Brazilian timber home uses bioclimatic principles to reduce its environmental footprint

July 16, 2019 by  
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Designed by Brazilian firm PITTA Arquitetura , the aptly named Casa Modelo serves as an architectural model for sustainable home design. Built using numerous bioclimatic principles , the solar-powered home has minimal environmental impact on its idyllic tropical setting just outside of São Paulo. Built for the owner of a sustainable real estate development company, Casa Modelo is located in the remote area of Ubatuba. Surrounded by acres of lush, green, protected biospheres that span out to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, the home has a setting that is as idyllic as it gets. Related: Striking home in Greece uses bioclimatic features to be energy-efficient year-round The incredible location set the tone for the design. Working with the homeowner, the architects sought to create a model sustainable home that could serve as a platform for future constructions in the area. At the forefront of the design was the objective of reducing the home’s impact on the pristine natural setting. Inserting the 1,100-square-foot building into the lot with minimal interference was essential to the project. Accordingly, the timber home is elevated off of the landscape by a concrete platform and pillars that allow natural vegetation to grow under and around the structure. The local climate is marked by severe humidity, ultra hot summers and considerable rainfall, all of which prompted the designers to create a resilient structure that could stand up to the extreme elements. Not only did elevating the home reduce its impact on the landscape, but it also helps keep ground humidity at bay and improves natural air circulation. Passive, energy-saving features are found throughout the home, namely in the structure’s large openings and high interior ceilings. The open-plan living area and kitchen open up to the outdoors thanks to a long stretch of sliding glass doors with retractable timber screens on either side of the house. The doors can be completely or partially left open to ensure cool temps and natural ventilation on the interior, a feature that also creates a strong, seamless connection with the outdoors. The layout was also driven by the natural elements. The two bedrooms were orientated to embrace the morning sunlight , while overhangs shade the living spaces from the hot summer sun. In the winter months, sunlight from the large, north-facing windows is absorbed by the concrete walls and floors during the day and released at night. In addition to its impressive passive features, the home was installed with several systems to minimize energy use. A solar array covers 100 percent of the electrical needs, which are reduced thanks to highly efficient lighting, electrical equipment and smart home devices. Additionally, an innovative rainwater harvesting system provides water for the residents. + PITTA Arquitetura Via Dwell Photography by Gustavo Alkmim via PITTA Arquitetura

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Brazilian timber home uses bioclimatic principles to reduce its environmental footprint

Chevron spills 800,000 gallon of oil and water in California

July 16, 2019 by  
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Major oil corporation Chevron spilled 800,000 gallons of crude oil and water into a dry creek in Southern California. While the spill is estimated to contain mostly water, experts estimate that between 240,000 and 265,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled— making it in the largest oil spill in California’s recent history. The spill first occurred on May 10 and stopped immediately, however it began to seep again on June 8 and continued to spill into the creek until June 23. The head of California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources first cited Chevron with a violation and asked them to stop extraction within that area, however, since the company did not act swiftly the head of the Division has now ordered the corporation to completely stop the spill and take measures to prevent such spills in the future. Related: Airplanes’ contrail clouds are more harmful than their carbon emissions The increased citation came on the head of the Division’s second day in the position, after his predecessor was fired by Governor Gavin Newson for issuing more fracking permits than the state typically awards. Since the spill occurred in a dry creek in Kern County, it has caused as much damage as it would have in an active watershed. Therefore, the spill has been fairy contained with limited impact to surrounding wildlife . The spill is close to Bakersfield, one of the state’s major agricultural areas. “The Chevron spill clearly shows that California needs stronger climate leadership from the governor,” Greenpeace USA’s executive director said to local news KQED. “Oil and gas infrastructure will never be free from spills and leaks or from spewing climate pollution . We face a growing public health crisis and climate emergency stoked by rampant oil and gas development” Company officials only began to clean up the spill on July 12 and casually reported that they would “review the order” from the state. Via EcoWatch Image via ArtBrom

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Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village

July 18, 2018 by  
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For design collective KLAB Architecture (Kinetic Lab of Architecture), one of the biggest challenges with public buildings in Greece is the lack of architect involvement in the construction process. To circumvent the problem, KLAB Architecture turned to prefabrication for its design of a public nursery in the Athens suburb of Glyfada. Drawing inspiration from a child’s archetypal drawing of a house, the modular gabled structures are clustered together to form the appearance of a tiny urban village. Organized around an open landscaped courtyard , the prefabricated nursery comprises a series of repeating modules of three differing sizes and shapes for visual interest. Each module was constructed in a factory and then transported via truck to the site for quick installation. The nursery follows a minimalist and modern aesthetic with its clean geometric lines and all-white exterior. Timber slatted pergolas provide shade and help mitigate solar gain; once they mature, planted shade trees will also help cool the buildings. Related: WeWork and BIG design innovative new school in NYC “We attempted to employ rather common materials and construction methods in order to create a more complicated structure with a small energy footprint,” KLAB Architecture said. “The exterior walls were constructed 10 centimeters thick, allowing us to maximize the available interior area, and were cladded, along with the roofs, with exterior wall insulation. Thus, by taking also into consideration the construction of wooden pergolas along the careful placement of the windows on the exterior walls, the building is sustainable providing comfort to the children.” Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade The energy-efficient nursery is also filled with natural light and warm natural materials to create a healthy and welcoming environment for the children. In contrast to the white exterior, the interior features bright and colorful wall treatments and furnishings that inject life into the various classrooms. All classrooms are open on three sides to engage the outdoors. + KLAB Architecture Via ArchDaily Images by Mariana Bisti

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Unique temporary shelter in Greece offers an elevated camping experience

September 19, 2017 by  
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Well, this is different. Studio Genua and hiboux  ARCHITECTURE designed this contemporary wooden shelter , which acts as a short-term residence for farmers and harvesters—or a summer beach lodge. Called Tragata, the elevated lodgings provide a place for people to relax and enjoy panoramic views of the natural surroundings. Located in Cephalonia, Greece , the structure functions as a transformable space raised from the ground. Its permanent timber frame and detachable panels are made from locally-sourced materials and were assembled on site. Related: Temporary Wooden ‘Hangout’ Provides Shelter for Festival-goers in Eindhoven Parts of the roof can be folded open to offer views of the night sky and provide shading during the day. A hidden storage space sits underneath the floor plane and can be used to store mattresses and other equipment that is not easy to transport. A hammock is placed between the ground and the deck. Related: 14 amazing timber structures explore the future of wood as a building material The modular structure is easy to construct, opening up the opportunity to build similar structures that offer such elevated camping experiences. Tragatas are designed to combine the feeling of isolation and openness while adapting to the needs of their temporary inhabitants. + hiboux ARCHITECTURE + Studio Genua Via Archdaily Lead photo by Marianna Xyntaraki

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2,000-year-old pre-Aztec ancient palace complex found in Mexico

March 29, 2017 by  
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There’s so much we don’t know about ancient civilizations , but the discovery of a 30,031-square-foot palace complex in Mexico may yield some hints. Two American Museum of Natural History anthropologists recently reported the impressive palace built at a time before the Aztecs. They say the El Palenque palace complex is the oldest known in the Oaxaca Valley. The colossal palace compound, announced by Elsa M. Redmond and Charles Spencer in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America article recently published online , backs up a picture slowly emerging of ancient civilizations in Mexico. Before the Aztecs, organized states developed in Mesoamerica – but Spencer and Redmond said determining the oldest states is a major anthropology research problem. Royal palaces in particular help signify a state. Related: Archaeologists just discovered an ancient unknown city in Greece According to Phys.org, most researchers in this field think the ancient civilization in Oaxaca was one of the earliest states to exist in Mesoamerica, and Redmond and Spencer believe their discovery supports that theory. The anthropologists dated the palace complex between 300 and 100 BC, making it somewhere around 2,100 to 2,300 years old. They think it could be one of the Oaxaca Valley’s oldest multi-functional palaces. The two say the complex is well preserved, and is similar to Mesoamerican palaces historically documented. The ruler and his family had living quarters there, but the complex also included a dining area, business offices, place for sacrifices, and a staircase. Its massive size indicates the ruler could employ a lot of manpower. The palace also offers a few insights into ancient architecture : the researchers said construction techniques used by the builders hint the complex was designed beforehand and then built in one organized, large-scale undertaking. There’s a cistern for gathering rainwater in the residential area, and a drain carved into stone to deliver fresh water and get rid of waste. Via Phys.org Images via Elsa M. Redmond and Charles Spencer

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A migration crisis in Greece offers a global resilience lesson

September 16, 2016 by  
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The chief resilience officer of Athens, Greece weighs in on what global population flows have to do with

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Ask Nature: 5 ways biology could help cure traffic woes

September 16, 2016 by  
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The field of biomimicry offers an array of real-life examples of sustainable transportation

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Mayor born in Syria converts abandoned Greek resort into a sanctuary for refugees

June 14, 2016 by  
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Now LM Village’s 38 bungalows are filled with two families each. About 320 refugees are staying there as they wait to find more permanent homes. The Greek Defence Ministry worked to make the resort habitable again. They renovated rundown buildings and outfitted the area with electricity and drinking water. The refugees have helped clean up the resort and maintain it. They dwell in brightly painted two story apartment homes, have a place to cook traditional food, and can spend time at the beach. Related: Temporary (SLICE) Refugee Hospitality Center is carved into a coastal cliff in Greece Morad is the first naturalized Greek citizen born in Syria to be elected in Greece. He at first sent clothing donations to the refugee camp at Idomeni, but felt it wasn’t enough and organized the approval and re-opening of LM Village. Now lawyers visit LM Village to provide free consultations. The new inhabitants of the resort wait for opportunities to interview with the Greek Asylum Service so they can find more permanent homes. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that ” more than a dozen ” have already moved out of LM Village, headed for new homes in Portugal. While the refugees wait for housing, they have access to a school and library set up by the Red Cross, as well as donated food. UNHCR said that they are setting up a “prayer space” for Ramadan and a “food distribution system.” Former restaurant owner Tarek Al-Felou lives in a bungalow with his wife Kindra, two children, and another family. They fled their home near Damascus and are now living in LM Village. Tarek told UNHCR, “In this place we try to forget we are refugees. We can pretend we’re on holiday.” Kindra told UNHCR, “Here, of course, is better than the other camps…Still, this is temporary. We are still looking for stability.” Via UNHCR Images courtesy of UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

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Spectacular luxury treehouses in Tuscany let you sleep above lavender-covered hills

June 14, 2016 by  
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Surrounded by 12 hectares of lavender hills, Suite Bleue offers spectacular views that can be enjoyed from an outdoor terrace. Despite its rustic appearance, the 44-square-meter treehouse offers luxury accommodations , from its four-poster double bed and spacious bathroom to a stocked fridge with champagne, sparkling wine, and more. Related: Historic stone stable in Tuscany hides a beautiful contemporary interior The treehouse is accessible via a spiral staircase. Farmhouse La Piantata also offers other accommodation options, including the 87-square-meter Black Cabin raised on stilts . You can book a night at the treehouse on the La Piantata website . + La Piantata Via Fubiz Images via La Piantata

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Spectacular luxury treehouses in Tuscany let you sleep above lavender-covered hills

Bohemian island hotel with fresh natural furnishings offers simple leisure in Mykonos

September 21, 2015 by  
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