New experimental architecture school to be built near reclaimed area of Aarhus, Denmark

March 17, 2017 by  
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For over 50 years, the Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark has been housed in a not-so-temporary location. But now the experimental school is about to get a major upgrade in a beautiful, sustainable new facility designed by Vargo Nielsen Palle , ADEPT , and Rolvung og Brøndsted . Not only is the school designed to inspire students, but to engage the local community as well. The new Aarhus School of Architecture is meant to be an experimental laboratory serving as a bridge between students and the city, with facilities for learning and community use. It’s right next to Aarhus’ Green Wedge, a reclaimed area once used for industrial purposes that was transformed into an open landscape. Passive and active ventilation clear the air inside, and optimized daylight conditions ensure an excellent working space inside the 139,930-square-foot building. Related: LEED Gold-seeking Santa Monica science facility uses architecture to teach students about sustainability Flexible spaces comprising workshops , studios, and public areas offer opportunities for experimentation inside the industrial structure. Vargo Nielsen Palle said in a statement, “When given the right tools and opportunity, people engage their surroundings…The school should not just be an institution for architecture – it should continue this open laboratory, sharing its tools and programs with the public to create opportunities for the informal evolution of architecture.” Aarhus School of Architecture rector Torben Nielsen said, “It is a powerful project that interweaves with its surroundings…It will be a factory for architectural experimentation that will set the stage for cooperation with the city, the profession, and our neighbors – just as we wanted.” Vargo Nielsen Palle, ADEPT, and Rolvung og Brøndsted designed the school together with engineering companies Tri-Consult and Steensen Varming . They won an international competition entered by heavy hitters like BIG and SANAA . The new school is expected to be complete in 2020. + Vargo Nielsen Palle + ADEPT + Rolvung og Brøndsted Via Aarhus School of Architecture Images courtesy of Vargo Nielsen Palle, ADEPT, and Rolvung og Brøndsted

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New experimental architecture school to be built near reclaimed area of Aarhus, Denmark

Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular urban land and air transport system

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Showcasing what could be the future of human transportation, Airbus and Italdesign unveiled their Pop.Up concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show yesterday – a modular ground and air transport system. With the goal of tackling rush hour traffic around the world, the companies have essentially created a car paired with a drone that can swoop down, pick it up and transport passengers far above the traffic below. Passengers use a smartphone app to call for the drone, and Airbus says the vehicle might one day be able to pair with future transport systems like Hyperloop . According to Airbus , their modular concept includes a capsule that connects to either a ground or air module, and can be integrated into other means of transportation. Trips in the vehicle are entirely managed by an artificial intelligence platform that offers passengers multiple optimized choices of transport combinations based on where and how they want to travel. Passengers can interact with the computer through their smartphone app, and enjoy the stress-free ride of an autonomous vehicle that travels on both land and air. Related: The world’s first flying car is finally available for pre-order The heart of the vehicle is the capsule, designed to house passengers. It becomes a city car by connecting with a battery-powered chassis ground module made of carbon fiber, to become an electric city car for two people. When traffic becomes too much to bear, the passengers can call on the air module powered by eight counter-rotating motors to come and pick up the capsule – leaving the chassis on the ground. It then essentially becomes a vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL), autonomous urban air vehicle . Airbus notes that upon depositing passengers at their destination, both the air and ground modules autonomously return to their respective charging stations to wait for their next customers. While it’s exciting, the project is likely to remain a concept for the time being, as neither Airbus nor Italdesign make any mention about production or launch of their new creation. Airbus technology incubator, A 3 is, however, hard at work on Project Vahana – a futuristic urban transit system that includes single-passenger aircraft. Via Airbus Images via Italdesign

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Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular urban land and air transport system

Cramped 19th-century mansion becomes a bright and open modern residence

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The renovation of this 19th-century mansion near Paris highlights the historic elements of the original building, while optimizing its spatial organization to fit modern living. 05AM Arquitectura restored the characteristic features of 19th century home while opening the interior of the house toward the rear garden to embrace the outdoors. The owners of the house– a couple with two young children – commissioned 05AM Arquitectura to restore it to its former glory and make its interior compatible with their daily life. Located in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, a commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris , Maison à Colombages featured ornate ceilings and wall moldings, a fireplace, alcoves and a layout that divided the interior into relatively small, poorly lit rooms. Related: Beautiful 19th century Tuscan farmhouse renovated with hollow terra-cotta bricks The architects removed some of the existing partitions and connected the main living area with the dining room and kitchen. They improved the functionality of the entry and added built-in furniture with storage areas and wardrobes. This intervention drastically improved natural lighting and established a stronger connection with the garden. + 05AM Arquitectura Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Adrià Goula

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Cramped 19th-century mansion becomes a bright and open modern residence

Solar-powered home on wheels frees US couple from the 9-5 grind

March 16, 2017 by  
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Modern technology is allowing an increasing number of people to travel without taking time off work. Internet, smart phones and laptops allow us to work remotely instead of wasting away in an office. Arkansas natives Zack and Annie (and dog Lola) are the latest digital nomads to reject the grind of 9-5 life. The couple recently converted a former school bus into an ultra-modern solar-powered mobile home on wheels , and now they’re living the dream. After several years of working in an office, the couple decided to turn their lives around and finally see all the places they have always wanted to visit. Zack found a job as a web developer, which allows him to work remotely. Related: 8 buses converted into gorgeous mobile homes perfect for adventure “We began the overwhelming process of trying to figure out what vehicle we wanted and which one would best suit our needs,” the couple wrote on their blog. “Going through this process is probably the most crucial part of starting into this lifestyle. Picking the wrong vehicle could make for a miserable experience. We narrowed down our choices and finally made a decision. A 2001 Thomas HDX school bus.” Related: This couple ditched their tech jobs for life and work on the road in a converted school bus They sold their house and converted the school bus into a permanent home on wheels with a standing workspace, kitchen, king-sized bed, bathroom with a composting toilet and lots of storage space. The couple is currently traveling in their fancy new home nicknamed “Stormy”. You can follow their story on their Instagram page and website. + Natural State Nomads Via Treehugger

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Solar-powered home on wheels frees US couple from the 9-5 grind

Czech zoo to remove horns from rhino herd after poacher attack in France

March 16, 2017 by  
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A zoo in the Czech Republic announced Tuesday that it plans to preemptively remove the horns from its herd of rare rhinos. The decision comes a week after poachers broke into a French zoo, shot dead an endangered white rhino and hacked off its horn. As extreme as it sounds, the surgery could be potentially lifesaving. “It’s for the sake of rhino safety,” Andrea Jirousova, spokeswoman for the zoo in the central Czech town of Dvur Kralove nad Labem, told AFP . “The attack put us on alert, the danger is really intense.” The March 7 death of 4-year-old Vince from Thoiry Zoological Park outside Paris sent shockwaves through the wildlife community. Experts say that the animal’s death likely marks the first time a rhino has been killed in a zoo. The message the tragedy sent was chillingly clear: No living rhino, not even one held in captivity, is safe from poachers. The Dvur Kralove zoo currently houses 21 black and southern white rhinos, including three calves who will be excluded from the surgery. At up to $60,000 per kilogram, rhino horn sells more on the black market than gold or cocaine. Most of the demand for horn comes from China and Vietnam, where it’s prized for its purported medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. Related: Poachers broke into a French zoo to kill a rhino and steal its horn Jirousova said that the rhinos would be kept under anesthesia for the procedure, which involves removing the horns with a chainsaw, then filing down the edges. The move, she added, is entirely unprecedented. “We have never done this because of poachers,” Jirousova added. “We did it for other reasons like transport or health concerns.” Via AFP Photos by Flowcomm and Son of Groucho

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Czech zoo to remove horns from rhino herd after poacher attack in France

Trump orders review of Obama-era fuel economy standards

March 16, 2017 by  
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In another move aimed at dismantling former President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy, President Donald Trump on Wednesday told car executives and auto workers gathered near Detroit that he would order a review of the fuel economy standards for cars and trucks that were put in place by the Obama Administration in 2012. The rules would have raised average fleetwide fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 — well above the current 35.5 mpg requirement that has been credited with decreasing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that climate scientists say are the primary drivers of global warming. Trump spoke at a former WWII bomber factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan that is being repurposed to test autonomous vehicles. The president said that he would “ensure that any regulations we have protect and defend your jobs, your factories,” adding that the White House is “setting up a task force in every federal agency to identify and remove any regulation that undermines American auto production.” Related: US vehicle emissions hit record low as fuel economy climbs to record high While Trump talked of ending the “assault” on the US auto industry, it is unclear exactly what he is referring to. Despite carmakers complaining about the EPA’s fuel economy standards, a recent report from the regulatory agency found that Detroit was actually outperforming the GHG emission standards while at the same time selling a record number of new cars and trucks. Last year automakers sold a record 17.55 million vehicles  in the US — the seventh straight year of rising sales. Also, Trump didn’t mention that Obama has been credited with helping to save the domestic auto industry. A bipartisan congressional oversight panel concluded that the government intervention resulted in the industry becoming more efficient, allowing automakers “to become more flexible and better able to meet changing consumer demands, while still remaining profitable.” Via The Christian Science Monitor Image 1 , 2 via Wikimedia

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Trump orders review of Obama-era fuel economy standards

Antique farm equipment reborn as delicate works of art

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

These stunning nature-inspired sculptures are so beautiful you might not notice at first glance what they’re carved from—old farm equipment. Self-taught artist Dan Rawlings recycles these discarded tools into canvases and sculptures . By giving these forgotten tools new life, he hopes to remind others to appreciate the value of our existing possessions and the environment rather than succumb to the never-ending excesses of commercialism. Based in Gloucestershire, UK, Rawlings is drawn to the fun challenge of working with old found objects that still have sentimental value even if they’re damaged beyond use. Using a variety of tools including a handheld plasma torch, welders , and scalpels, the artist reshapes and carves intricate nature-inspired scenes. He writes: “I try to create images that remind people of the moments when everything seems possible and free; times when climbing a tree, or sitting admiring the way its branches twist and curl means nothing, but means everything.” Related: Artist Nikki Ella Whitlock recycles wine bottle fragments into ethereal mosaics Although Rawlings works with many different materials, he’s most well known for metal carvings . His manipulation of metals can be seen in his reworking of old saws to the walls of vans. + Dan Rawlings

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Antique farm equipment reborn as delicate works of art

The Biomimicry Manual: What can the honeybee teach a designer?

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

What exactly is biomimicry ? I think of it as a way of unlocking a whole world of super-powers for humanity. It is literally the next stage of human evolution. Leonardo DaVinci himself said, “Those who are inspired by a model other than Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain.” Maybe we’ve been studying the wrong master, trying to make a living on this planet in ways that will ultimately deplete us all. That’s certainly the case with humans and honeybees . Yes, humans love honey, and the busy hum of bees in the garden is a sound that gives us peace on a warm day. But we have much more to learn from them. Find out the lessons they have to teach in today’s entry of The Biomimicry Manual ! Great designers know that people feel good when they are surrounded by plants and other living things. Gardens are good for the soul. That’s ‘biophilia.’ Nature makes us happy. We love using ‘organic’ raw materials, like honey and beeswax, because they are useful and renewable, pleasing and non-toxic. They won’t sit in a landfill for the next thousand years like yesterday’s plastic. The Earth will recycle them. That’s ‘bio-utilization,’ using nature because it’s just good stuff. Our herds of goats and sheep, the crop varieties we’ve grown and selected for millennia because they taste the way we want, and even the family dog are ‘bio-assistants.’ They help us make and do the things we need. Honeybees, for instance, are not ‘wild animals,’ but domestic helpers. We have shaped their evolution to suit ourselves. Biomimicry is a little different. It only “uses” life’s ideas. It’s when you have a problem, and you ask, “how other living creatures solving it?” Instead of harvesting that creature or its by-products, you copy the idea itself and make it anew, make it human. Every plant and animal , fungus, and bacteria has a whole genome worth of time-tested, sustainable ideas to inspire us. That’s a lot of superpowers. Myself, I like bioinspiration of all kinds. John Todd ‘s ‘ Living Machines ‘, for instance, do a little of everything: biophilia, bio-utilization, bio-assistance, and biomimicry. He uses a pleasing array of living plants and bacteria (both domestic and wild) to imitate the way a natural wetland ecosystems works, filtering and treating sewage in the process. Believe it or not, a bee has to eat eight pounds of honey to make a single pound of wax to safely store her honey and larvae in. It’s an expensive proposition, and it has to be done efficiently. The ancient Greeks understood that modular hexagonal honeycomb makes the most storage possible with the least amount of material. Architects and designers are tapping this for all sorts of applications. Panelite , in New York, offers hexagonal ClearShade insulating glass. It passively regulates heat, while still letting in lots of light. The Sinosteel skyscraper in Tianjin, China uses honeycomb windows the same way. Our honeybee has other brilliant design ideas as well. For instance, her 300 degree field of vision literally gives her eyes in the back of her head. Nissan Motors is working on a laser range finder inspired by these curved, compound eyes, which will detect and avert potential collisions. German researchers are designing a honeybee-inspired wide-angle lens for aerial drones, while other researchers are using their navigation tricks to optimize GPS and tracking systems. We know that it’s physically impossible for bumblebees to fly. And yet they do, with incredible efficiency and maneuverability. So what are we missing? We aren’t completely sure, but one thing they have is the ability to zip and unzip their two-part wings for flight and landing. What if our airplanes could do that? Wouldn’t that save space on aircraft carriers and in busy airports? And when we say something is “the bees’ knees,” it’s even better than we thought. Insect joints contain ‘resilin,’ a springy protein. Turns out to be the most efficient elastic known, dramatically better than natural or synthetic rubber. With it, bees can flap their wings a thousand times a minute, and fleas can jump one hundred times their body length. An Australian government research group has mimicked this “near-perfect” rubber, creating 98% bounce back. That’s practically a perpetual-motion machine! These examples are taken from Jay Harman’s new book, The Shark’s Paintbrush: Biomimicry and how Nature is Inspiring Innovation . There are so many good ideas in nature, it boggles the mind, And that’s just the bees! There is literally an infinite world of time-tested, sustainable ideas to learn from. And if we get “buzz-y” studying them, we can unlock a whole new set of super-powers to take us into the future. + The Biomimicry Manual  An evolutionary biologist, writer, sustainability expert, and passionate biomimicry professional in the  Biomimicry 3.8 BPro certification program , Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker blogs at  BioInspired Ink  and serves as Content Developer for the  California Association of Museums ‘ Green Museums Initiative. She is working on a book about organizational transformation inspired by nature.

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The Biomimicry Manual: What can the honeybee teach a designer?

Norwegian cabin weathers a harsh climate for breathtaking views

March 15, 2017 by  
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Norway’s Lofoten archipelago is famous for its spectacular scenery with dramatic mountains and views of the northern lights—but its remote location up north also means a bitterly harsh climate in winter. Architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk was asked to create a summer retreat on a coastal Lofoten island that would be strong enough to withstand the harsh climate, particularly high-speed winds and rain. He and his team of architects completed the Summer House Gravråk, a renovated timber structure with a new addition and beautiful modern interior. The 25-square-meter Summer House Gravråk began with the rehabilitation of an old “Nordlandshus,” a kind of a traditional northern Norwegian home with a gabled roof and timber structure. The architects extended the building’s existing footprint with an addition towards the west that matched the original structure’s design. The exterior is clad in untreated spruce, which developed a gray patina after exposure to the elements. Standing seam zinc roofing tops the building. Related: Norwegian Mountain Cottage Stands on Stilts to Preserve Native Reindeer Moss The extension is constructed with prefabricated pine glulam and is wind-anchored to an encapsulating concrete slab that serves as a stabilizing counterweight, while the existing building is guy-wired to the ground. “The addition is a pure extension of the existing building, and re-uses the geometrical principle with asymmetrical dormer windows to let in light and give a view from the loft,” write the architects. The windows are constructed with aluminum frames on the exterior and wood on the interior to match the interior birch plywood cladding. The interior is minimally furnished and the abundance of windows keeps the focus on the landscape. The architects also constructed a small green-roofed annex separate from the main building. + Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk Images via Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk

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Norwegian cabin weathers a harsh climate for breathtaking views

This quirky pink hammock doesn’t need trees to rock your world

March 14, 2017 by  
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Get ready for warmer weather with this quirky new hammock from Lithuania. Unlike traditional hammocks that need two support posts, this bright pink hammock has a curved boat-like base that lets the structure rock independently in place. Agota Rimsaite was inspired by the need to create a comfortable hammock that, in addition to being easily used on-the-go, doubles as a soccer goal. The hammock’s base is made out of curved wooden rails that make rocking possible without hanging the structure from two posts. Inspired by the shape of a surfboard, the innovative hammock design integrates perfectly into a beach atmosphere. Sturdy cross-woven polyester straps offer total comfort when lounging about and its curved design sits up above the ground, avoiding the usual mess that comes with lying on a sandy beach. Related: Sweet desk hammock lets you take a “nap in a snap” However, once you’re well rested and feel the need to get in some fun exercise, you can flip the Panama Banana over on its side to create a soccer goal for an impromptu game. The designer calls her dual-use creation the perfect flexible furniture for “active relaxation,” and although inspired by long days at the beach, it can also be used in the comfort of a large park or private backyard. + Agota Rimsaite Via Design Milk

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