This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

July 11, 2018 by  
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Japanese firm Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects has unveiled a beautiful round home that is wrapped in a spiraling rooftop garden. The family home, which is located on a remote Japanese island, was built out of woven bamboo lattice and clad with earthen walls . To create a strong connection between the home and nature, a spiraling garden that rises from the ground level provides optimal growing conditions for fresh vegetables and herbs that the family can enjoy year-round. Located on the remote island of Awaji, the home was built for a family of four. The architects designed it with an eye to withstandi the temperate climate on the island, but they also drew inspiration from the family’s nature-conscious lifestyle. Their first objective was to create a fertile area that could help feed the family year-round. Secondly, the master plan called for creating a closed-cycle landscape to make the home self-sufficient , enabling the family to live in harmony with the environment for years to come. Related: This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature The architects began by creating a large circular frame out of woven bamboo lattice. They then clad the round form with Sanwa Earth finish. On the interior, they used a technique called Tataki to create a  hard-packed earthen floor  out of dirt, lime and water. The walls were also made out of packed earth . The combination of earthen walls and flooring provides a tight thermal envelope for the home. In winter, the walls and floors absorb heat, which is released at night, keeping the living space warm. In the hot summer months, the home’s stack effect layout (a height difference between the central space and the rest of the home) enables optimal air circulation to cool the interior. Inspired by the family’s eco-conscious lifestyle, the architects wanted to incorporate greenery into the already eco-friendly home design. Accordingly, the roof was turned into a spiral garden whose shape provides optimal growing conditions. Rising up from the ground level, the rooftop garden wraps around the home, providing a perfect blend of sun exposure and humidity to grow a variety of plants and vegetables. Rainwater soaks the top part of the garden, then flows downwards to a series of retaining ponds filled with aquatic plants. + Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects Photography by Kaori Ichikawa via Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects

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This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

LED lighting company aims to bring a little ‘friluftsliv’ into our hectic lives

May 31, 2018 by  
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No matter what stresses you deal with on a daily basis, the practice of reconnecting with nature is always beneficial. Scandinavians call this connection ‘friluftsliv’ (pronounced free-loofts-liv). Literally translated to “open-air living,” the term refers to the value of spending time in remote natural locations in order to rejuvenate ourselves, mentally and physically. Of course the problem is that our daily schedules are not always conducive to taking a nature-based break. As a solution, a forward-thinking lighting company, Festive Lights , has unveiled a line of LED-based lights geared toward bringing  friluftsliv into your home. With little effort, you can incorporate Festive Lights’ products into your day-to-day atmosphere, so even when you can’t get outside and connect with nature on a deeper level, you can still convert a little outdoor deck or garden into a peaceful oasis. Related:These dazzling zodiac lamps let you bring the heavens indoors The lights are specifically made to provide discreet lighting around greenery and create a warm, pleasant environment. The line includes various lights that use LED bulbs or solar energy. The Solar Bluebell Flower is a beautiful lantern with an integrated solar panel that brings a touch of romance to any garden, without wasting energy. String Dragonfly Fairy Lights, which have various settings, can light up any indoor or outdoor space. Even if you have little to no outdoor space, there are plenty of ways to bring nature indoors. Festive Lights offers a series of Rose Gold Metal Lantern Fairy Lights that use LED bulbs to emit a soothing light. The Nordic Rectangle Frame made from twig and filled with warm white LEDs is a unique accessory that welcomes nature into any room. With just unique lighting and a few plants here and there, you can easily begin to embrace  friluftsliv , even in your hectic everyday life. + Festive Lights Images via Festive Lights

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LED lighting company aims to bring a little ‘friluftsliv’ into our hectic lives

Climate Victory Garden campaign aims to "Make America Green Again"

May 22, 2018 by  
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Want to take action  in the fight against climate change? Plant a garden! During World War II, people in the U.S. planted around 20 million victory gardens. Green America aims to bring the concept back with Climate Victory Gardens to combat climate change . Their goal is to help launch 40 million Climate Victory Gardens that together produce 12 million tons of produce . They hope everyday citizens will leverage their gardens as forces for change. “Instead of gardening in support of war efforts, we are gardening to fight climate change,” the Green America website states. Green America is encouraging people to cultivate Climate Victory Gardens as an individual way of lowering carbon emissions . The organization also encourages practices such as composting , cover crops, perennials and no-till to boost soil health so it will sequester carbon . Plus, local food tends to be more sustainable — it hasn’t traveled long distances to reach a consumer. To match the level of scale of victory gardens in the 1940s, Green America set its goal for 40 million Climate Victory Gardens. Related: Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’ Is 40 million gardens a realistic goal? A 2014 report from the National Gardening Association  found that 42 million households in America are growing food either in a community garden or at home. Existing gardens could adopt climate-friendly practices to become Climate Victory Gardens. “Americans want to take actions that have a direct impact on climate change. They are also increasingly concerned about the chemicals on store-bought produce,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of consumer and corporate engagement at Green America. “Climate Victory Gardens gives us all a way to reduce our impact on the planet, while ensuring the food we feed our families is safe and nutritious.” Green America’s Climate Victory Gardens map currently lists more than 275 gardens across the U.S. and around the world. Add your garden to the map or commit to growing one on Green America’s website . + Climate Victory Gardens + Green America Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Climate Victory Garden campaign aims to "Make America Green Again"

Cube Haus seeks to solve the housing crisis with affordable prefab homes

May 9, 2018 by  
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Many large cities are struggling with severe housing issues, and one new startup is proposing an architectural solution. Developer Cube Haus – founded by Philip Bueno de Mesquita and Paul Tully – has commissioned four architects to design affordable, modular houses that can be configured to fit into empty urban areas of varying sizes. Working with different designers and architects, Cube Haus aims provide affordable housing in urban areas such as London. The architects’ proposals include a number of styles and designs, but all of the houses are based on a modular construction model , which enables them to adapt to the square footage limits of each site. Related: Largest-ever modular Gomos building to be completed in just a few months International architecture firm Adjaye Associates submitted a beautiful multi-story timber structure that can be adapted to fit on a typical London terrace. The interior has an open floor plan that offers the ultimate in flexibility, and a large patio area provides natural light. The structure could be built as high as adjacent buildings to blend in with the existing architecture. London-based designer Faye Toogood ‘s concept envisions a simple single-unit volume with dual-pitched roofs, clad either in galvanized steel or charred timber. A light wood interior with an open floor plan would be illuminated with natural light thanks to large vertical windows. London firm Carl Turner Architects submitted two designs for the project. The first is a one-story, extended bungalow with bright yellow skylights that flood the interior space with natural light. The second design is a two-story townhouse, clad in brick and timber and topped with two separate pitched roofs that face two different directions. An open-air terrace between the roofs can serve as a rooftop garden or social space. Lastly, Skene Catling de la Peña ‘s proposal includes a stone-clad home with a timber interior . At the heart of the interior design is a vertical, green-tiled chimney with a cast-iron fireplace. The Cube Haus project is committed to using these five innovative prototypes to create a portfolio of varied building types that can be scaled to size for larger, multi-family spaces or single-unit use. All of the buildings will be constructed with cross-laminated timber with components manufactured off-site in the UK. + Cube Haus + Adjaye Associates + Faye Toogood + Skene Catling de la Peña + Carl Turner Architects Via Dezeen Images via Cube Haus

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Cube Haus seeks to solve the housing crisis with affordable prefab homes

New Ebola outbreak strikes the Democratic Republic of the Congo

May 9, 2018 by  
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The deadly virus Ebola has returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A new outbreak of Ebola stuck the northwest town of Bikoro with 21 suspected cases of the virus. Out of five samples sent to the DRC’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) , only two were positive for Ebola. In 1976, the first case of Ebola was documented in the DRC, and there has been nine outbreaks of the virus since then. The unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2014 to 2016 infected 28,000, killed 11,000 and shocked the world. However, the virus ‘s latest reemergence in the DRC is no reason to panic. Previous outbreaks in the DRC have been contained thanks in part to the country’s vast, largely inaccessible land area, which inhibits travel and trade between towns. The DRC’s last Ebola outbreak occurred in the village of Likati in 2017, however the virus was contained within forty-two days. Related: Ebola mutated to become even deadlier during recent outbreak Led by Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, the first scientist to document Ebola, the INRB is experienced in responding to Ebola outbreaks. “We’re advanced in public health ,” an epidemiologist at the INRB told the Atlantic . “If you compare us with Europe or the U.S., eh, but here in Africa, we are high. We have experience.” Early monitoring and reporting is key to success. “We have a surveillance system that works,” Kinshasa School of Public Health leader Emile Okitolonda said. “Here, nurses know that if they see a suspected case, they report it.” The INRB will also receive expert assistance from the World Health Organization and Médecins Sans Frontières in responding to Ebola. The primary challenge in the DRC is a lack of resources – a problem that may be exacerbated by President Trump ‘s recent request to cut $252 million in funding for international Ebola relief. Congress must decide within 45 days whether to act on Trump’s request. If they do nothing, as they are wont to do, the funding will remain in place. + INRB Via The Atlantic Images via Wikimedia Commons and Depositphotos

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New Ebola outbreak strikes the Democratic Republic of the Congo

How to Choose the Best Lawn Mower for Your Yard

May 9, 2018 by  
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Operating a gas-powered lawn mower for one hour emits as … The post How to Choose the Best Lawn Mower for Your Yard appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to Choose the Best Lawn Mower for Your Yard

Over 1,000 spinning pinwheels make up a moving garden at Euroflora 2018

May 7, 2018 by  
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ENTER Studio and OBR have created a pop-up installation designed in the image of an ornamental Baroque garden with modern and playful flair. Created for the famous international flower show Euroflora 2018 in Genoa, Italy, the pop-up landscape—known as “Locus Amoenus”—comprises 1,200 white pinwheels arranged like a floating flowerbed encircling a timber patio. The project was created as part of the show’s open competition “Wonder in the Parks” that challenges designers to rethink the concept of a garden . Locus Amoenus—Latin for “pleasant place”—is a phrase referring to an idealized place of comfort that has been used through the ages, from Homer to Shakespeare. According to the project statement: “Locus Amoenus is the result of a reflection on the relationship between project and context. In particular, it is the setting of the historic park that has led to the reinterpretation of some of the frequent components in the tradition of designing green areas.” Related: Build your own indoor garden with modular LEGO-like blocks The interactive installation comprises three components: the Field, the Pinwheel Garden, and the Patio. The Field refers to the grassy open site; the Patio is the circular wooden platform punctuated in the center by the Baroque-inspired water tank and calla lily flowers; and the Pinwheel Garden recalls the traditional ornamental gardens with 1,200 white flower-like pinwheels of varying heights that give the project its playful feel. + ENTER Studio + OBR Images by Anna Positano

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Over 1,000 spinning pinwheels make up a moving garden at Euroflora 2018

Extraordinary Sci-Fi-esque spherical arena unveiled for London

April 5, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm Populous has unveiled their extraordinary designs for MSG Sphere London, a massive spherical arena set to rise on a five-acre site near Olympic Park . Envisioned as a glowing orb wrapped in digital screens, the 18,000-seat arena would host music and esport events for the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). The MSG Sphere London appears visually identical to the renderings of the MSG arena for Las Vegas, also designed by Populous. Perhaps best known for their design of London’s Olympic Stadium , Populous has made its name in stadium designs worldwide. In the two MSG Sphere schemes, the architects push the envelope in eye-catching stadium design and technology. Digital screens wrap around the exterior while the interior will boast the “largest and highest resolution media display on Earth,” says MSG. Related: London’s 2012 Olympic Park Opens to the Public this Week After Years of Preparation The arena will be equipped with state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment as well as a “custom spherical camera system.” “MSG Sphere London is a natural fit for events such as esports, where audiences will be able to participate in the competition and interact with each other,” reads a statement from MSG . “It represents an important milestone in the company’s vision to redefine live entertainment through iconic venues that will feature game-changing technologies and pioneer the next generation of transformative, immersive experiences.” + Populous Via Dezeen Images via Populous

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Extraordinary Sci-Fi-esque spherical arena unveiled for London

Organic Gardening Books to Help Your Garden Grow

March 8, 2018 by  
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At the core of homesteading, the ultimate self-sufficient lifestyle, is growing … The post Organic Gardening Books to Help Your Garden Grow appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Organic Gardening Books to Help Your Garden Grow

Amazons incredible plant-filled biospheres open in Seattle

January 30, 2018 by  
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Amazon has finally opened its stunning new downtown Seattle office and it’s unlike any workspace we’ve seen before. Amazon Spheres, which celebrated its grand opening yesterday, is part greenhouse and part office housed within three glass geodesic domes. Designed by NBBJ , the $4 billion “mini-rainforest” campus will house over 800 Amazon employees in addition to more than 40,000 plants in an ecosystem built to emulate a verdant cloud forest. Located at the corner of Lenora Street and 6th Avenue, Amazon’s giant geodesic domes are made with a steel frame holding 2,643 laminated glass panels made up of four-layered low-iron glass to minimize heat loss. The largest of the three domes measures 90 feet tall and 130 feet in diameter with five floors (and a four-story-tall living plant wall that grows 200 plant species). Retail space occupies the ground floor and part of the first floor. Over 400 species of plants from more than 30 countries are represented in the domes and are cared for by a full-time horticulturalist. Nearly all of the plants were grown in a suburban greenhouse for the Spheres project. The flora centerpiece is a 55-foot-tall Ficus tree (nicknamed Rubi) that weighs almost 36,000 pounds and was craned into the space through the roof. The plantings are mostly organized in either the Old World garden that features African and Asian plants, or in the New World garden with a focus on the Americas. An architectural highlight is undoubtedly the “bird’s nest,” a timber treehouse suspended 30 feet in the air that serves as an intimate meeting space. Related: Amazon’s biospheres spring to life with first planting in Seattle The interior temperature will be stabilized at 69 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit with 60 percent humidity, and the climate will vary throughout the space. Recycled heat from the nearby data center is used to heat the Spheres. The project is on track for LEED Gold certification. The public is welcome to take a free tour of the facilities but must first book with Spheres Discovery at Understory . + NBBJ Via Bloomberg Renderings via NBBJ, photos via Amazon

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