for the plant to be shut down completely. The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 25 miles north of New York City, and it’s a crucial source of of power for over 23 million people living in the greater NYC metropolitan region. The location 25 mile north of NYC is a serious threat to the whole region, according to watchdog group Riverkeeper . Read the rest of New York City’s nuclear power plant leaking ‘uncontrollable radioactive flow’ into Hudson River

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Nazi-era Tempelhof Airport in Berlin to house more refugees

February 26, 2016 by  
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Germany’s Nazi-era Tempelhof Airport is currently housing hundreds of refugees seeking safety and shelter. Last week, experts began to reimagine the space – just in time to help accommodate the expected arrival of 800,000 displaced people into the country this year. Read the rest of Nazi-era Tempelhof Airport in Berlin to house more refugees

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Nazi-era Tempelhof Airport in Berlin to house more refugees

Terrifying video shows Chinese escalator reversing direction and chucking passengers

February 26, 2016 by  
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If you’ve ever felt uneasy riding an escalator, there may be a very good reason. Recently leaked CCTV footage from a Chinese subway station shows a fully packed escalator suddenly switching into reverse and throwing dozens of commuters to the floor. The incident apparently took place on February 19 at a subway station in Ningbo, a city in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. Read the rest of Terrifying video shows Chinese escalator reversing direction and chucking passengers

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Moss Voltaics is a clean, green, energy-producing machine that mounts to the wall

February 26, 2016 by  
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Architecture students build Paper Brick pavilion out of 15,775 recycled paper cups

July 23, 2015 by  
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A sprawling paper cup pavilion for World Environment Day popped up in the popular Tu?lal? Park in Tekirda?, Turkey last month. Created to raise awareness about recycling and reuse, the installation was made from 15,775 used paper cups collected from the local university canteen and firm. The washed waste cups were stapled together to form rounded, organic-inspired volumes. The site-specific pavilion was led by Esen Gökçe Özdamar , Ok?an Tando?an and Elif Ulu, in collaboration with Department of Landscape Architecture and Department of Painting at Nam?k Kemal University. + Esen Gökçe Özdamar 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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Architecture students build Paper Brick pavilion out of 15,775 recycled paper cups

From garbage to garden: How Canada’s tar sands capital turns trash into vegetables

March 13, 2015 by  
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The Canadian city best known as the epicenter of dirty oil from the tar sands is trying to green up its image by turning trash into vegetables for local food banks and farmers markets. For McMurray, a city of about 60,000 people in Northern Alberta, is now producing lettuce and herbs via a process called containerized aquaponics–which will soon be totally powered with gasified garbage from the local landfill. Read the rest of From garbage to garden: How Canada’s tar sands capital turns trash into vegetables Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aquaponics , Climate Change , food , food security , fort macmurray , Gardening , gasification , gasifier , oil , oil sands , tar sands

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