Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory

June 8, 2018 by  
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Prolific landscape architecture firm  James Corner Field Operations  has managed to transform many desolate areas with its amazing park designs, but perhaps its crowning achievement will be Brooklyn’s Domino Park. Set to open to the public on June 10, the park — which was installed with reclaimed relics from the former Domino Sugar Refinery — has been converted into a quarter-mile long stretch of open green space running along the Williamsburg waterfront. Working with Brooklyn-based Two Trees Management, James Corner Field Operations (the lead architects on the beloved High Line park in Manhattan) has taken great care to convert the former industrial area into a welcoming public green space for the Williamsburg neighbors. The stretch of land from Grand Street to South Fifth Street has been desolate for years, its vacant lots blocked to visitors with chain-link fences. Now, after an extensive renovation to create a community-tailored recreational area, the project is ready to welcome the public. Related: Abandoned Lot Turned into Public Farm and Mountain Bike Course in Brooklyn First and foremost, the master plan for the park’s design included a strong emphasis on historic preservation. Reclaimed sugar refining and industrial materials, as well as various timber pieces, are just some of the relics  salvaged from the factory and placed in the park to pay homage to its origins. The 1,200-foot-long waterfront esplanade runs the length of the east bank of the East River, providing visitors with incredible panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and the Williamsburg Bridge. For those looking to simply sit and enjoy the surrounding views, there are plenty of benches around the park, which were also made out of reclaimed wood from the factory. The park’s expansive green space  is separated into two areas, a passive zone and an active zone. For those looking for a relaxing day at the park, there is an urban beach where visitors can soak up the sun on lounge chairs. A Japanese Pine garden leads into an open lawn with a designated 100-person picnic area and a large playground. For those who love to be active, there is a full-sized volleyball court, two boccie courts, and a 6,300-square-foot playing field. Dogs are also welcome to stretch their legs in the spacious dog run. At the heart of the park is a central gathering space, “Water Square.” Like most of the firm’s work, the greenery found throughout the park includes various sustainable plantings, as well as a mix of local and exotic foliage, flowers and trees. A four-tiered seating area with a water fountain provides visitors with a meeting place to enjoy the incredible views. Next to the wooden seating, four salvaged syrup tanks from the refinery were installed as a whimsical “Syrup Tank Garden.” Overlooking the park is an elevated, five-block long walkway. “Artifact Walk” is made from various pieces of salvaged factory equipment, such as steel columns, crane tracks and tall cylindrical tanks. During the ambitious project, Hurricane Sandy forced the planners to put resilience at the forefront of the design. Accordingly, the park is raised above the 100-year flood elevation levels and pushed back 100 feet from the water’s edge. + James Corner Field Operations + Two Trees Management Via Architectural Digest Images via Two Trees Management

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Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory

This French art collective is building the world’s largest hanging garden

March 15, 2018 by  
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French art collective Les Machines de L’ile is embarking on plans to build the world’s largest hanging garden – which will be on the scale of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Nantes-based design team is currently working on what they are calling The Heron’s Tree – a massive interactive garden that will span more than 160 feet in diameter and 114 feet high. The “mechanical menagerie” will invite guests to climb the labyrinth-like branches and ride one of two mechanical herons on flights that provide a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding Loire Valley. The Heron’s Tree, which is currently under construction on the banks of the Loire Valley, is actually the third part of a massive artistic endeavor called the Island’s Machines, which the artists began back in 2007. Inspired by the works of Jules Verne and Leonardo Da Vinci, the artistic project includes The Grand Elephant and the Machine Gallery, as well as the Carousel of Sea Worlds. The concept revolves around a mechanical collection of giant wild animals that roam around the world’s landscape. The project will include a large steel tree, weighing about 1,500 tons and spanning 165 feet wide. Twenty-two wide branches will be built as walkways that will be accessible from a helix staircase inside the tree trunk. Jutting out from the trunk at various heights, visitors can explore the tree’s many greenery-lined paths, which create a lush ecosystem of hanging vegetation . Related: Calatrava’s Dubai observation tower resembles the Hanging Gardens of Babylon About 115 feet above the tree top, there will be two platforms where visitors can climb aboard two massive herons. The herons will take the passengers on a circular ride soaring over of the large tree, providing a stunning 360-degree view of the Loire Valley. Created by artists Francois Delaroziere and Piere Orefice, the interactive art installation will be located on the banks of the Loire River – a significant location for the artists. “Inspired by the worlds of Jules Verne and Leonardo Da Vinci, it is an unprecedented artistic project. After the Grand Elephant and the Machine Gallery in 2007, the Carousel of the Sea Worlds in 2012, the Heron’s Tree is the third phase of the Island’s Machines. Coming out of the minds of François Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice, it will be located along the banks of the Loire River, a few meters away from the house Jules Verne spent his teenage years in and where Jean-Jacques Audubon grew up and drew his first herons.” The Heron’s Tree is the latest phase in the art ambitious project, which is scheduled for completion in 2022. The 35 million euro project is being funding partially by public funds, but the artistic team behind the project is seeking additional funding through a Kickstarter campaign . + Les Machines de L’ile Via This is Colossal Images via Les Machines de L’ile

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This French art collective is building the world’s largest hanging garden

Green walls are great, but they need to work efficiently

March 1, 2018 by  
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You may have heard about green walls or even seen a few. Also called living walls , live walls, eco-walls and vertical gardens , these structures are essentially walls covered in vertically grown plants, and they can appear either inside or outside. The idea has been around for a while, and it’s really caught on lately due to their environmental and health benefits, as well as appealing aesthetics. But not all green walls are made equal. Read on to learn how a green wall should be designed in order to be useful and friendly to the environment. How Do They Work? There are several types of green walls. Some might consider regular walls covered in ivy as a green wall, while others would limit the definition to walls specifically designed to hold vegetation. The latter type can be constructed in various ways . They might consist of panels with pre-planted vegetation, or replaceable trays that fit into slots in the wall, enabling easy removal if necessary. Vertical gardens also vary in terms of how they function. The simpler models require hand watering, while others have self-watering pipe systems. Many green walls rely on hydroponic systems that use drip irrigation. Based on the desired aesthetics and effects, you might choose different types of plants. You can include many varieties of plants, including groundcover, ferns, shrubs, flowers and more. Benefits Green walls have become popular in urban areas where people want to make their space greener but don’t have a lot of room to do so. Vertical gardens ensure the benefits of green space without taking up too much space. They also improve air quality, which is advantageous for people as well as animals and the overall environment. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen. They also filter out various contaminants, creating cleaner air, and can remove up 87 percent of airborne toxins inside a home within just 24 hours. This helps people breathe easier, especially indoors where air quality is notoriously bad. Ecowalls can reduce the urban heat-island effect and improve thermal insulation, reducing a building’s energy costs. They can also absorb noise and provide mental health benefits. Research has shown that having plants around can reduce stress and increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Challenges Critics have identified several potential issues with green walls. If the designer doesn’t adequately plan for their project, they say, the costs might outweigh the benefits. Maintaining a green wall requires more work and resources than a regular wall, especially if it doesn’t have a self-watering system. You’ll have to manually water the plants, and even with a self-watering system, the plants will need care at some point. Green walls typically require large amounts of water, which can be unsustainable if supplies are low and the wall isn’t equipped with water recycling equipment. Operating a living wall also requires energy. Producing this energy can have a negative impact on the environment if derived from fossil fuels. How to Make a Green Wall More Efficient A green wall’s efficacy depends on how it’s constructed, operated and maintained. Drip irrigation systems appear in walls that use panels and hydroponic systems, while walls with replaceable trays use tank systems. Drip irrigation tubing is typically about 85 percent more efficient than tank systems. They connect to the building’s plumbing system, while tray systems require manual watering. Drip irrigation systems can also automatically recycle water. You could use recycled water in a tank system from an air conditioning system or another source, but you’d have to do so manually. Because tray systems require more water and use soil, they can attract bugs and form mold, fungus and even introduce pathogens. Due to this possibility, they don’t comply with strict health, safety and hygiene codes in places such as healthcare facilities. These buildings would need to use a hydroponic system. For these reasons, the soil in tray systems must be replaced about every month, which can be costly. Panel systems don’t require this and therefore don’t need as much maintenance. Another factor that can impact a green wall’s efficiency is the type of vegetation with which it is populated. Drought-resistant and local plants need less water than other types of vegetation, so they’re more water-efficient. Plants also, of course, require sunlight. Placing a living wall in an area with a lot of natural light will reduce the amount of artificial light needed and, therefore, the amount of energy it requires. The Importance of Truly Green Green Walls For a green wall to be truly beneficial, you need to use an efficient watering system, put it in the proper place (with ample natural light), and plant vegetation that’s easy to maintain and requires minimal irrigation. Anyone interested to install a green wall, as well as the architects and engineers in charge of designing them, ought to consider the efficiency of the system in addition to their benefits and aesthetics. Photos via Depositphotos , Scott Webb on Unsplash , Mike.dixon.design  via Wikimedia Commons , Kaldari via Wikimedia Commons , AlejandroOrmad via Wikimedia Commons , and Terry Robinson via Wikimedia Commons

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Green walls are great, but they need to work efficiently

Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

February 20, 2018 by  
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Architect Suraksha Acharya from Midori Architects has proposed a pair of ultra-green translucent towers for the Hong Kong skyline. The futuristic Aero Hive skyscrapers are clad in an organic facade interspersed with greenery that leads up to the towers’ expansive open-air rooftop gardens . The concept is based on creating an iconic symbol of sustainable design for the city – a unique highrise designed to adapt to the challenges of the local climate and reduce CO2 emissions in the area. Acharya’s design, which recently won the Skyhive Skyscraper Challenge , is meant to provide the bustling Hong Kong skyline with an icon of sustainability. Although aesthetically apt for Hong Kong’s profile of soaring skyscrapers, the Aero Hive is also strategically designed to withstand the local climate. The shape and size of the two towers, as well as the materials, were all chosen to adapt to the city’s subtropical weather and extreme winds. Related: Futuristic floating skyscraper ‘heals’ the effects of climate change According to the architect, the design is meant to change ideas when it comes to green skyscrapers, “Aero Hive aims to challenge the common belief that contemporary tall buildings cannot be ventilated naturally due to their ultra-heights and offers pause from typical hermetically sealed glass-boxes, serving as a model of sustainability” The curvaceous form of the towers is designed to be self-shading, meaning that the angles of the buildings are precisely aligned to allow them to mutually shade each other throughout different times of the day. Additionally, the porous cladding allows optimal air circulation throughout the building. The double glazed windows that make up the cladding are also optimized to bring in diffuses natural light to the interior while restricting direct solar radiation. Topping the twisty towers are two flared rooftops, which will be open to the public as city gardens. The greenery is two-fold – helping preserve the city’s public green space, but also address the “urban heat island” effect common in Hong Kong’s tropical climate. The lush rooftop gardens will help create a natural habitat for local birds, as well as filter pollutants and reduce CO2. + Midori Architects + Midori Architects on Facebook + Midori Architects on Instagram + Midori Architects on Twitter + Midori Architects on G+ Images courtesy Midori Architects

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Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

Resilient infrastructure proposal aims to protect San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels

December 27, 2017 by  
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Looks like San Francisco’s beautiful Bay Area could be in for a major ecological makeover. SCAPE Landscape Architecture has unveiled Public Sentiment, a living infrastructure proposal that aims to create a visitor-friendly buffer zone around the bay’s most vulnerable ecosystems – made up of marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges – that would protect the low-lying zones from the imminent threat of rising sea levels . Scape’s proposal was developed for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge , an open design competition that calls for innovative solutions to the many issues facing the Bay Area due to climate change . According to the architects, their inspiration for the proposal is based on using sediment as a core building block to create a nature-based resilient system around the bay. Related: EPA Grant Will Help Protect New York’s Salt Marshes The plan is comprised of three projects: Pilots for a Future Bay, The Bay Cushion, and Unlock Alameda Creek. Pilots for a Future Bay involves various pilot programs that would include the local community in participating in the planning process of making the area more resilient. The plan includes working with local students as environmental stewards that would help design and monitor various scientific experiments geared towards protecting the Bay Area’s ecosystems . The Bay Cushion calls for expanding on the ongoing South Bay Salt Pond initiative. Building on the project, which seeks to reduce tidal extremes around the bay, the proposal calls for creating a massive sediment reserve that links ecosystems, wildlife, and visitors to the area. The reserve would include viewing towers, outdoor mudrooms and various “sensing stations” that would run along the existing Bay Trail. Unlock Alameda Creek, which involves unlocking the sediment flows of Alameda Creek, is also an essential part of the proposal. This would include redesigning the creek’s water flow in order to restore the breeding grounds of the native steelheads. Once again, the area would be outfitted with a trail of viewing platforms to enable visitors to take in the infinite value of the bay’s valuable ecosystems. + Resilient Design Bay Area + SCAPE Landscape Architecture

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Microsoft is razing its Redmond campus to build a sustainable mini city

December 1, 2017 by  
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If you thought Microsoft’s awesome treehouse offices were the ultimate step in the tech giant’s efforts to make its employees a top priority, think again. The tech giant just announced that it will be razing its 500-acre Redmond campus in order to construct a sustainable Microsoft mini city, complete with 18 new buildings, a two-acre open plaza , retail space, jogging and walking trails, two soccer fields, a cricket field, and its own light rail station. According to the company, the expansive campus, which will be divided into “team neighborhoods”, will be focused on providing a “more open and less formal” working environment. Inside, the spaces will be filled with social hubs and light-filled offices, but the new layout will be primarily focused on providing plenty of outdoor and recreational space for the employees. Once complete, the campus will have 18 new buildings, offering workspace for the 47,000 employees that currently work on site, as well as extra room for an additional 8,000 people. The Redmond campus is already a Zero Waste Certified campus, but will be renovated with increased waste-reduction initiatives . Related: Microsoft unveils amazing treehouse office where employees can brainstorm in fresh air As part of the green transportation focus, all of the cars will be parked in an underground parking lot, so that above ground, the employees can travel by foot, bike or, eventually, by a light rail system scheduled for completion in 2023. As part of the green transportation focus, a new foot and bike bridge will be built over the WA-520 in order to connect both sides of its campus. This will connect with a planned Redmond Technology Transit Station where the Link Light Rail is expected to arrive in 2023. Microsoft president Brad Smith said the project will run approximately $150m, and expects the rebuild to create 2,500 construction and development jobs.”We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact,” explained Smith in the announcement. + Microsoft blog Via ZD Net Images via Microsoft

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Microsoft is razing its Redmond campus to build a sustainable mini city

Artists transform gigantic Japanese park into a psychedelic forest of light

November 13, 2017 by  
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Japanese art collective teamLab has transformed a 5-million-square-foot park in Japan into a luminous “Forest Where Gods Live”. The massive art installation features 14 distinct artworks that use lights, projections, sensors, and sound to react as visitors stroll through the grounds. Mifuneyama Rakuen park is located in Japan’s Saga Prefecture in Kyushu. The exhibition spans the landscape of rocks, caves, and ample vegetation that leads to the towering Mount Mifune. The park is home to various Buddhist statues as well as 5,000 cherry blossom trees and 50,000 azaleas, all of which play key roles in the art installation . Related: Singapore Night Festival dazzles crowds with 13 stunning light installations TeamLab believes that digital art can connect people with nature: “We exist as a part of an eternal continuity of life and death, a process which has been continuing for an overwhelmingly long time. It is hard for us, however, to sense this in our everyday lives. When exploring the forest, we come to realize that the shapes of the giant rocks, caves, and the forest that have been formed over the eons, are the shapes of the continuous cycle of life itself. By applying digital art to this unique environment, the exhibition celebrates the continuity of life.” The exhibition, which is part of a Shiseido skincare campaign, uses projectors, motion sensors, and an ambient soundtrack to create a soothing forest of light in constant motion. Visitors can stroll through the park, passing through 14 artworks where the natural landscape lights up in reaction to the crowds. There’s a simulated waterfall that cascades down a sacred rock wall and a giant moss-covered boulder that digitally depicts the entire life cycle of colorful flowers. Walking along, visitors will see an example of artful Japanese calligraphy projected onto a large rock, surrounded by smoke. One of the most popular stops is the WASO Tea House, which displays beautiful flowers blooming inside a teacup, representing the skincare company’s slogan “All things beautiful come from nature”. + teamLab Via CNN Images and video via Team Lab

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2017’s Greenest Cities in the U.S.

October 30, 2017 by  
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Anchorage, Alaska, has more green space than any city in … The post 2017’s Greenest Cities in the U.S. appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Failed Palm Springs golf course is being repurposed into a sustainable community filled with olive groves

October 20, 2017 by  
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A failed Palm Springs golf course is being reborn as an “eco-modern agrihood” located on 300 beautiful acres of desert landscape. The Miralon residential community will include 1,150 solar-powered homes , along with almost 100 acres of open recreational space, including working olive groves, community gardens, and walking trails. The ambitious project is located on a former golf course, which was built, but never operational due to falling into foreclosure in 2008. Freehold Communities bought the property and will be collaborating with Robert Hidey Architect s along with C2 Collaborative Landscape Architecture to create a sustainable residential community focused on providing a healthy lifestyle for the homeowners. The large complex will include multiple pools, a fitness and recreation center, and various amenities. Related: Wind and solar-powered Thunder Valley Regenerative Community rises in South Dakota Miralon will consist of more than 1,000 eco-friendly homes, all equipped with solar panels. However, at the heart of the project is the massive amounts of outdoor space included in the master plan. The residential area will be surrounded by almost 100 acres of green space , which will be landscaped to create recreational space for the residents. Former golf cart paths will be repurposed as 6.5 miles of hiking trails. The tee boxes and greens will be converted into community gardens as well as dog parks, exercise stations and community social areas with firepits and WiFi. What’s even more impressive is that the homes will back up to more than 70 acres of working olive groves , which will be installed with a drip-irrigation system and cultivated by Temecula Olive Oil Company . The olives will be pressed on-site and be made available to the residents, along with produce from the community gardens. “Evolving the existing golf course into habitat-sensitive, agricultural open space is a response to the precious resources of the Coachella Valley including its need for water,” explained Freehold California Division President Brad Shuckhart, “At the same time, Miralon responds to peoples’ desire for authentic experiences – whether through community gardening or immersion in a rich range of social spaces.” + Miralon + Freehold Communities

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Failed Palm Springs golf course is being repurposed into a sustainable community filled with olive groves

Hinckley unveils the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht

October 20, 2017 by  
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Imagine silently slicing through the Long Island Sound on a yacht , wind tousling your hair. That peaceful vision is possible with Hinckley’s new Dasher yacht, which they say is the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht. Inhabitat took a ride in Oyster Bay recently, and we were amazed at how quiet the boat is – thanks to twin 80 horsepower electric motors and waterproof BMW i3 lithium-ion batteries . Chief Marketing Officer Peter Saladino and Director of New Product Development Scott Bryant hosted us for a trip on the new zero-emissions Hinckley Dasher this week. Dasher is completely powered by electricity . Before we started slicing through the water, Bryant actually had to tell us the boat was on and ready to go – that’s how quiet it is. Related: The Tesla of solar electric yachts launches in New Zealand “Hinckley started building boats in 1928. We’ve been known for building timeless boats built in the Maine tradition, and we’ve always been known for not just innovating for the sake of innovating, but using technology to augment the user experience,” Bryant told Inhabitat. The 28 foot, six inch electric yacht cruises through waters at speeds of 10 miles per hour (mph), though it can reach fast cruising speeds of 18 to 27 mph. At the 10 mph cruising speed, Dasher has a range of 40 miles. At faster speeds, its range is 20 to 25 miles. The experience isn’t impeded by noisy boat motors; a gentle waterfall-like sound from the boat’s wake can be heard as the yacht moves through the water. It can be charged back up in four hours with dual 50 amp charging cables. The electric car movement currently suffers from a lack of charging infrastructure, but that’s not an issue with electric boats. Charging ports already dot docks so yachts have a source of electricity for lights and other features aboard; Saladino pointed out the ports were plentiful on the docks where we took a ride on the Dasher. He also said Dasher can be charged with 30 amp cables if a dock doesn’t have the 50 amp cables; it will just take a little longer. With Dasher, Hinckley is also debuting their artisanal teak material, which they describe as a lightweight hand-painted epoxy composite that’s less expensive to maintain and not as heavy as varnished teak wood. That and 3D-printed materials contribute to what is the lightest Hinckley has ever offered in their nearly 90-year history. According to the company, titanium hardware and console details were 3D-printed “to achieve shapes and a level of precision unavailable in typical construction methods.” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Check out the world's first all-electric luxury yacht Join us! We're checking out the world's first all-electric luxury yacht from @TheHinckleyCompany Posted by Inhabitat on Friday, October 20, 2017 A touchscreen on the console allows the captain to easily see their travel radius before they’ll need to recharge the batteries on a map. The console also conveys what percentage of battery power remains. The open layout allows guests to comfortably gather together, and there’s even a retractable windshield so the captain can join in on the fun. Bryant told Inhabitat, “That’s the core experience: having the owner sitting here, casually running the boat; you’ve got all your people around you, you’re enjoying this time, you’re close to the water, you can hear the water. It becomes a very authentic boating experience.” Hinckley is accepting orders for Dasher, which they plan to deliver next summer. + Hinckley Images courtesy of Hinckley and Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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