Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world

April 11, 2017 by  
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This incredible skyscraper is more than just eye candy—its modular and farm-integrated design was created to fight world hunger and poverty. Designers Pawel Lipi?ski and Mateusz Frankowski proposed the Mashambas Skyscraper for rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa as a means to bring a “green revolution” to impoverished small farmers. The modular Mashambas is movable and functions as an educational center for growing crops, hosting markets, and training on agricultural techniques. Although absolute poverty around the world has fallen over 20 percent in the last thirty years, poverty levels in many African countries have stayed high and stagnant. Today, over 40 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lives in absolute poverty. Designers Pawel Lipi?ski and Mateusz Frankowski examined the obstacles holding the populace back, most of whom are subsistence farmers, and found that “poor infrastructure, limited markets, weak governments, and fratricidal civil wars” were among the biggest challenges. In hopes of bringing a “green revolution to the poorest people,” Lipi?ski and Frankowski designed the Mashambas Skyscraper, a modular and multipurpose building that just placed first in the renowned 2017 eVolo Skyscraper Competition . The Mashambas Skyscraper, which derives its name from the Swahili word for cultivated land, features a simple modular design that can be easily assembled, disassembled, and transported. The arched modules are stacked together to form a scalable high-rise and its flexible design allows for multiple uses including a ground floor marketplace, warehouses, drone services, classrooms, and farming areas on the upper levels. Drones would be employed to help bring supplies, whether for building construction or for agriculture , to the Mashambas Skyscraper and would also be used to deliver surplus food to the most needy and hard-to-reach areas. By concentrating a market at its base, the building will help facilitate growth and encourage farming plots to pop up around the site. The building can be enlarged as the participants increase and once the local community becomes self-sufficient , the building can be transported to other places. Related: This massive wind-powered skyscraper would cool the entire planet “Mashambas is a movable educational center, which emerges in the poorest areas of the continent,” write the designers. “It provides education, training on agricultural techniques, cheap fertilizers, and modern tools; it also creates a local trading area, which maximizes profits from harvest sales. Today hunger and poverty may be only African matter, but the world’s population will likely reach nine billion by 2050, scientists warn that this would result in global food shortage. Africa’s fertile farmland could not only feed its own growing population, it could also feed the whole world.” + Mashambas

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Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world

Build your own tiny home or treehouse with these stackable wooden micro-units

March 29, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to build your own tiny home or treehouse , this wild design might give you some ideas. These self-contained wooden living units can be stacked both vertically or horizontally to create the shelter of your dreams. Ofis Arhitekti teamed up with C+C, C28 and AKT and contractor Permiz to develop the basic unit to comfortably hold two people, and they’re presenting a vertical version, which is also available for purchase, at the 2017 Milan Design Week this April. The Living Unit has a timber frame structure reinforced with plywood boards on both sides. As a single unit, it can be fixed to the ground either by steel anchors or removable concrete cubes. Small and versatile, the structure can cater to different programmatic needs for two. They are easy to transport, and pretty much anyone can combine them in a variety of custom configurations. Related: 7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather The basic unit includes a double bed, wardrobe and a dining table, with the possibility of expanding it to include a small bathroom and kitchenette. Users can combine two or more cabins to create larger structures that can easily fit 4 to 6 people. The architects used natural and sustainable materials , offering flexibility in the choice of finishes, making sure to keep the design lightweight in order to facilitate ease of transportation. This allows the cabin to adapt to different locations, functions and climates. + Ofis Arhitekti

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Build your own tiny home or treehouse with these stackable wooden micro-units

Renovated Beijing factory gets new life with an elegantly-integrated Zen garden

March 27, 2017 by  
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After several renovations since the original construction of this Beijing factory, an extensive overhaul has breathed new life into the building – literally.  He Wei Studio / 3andwich Design renovated the building with a beautiful Zen garden gracefully integrated into the structure in order to convey the essence of the traditional Chinese private garden. Modern office workers can immerse themselves in a calming, natural environment, no matter how stressful the day gets. The original factory, built in 1970, went through several renovations before He Wei undertook the challenge of turning it into a modern office space that keeps the spirit of ancient building practices. The team restructured the circulation and created longer routes to allow people to calm down when entering the main space. Related: Former Panasonic factory building in China converted into a modern events space A zigzagging path leads visitors from the entrance on the west side through a long, narrow semi-outdoor corridor. This way people have to walk through the entire garden, called Zen Chamber. A folded stair, located between the long ramp and paralleled stairs, offer views of the inner courtyard and big tearoom through grating racks. The second floor, which serves as the main public space, is narrow and long and houses a music room, small tearooms, meditation room and a large tearoom. + He Wei Studio / 3andwich Design Via Sunshine PR Photos by Zou Bin

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Renovated Beijing factory gets new life with an elegantly-integrated Zen garden

World’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Australia’s "Jurassic Park"

March 27, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers just discovered the world’s largest dinosaur footprint in an area they’re calling “Australia’s Jurassic Park.” The massive sauropod footprint was discovered near James Price Point in Western Australia, and it measures almost five feet nine inches long. A team of University of Queensland and James Cook University researchers ultimately recorded 21 different kinds of dinosaur tracks in rocks ranging from 127 to 140 million years old – including the only confirmed evidence that the stegosaurus once roamed the continent. The Goolarabooloo people are the traditional custodians of Walmadany near James Price Point – and they invited researchers to investigate tracks in the area. Steven Salisbury of the University of Queensland described the area as Australia’s own Jurassic Park, and he and his team spent more than 400 hours recording the footprints. https://vimeo.com/210176160 Related: 99-million-year-old dinosaur tail found immaculately preserved in amber Salisbury said there are thousands of tracks in the area, and that “150 can confidently be assigned to 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs.” The team found five kinds of predatory dinosaur tracks, six long-necked herbivorous sauropod tracks, four two-legged herbivorous ornithopod tracks, and six tracks from armored dinosaurs. Salisbury said, “If we went back in time 130 million years ago, we would’ve seen all these different dinosaurs walking over this coastline. It must’ve been quite a sight.” The team published their findings online in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology . Salisbury said in a statement, “Most of Australia’s dinosaur fossils come from the eastern side of the continent, and are between 115 and 90 million years old. The tracks in Broome are considerably older.” Via University of Queensland and CNN Images courtesy and copyright N. Gaunt and Steven Salisbury, et.al.

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World’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Australia’s "Jurassic Park"

This incredible forest park lets you trampoline in the treetops

March 27, 2017 by  
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Imagine if your next trip to the forest allowed you to meander hidden pathways into the treetops, swing on hammocks, and bounce on giant trampolines, like an oversized playground for grown-ups. Architects Studio Dror envisioned a bold new urban park experience for a “city with no Central Park” — Istanbul , Turkey. Studio Dror’s goal was to “design a love story between people and nature” for their new “Parkorman” park, with numerous pathways, swings, hammocks and trampolines scattered throughout. The design transforms the existing green space located six miles north of Istanbul’s city center into a playground where visitors can create their own unique experiences. While providing clear paths and spaces, the park also allows people to be surprised by unexpected discoveries along their journey. Related: Dallas is building one of America’s biggest urban nature parks The park comprises five main zones, each with its own distinct qualities. The Loop features swings and hammocks suspended above the forest floor, while giant ball pits, inspired by Turkish spice markets, dominate The Pool. A footpath meanders through the forest and twists around tree trunks into giant loops with trampolines at the center in The Chords. A maze-like trail surrounded by sculptures, called The Grove, aims to encourage exploration, while a cube-shaped Fountain of Clarity envelops visitors in water. + Studio Dror

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This incredible forest park lets you trampoline in the treetops

Tower made completely from fabric breaks new ground in "soft architecture"

March 27, 2017 by  
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This 30-foot lightweight tower proves that the strongest architectural structures don’t have to be made from hard materials like concrete and steel. In fact, the Hybrid Tower is completely made from soft materials and textiles. A group of researchers, specialists and engineers at CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture – an innovative research program at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK)– developed the project as a proof of concept and exhibited it at the Contextile festival in Guimaraes, Portugal. The innovative manufacturing process allowed the team to knit materials as structural elements in a novel way. The tower comprises two main components–bent GFRP (glass fiber reinforced polymer) rods and a custom-made CNC knit. These two materials are extremely lightweight but are capable to form stiff structures that can withstand significant external forces through compression and tension. Related: Latvia’s Nature Concert Hall has a fabric skin that plays with the wind Several simulations, analysis and material design phases preceded the final fabrication process. The team created a new simulation and testing techniques for elastic materials, with the final shapes knitted directly on the CNC knitting machine . The structural skin is a single component produced as a large pre-stressed panel and then rolled into shape, tensioned, transported and erected on site. Related: Solar Building Skin Turns Sydney’s Ugliest Tower into an Eco-marvel It takes only six people to carry the tower and assemble it quickly thanks to a set of puzzle-like joints integrated into the form of the structure. Although lightweight and flexible , the round beams of the Hybrid Tower can withstand up to 110 pounds (50 kilos) each. + CITA – Centre for Information Technology and Architecture Via Materia Photos by Anders Ingvartsen

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Tower made completely from fabric breaks new ground in "soft architecture"

Artist recycles leaf waste into biodegradable Beleaf chair

March 27, 2017 by  
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Šimon Kern found an unconventional use for leaf litter: green furniture . The Slovakian artist created Beleaf, a biodegradable chair made from recycled leaves, bio-resin, and steel. Developed during his studies at the Jan Evangelista Purkyn? University in Ústí nad Labem, the Beleaf chair was constructed as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic furnishing. Kern crafted the seat from mixing leaf litter with bio-resin , made mostly from leftover cooking oil, and pressing the mixture into a mold. Once hardened and sanded, the molded seat is set atop a tubular steel skeleton. The strong tubular frame symbolizes a tree’s trunk and branches that support the leaves . Related: Beautiful zero-waste bowls are made entirely from leaves Kern says that if the seat breaks it can be reused as fertilizer for a tree. New leaves can be taken from that same tree to craft a new seat. “My project is focused on practical use of garbage leaves from the cities in the furniture industry,” said Kern. “If we will believe and use all our powers we can switch from the plastic to the leaves. You just need to beleaf, that there is a way how we can change this world.” + Šimon Kern Via Dezeen

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Artist recycles leaf waste into biodegradable Beleaf chair

Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

March 22, 2017 by  
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This ultra-green house for a Seattle family of four has achieved an exceptional level of sustainability without compromising on aesthetics. Shed Architecture & Design designed the Madrona Passive House as a net-zero residence for former Microsoft program manager and renowned environmental advocate Jabe Blumenthal. With a super-insulated envelope and passive design features such as heat recovery systems, photovoltaics, green roofs and stormwater and rainwater harvesting, the house minimizes its energy consumption and act as a stellar example of climate-friendly living. The 3,700-square-foot home relies on solar panels , high-performance construction and a contemporary design for its energy efficiency. A well insulated envelope which includes a Zehnder ComfoAir heat recovery ventilator that pumps fresh air into the interior contributes to its low energy consumption . This technology also recovers 90 percent of thermal energy from exhaust air for reuse inside. Rainwater from the home’s roof and the green roof on the garage goes into two cisterns via permeable pavers, while mechanical shading system and triple-pane windows regulate solar gain . The owners can also tap into the building’s real-time consumption by using the circuit-by-circuit energy monitoring system with dashboard. Related: Seattle’s Palatine Passive House consumes 90% less energy than a conventional home Achieving the world’s most demanding building energy standards – Passive House – the building is expected to also receive the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready and Living Building Challenge’s Net Zero Energy Building certifications. The project was recognized by Green Builder Media as winner of the 2016 Green Home of the Year Award in the Best Energy Efficiency category. + SHED Architecture & Design Via Green Builder Media Photos by Mark Woods

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Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

Inflatable spiky pinecone-shaped roofs top this forest resort in Latvia

March 21, 2017 by  
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Spiky ETFE roofs  top this airy forest resort and spa in the historic region of Kurzeme, Latvia. 3GATTI Architecture Studio and OFL Architecture teamed up to design the Pinecones Resort using sustainable construction techniques and prefabrication , resulting in a fairytale-like woodland setting in harmony with its natural surroundings. The resort comprises cone-shaped units with inflatable roofs made from 100 percent recyclable ETFE that has a minimal carbon footprint . Lightweight and flexible, this material offers the possibility of creating dynamic building forms. The roofs will be inflated by a recyclable SPF sprayed eco foam with superior insulation and structural qualities. The laminated lightweight frames, made from locally-sourced wood, support the roof membrane and allows it to withstand snow loads. Related: Labyrinthine resort in Bangladesh lets nature take over The resort will focus on providing Blue Clay treatments based on organic and naturally abundant material. Different programs will be distributed across the site, with wooden bridges connecting the units housing winter tubs, saunas, therapy rooms and dining areas. In addition to the aforementioned sustainable features, the resort will also include a water filtration system, geothermal loops, and solar window technologies. + 3GATTI  + OFL Architecture Via Archdaily

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Inflatable spiky pinecone-shaped roofs top this forest resort in Latvia

Tiny Toronto lighthouse serves multiple functions at once

March 2, 2017 by  
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This minimalist wooden lighthouse installed at Woodbine beach in Toronto doubles as a temporary drop-off location for local charity donations. Portuguese design firm João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura wrapped The Beacon in aged wood to make it look as if it has been part of the beach for a long time. The Beacon, which shoots a vertical beam of light into the night sky, captures the essence of traditional lighthouses, while translating their archetypal conical shape into a single spatial gesture. Beside its role as a lighthouse, the structure also functions as a place where people can leave non-perishable foods and clothes for charities. Related: The government is giving away free lighthouses to the right owners The lower part of the structure acts as a repository for such items and features openings at different heights through which they can be easily inserted. While the architects hope the Beacon will become part of a larger, permanent network of donation hotspots in Toronto , this small structure can also be repurposed as a wildlife observation tower , a wilderness shelter or a fire lookout tower . + João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura Photos by Steven Evans

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Tiny Toronto lighthouse serves multiple functions at once

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