LEED-targeted Pirelli 39 features a carbon-absorbing vertical forest in Milan

March 23, 2021 by  
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Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Stefano Boeri Architetti have won an international competition to regenerate Milan’s Porta Nuova Gioia area with the sustainable renovation and expansion of the Pirelli 39 tower. Commissioned by real estate investment fund company COIMA SGR, the mixed-use project will not only inject new life into the region with the creation of over 5,000 jobs but will also be designed to meet high sustainability standards and target LEED Platinum, WELL Gold and WiredScore certifications. The project will include a vertical forest — a skyscraper wrapped in 1,700 square meters of vegetation — topped with solar panels and capable of producing nine tons of oxygen and absorbing 14 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Developed as part of a larger urban regeneration project that will include Pirelli 35 and Gioia 20, the Pirelli 39 project occupies a strategic location between Central Station and Scalo Farini. Rather than tear down the structurally problematic Pirelli 39 tower and start anew, the architects instead decided to thoroughly renovate the building to meet modern office building standards and high-performance sustainability targets.  Related: France’s first Vertical Forest will add a “hectare of forest” to Paris’ skyline The renovated Pirelli 39 tower will be paired with a wood-framed residential tower planted with seasonally interesting vegetation on multiple floors. The densely packed landscaping is expected to function like a 10,000-square-meter forest. The tower will also be topped with 2,770 square meters of photovoltaic panels expected to generate 85% of the building’s energy needs. The final feature of the mixed-use project is the Bridge building, which will house an events space, meeting and wellness areas and a biodiverse greenhouse . The greenhouse will be a dedicated laboratory that serves as an extension of the Biblioteca degli Alberi (Library of Trees), a popular park and botanical garden. The project’s overall level of operational carbon dioxide emissions are aligned with the EU 2050 objectives. + Diller Scofidio + Renfro + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Stefano Boeri Architetti

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LEED-targeted Pirelli 39 features a carbon-absorbing vertical forest in Milan

Florida cracks down on reptile pet trade

March 23, 2021 by  
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Florida’s warm temperatures and lush flora help new residents thrive — but some of those transplants are eating the very ecosystem that’s sustaining them. And we’re not talking about New Yorkers. No, certain newbies of the herpetological kind have become reptiles non grata, and Florida is saying “no more.” Last month, the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously decided to ban possession and breeding of a list of 16 nonnative  invasive species . “We have to put our foot down,” said chairman Rodney Barreto. “The time has come to take a bold stand against these real threats to our  environment .” Related: UK plans to reduce grey squirrel population via contraceptives The charges against these bad guests? Green iguanas disturb private moments by crawling out of toilets, Nile monitors scarf burrowing owls and Argentine tegu lizards feast on  turtle  eggs. Most notorious of all, Burmese pythons have been decimating the Everglades’ small mammal population since about 1979. These reptiles are escapees of the pet trade, which is huge in Florida. The hot temperatures are ideal for breeding reptiles. Reptile breeders are livid about the new ban. Many will have to move out of state or find a new trade. The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers has claimed that the ban is a betrayal of their attempt to try to come up with a compromise that would have still allowed pythons, green iguanas, green anacondas, Nile monitors and tegus to be bred and owned in Florida. Breeders blame Governor DeSantis, who is trying to rid the Everglades of pythons. While the newly banned reptiles have their fans, these aren’t your cute little bearded dragons. Tegus are considered smart, able to recognize their owners and even affectionate, but not everybody is equipped to have a four-foot lizard in the house. Nile monitors are very beautiful lizards but known for aggressive temperaments, powerful bites and lashing tails. And at 20 to 30 feet long and up to 550 pounds, few people are suited to bring home a green anaconda. As  Reptile Magazine  puts it, “Captive-bred anacondas can make calm, tractable pets when raised properly, but they do get large, and their strength should be respected.”  The new rules will be phased in over the coming months, with a total ban on commercial breeding of iguanas, tegus and certain snakes in effect as of June 2024. Pet owners can keep their existing pets , as long as outdoor enclosures meet new standards to safely contain herpetological Houdinis. But when their anacondas and Nile monitors pass away, people will have to replace them with something Florida deems reasonable. Maybe a cat or dog. Via Washington Post , Miami Herald Lead image via Pixabay

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Florida cracks down on reptile pet trade

Architects design a rooftop nature conservatory in Hong Kong

February 3, 2021 by  
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A design team led by PLandscape and LAAB Architects has brought a rooftop nature conservatory in Hong Kong to life. The Nature Discovery Park will offer a plethora of nature-based learning experiences with a biodiversity museum, an outdoor farm to provide farm-to-table dining, a butterfly garden and more. The park is found at the center of Hong Kong on the top level of the popular K11 MUSEA shopping mall. The urban location offers city residents (who otherwise would have little to no access to farm life) an opportunity to experience their food in a whole new light. Design-wise, the protective pitched roof and reflection of the crops against glass competes with the city’s skyscrapers, helping to remind Hong Kong’s citizens that the natural world and urban life can coexist. Related: Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden At the center of the park is a glass greenhouse encasing an organic hydroponic nursery leading out to an organized, outdoor farm. The structure features steel and aluminum cladding in its frame, with the glass facade included to reduce heat gain and large sliding doors to promote natural ventilation. All door handles, pendant lamps and tables are made of sustainably harvested wood. In order to reduce construction waste, the greenhouse was prefabricated and installed onsite. In addition to hosting farm-to-table meals with the ingredients grown onsite, the park offers tours, nature explorations and education programs that focus on subjects such as biodiversity and sustainability. Guests of the farm-to-table restaurant have the option of exploring the gardens and learning more about their food’s growing conditions and urban farming in general before enjoying a meal. The museum itself features an aquarium designed to reflect the marine species that would be present in the nearby Victoria Harbor without pollution. The building features a rooftop butterfly garden growing pollinator-friendly plants to attract Hong Kong’s diverse populations of butterflies. + LAAB Architects Photography by Otto Ng of LAAB Architects via v2com

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Architects design a rooftop nature conservatory in Hong Kong

Agrodomes are individual greenhouses for budding crops

January 29, 2021 by  
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Farmers and backyard gardeners often find themselves rolling the dice in regards to when to safely transport seedlings from the greenhouse to the ground. It can be a crucial decision, as plants are vulnerable to heavy rain, hail or dry conditions. To facilitate healthy plant growth, Agrodome is a solution that eliminates the need for a greenhouse altogether. Designed by Agustin Otegui of NOS Design Consulting in collaboration with Jorge Álvarez, Agrodome is a modular dome for outdoor crops. With its transparent design, it allows farmers to germinate seeds directly in the field rather than growing them in a greenhouse only to transplant them into the field later. In essence, these domes act as individual greenhouses by protecting the plants from harsh weather and providing a temperature-controlled growing environment. Related: Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming Agrodomes are made from natural polymers and recycled PET , so they are fully recyclable at the end of their useful product life. Each dome measures 3 square feet, and the height is easily adjusted by simply pulling it up or pushing it deeper into the soil. The translucent upper part of the dome is ventilated to allow oxygen exchange for controlling humidity and temperature. A narrowed center portion works as a funnel, diverting water directly underground so it doesn’t flood the budding plants and allows the soil to achieve better absorption. The bottom portion of the funnel features holes that further disperse the water beneath the surface of the soil. Agrodome is designed to be lightweight yet strong. This allows farmers to easily stack, store and transport it. It also makes it easy to move the domes from one section of the field to another as different sections of the field are ready to plant or as plants are ready to thrive without the Agrodome. The modular aspect means it can be used for a variety of crops in different parts of the field at the same time, taking advantage of natural light and catering to the needs of each plant. + NOS Design Consulting Images via NOS Design Consulting

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Agrodomes are individual greenhouses for budding crops

Agrodomes are individual greenhouses for budding crops

January 29, 2021 by  
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Farmers and backyard gardeners often find themselves rolling the dice in regards to when to safely transport seedlings from the greenhouse to the ground. It can be a crucial decision, as plants are vulnerable to heavy rain, hail or dry conditions. To facilitate healthy plant growth, Agrodome is a solution that eliminates the need for a greenhouse altogether. Designed by Agustin Otegui of NOS Design Consulting in collaboration with Jorge Álvarez, Agrodome is a modular dome for outdoor crops. With its transparent design, it allows farmers to germinate seeds directly in the field rather than growing them in a greenhouse only to transplant them into the field later. In essence, these domes act as individual greenhouses by protecting the plants from harsh weather and providing a temperature-controlled growing environment. Related: Sead Pod offers grassroots solution to air pollution and global warming Agrodomes are made from natural polymers and recycled PET , so they are fully recyclable at the end of their useful product life. Each dome measures 3 square feet, and the height is easily adjusted by simply pulling it up or pushing it deeper into the soil. The translucent upper part of the dome is ventilated to allow oxygen exchange for controlling humidity and temperature. A narrowed center portion works as a funnel, diverting water directly underground so it doesn’t flood the budding plants and allows the soil to achieve better absorption. The bottom portion of the funnel features holes that further disperse the water beneath the surface of the soil. Agrodome is designed to be lightweight yet strong. This allows farmers to easily stack, store and transport it. It also makes it easy to move the domes from one section of the field to another as different sections of the field are ready to plant or as plants are ready to thrive without the Agrodome. The modular aspect means it can be used for a variety of crops in different parts of the field at the same time, taking advantage of natural light and catering to the needs of each plant. + NOS Design Consulting Images via NOS Design Consulting

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Agrodomes are individual greenhouses for budding crops

Hothouse installation grows tropical plants in the middle of London

October 26, 2020 by  
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London-based architecture practice Studio Weave has filled a greenhouse with tropical plants in London to highlight the reality of climate change. Known as Hothouse, the large-scale installation project is located at International Quarter London, a business development built in a subdivision of Stratford and close to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The design is inspired by a Victorian glasshouse, and at 7 meters tall, the installation is held up using a galvanized steel frame and cables. The structure provides a controlled environment specifically for cultivating warm-weather plants that are unsuitable to the U.K.’s climate. It is reminiscent of the 20-mile stretch of land across the Lee Valley corridor, which once housed more than 1,300 acres of greenhouse in the 1930s. These greenhouses of the past famously facilitated the production of ornamental flowers and tropical crops like grapes and cucumbers that wouldn’t normally grow in the region. Related: Student designs inflatable bamboo greenhouses for sustainable farming Poised to be on display for at least a year, the new Hothouse will be expertly regulated to help these same types of plants thrive once again. Working with garden designer Tom Massey, the architects at Studio Weave developed a cultivation plan to include plants from all over the world: guava, orange, squash, chia, avocado, pomegranate, quinoa, mango, sweet potato, lemon, sugarcane, chickpea, loquat and pineapple. It’s not just about growing tropical crops; the Hothouse is also designed to highlight the rapidly changing climate . The project serves as a warning to the idea that, should global warming continue to accelerate as some scientists predict, the U.K.’s climate could potentially become warm enough to grow these tropical plants outside by 2050. “Amid the strangeness of the COVID era of the last few months, reduced human activity has produced what feels like a profound shift in the environment, progressing a much-needed dialogue that will hopefully translate into sustained action and change,” said Je Ahn, founder of Studio Weave. “We hope this little hot house acts as a continual reminder of our fragile relationship with nature, while allowing us to rediscover the simple and enriching pleasure of looking after beautiful plants.” + Studio Weave Via Dezeen Images via Studio Weave

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Hothouse installation grows tropical plants in the middle of London

Breathtaking Coral Greenhouse raises environmental awareness for the Great Barrier Reef

June 24, 2020 by  
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Acclaimed British sculptor and marine conservationist Jason deCaires Taylor has recently completed the Coral Greenhouse, his first-ever underwater building and the largest installation at Australia’s newly opened Museum of Underwater Art in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Constructed in nearly a year’s time, the monumental project weighs around 58 metric tons and comprises diverse scenes of study — from marine science and coral gardening to environmental art and architecture — to raise awareness and understanding of the Great Barrier Reef and its ecology. In addition to providing a fascinating new dive site for scuba divers, the Coral Greenhouse and its 20-plus “Reef Guardian” sculptures will provide new reef habitat for local marine creatures.  Specially crafted for the ocean within a natural inlet of John Brewer Reef, the 12-meter-tall Coral Greenhouse and the surrounding sculptures are made from pH neutral cement compounds, zinc anodes and corrosion-resistant 316 stainless steel. Triangular cross sections feature low centers of gravity for stability while the extensive cement base with integrated cyclone tethers protect against adverse weather conditions. Figurative sculptures — cast from children from local and international schools — as well as locally inspired gardens and paving are placed in and around the Coral Greenhouse as a reminder of our precious relationship with the marine world. Related: Explore eerie wonders at the Museum of Underwater Art “The design of the greenhouse is biomorphic, its form determined by the forces of nature,” deCaires Taylor said in a press statement. “As the Greenhouse is slowly colonized and built upon by the reef , it will be gradually absorbed into its surroundings, illustrating an organic architectural philosophy which centers on the unification and connection of designs to their surroundings. The porous skeletal structure provides a space suitable for ever changing marine conditions, a refuge for marine species. It allows for excellent overhead light penetration and dive access.” Located offshore from Townsville, the Coral Greenhouse is accessed via three large 2-meter entrances. There is expansive floor space to give divers enough room to comfortably rest and explore the artworks .  + Museum of Underwater Art Photography by Matt Curnock via Museum of Underwater Art

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Breathtaking Coral Greenhouse raises environmental awareness for the Great Barrier Reef

New study sheds light on Antarctic sea ice mystery

June 24, 2020 by  
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By now, most people have heard about polar ice melting due to  global warming . But the coming and going of the sea ice surrounding Antarctica still leaves scientists puzzled. Recent research has shed light on changes in sea ice. Antarctica is known for its dynamic  sea ice , which contracts and extends seasonally, yet unpredictably. The drop in sea ice from 2015 to 2016 was staggering — 463,322 square miles, about twice the size of France. The following year, a Netherlands-sized hole melted within the sea ice. Geologists call this unfrozen expanse of open water within ice a polynya. Related: New map exposes secrets of Antarctica’s green snow So, what is happening to Antarctica’s sea ice? Recently,  Geophysical Research Letters  published new satellite research paired with data collected from ocean-faring floats. This research suggests that extremely powerful  storms  in the Weddell Sea whipped up warm winds, which lashed the icepack and brought on the 2015-2016 France-size melt. Storms started in September 2015, and the heat continued, causing the region’s hottest November on record. This weather created Antarctica’s first polynya in almost forty years. The polynya’s dark water absorbed more solar heat, leading to more melting. Then, another storm struck in December, further shrinking the ice. On March 24, 2015,  Antarctica  experienced its then-highest ever recorded temperature of 63.5 degrees. This February, the icy continent broke that record when it hit 65 degrees. “Variability in Antarctic sea ice extent is very large, and detecting an anthropogenic signal is going to be difficult,” said John Turner, a climate expert with the British Antarctic Survey, as reported by  Earther . “The increase up to 2014 was a surprise, considering the ice loss in the Arctic, and the rapid drop in 2016 added to the long list of questions about Antarctic sea ice. It’s unclear whether the sea ice extent will recover to 2014 values or if this the start of the long-term decline expected as  greenhouse gas  concentrations increase.” + Earther Images via Pexels and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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New study sheds light on Antarctic sea ice mystery

Resurrected greenhouse to honor father of modern genetics

April 10, 2020 by  
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International architecture and urban design practice  CHYBIK + KRISTOF has unveiled designs for an energy-efficient greenhouse to commemorate Gregor Mendel, a scientist and Augustinian friar regarded as the founder of the modern science of genetics. Set on the foundations of the 19th-century Brno greenhouse where Mendel conducted his pioneering experiments, the new greenhouse will pay homage to the original architecture and Mendel’s teachings. The greenhouse is slated for completion in 2022 to commemorate Mendel’s birth 200 years ago.  Born in 1822, Gregor Mendel spent eight seasons, from 1856 to 1863, cultivating and breeding pea plants in a 19th-century greenhouse that had been built in the St. Thomas Augustinian Abbey’s gardens to cement the monastery as a leading center for scientific research. In 1870, however, a storm destroyed the building, leaving only its foundations intact today. The experiments that Mendel had conducted within the greenhouse are now widely recognized as the foundation of modern genetics .  CHYBIK + KRISTOF’s resurrection of the historic greenhouse begins with the preservation of the foundations that will be integrated into the new structure and left visible. The foundations will inform the orientation and shape of the greenhouse, which will be reminiscent of the original building. “While the trapezoidal volume is identical to the original edifice, the reimagined supporting steel structure seeks inspiration from Mendel’s three laws of inheritance – and the drawings of his resulting heredity system,” explained the architects. “Likewise, the pitched roof, consisting of a vast outer glass surface, reflects his law of segregation and the distribution of inherited traits, and is complemented by a set of modular shades.” Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse In addition to celebrating Mendel’s work, the revived structure will primarily be used as a flexible events space that can adapt to a variety of functions, from conferences and lectures to temporary exhibitions. The flexible design will also be entirely exposed to the outdoors. For energy efficiency, the architects have integrated a concealed system of underground heat pumps  into the greenhouse, as well as adjustable shades and embedded blinds to facilitate natural cooling and ventilation.  + CHYBIK + KRISTOF Images by monolot and CHYBIK + KRISTOF

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Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse

December 23, 2019 by  
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In the historic center of Oberhausen, Berlin-based architectural firm Kuehn Malvezzi has created a job center topped with a greenhouse in an unprecedented example of “building-integrated agriculture” in Germany. Named Altmarktgarten Oberhausen, the mixed-use facility symbolizes old and new: the brick-and-steel material palette references the area’s historic architecture, while the greenhouse serves as a place for innovative urban farming research. For a reduced environmental footprint, the architects installed systems for recycling rainwater, gray water and waste heat from the building operations. Created in collaboration with landscape architects atelier le balto and awarded the winner in a 2016 architecture competition, the mixed-use facility was constructed on the site of an old market hall at Oberhausen’s Altmarkt. The first five stories of the building function as a job center, while the top floor and rooftop greenhouse are used by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT). An interior courtyard with a vertical garden helps visually connect the sawtooth-roofed greenhouse with the brick building below. The vertical garden — which comprises hardy climbing plants, like the crimson glory vine and common hop, on a galvanized steel structure — are complemented with a bed of small shrubs and ground cover plantings. Related: A “floating” greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home “The building, designed by Kuehn Malvezzi, blends confidently but calmly into the historical city,” the architects said. “The specificity of this important urban location results from the tension between the physicality of the brick building and the filigree lightness of the rooftop greenhouse planned in cooperation with Haas Architekten. From the regularity of its structure, the greenhouse on each of the three sides of the street forms its own conclusion, which responds sensitively to each context.” To access the greenhouse, visitors are led from a lime tree-lined market square, past the courtyard with the vertical garden and up a steel staircase to the roof. Operated by the municipality, the publicly accessible greenhouse overlooks views of Oberhausen’s historic center and the city beyond. + Kuehn Malvezzi Photography by Hiepler Brunier via Kuehn Malvezzi

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Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse

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