Elon Musk reveals first official photo of the SpaceX space suit

August 24, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk surprised fans on Instagram by sharing the first official photo of the SpaceX space suit. In the caption, he teased details about the suit, mentioning that it definitely works and was tested to double vacuum pressure. Musk admitted that it was “incredibly hard” to balance the suit’s look and function. “First picture of SpaceX spacesuit,” Musk wrote on Instagram. “More in days to follow. Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup). Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance esthetics and function. Easy to do either separately.” First picture of SpaceX spacesuit. More in days to follow. Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup). Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance esthetics and function. Easy to do either separately. A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Aug 23, 2017 at 12:59am PDT Though Musk failed to mention the specific purpose of the suit, The Verge suggests they are to be worn by astronauts when riding inside the SpaceX Dragon Capsule. Because they are pressure suits, they are not meant for spacewalks. Rather, the gear is designed for astronauts to wear during transport – just in case the capsule depressurizes. NASA astronauts will also don the suits for the commercial crew program, when SpaceX starts launching people to and from the International Space Station . Related: NASA considers puncturing Yellowstone supervolcano to save life on Earth The helmet and sleek aesthetic of the suit make it look as if it’s ready to debut in a sci-fi flick. At the same time, it pays homage to “old school” space suits NASA astronauts wore to the moon. Within days, more information on the new SpaceX suit will be revealed. Via The Verge , CNBC Images via SpaceX , Elon Musk

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Elon Musk reveals first official photo of the SpaceX space suit

Renzo Piano embeds modern art gallery with ‘winged’ roof into French vineyard

August 14, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop  unveiled their latest masterpiece: the sunken Cha?teau La Coste Art Gallery in Aix-en-Provence, France. The concrete building is submerged almost 20 feet into a valley at the heart of the expansive Cha?teau La Coste winery and is topped with modernistic white wings that mimic the rolling movement of the surrounding landscape. The building, which is over 3,000 square feet, is embedded in the expansive vineyards of the Cha?teau La Coste winery. The building’s walls were constructed out of thick raw concrete that contrasts drastically with the ultra-green landscape. The neutral concrete color was also chosen for the interior to serve as a minimalistic background to best display the various works on art on exhibition. Large floor-to-ceiling glass walls are located on either side of the gallery and flood the interior with natural light. Individual wine cellars are set into alcoves around the gallery, fusing the world of art with the world of oenology. Related: Italy’s Green-Roofed Antinori Winery is Topped With a Vineyard! The building, which is submerged almost 20 feet into the vineyard’s valley, is topped with a large white “wing” connected to a series of supportive metal arches underneath. The wing runs the length of the gallery, forming an undulating movement that mimics the rolling hills of vineyards that surround the building. The white color and lightness of the airy sail roof adds a bit of whimsy to the sunken concrete structure. According to the architects, the unique rooftop design was inspired by the sails of a boat or kite. “The partly buried building highlights the roof covered with a sail fastened to thin metal arches,” said the studio. “These arches echo the graphical layout of the grapevines, enabling to integrate the sail into the vineyard. As a kite, the sail flies and lands, emphasizing all at once the lightness and ‘horizontalness’ of the building.” + Renzo Piano Building Workshop Via Dezeen

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BIG unveils Cactus Towers next to a car-free IKEA in Copenhagen

August 9, 2017 by  
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Enormous “Cacti” will soon pop up in the heart of Copenhagen . Architecture firm BIG has unveiled renderings for an eye-catching pair of buildings with a spiny appearance in the city’s Vesterbro district. Created in collaboration with Danish practice Dorte Mandrup Architects , the aptly named Cactus Towers are high-rise residential buildings that will be built next to a new sustainably minded IKEA store. Located next to the waterfront area of Kalvebod Brygge, the 74,000-square-meter site will comprise a new IKEA store, budget hotel, and green space in addition to the two planned Cactus Towers. The pair of buildings gets its name from the striking spiky-looking facade created by rotated floor plates. The corners of those floor plates create overhangs that provide shade. The buildings will rise to 60 and 80 meters tall and feature 500 “youth rooms.” Related: How Copenhagen handles bike jams The new IKEA next door to the towers will not have any parking on cars and will encourage shoppers to take away their smaller purchases on bicycle . The 1,250-room hotel also on site will be spread across two volumes and is expected to be the largest hotel in the Nordic region. The project is set to open in 2019. + BIG + Dorte Mandrup Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Dorte Mandrup Architects , BIG

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BIG unveils Cactus Towers next to a car-free IKEA in Copenhagen

Madrid’s new ‘Desert City’ is a spectacular home for over 400 species of cacti

August 1, 2017 by  
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Madrid’s dry heat may not bode well for lush flower gardens, but the hundreds of cacti in the city’s new cactus park are sure to thrive. Designed by GarciaGerman Arquitectos , the massive 54,000-square-feet Desert City is an educational, sustainable , and ecological complex aimed at educating visitors about the vibrant world of the xerophytic plants. Located on a formerly vacant lot in the Madrid suburb of San Seastián de los Reyes, the expansive complex includes a large garden space as well a massive indoor greenhouse . The park – one of Europe’s largest spaces dedicated to cacti – grows over 400 xerophytic species. The complex also includes exhibition space as well as a shop and a restaurant. Related: Cactus Park in Taiwan draws architectural inspiration from prickly succulents At the heart of the complex is an extended glazed “billboard building,” which is elevated over the ground level. It connects the greenhouse space to a cloister-like outdoor garden with a shallow water pond. Additional spaces located in the greenhouse will be used for presentations, exhibitions, workshops, etc. The architects used a number of green building strategies in the park’s construction such as prefabricated materials, photovoltaic glass, and geothermal power. The greenhouse and gardens were also installed with a high-tech water recovery system that helps the park reduce its water usage. + Desert City + GarciaGerman Arquitectos Via Curbed Images and video courtesy of Imagen Subliminal

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Madrid’s new ‘Desert City’ is a spectacular home for over 400 species of cacti

This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

July 28, 2017 by  
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Nigel Kirkwood worked in the mining industry for 25 years and it was his fascination with the natural sustainability of tunnels that led him to build his own underground, earth-sheltered home to live out his retirement years. Located in Quindalup, Western Australia, Kirkwood’s self-built hobbit house is buried under nearly 1,000 tons of soil and covered with greenery. Working in the mining industry taught Kirkwood a thing or two about the sustainable features of underground structures. Using the tunnel layout as inspiration, he built the home on two large concrete footings and covered the structure with 19 tons of high-quality steel. He then sealed the structure with a Polyurea water- and fire-proof coating and, as the final step, buried his new home under 1,000 tons of locally-sourced loam sand. Along with the protection against fires and storms that underground homes offer, the earth-sheltered structure has natural insulative properties, requiring require no heating or cooling. Additionally, the interior is virtually sound-proofed against outdoor noise. Related: This cute little hobbit home cost just $100 to build The interior of the home is surprisingly bright and airy, thanks to the all-glass entranceways on either side of the home. The rooftop is covered in natural plants and beautiful flowers that bloom in the summertime. The greenery is drip irrigated and fertilized throughout the year. Mr. Kirkwood will be opening his house to the public in September for Sustainable House Day in order to inspire others to consider sustainable building options. Via Homecrux Images by ABC South West: Roxanne Taylor, via Homecrux

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This tropical paradise home has an all-natural swimming lagoon filled with live fish

June 14, 2017 by  
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Brazilian architecture firm Studio MK-27 has turned a breathtaking Miami home into a tropical paradise complete with an all-natural swimming lagoon with real fish, a heated saltwater pool, and an abundance of lush vegetation. The 12,000 square-foot luxury home sits on the water front of the exclusive Indian Creek area, and it can be yours for a cool $29.75 million. The 12,000 square foot home, which was built with raw materials including exposed concrete , stone, and teak wood, boasts stunning interior design, but the outdoor landscape is undoubtedly a dream come true. The one-acre outdoor area was converted into a lush tropical garden , complete with a natural 100-foot-long swimming lagoon with an organic filtration system filled with live fish. Related: Small Spruce-Clad Home Sits on Stilts Above a Natural Swimming Pool in Austria Even entering the home is a jungle-like experience thanks to the 200-foot bridge that soars over the lagoon leading to the home’s front door. Further connecting the living space with the outdoors is a 1,800-square-foot covered terrace with full outdoor kitchen and sunken living room, perfect for entertaining. For a bit of solitude, a rooftop garden covered in natural grass and greenery offers a secluded area with beautiful views of the area. And just in case you’re worried about where to park your boat, the house comes with enough dock space to accommodate a 90-foot-long yacht. + Studio MK-27 Photography by Felipe Ariano Photography

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This twisting wooden skyscraper is inspired by the shape of Baobab trees

June 8, 2017 by  
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Cameroonian architecture firm Hermann Kamte & Associates just plans for a stunning wooden skyscraper inspired by Africa’s iconic Baobab trees. The Native Skyscraper is a twisting tower built with natural and locally-sourced materials that shows how biomimicry can make the future of urban design more sustainable. According to the architects, the tower design is a smart building concept for the future; a solution for cities looking to address massive urban growth while simultaneously trying to reduce their ecological footprints. The green building materials and sustainable features would make the tower design a “marketable, serviceable, economical sustainable, environmental, ecological and social” option for the urban designs of tomorrow. Related: Anders Berensson unveils wooden Trätoppen skyscraper with a numerical facade Plans for the Native Skyscraper show a soaring tower that twists as it rises. Columns of greenery are infused throughout the wood and glass exterior. The design team chose wood as the primary building material not only for its green properties , but also for the ability to connect the tower to its surroundings, “Wood is the fingerprint of Mother Nature in our buildings, this fingerprint connects us to nature in our artificial environment. There are no two identical pieces of wood in this Earth and it is wonderful.” The interior of the tower is also heavily influenced by nature. The wooden beams and columns will be left exposed, providing a treehouse-like appearance for the common areas. An abundance of greenery, including a series of living green walls will also fuse the man-made tower with its natural surroundings as well as create a pleasant microclimate throughout the interior. + Hermann Kamte & Associates

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Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

June 8, 2017 by  
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We wouldn’t eat these “popsicles” if we were you. Concocted by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti, a group of students from National Taiwan University of the Arts , the frozen treats comprise sewage from 100 different locations across the East Asian island nation. Hung and company froze their samples—bottle caps, plastic wrappers, and all—to illustrate the scope of Taiwan’s water-pollution problem. To preserve their creations, they dipped the popsicles in a polyester resin. They even designed wrappers for each frozen non-treat based on the locations they sampled from. Unappetizing “flavors” include “Yang-tzu-chou Drainage,” “The Large Ditch in Tianwei,” and “New Huwei Creek.” Related: Residents go nearly two weeks without safe drinking water in this Texas town Hung said they chose to make the popsicles to illustrate the importance of clean water. (Popsicles are, after all, mostly H2O.) “They’re made out of sewage, so basically these things can only be seen, not eaten,” Hung told Mashable . “[Having] pure water, a clean water source is actually very important.” + Polluted Water Popsicles Via Quartz A post shared by ??? (@yongbin.zhou) on May 25, 2017 at 6:45am PDT

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Made from sewage, these "popsicles" reveal the scale of Taiwan’s water pollution

98-year-old man donates $2 million in stock for 395-acre wildlife refuge

June 8, 2017 by  
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98-year-old Russ Gremel purchased $1,000 of stock in a pharmacy chain around 70 years ago. That chain was Walgreens, and Gremel’s small investment made him rich. But instead of using that money for himself, he decided to donate all of his stock to the Illinois Audubon Society , and they’re putting it to good use in the 395-acre Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary to protect wetlands in Amboy, Illinois . Decades ago Gremel bought $1,007 of stock in Walgreens on his brother’s advice to invest in drugstores, as people would always need medicine and women would always buy makeup. Then Walgreens exploded, and Gremel could have cashed out for millions of dollars. But he didn’t want to keep the money, telling the Chicago Tribune he’s a simple man who likes to eat stew and oatmeal and last drove a 25-year-old Dodge. Related: Colorful Hawai’i Wildlife Center Protects and Rehabilitates Endangered Species on the Big Island The Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary is home to around 200 bird species, rare turtles , and over 400 plant species. The Illinois Audubon Society was able to purchase the land with money from Gremel and a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, as well as their own funds. Gremel had planned to leave his stock to the Illinois Audubon Society, but then decided to give it away while he was still living so he could see the property they’d buy with it. That property doubles the area of wetlands protected in Amboy. Gremel said in a video he wanted to use the money to do good in the world. “That’s what money is for,” he said. “If you can’t do good with it, don’t have it.” He considers nature to be incredibly important; he grew up hiking and camping and then was a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America for over 60 years. Illinois Audubon Society Executive Director Jim Herkert told the Chicago Tribune of Gremel’s donation, “It’s allowing us to protect a really valuable and important piece of property and fulfill one of Russ’ wishes that we could find a place where people could come out and experience and enjoy nature the way he did as a kid.” Via the Chicago Tribune , SaukValley.com , and EcoWatch Images via screenshot

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Shigeru Ban Architects unveil plans for the worlds tallest hybrid timber building

June 6, 2017 by  
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Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban just unveiled plans for the world’s tallest timber hybrid high-rise, the Terrace House . Slated for Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood, the angular structure will have multiple tiers of abundant greenery rising up through a latticework frame made out of locally-sourced timber . According to the design description, “meticulously engineered timber” will be used to create the building’s latticework frame , which will be interspersed with an abundance of greenery rising up from the ground floor. The proposed design will create not only the world’s largest timber hybrid structure, but will be a luminous icon for Vancouver’s growing cityscape. Ban’s proposed design will hold court right next to the city’s famed Evergreen Building , designed by late architect Arthur Erickson . Related: Nation’s largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability The stunning project, which will be led by Vancouver-based developer PortLiving , was carefully crafted by Ban to stand out for its cutting-edge design without taking away from the existing architecture, “We have brought together the best of the best – a team of true experts in creative collaboration, working together for the first time ever on a single project. The result is truly a once-in-a-lifetime project setting new standards in design and construction,” said Macario Reyes, founder and CEO of PortLiving. “Every detail has been considered right down to the specific foliage on the terraces. It only made sense to bring on Cornelia Oberlander to continue her vision and create continuity between the Evergreen Building by Arthur Erickson and Terrace House by Shigeru Ban.” Although Ban’s design is sure to be a stellar icon of timber architecture , it won’t be the city’s only wooden wonder; the world’s current tallest timber building, Brock Commons , was completed in Vancouver just last year. + Terrace House + Shigeru Ban Architects Via Archdaily Images via PortLiving

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