Worlds tallest skyscraper design hangs off an orbiting asteroid

March 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

What if your daily commute involved parachuting down to earth rather than being stuck in vehicular traffic? That’s the vision in Clouds Architecture Office’s incredible proposal for a skyscraper suspended off an orbiting asteroid. The design, called Analemma, would be powered by space-based solar panels and capture water in a semi-closed loop system that draws from the moisture in clouds and rainwater. While some may write off Analemma as an early April Fools’ Day joke, we think the unusual design is a fun and unconventional thought experiment worth exploring, if only to get our creative juices flowing. The conceptual design begins with the placement of a large orbiting asteroid set on a figure-eight geosynchronous path that moves between the north and southern hemispheres on a predictable daily loop. The skyscraper , suspended from the asteroid via a high-strength cable, would allow residents to parachute down to work when the orbit slows down and gets closest to midtown Manhattan. The proposed building is split into four main areas: business activities at the lower end of the tower, sleeping quarters placed approximately two-thirds of the way up, prayer rooms at the very top of the building, and surface transfer points at the bottom. The tower would be prefabricated in Dubai —which the architects say is “a specialist in tall building construction at one-fifth the cost of New York City construction”—and the modules transported and assembled above earth. Related: This 3D-printed space igloo just won NASA’s Mars habitat competition “Analemma Tower is a proposal for the world’s tallest building ever,” writes CAO. “Harnessing the power of planetary design thinking, it taps into the desire for extreme height, seclusion and constant mobility. If the recent boom in residential towers proves that sales price per square foot rises with floor elevation, then Analemma Tower will command record prices, justifying its high cost of construction.” + Clouds Architecture Office Via Dezeen Images via Clouds Architecture Office

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Worlds tallest skyscraper design hangs off an orbiting asteroid

Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

March 23, 2017 by  
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Toronto-based superkül architects designed a vacation home for a family of six transitioning back to Canada after living abroad. Set on the grassy plains of Mulmur, Ontario, the 4,300-square-foot dwelling is a striking all-white building that prioritizes low maintenance, natural light, and energy savings. The energy-efficient home was built in two phases, the first of which was certified LEED Gold . Created as a spacious weekend home, the Compass House comprises two volumes arranged in an L-shaped plan with multiple bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room at the heart. The dwelling was constructed with locally sourced fieldstone and other low-maintenance materials such as the white cement-board siding, aluminum windows, and steel roof. In contrast to the hardy, weatherproof exterior, the interior emanates warmth with white oak and knotty white cedar floors and walls. Related: Superkül Designs Canada’s First Active House Skylights and large windows fill the home with natural light and ventilation. The ample glazing also frames views of the varied landscape, from the forests to the west to the 100 acres of fields in the north and east. An outdoor courtyard extends the indoor spaces out. “Through its siting, tectonics and materiality, it balances intimacy and expansiveness, light and dark, land and sky — orienting and heightening one’s experience of the surrounding environment,” wrote the architects. Use of geothermal -powered heating and cooling, natural daylighting, passive ventilation, and high insulation values help keep energy demands low despite the building’s large size. Construction waste was also kept to a minimum. + Superkül Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Studio

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Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

March 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Madison just became the first city in Wisconsin and the largest city in the Midwest to commit to 100 percent clean energy in just the latest example of how President Donald Trump can’t stop the renewables revolution. The state capital and college town is the 25th US city to commit to the transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy following Tuesday’s city council vote. The vote allocated $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 for city operations to achieve goals of 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, including electricity, heating and transportation. “Madison’s historic commitment to 100 percent clean energy shows that we are determined to lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment,” Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said in a statement. “The benefits of a transition to 100 percent clean energy are many. These goals will drive a clean energy economy that creates local jobs, provides affordable and sustainable electricity, and results in cleaner air and water. I am proud to be a part of this council that has made the historic commitment that will lead our community to a more sustainable future.” Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy Abita Springs, Louisiana also voted on Tuesday to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. The Sierra Club said that Madison and Abita Springs both committing to 100 percent clean energy demonstrates that there is bipartisan support across the country for a renewable energy future because liberal Madison voted for Hillary Clinton while conservative voters in Abita Springs went for Donald Trump. “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy, and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs,” Greg Lemons, mayor of Abita Springs, said in a statement. “Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense. By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community. Clean energy is a way that we can save money for Abita Springs both today and in the future.” Other American cities that have made the 100 percent renewable energy pledge include Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; the California cities of San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose; Rochester, Minnesota; St. Petersburg, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; East Hampton, New York; Greensburg, Kansas; and Georgetown, Texas. Via Sierra Club Image 1 , 2 via Good Free Photos

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Madison, Wisconsin commits to 100% renewable energy

Incredible video of Mars stitched together by hand from 33,000 images

March 23, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to get up-close and personal with Mars , check out this incredible video recently released by NASA that shows the Red Planet’s surface in stunning detail. Entitled “A Fictive Flight Above Real Mars,” the video is a composite made from about 33,000 of the 50,000 high-resolution stereo images of the planet’s terrain made over the past 12 years by the powerful camera used in NASA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). These stereogram images depict the planet’s surface in incredible detail, which can only truly be appreciated in still images by using 3D glasses—or when merged together into an active, three dimensional, fly-over view, as was done by Finnish filmmaker Jan Fröjdman when creating this video. As Wired notes, Mars’ dusty atmosphere obfuscates its surface with massive storms so regularly that the only way to get a decent look at the planet is through imaging technology. So that’s what NASA did. “The best way to see the planet’s surface would be to take a digital image and enhance it on your computer, said planetary geologist and principal investigator for HiRISE, Alfred McEwen. Related: The UAE joins the race to build first city on Mars https://vimeo.com/207076450 Enter Fröjdman, who assembled the flyover shots piece by piece and colorized the monochrome images captured by the HiRISE camera. He was also responsible for identifying features like craters, canyons and mountains, then matching them between pairs of images. The 3D panning effect was the result of a painstaking process that involved stitching the images along reference points and then rendering them as frames in a video. Fröjdman spent three months working on the project, during which time he picked and stitched by hand more than 33,000 images. The result of his work is worth the effort—a truly stunning video. Via Wired Video and image via Jan Fröjdman , Vimeo

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Incredible video of Mars stitched together by hand from 33,000 images

Origami-like alpine cabin brings contemporary style to Chile’s mountains

March 22, 2017 by  
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Alpine architecture has evolved far beyond traditional chalets, as can be seen in this contemporary cabin perched high above in Chile’s Valparaíso Region. Architect Gonzalo Iturriaga completed the blackened pine cabin, named RF C9, on a rocky site near the commune of San Esteban. Like a piece of origami, the angular refuge has numerous folds, some of which are turned into glazed openings that frame spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Elevated off the uneven ground, the 60-square-meter RF C9 cabin comprises two bedrooms and a bathroom at one end of the home, while an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen are located on the other in the larger part of the building. The pine-clad retreat features an asymmetrically pitched roof that evokes the image of a tent evolved into a timber form. The steep angles of the roof shed snow effectively and the retreat is designed to handle the extreme climates. Related: Century-old WWI bunker is reborn as a contemporary alpine shelter “Using a ventilated facade on all sides and a system of piles, the shelter functions as a hermetic element suspended on the ground which, from specific openings, uses the rising current of the mountain to ventilate its interior,” wrote the architect. The interior is clad in untreated pine contrasted with black window frames, blackened pine cabinetry, and a black wood-burning stove . Large windows of varying shapes punctuate the retreat, with the largest panes set on the east façade where they frame stunning views of the mountain enjoyed from the master bedroom and the living area. + Gonzalo Iturriaga Via Dezeen Images via Gonzalo Iturriaga

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Origami-like alpine cabin brings contemporary style to Chile’s mountains

Historic Dutch nursery transformed into stunning solar-powered home

March 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A stunning solar-powered home has emerged from the bones of a former school for infants in Leiden, the Netherlands. Design firm ATELIER SPACE completed the beautiful adaptive reuse project , taking care to preserve historic elements while imbuing fresh contemporary touches to the renovation. Energy efficiency was a major focus in the redesign, which includes energy-saving features such as improved insulation, underfloor heating, and home automation. Built in 1925, the historic brick nursery was constructed with great open spaces and tall ceilings filled with natural light from skylights and large windows. These features lend themselves easily to reuse as a residence and the architects made no major changes to the overall structure of the building. A single classroom, for instance, were repurposed into three bedrooms. The architects also preserved the tiled floors in the corridor, original doors, and wooden rafters to maintain a connection to the building’s past. While the tiled corridor was kept intact, the architects replaced the other floors with insulated concrete with underfloor heating . The roof and glass windows were also bolstered with improved insulation to minimize heat loss. A water and air-based heat pump heats and cools the building. Solar panels provide electricity. JUNG KNX home automation allows the homeowners to control aspects of the house, such as lighting and the shutters, remotely from their phones. Related: Cigarette factory reborn as a light-filled city hall in Brussels The spacious 694-square-meter home includes five bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, a media room, workout room, and an open-plan living room, kitchen, and dining area housed in a converted gymnasium. The school’s old playground was transformed into a sunny courtyard with plastered brick banks and planters around a “conversation pit.” The second floor contains a small guesthouse. + ATELIER SPACE Via ArchDaily Images via Brigitte Kroone

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Historic Dutch nursery transformed into stunning solar-powered home

Former Patagonia CEO announces largest land donation in history

March 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Land conservation in Chile could reach a new high with a recent pledge to conserve 11 million acres of wilderness as national parks . As part of the proposal, former Patagonia CEO Kris Tompkins gifted one million acres to the country in what her organization, Tompkins Conservation , says is the “largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country.” Tompkins and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed an agreement to add the one million acres of land from Tompkins Conservation to around 10 million acres of federal land to create a large system of parklands. Under the pledge the government will establish five new national parks. The land under the proposal is three times the size of Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite together. Volcanoes, coastal areas, and forests will be protected under the pledge. In a speech, the president said, “We are bequeathing to the country the greatest creation of protected areas in our history.” Related: Patagonia launches campaign to protect Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument This historic proposal is a step to start a Route of Parks, or a 17-park network, stretching from Cape Horn up to Puerto Montt to conserve Chile’s incredible wilderness and offer outdoor destinations for travelers. The parks could potentially yield around $270 million each year from ecotourism , and could employ as much as 43,000 people, according to Tompkins Conservation. The organization has also committed to start a Friends of National Parks foundation in Chile to support the Route of Parks. Kris said her late husband, conservationist Douglas Tompkins, who passed away in 2015, inspired the pledge. She said, “I know that if Doug were here today, he would speak of national parks being one of the greatest expressions of democracy that a country can realize, preserving the masterpieces of a nation for all of its citizenry.” Via Tompkins Conservation and The Guardian Images via Tompkins Conservation Facebook

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Former Patagonia CEO announces largest land donation in history

ScottWhitbyStudio transforms a shipping container into a pop-up cinema

March 21, 2017 by  
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We’ve seen shipping containers repurposed into everything from homes to museums , but ScottWhitbyStudio’s recent cargotecture creation marks the first pop-up cinema that we’ve heard of. The London-based architecture and creative consultancy converted a single container into Caution Cinema, an immersive and funky movie theater as part of the ‘Beyond Zero’ health and safety campaign. The mobile cinema plays instructional videos to promote vital dockside safety information to port employees up and down the country. Working together with a major UK port operator, ScottWhitbyStudio was asked to create an engaging pop-up cinema that provided an immersive viewing experience that would block out the hectic and noisy port surroundings. In choosing the commonly found shipping container as the cinema structure, the designers introduced an element of surprise by dramatically transforming the windowless container interior into a “dark and mysterious realm, which challenged expectations.” Attendees to the Caution Cinema enter via a disorienting zigzagging path to the cinema, where all external light and sound are blocked out. Related: The epic Creative Co-Op Is a Multi-faceted Film Studio Made from Shipping Containers “Using this multi-sensory experience, visitors are forced to take extra care and to proceed with caution—as promoted by the safety campaign,” write the architects. “It is hoped that the memory of this multi-sensory experience and intervention will be embed[ded] in the user’s memory for a long time to come.” All internal surfaces, from the entrance path to the cinema and seating, are clad in over a thousand pyramidal acoustic foam pieces laid out in a checkered pattern of black, blue, and red. The resilient foam pyramids create a soundless chamber so that attendees can focus on the video presentation without external distraction. + ScottWhitbyStudio Images via ScottWhitbyStudio © Osman Marfo-Gyasi

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ScottWhitbyStudio transforms a shipping container into a pop-up cinema

Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

The far reaches of northern Vietnam are beautiful but heartbreakingly poor. Children of the Hmong ethnic minority who live in the villages routinely suffer from lack of access to healthcare and education. Vietnamese architecture firm 1+1> 2 has provided a ray of hope for those in Lung Luong village in the remote Thai Nguyen Province with the construction of a beautiful new school made from local materials including rammed earth and bamboo. The school’s beautiful swooping and colorful form is an inspiration to the village and serves as a welcoming haven protected from the harsh elements. The Lung Luong elementary school is sited on a mountain peak and constructed to replace a poorly insulated structure that was piercingly cold in days of heavy rain and draught. Under the leadership of architect Hoang Thuc Hao, the villagers excavated part of the peak to create an even foundation. The excavated soil was recycled into rammed earth bricks used to build the school’s structure. The soil bricks’ thermal properties help maintain a temperate indoor climate year round. Locally sourced timber and bamboo were also used in construction and existing trees were protected during the building process. The elementary school is spread out across the mountaintop, covering an area of over 1,400 square meters. The orientation and placement of the buildings and the swooping colorful bamboo canopy above optimize natural lighting, ventilation, and sound insulation. The school comprises classrooms, playgrounds, gardens, multipurpose rooms, a medical room, library, kitchen, toilets, and dormitory. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier “The goal of this project is to create a school with conveniences striving against the harsh nature,” write the architects. “The classrooms are compatible with the mountain, spaces between them are slots which makes everything appears like an architectural picture pasted on the terrain. The corridor connects all functional areas. The foundation of the buildings respects the natural terrain which means that they wind up and down as the mountain path.” + 1+1> 2 Via ArchDaily Images © Son Vu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

Extraordinary Onion House in Hawaii lets you vacation in a work of art

March 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a work of art, now is your chance. The Onion House in Kona, Hawaii is a prime example of renowned architect Kendrick Kellogg’s visionary style. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, Kellogg was one of the early innovators of organic architecture , which can be seen throughout the vacation home’s striking aesthetic. Although the home is clearly a work of artful design, Kellogg’s original plans were so eccentric that local contractors refused to build it, forcing the architect to construct the “multi-layered” home himself using locally-sourced materials . Located on a remote hill overlooking Kona’s beautiful shoreline, Kellogg built the home for the McCormick Spice Family in the early 1960s. The hilly location was a practical step to keep the structure safe from tsunamis and storms . The home’s design, however, entailed complete whimsy. Related: 5 exotic, eco-friendly Homestay locations to satisfy your wanderlust Kellogg’s drawings were so extraordinary, he had a hard time finding a contractor to build the complicated structure. Instead of adjusting his designs to meet the standards of the industry, however, a determined Kellogg moved his family to the site to build the structure himself – with Frank Lloyd Wright’s metal worker and glass artist James Hubbell . Many of the materials for the home, including Italian tile, plumbing fixtures, and sheets of colored glass, had to be specially ordered from the mainland and beyond, delaying the building process. Soon, the architect began to see the advantages of using local Koa wood and lava rock, and incorporated the locally-sourced materials wherever he could. The home is set on a massive base of lava rock , which was carefully carved to create the large terrace that overlooks the ocean. The odd roof “tunnels” comprise a creative defense against harsh sunlight during the day, while walls of stained glass and the translucent roof panels provide pleasantly diffused natural light. Outside, a covered outdoor walkway runs the length of the compound, connecting the separate master bedroom to the main structure, which houses two smaller bedrooms, a bath, and the kitchen and dining space. A 70-foot turquoise pool surrounded by tropical gardens is at the heart of the design. And then there are a few private areas in the compound, including a walled meditation garden. + Kendrick Kellogg + Onion House Hawaii Photos via Onion House Hawaii

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Extraordinary Onion House in Hawaii lets you vacation in a work of art

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