Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

April 21, 2017 by  
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This curvy new skyscraper envisioned for Tel Aviv is a lush oasis that combines modern, sustainable living with plenty of nature. The skyscraper is filled with Mediterranean and Dead Sea flora and features an automated car park, farms, electric charging stations and public gardens. The mixed-use Gran Mediterraneo tower, designed by French architect David Tajchman , is wrapped in mirrored glass and white concrete conceived using the latest construction and digital technologies. Gran Mediterraneo combines different programs, including apartments, a hotel, an automated car park , a public charging station, farming and public gardens , co-working spaces and spas. The automated public car park will operate as the first induction charging station for public and shared electric driverless vehicles in the city. Related: Bordeaux’ Canopia tower will be one of the tallest timber frame structures in the world The tower aims to renew Tel Aviv’s skyline with its vertical form, generated using state-of-the-art digital tools . “Innovative with its topological geometry giving a spiral effect to the high-rise, the Gran Mediterraneo breaks with the global and usual stacking of horizontal slabs wrapped with mirrored glass ,” said Tajchman. + David Tajchman Via Archdaily

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Tel Aviv’s Gran Mediterraneo Tower blooms with with a lush vertical garden

This insane giant traffic roundabout in England will make your head spin

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Europe’s many traffic roundabouts are complicated enough – but this head-spinning, multi-directional traffic intersection in the UK is enough to make you walk to your destination. Located in Swindon, the famed Magic Roundabout is actually five mini roundabouts placed around a larger central, counterclockwise roundabout. Designed by engineer Frank Blackmore of the British Transport and Road Research Laboratory, the intersection was built in 1972 as an innovative attempt at controlling traffic flow in the area . When the complicated layout was unveiled, the mini roundabouts weren’t even marked in order to leave room for reconfiguration after further studies were conducted. At the time, a police officer was stationed at each circle to direct traffic. Related: LA’s most dangerous intersection made safer with innovative crosswalk “scramble” Today, although locals surely have a handle on its complicated rules, driving the 7-circle roundabout still requires nerves of steel. Once inside the vehicular labyrinth , traffic flows counterclockwise around the outer roundabout, while interior traffic flows in a clockwise manner around the five mini roundabouts, which all lead to various exists located on the outer loop. Forty-five years after its inauguration, the intersection has become more and more famous, or infamous. In 2007, BBC News published a survey that named the Magic Roundabout as one of the “ 10 Scariest Junctions in the United Kingdom “. However, despite its harrowing appearance, the roundabout has an excellent safety record, mainly due to the slow traffic pace required once inside the crazy intersection. Via Boing Boing Images via Wikipedia and Wired

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This insane giant traffic roundabout in England will make your head spin

This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

April 21, 2017 by  
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In 1959, the small village of Caowangba in China ’s Guizhou Province had a problem – a drought had dried up all the nearby water sources, and residents were forced to rely on a single well for drinking water. Even that single well was faltering, sometimes leaving the people of the town without enough water to go around. Worse yet, the town’s single rice paddy had dried up, making it hard for residents to access enough food. Something had to be done. But rather than give up and move to a new home, one man named Huang Dafa decided to lead an ambitious project to dig a 10-kilometer canal along the face of several sheer cliffs to bring water to his home. It took 36 years and at least one failed attempt, but now enough water flows to the city to provide food and drinking water to everyone. Many have compared Dafa to the legendary figure Yu Gong , an old man whose determination caused the gods to literally move mountains from his path. At only 23 years old, Dafa made the project his life’s work. To build the canal, villagers had to carve along the sheer cliffs of three karst mountains , dangerous work that involved climbing up the side of the mountains, tying themselves to trees, and rappelling hundreds of meters down the cliff to dig. Related: Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest Naturally, it took a bit of persuading before anyone else in town was willing to take on this dangerous work. But in the end, the only other option was to do nothing and watch the town continue to struggle. Unfortunately, after a decade of work, the first attempt at a canal was unsuccessful in bringing water to the city. It wasn’t a total waste: the effort did create a tunnel through the mountains that allowed for easy travel through the stone, rather than around, which is still in use today. Dafa realized they needed a better understanding of irrigation to make the project work. So he left to study engineering for several years, and planned his next attempt even more meticulously. In the early 1990s, he persuaded the villagers to try again. The workers often slept in caves along the cliff side, and the remote location made it difficult to reach them in case of emergency – in fact, Dafa was working in the mountains when his daughter and grandson passed away, unable to reach them before they died. Related: Hundreds of beehives hang off a steep cliff in China to save wild honeybees Finally, in 1995, the new channel was finished, and water began to flow to Caowangba. As if the channel weren’t enough, Dafa’s efforts were also responsible for bringing electricity and a new road to the town that same year, allowing the residents to step into the modern era. Now, the community is thriving, and Huang Dafa is celebrated as a local hero at 82 years old. The channel provides running water to three other villages that happen to cross its path as well, providing water to 1,200 people and allowing them to grow 400,000 kilograms of rice every year. Via Oddity Central Images via VGC , China Daily

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This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

From beneath this traditional thatched roof in the Netherlands emerges a stunning glass greenhouse. Lochem-based Maas Architecten conceived the Modern Countryside Villa as two contrasting volumes: an opaque, timber-clad space, and a transparent glass structure that lets the outside in. The Modern Countryside Villa, located on the edge of the town of Berlicum in North Brabant, has an H-shaped plan with contrasting wings that house different amenities. The timber-clad volume accommodates a garage and storage space , while a greenhouse-like structure protruding out from underneath the thatched roof functions as a studio space. The second wing houses the main living areas. The wooden volume in front of the living area houses a kitchen, pantry and toilet, while the master bedroom has direct access to the sheltered courtyard with a swimming pool and terrace. Related: DAPstockholm’s Energy-Efficient Villa Midgard is Nestled Into the Swedish Countryside The transparent parts of the house are sheltered by a grove of trees that lines the plot towards the nearby road. Large glazed surfaces provide an abundance of natural light and expansive views of the picturesque surroundings. + Maas Architecten Via Dezeen Photos by Edith Verhoeven Save

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This gorgeous greenhouse-like home in the Netherlands soaks up daylight

Elegant bamboo bridge adds unexpected beauty to ancient Chinese town

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Most bridges are boring pieces of infrastructure, but Chinese design firm Mimesis Architecture Studio breaks the mold with a hybrid bamboo bridge that adds sculptural beauty to China’s Jiangsu Province. Spanning Lake Taihu in Dingshu Town, the 100-meter-long Wuxi Harbor Bridge is a visual delight with its latticed bamboo structures that frame the road and reference the region’s ancient cultural heritage. Primarily known as the “China Clay Capital” for the rare purple clay found in the nearby mountains, Dingshu Town is also well known for its bamboo craftsmanship. The architects celebrate the bamboo craft with the design of the bridge, which was constructed with help from the local bamboo craftspeople. Built with a curved steel structure, the bridge is framed by large triangular frames made of latticed bamboo poles that were carbonized to improve durability. Related: Amazing transparent bridge seems to disappear into thin air in China’s “Avatar” mountains The geometric bamboo “nets” are lightweight and can be removed and easily replaced if damaged. The bamboo was also used as formwork for concrete , imparting a distinct texture to the deck handrails. “Based on the existing bridge structure, the deck and fence parts are designed,” wrote the architects. “The intertwining images of mountain, river, fog and wind fabricating the site are projected onto the form of the bridge.” + Mimesis Architecture Studio Via Dezeen Images by Jian Jiao, Xing Zheng, Shiliang Hu

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Elegant bamboo bridge adds unexpected beauty to ancient Chinese town

Apples stunning spaceship campus revealed in new drone footage

April 21, 2017 by  
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Apple’s beautiful new campus nears completion and employees are set to move in this month. Videographer Duncan Sinfield’s got the latest visual scoop on the tech giant’s “spaceship” campus—officially named Apple Park—with his stunning drone footage of ongoing construction and a special nighttime close-up of the building interior. Hit the jump for the newest sneak peek into Apple’s futuristic campus. Drone pilot Sinfield has consistently provided the public with monthly visual updates of Apple’s 175-acre park in Cupertino since July 2015. Nearly two years later, his latest drone footage shows the campus transformed with the hilly landscape slowly filling in with trees, although turf has yet to be installed. Once complete, the site’s rolling hills will be covered with grassy fields, jogging paths, and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees. Designed in collaboration with Foster + Partners , Apple Park prides itself on energy efficiency and will be powered entirely by 100-percent renewable energy. Rooftop solar amounts to 17 megawatts in one of the world’s largest on-site solar energy installations. The 2.9-million-square foot main ring-shaped building will be clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass. The building is also projected to be one of the world’s largest naturally ventilated structures, requiring no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year. Related: Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as “Apple Park” The new 4K drone footage shows a nighttime peek of the interior, where construction workers are working around the clock to prep the campus for occupancy. The process of moving over 12,000 employees into the campus will begin this month and is expected to take over six months while construction continues through the summer. Apple Park will also feature a visitor’s center with an Apple Store and cafe open to the public. Screenshots via Duncan Sinfield

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Apples stunning spaceship campus revealed in new drone footage

Living out of a van has never looked this good

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

For those who daydream of living the nomadic life, but are afraid of taking the leap, a new company is offering a taste of van life on a temporary basis. Colorado-based Native Campervans rents out converted vans that come with all of the essentials needed for living off-grid and on the road. Founders of the company, college friends Jonathan Moran and Dillon Hansen, say that it was a personal road trip that inspired them to create the business, “A few years ago, we took a trip to New Zealand in a campervan. The trip was amazing. It forced us to observe nature, be present and adventure. A few years later we decided to invest ourselves into that passion and began the business of purchasing, renovating and renting out campervans . The goal has been to give others the same experiences we had that’s both affordable and accessible.” Related: Amazing DIY van conversion boasts a wood-burning stove and chimney Renters have their choice of two sizes, “Smalls” and “Biggies.” The latter are converted 136″ Ram ProMasters , which offer ample interior space. All of the vans were designed to provide comfortable living space as well as optimal maneuverability. The vans come with a queen-size bed, kitchen and seating area, with plenty of storage compartments throughout the van. The Biggies are prewired for solar, and acccording to Hansen, the next step will be installing solar panels on the vans. “[Right now] the vehicles run off an ancillary battery that is charged when the van is moving. One hour of driving charges the vehicle for one day. This supports the lights, refrigerator and inverter so individuals can charge their electronics. No plug-ins at campgrounds necessary.” + Native Campervans Via Treehugger Images via Native Campervans 

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Living out of a van has never looked this good

Times Square now has double the public space

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The most visited destination in the United States now has double the public space—an amazing feat unimaginable just ten years ago. When New York City temporarily closed part of Broadway Street at Times Square to traffic and created a pedestrian plaza in 2009, many dismissed the experiment as foolish. But the removal of cars in favor of public space proved an incredible success and with the pilot project turned permanent, Times Square was forever reinvented. Today, the city announced the official completion of their reconstruction project: a 2.5-acre permanent pedestrian-only public plaza on Broadway designed by architecture firm Snøhetta. With an average of 45 million visitors each year—many of who look up at the billboards instead of the path in front—Times Square is notorious for its pedestrian traffic. Before the addition of pedestrian plazas, the exposure to vehicular traffic, slow-moving pedestrians , and small sidewalks made visiting Times Square an unpleasant, polluted, and sometimes unsafe experience. However, with the re-direction of vehicular traffic and the return of public space to pedestrians, Times Square dramatically transformed into a welcoming civic space. Pedestrian injuries decreased by 40 percent and crime in the overall area decreased by 20 percent. Air pollution has even fallen by as much as 60 percent. This week marks the official opening of the completed Times Square reconstruction project, designed by Snøhetta and completed in 2016. Together with the NYC Department of Transportation , Department of Design and Construction, and the Times Square Alliance, the architecture firm carved 2.5 acres of pedestrian space out of a project site known as the “Bowtie” in the heart of the Times Square Theater District, bounded by Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets. The first phase of the pedestrian street opened to the public in spring 2014. An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers and visitors agreed that the plaza has enhanced Times Square and made it a more pleasant place. Related: Snøhetta Selected to Design A New Car-Free Times Square “Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta. The Bowtie is designed to accommodate multiple speeds of pedestrian circulation—330,000 people move through Times Square on average every day—using subtle design cues. Street furniture and other design elements also create a welcoming space to linger. Conceived as “an outdoor room right in the heart of Manhattan,” the plaza includes ten fifty-foot-long granite benches plugged into the city’s power grid and connected to 400-amp, 200-amp, and 20-amp power sources. The reconstruction project also allowed for major overhaul of outdated infrastructure, including the sewer lines below. + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

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Times Square now has double the public space

Air-purifying pavilion uses plants to absorb harmful toxins in Hanoi

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A green oasis has popped up in Hanoi , a city choked by smog. Hung Nguyen Architects designed and built the Pavilion of Origins, a greenery-draped structure that uses living plants to purify the air. Set on the terrace of a three-story house in Hanoi, the pavilion is minimal and modern with a simple palette of green leafy plants, white upcycled steed frames, and a light gray pebble floor. Hanoi ranks among the worst in the world for air pollution with traffic congestion blamed as the leading cause. In an attempt to bring a breath of fresh air to the city, Hung Nguyen Architects created a pavilion covered with a wide variety of plants, including the peace lily and snake plant, selected for their air-purifying and decorative qualities. The plants are arranged inside and around a collection of simple white cuboid frames of varying sizes built of upcycled steel. A translucent polycarbonate roof allows natural light to pour through while reducing solar radiation. The white frames and light-colored pebble floor keep the focus on the plants, which grow and spread on multiple levels. White netting on the tops of the larger cuboid frames can be used as hammocks for relaxation. Related: 7 indoor plants that purify the air around you naturally “In Pavilion of the Origins, trees and plants play a role as the main users for the amount of time they spent in this space, while the pavilion owners act as the servants who have the duties to take care of those main users and subsequently be paid in clean, fresh air, as well as experiencing the vivid beauty of the natural origins,” wrote the architects. “This slender structure is just a minimal intervention of human to nature. Architecture, in this sense, acts as a rope to tighten up the interaction and connection between humans and nature.” + Hung Nguyen Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Hung Nguyen Architects

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Air-purifying pavilion uses plants to absorb harmful toxins in Hanoi

San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Sailors cruising into San Diego Bay will now be met by the sophisticated new National City Aquatic Center . Designed by Safdie Rabines Architects , the elongated building sits embedded in the rocky coastline. The building will serve as a recreational and educational center for the community, as well as a luminous beacon for those entering the Sweetwater River Channel. Located on the southernmost edge of the Sweetwater River Channel, adjacent to Pepper Park and Pier 32 Marina, the 5,500 square foot structure replaces a makeshift facility that was previously housed in trailers. An extended wood-paneled roof looms over large glass panels , offering spectacular views of the surrounding wetlands and San Diego Bay from the interior. Related: Design Flaw Restricts View at Zaha Hadid’s Olympic Aquatic Center Visitors enter the building through a large lobby and activity space , which sits just under the extended angled roof. The rest of the complex stretches towards the back, and includes flexible multi-purpose classrooms, office space and a storage area that houses boat equipment, rest rooms, and locker facilities. There is also allotted space for public art exhibitions . + National City Aquatic Center + Safdie Rabines Architects Via Archinect

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San Diego’s spectacular new Aquatic Center is a beacon to sailors entering the bay

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