PAU’s inclusive Penn Station revamp is a sustainable alternative to the current plan

August 1, 2017 by  
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Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU)’s  revamped Pennsylvania Station plan represents a more inclusive alternative to the government’s current concept for a new Amtrak station in the Farley Complex. PAU decided to reuse the superstructure and foundations of Madison Square Garden and create a civic space that reflects the historical complexity of the site and enhances capacity, safety, and user experience for all of Penn’s users, regardless of income or social status. Passively heated and cooled, the transport hub  aims to create a grand commuter pavilion at minimal public cost and disruption, at the same time complementing the Amtrak station in the east end of the Farley Complex, entrances and concourses to the north and west, and the tracks and platforms planned to become part of the Gateway tunnel project. Related: Governor Cuomo reveals updated renovation plans for NYC’s Penn Station Inspired by Philip Johnson’s circular New York State World’s Fair pavilion and Pan Am’s “Worldport” building at JFK, the architects proposed to reclad the structure of the Madison Square Garden– which will find its new home 800 feet away in the west end of the Farley building– in a double-skin glass wall which allows natural light to penetrate into the interior, but regulates solar gain for maximum comfort. A sawtooth pattern in the glass picks up changes in light through the day, acting as a sundial for travelers as they ascend from the platforms. The entire concept has not only environmental control in mind, but safety as well. The suggested oculus at the center of the circular building quickly purges smoke in the event of a fire and all of the glass is blast-proof. + Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) Via Architizer

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PAU’s inclusive Penn Station revamp is a sustainable alternative to the current plan

Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say

August 1, 2017 by  
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In just three weeks, one of the “events of the century” will makes its way across the United States, inspiring awe, excitement and even fear. On August 21, there will be a total solar eclipse , and scientists are saying that it will be a once-in-a-lifetime event that is not to be missed. Educator at the American Museum of Natural History Joe Rao has been speaking to audiences about the coming eclipse. He told them a total eclipse is something you never forget and defies words. As the moon begins to block out the sun, the temperatures drops, the light changes and the birds begin to quiet. Related: Alaska Airlines is intentionally delaying a flight for the coolest reason Rao warned people not to look at the sun under any circumstances, even while it is covered by the moon. You can purchase eclipse glasses, though be sure to purchase them from a reputable company, since faulty eclipse glasses have been hitting the market. If you don’t have glasses, you can look at the trees, since leaves will show a crescent shadow.  You can also try one of the DIY methods . Viewers can check out NASA’s eclipse website for the 100-mile wide  path of totality , which will carve through South Carolina starting around 1:15 pm, up to Nebraska and will exit the US through Oregon at 9 am (local time). Hotel rooms in the path are already selling out and experts warn travelers to be aware that traffic will be difficult. Some airlines are selling tickets for eclipse-viewing flights. For those not lucky enough to be in the path, viewers will be able to see a partial eclipse as far away as South America and parts of Africa. Via Fox News Science Images via Deposit Photos and Pixabay

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Coming Total Solar Eclipse to be an ‘event of the century’, scientists say

This green-roofed cultural center in Sweden doubles as a vibrant public square

June 26, 2017 by  
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This green-roofed cultural center in Sweden blurs the line between the indoors and outdoors. Designed by Sweco Architects , the new Bergsjön Kulturhus grows out from the existing hill and blends with the square to form a unified environment. Sweco Architects won a competition to design a new culture house for Bergsjön, a district in eastern Gothenburg. The architects sought to weave storytelling, knowledge and recreation together like a “basket of possibilities”. An atrium serves as the core of the project, and surrounding spaces hold a library, a café, ateliers, exhibition space , meeting rooms, a studio, a small theater, a greenhouse and multi-use facilities. Related: Iceberg-inspired Greenland cultural center celebrates 20 years of resilience in the Arctic The building’s glass facade creates a visual connection between the interior and the green areas outside. Integrated into the surrounding urban fabric, the cultural center creates a welcoming atmosphere and functions as a social arena that fosters interaction. + Sweco Architects Images by Sofia Kourbetis, Linda Hansson

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This green-roofed cultural center in Sweden doubles as a vibrant public square

This amazing farm in a box can pop up on any city street

June 26, 2017 by  
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It’s sometimes difficult to find fresh, local produce in urban environments. To solve this problem, Finnish enterprise Exsilio Oy has developed the EkoFARMER – an urban farm in a box. With a little bit of water and electricity, the EkoFARMER can sprout a flourishing veggie farm on any city block. Over the past decade, urban farming and community gardening have grown in popularity, with small gardens sprouting on top of skyscrapers – but they can be complicated and require elaborate supplies. EkoFarmer is a 13-meter long farming module that can be installed where there is a water and electrical supply. Containing ecological soil developed by Kekkilä, EkoFARMER was designed to produce optimal yields and be used for both commercial and scientific purposes. Related: Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israel’s oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables Exsilio is currently on the lookout for co-creation partners that are interested in developing their own farming modules based on their own requirements. Restaurants and institutional kitchens can benefit from EkoFARMER, which can also function as an excellent complementary solution for farmers to expand their traditional greenhouses . Related: Boston’s Higher Ground Farm Will be the Second-Biggest Rooftop Farm in the World “EkoFARMER is an excellent option for business fields in need of salads, herbs, (edible) flowers or medicinal plants, for example. The social aspect of urban farming is also prominent. For this reason, our solution is suitable for associations wanting to earn some extra income, or societies wanting to offer meaningful activities for the unemployed, for example. This is an opportunity to create new micro-enterprises”, said Tapio. + Exsilio Oy

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This amazing farm in a box can pop up on any city street

The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

May 1, 2017 by  
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House 24 makes the most of a challenging plot by opening up to its idyllic surroundings in Singapore . Park + Associates Pte Ltd designed the multi-generational home to embrace the tropical climate using rhythmic timber screens. A courtyard provides privacy, and a peaceful pool helps to passively cool the home. The house sits on a triangular plot in Singapore, near a lushly landscaped state-owned park. The architects saw the shape of the site as the main design driver and envisioned a courtyard residence that offers privacy while providing expansive views of the surroundings. Related: This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises The project features timber craftsmanship in the form of wooden screens that create patterns of light and shadow that reflect the project’s tropical locality. A row of full height sliding doors along the first-floor corridor opens up to the swimming pool , which helps to passively cool down the air flowing into the home. A series of timber screens line the west-facing walkway on the second floor to protect it from the direct and harsh tropical sunlight. Related: A tropical paradise grows inside this lush Singapore home The team redefined the conventional entry sequence and transformed it by forming a more layered and sequential experience through the use of courtyard screens fronting the street. This space marks the transition between the public and private space and offers a serene atmosphere. The project has won the A’ Design Award in the Architecture , building and structure design category. + Park + Associates Pte Ltd Via A’ Design Award and Competition

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The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

Apple self-driving car spotted in California

May 1, 2017 by  
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Apple is full of surprises. Just last fall sources told Bloomberg the technology giant wasn’t going to build a self-driving car anymore. They may have scrapped plans to construct their own car, but it appears they didn’t abandon autonomous vehicles altogether. People in California recently spotted a white Lexus RX450h SUV with self-driving apparatus drive out of an Apple Silicon Valley facility. Bloomberg obtained images of the sneaky self-driving car, glimpsed around two weeks after the company got a permit to test autonomous cars. The Lexus SUV was reportedly decked out with Velodyne Lidar Inc’s 64-channel lidar, as well as an array of other sensors. An industry expert said the equipment looked like it was purchased off the shelf, not custom-built. An Apple spokesperson would not give Bloomberg a comment on that. Related: Apple announces goal to make products from 100% recycled materials Here's the vehicle Apple's using to test autonomous driving https://t.co/prbKCuJBq6 pic.twitter.com/8oUvrXv7qC — Bloomberg (@business) April 28, 2017 Apple is known for building their own software and hardware, as opposed to companies like Microsoft that focus on software usable on other companies’ hardware. But it appears they may be going a different direction with their self-driving cars, pursued under the name Project Titan . Last fall Bloomberg said the tech company would focus on software to be used in existing cars, which could help them get their product to market faster. They’re already up against tough competition: big players like Tesla , Uber , and Waymo, which began as Google’s self-driving project, have all made strides on their technology. Project Titan has gone through its ups and downs. When Apple decided to zero in on software, they reassigned or laid off hundreds of engineers. Leadership changed around a year ago, with veteran executive Bob Mansfield taking over, and he’s scaled back ambitions. So far California has given out permits to test self-driving vehicles to 30 companies, including startups, tech companies, and automakers. According to California’s DMV, Waymo and startup Zoox Inc. are also testing their technology with Lexus RX450 models. Via Inc. and Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and Paul Miller on Flickr

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Apple self-driving car spotted in California

Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

May 1, 2017 by  
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Although Airbnb is chock full of luxury beach condos, it’s rare to find an eco-friendly retreat tucked into a secluded beach. Ría Luz is a wind-powered sustainable home carefully designed to coexist with its pristine surroundings – and it’s one of the only structures located in the Yucatan’s Ria Lagartos biosphere. Ria Luz is the perfect spot for a secluded getaway. Visitors to this beautiful beach retreat will have access to spectacular wildlife found along the shoreline, which is almost completely devoid of tourists. The home is made up of two white blocks connected by a wooden viewing platform with multiple points of beach access. The main building houses the kitchen, living room and master bedroom, while the second building has additional bedrooms and an outdoor shower with a deck. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Sliding glass doors and multiple windows provide the interior with optimal natural light and incredible views. Guests can also enjoy a rooftop terrace with a comfy open-air bed for sleeping under the stars. As one of the only buildings located in the protected biosphere, the beach cottage was built to be ecologically friendly and it operates solely on wind-generated electricity . Wildlife tours are provided by local experts, and those who visit in summertime can see the hundreds of turtles who come to nest in an adjacent beach. + Ria Luz Airbnb Images via Ria Luz

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Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

Reflective cube atop Snhetta’s Lillehammer museum looks like a crumpled piece of metal

January 3, 2017 by  
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Over a decade after their first completed extension to the The Lillehammer Art Museum and Lillehammer Cinema in Norway, Snøhetta returned to the project with a new stunning addition. This time around, the architects teamed up with artist Bård Breivik who designed a dynamic rippling steel volume that hovers over a transparent base. The extension aims to connect the Lillehammer Art Museum and Lillehammer Cinema and the addition to the Museum. Children’s workshop spaces occupy the ground floor wrapped in large glass surfaces. Sitting atop the transparent ground floor is a new hall wrapped in a striking stainless steel facade, designed by late Norwegian artist Bård Breivik. Related: Snøhetta’s wave-inspired landscape blends land art with functionality A new gallery located on the second floor is dedicated to the work of local artist Jakob Weidemann. The architects also added two new auditoriums and renovated existing facade, creating a complex that communicates with the original building and establishes a stronger connection with the city. + Snøhetta + Bård Breivik Photos by Mark Syke

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Reflective cube atop Snhetta’s Lillehammer museum looks like a crumpled piece of metal

Trump appears to stand against House Republicans’ move to decimate ethics office

January 3, 2017 by  
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With Republicans now controlling the House of Representatives and the Senate in the US, one of their first moves was an attempt to eviscerate the Office of Congressional Ethics . But supposed Republican and President-elect Donald Trump appeared to stand against Republicans’ priorities in two tweets today. Perhaps in a bid to sound reasonable, Trump tweeted there are better issues for House Republicans to address, such as tax reform and healthcare. Facing bipartisan pressure, from many more people than just Trump, Republicans finally decided to reverse the astonishing move. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/816298944456232960 https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/816300003442495488 House Republicans, in a surprise measure that came without debate or advance notice, decided to dramatically curtail the Office of Congressional Ethics, even though according to the New York Times , Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and majority leader Kevin McCarthy of California spoke against the move. Related: Trump calls for more nuclear weapons in alarming new tweet Then Trump hopped on Twitter and fired off two tweets, referring to the Office of Congressional Ethics as ” the Independent Ethics Watchdog .” Even though he said the office is “unfair,” he said maybe weakening the office shouldn’t have been Republicans’ first step. He called for the representatives to instead focus on ” so many things of far greater importance ” and appended his second tweet with #DTS, likely a reference to his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.” The New York Times reports House Republicans faced bipartisan criticism; Trump, of course, wasn’t the only one to speak out against slashing an ethics office, and his stance was hardly even a strong one. California Democrat and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress .” Other organizations and voters spoke out against the startling measure, and today Republicans moved to reverse their plan in what the NYT describes as an “embarrassing turnabout.” The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent office created after scandals in 2008 saw three representatives, two Republicans and one Democrat, go to jail. An outside board of six members oversees the office. Some people have said the office’s investigations have been too aggressive; others say lawmakers complained because they wanted to safeguard themselves. Via The New York Times ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Ford is building a 300-mile range all-electric SUV

January 3, 2017 by  
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In an unexpected announcement today, Ford revealed that it will add an all-electric SUV to its current lineup. The SUV will have a 300-mile range and will hit the markets in the US, Europe and Asia by 2020. The company also announced that it will introduce a hybrid version of its iconic Mustang and F-150 pickup truck. A 300-mile range would put Fords as-yet-unnamed SUV well ahead of the competition (Tesla’s Model X has a 289-mile range. The company says that it reached that figure after examining current driving habits, which show that most consumers drive 60 miles a day or less, and that most people charge their vehicles once a day. With 300-mile range, consumers wouldn’t have to worry much about the electric vehicle’s nemesis: range anxiety. Related: All new cars in Germany must be emissions-free after 2030 The new vehicles will be built at Ford’s Flat Rock, Michigan plant, while other newly-announced electric transit vehicles, designed for police use, will be built in Chicago. Ford is also working on a new wireless charging technology, which would allow drivers to park in designed spots and charge their vehicle without plugging in. Via Tech Crunch and The Verge Images via Mike Mozart and Wikimedia  ( 2 )

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