Foldable, lightweight kayak assembles in 10 minutes

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

For all the joy they can bring out on the water, traditional kayaks are bulky, heavy and often cumbersome to transport. But that’s all about to change thanks to the Justin Case Kayak , a foldable, lighweight kayak design made with 3D-printed materials that can be assembled in just 10 minutes. Most kayaks are long, bulky and heavy, making transport extremely difficult. The Justin Case Kayak prototype is designed for water lovers by fellow adventurers who wanted to make kayaking easier, simultaneously enabling better access to nature and spontaneous adventure. Related: Modular kayak with an off-color name breaks down into three portable pieces  The team behind Justin Case developed their prototype based on optimal functionality. With the foldable design , kayakers of any level can easily carry their kayak folded up in its carry case, making impromptu water excursions easier than ever. The compact design is optimal for storage as well, easily hidden from view unlike most kayaks. The lightweight carbon fiber frame is held together with 3D printed connectors, and covered in a water and tear-proof ripstop skin. The prototype development process was green-minded throughout, focusing on using as little material as possible while providing a long-lasting product. Via Justin Case Kayak Images via Justin Case Kayak

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Foldable, lightweight kayak assembles in 10 minutes

Dakota Access Pipeline 99 percent finished, says Energy Transfer Partners

February 24, 2017 by  
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After months of protests by Native Americans and supporters worldwide, the Trump administration ignored the pleas of so many American citizens and gave permission for the hotly contested Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward. And Energy Transfer Partners didn’t waste much time doing just that. The group said in a recent statement that the oil pipeline is now 99 percent finished. Federal authorization came earlier in February and Energy Transfer Partners got to work. In March or April, oil could start flowing through the $3.8 billion pipeline, which will transport Bakken crude oil from North Dakota oilfields through the Midwest. The oil will end up at refineries near the Gulf of Mexico. The part of the pipeline that runs so close to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation is the last to be completed. Related: Standing Rock protesters evicted by police at gunpoint White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the White House is communicating with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In a press briefing yesterday, a reporter asked if the President had been briefed on the Standing Rock situation, and Spicer replied, “Our team has been involved with both the tribe and the governor there, and so we are not only – we are constantly in touch with them. And I think we feel very confident that we will move forward to get the pipeline moving.” But tribe chair Dave Archambault II said Spicer’s claims aren’t true. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issued a statement yesterday and quoted Archambault II as saying, “[Spicer’s] claim is absolutely false. We repeatedly asked for meetings with the Trump administration, and never received one until the day they notified Congress that they were issuing the easement. I was on a plane to Washington, D.C. when the easement was issued. It was an insult to me and to the Tribe. I cancelled the meeting upon hearing this news. We have since filed a lawsuit for the immoral and illegal issuance of the easement and suspension of the environmental impact study.” Via Reuters Images via Standing Rock Rising Facebook

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Dakota Access Pipeline 99 percent finished, says Energy Transfer Partners

Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park

February 24, 2017 by  
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High Line Art , the arm of Friends of the High Line that manages its public art projects, reviewed more than 50 proposals before shortlisting 12 for the inaugural Plinth commissions. The artists, who hail from all corners of the globe, include veterans such as Haim Steinbach and Charles Gaines, mid-careerists like Matthew Day Jackson and Cosima von Bonin, and emerging talents such as Minerva Cuevas, Lena Henke, and Jonathan Berger. “The High Line Plinth will provide artists with an opportunity to work on a larger scale than ever before possible on the High Line, and to engage with the breathtaking vistas that open up around this new site,” said Cecilia Alemani, director and chief curator of High Line Art. “As a new landmark to this space, the High Line Plinth will create a new symbol of this incredible nexus of horticulture, art, and public space in the ever-evolving metropolis that is New York City.” For the 2.3 million visitors the High Line receives annually, the Plinth provides an opportunity unlike any other: “free, world-class artwork 365 days a year,” according to Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of Friends of the High Line. “The High Line Plinth will expand the program’s impact by creating a one-of-a-kind destination for public art on the Spur, a new section of the park with even more space for public programming and dynamic horticulture,” he said. The Fourth Plinth has served as a stage for subversive, politically charged, or otherwise controversial pieces that have fueled debate. The High Line Plinth is expected to be no different, Alemani said. Ascent of a Woman , an entry from New York’s Lena Henke, is a “singular, gigantic, upturned” breast that will slowly erode in the face of the elements. The breast’s outer layer of soil, sand, and clay will eventually give way to new forms cast into the inner mold. Unapologetically sensual, the work pits the city and the body in a “surreal entanglement … challenging New York City’s rational and modernist approach to public space.” Los Angeles–based Sam Durant proposes an abstract representation of an unmanned Predator drone, rotating like a wind vane atop a 20-foot column. In the shadow of the aircraft, visitors may imagine the specter of surveillance casting a creeping, growing influence across the world. Paola Pivi, who was born in Italy but lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska, suggests a 20-foot-high reproduction of the Statue of Liberty wearing an inflatable cartoon-style mask in the guise of someone who has gained his or her freedom in the United States, or seeks to do so. The stories of the individuals featured would be made available to visitors online. Less polarizing, perhaps, is Londoner Jeremy Deller’s slide, which takes the form of a giant chameleon. “There is something magical about chameleons; they can do things that we can only dream of,” he explained. To start with, High Line Art wants to whittle the proposals down to two—you can vote for your favorites , or, if you prefer, recommend something else altogether. “I am excited to work with artists who think critically about the meaning of public space and public life, and create artworks that not only respond to the site, but also spark conversations among a wide audience,” Alemani added. + The High Line Plinth + The High Line Via Curbed

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Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park

Award-winning Boulder Cabin minimizes energy use and material waste

February 24, 2017 by  
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Boulder’s reputation as an environmental leader is upheld in this eco-friendly home overlooking views of the metropolitan Denver valley. Jackson-based firm Dynia Architects completed Boulder Cabin, a contemporary home with an emphasis on sustainability. Clad in weathering steel and lined with timber, the modern cabin sits lightly on the land to minimize site impact. Winner of a 2011 AIA Wyoming Merit Award, the 2,500-square-foot Boulder Cabin is modern and minimalist to match the “disciplined lifestyle of the owners.” The site-specific design is optimized for solar and panoramic views. To the east, clerestory windows let in early morning light, while the west facade is punctuated with nearly full-height windows to frame the best views of the iconic Flatiron peaks. The roof extends over the west wall to protect against solar heat gain and glare. The home opens up on the south side to a shaded outdoor terrace. Related: Affordable Boulder is a tiny mobile home that’s big on contemporary style To minimize site impact , the Boulder cabin was built with a size well below the allowable area. Any landscape that was disturbed during excavation and construction was quickly revegetated. The limited materials palette of timber, concrete, and weathered steel cladding minimize material waste and help the home blend in with its surroundings. + Dynia Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Ron Johnson

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Award-winning Boulder Cabin minimizes energy use and material waste

See how banana trees are recycled into vegan leather wallets in Micronesia

February 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Forget plastic and leather, your next wallet could be made from a more ethical and eco-friendly alternative—banana fiber. Kosrae, Micronesia-based startup Green Banana Paper tapped into banana tree waste, upcycling the unlikely material into stylish and sturdy vegan leather wallets. Green Banana Paper launched a Kickstarter to bring these eco friendly wallets to the global market and help improve the lives of local farmers. Bananas may be easy to eat, but the trees they grow on need a surprising amount of work. There are approximately 200,000 banana trees spread across the island and after harvesting, local farmers must cut down the plant every year to promote fruit production. The mass amounts of banana fiber waste are typically left on the ground to biodegrade, but Green Banana Paper saw an entrepreneurial opportunity with environmental and social benefits. Founded by New England native Matt Simpson, the social enterprise produces strong and water-resistant wallets with designs inspired by the coconut palms, ocean life, and people of Micronesia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSM_TYaT5Kg Related: Thai Building Facade Handmade From Natural Banana Fiber “Green Banana Paper wallets are not only ecofriendly; they are helping to provide a living wage to Kosraean families,” says the company. “Matt hopes to continue to scale up production, and get even more people on the island involved in this truly community-oriented business.” Green Banana Paper has launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for hiring more people and improving the quality of their products. Supporters of the project can also receive their own banana fiber wallet, which can be shipped around the world. + Green Banana Paper Kickstarter

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See how banana trees are recycled into vegan leather wallets in Micronesia

Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

February 23, 2017 by  
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London-based architecture firm Tonkin Liu recently revealed their competition-winning designs for the Cradle Towers in Zhengzhou , China. Centered on a large green space, this collection of five mixed-use towers is designed with a swooping sculptural form to mimic the nearby Songshan mountains. This urban “mountainscape” will be partly covered in greenery and feature a responsive skin to control solar shading and maximize energy efficiency. Located in a city regarded as China’s cradle of civilization, the 434,000-square-meter Cradle Towers pay homage to the city’s ancient past with its nature-inspired form and simultaneously looks to the future with its contemporary design. The five tapered towers will be built at different heights atop a podium . The towers surround a central park with a large man-made lake that will double as an ice skating rink in the winter. Related: 5+design stacks a dramatic mountain-inspired mixed-use project atop a transit hub in Shenyang The mixed-use buildings will comprise offices, apartments, and a hotel. The podium base will contain retail and leisure open to the public. The fritted glass facade will feature a responsive skin that changes to minimize solar heat gain . The facade has a subtle color gradation and transitions from dark at the podium base to light at the tops of the building, “establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky,” write the architects. Each building will be topped by a landscaped rooftop. + Tonkin Liu Via ArchDaily

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Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

February 23, 2017 by  
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Philippe Starck is one of the most influential designers of modern times – and he’s applied his signature style and environmental ethos to develop a striking new residential building in Ecuador . The slender YOO Quito tower, created in collaboration with property entrepreneur John Hitchcox, real estate developer Tommy Schwarzkopf and architecture studio Arquitectónica , is expected to feature several sustainable strategies, including low-impact materials, a volumetric design to mitigate solar exposure, and a number of green terraces to reduce the heat island effect . In 1999, Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox partnered to create YOO , design firm that works with international developers on high-end residential and hospitality projects throughout the world. Their latest endeavor brought together several international firms to design and build four new landmark buildings for Quito . Related: Philippe Starck’s New Wind and Solar-Powered Home Produces 50% More Energy Than it Consumes The YOO Quito building has a slender undulating silhouette with vegetation dominating its base and top floor. For interior spaces, the designers coupled traditional regional design with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Glass, metal, concrete , foliage and a neutral color palette dominate both the interior and exterior of the building. The building’s vegetal covers are designed to “obstruct, filter and reflect solar radiation,” according to Yoo Quito literature, “fighting the heat in [sic] sunny days and maintaining heat in the winter.” They also provide protection against noise. Transparent glass ensures ample natural light, while smart technology throughout further reduces the building’s energy requirement. When complete, YOO Quito is expected to be the tallest building in the city. + Uribe & Schwarzkopf + YOO + Arquitectónica

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Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center

February 22, 2017 by  
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Architecture students from Germany’s University of Kaiserslautern teamed up with 25 refugees to build a timber community center for a refugee camp in Mannheim, Germany. Completed as part of the “Building Together—Learning Together” program, the 550-square-meter structure breathes new life into the bare-bones surroundings with a beautiful new gathering space. The design/build project prioritized ecological and cost-effective design without compromising construction quality. The timber community center was created in response to the desolate conditions of the Mannheim refugee camp located on the former American Spinelli Barracks. To aid in the refugee crisis , 18 architecture students teamed up with 25 refugees to design the new building, from concept to final build. The students lived at the refugee camp and worked intensively for six weeks from mid-August to the end of October to realize the project and help teach their new coworkers basic building skills and German. Related: Self-shaping shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing The community center is made almost entirely of lightweight untreated timber , with the larger components prefabricated in a hangar of the former military facility and later assembled onsite. The main walls are clad in Douglas fir while the latticework walls are used as structural support, allowing for natural ventilation and light while also creating a beautiful dappled play of light and shadow. The center wraps around a small garden courtyard as well as a large outdoor events space. Built-in seating is arranged around this area, shielded from the elements by a two-meter-wall canopy and partitions. The center also includes a pair of storerooms that can be adapted for different uses in the future. + Atelier U20 Via ArchDaily Images © Yannick Wegner

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German architecture students and refugees build a beautiful timber community center

China plans its first "Forest City" to fight air pollution

February 22, 2017 by  
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Just weeks after Stefano Boeri announced plans for China’s first vertical forest, the Italian architect unveiled an even more ambitious vision: Forest Cities. Scaling up from his tree-clad Bosco Verticale skyscraper, Boeri created a blueprint for new cities in China that will be blanketed in greenery to fight air pollution. The first implementation of the nature-filled city will start in the city of Liuzhou, with construction expected to begin later this year. Stefano Boeri’s Forest City masterplans are envisioned as models of sustainable growth in China , a country choked with smog and undergoing rapid urbanization as millions of farmers migrate to cities every year. “We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades,” Boeri told the Guardian . “We are working very seriously on designing all the different buildings. I think they will start to build at the end of this year. By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China.” The Forest City was created as a scalable development following a petal formation. Each petal, which caters to a population of 20,000, can be scaled to include five petals in a single region, forming a flower-like formation centered on communal green space . All buildings would be covered in trees and greenery to help suck tons of carbon out of the atmosphere, pump oxygen into the air, and provide soothing habitat to both humans and native fauna. Related: China’s first vertical forest is rising in Nanjing The first Forest City settlement is planned for Liuzhou, home to around 1.5 million residents in the southern province of Guangxi. Boeri has high hopes to build the second Forest City in Shijiazhuang, a northern city in Hebei province that ranks among China’s worst for air quality . + Stefano Boeri Via The Guardian Images via Stefano Boeri

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China plans its first "Forest City" to fight air pollution

Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

February 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

For those looking to get away from the chaos of modern life, a stunning luxury eco-lodge is currently on the market. The solar-powered Melody Key Lodge is a timber home located on 5.24 acres of secluded island paradise, just 25 miles from Key West, Florida. But if you’re on a tight budget, you might not want to read on. The breathtaking lodge previously owned by an undisclosed rockstar comprises a three-story timber structure with three bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The top open floor, which houses the gourmet kitchen, dining area, living and lounge space, offers beautiful 360-degree views of the ocean. Lucky guests will be able to choose between a dip in the pristine beaches or the adjacent freshwater pool. Related: For $2.3 million, this breathtaking self-sufficient Scottish island could be yours The home, which is listed for $6,900,000, is perfect for wealthy folks looking to go off grid . In addition to its integrated solar system and backup generator, there’s also a desalination water system. Add in all-you-can-eat seafood, and off-grid living has never been so luxurious. + Engel & Völkers Florida Keys Via Uncrate  

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Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

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