The energy-efficient Aspen tiny home is built tough to withstand Canadian winters

June 11, 2018 by  
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Over the years, tiny homes have popped up everywhere from coastal landscapes to lush woodlands. But now, one Canadian-based builder is proving that tiny homes can be just as resilient in the harsh frigid winters of British Columbia. Borealis Tiny Homes come installed with various features that keep the interior warm and cozy year-round, including radiant underfloor heating, efficient heat recovery ventilation systems and gel fuel fireplaces. Clad in honey-toned cedar and dark metal slats, the company’s latest project, the Aspen, is a luxurious tiny home on wheels  that boasts a a sleek, cabin-inspired design. According to Borealis, the structure was built with locally-sourced materials whenever possible. A local wood mill crafted the Aspen’s interior paneling and loft area. The cedar siding, metal roofing, hardwood flooring and bamboo countertops are also local products. Related: Custom ordered tiny homes provide compact living options without sacrificing on comfort Inside, the tiny home is quite spacious. There is 200 square feet of living area on the lower level and a 68-square-foot upper level sleeping loft.  The living space is bright and airy thanks to several windows that let in optimal natural light . The home is also equipped with LED lighting. The minimalist decor inside the tiny home is custom-made to be extremely space-efficient. The living room has a fold-out sofa and small working area in the corner. Stairs that double as storage space lead up to the kitchen, which is equipped with a beautiful bamboo countertop. The space is installed with full-sized appliances, and there is additional space for a dishwasher or washer/dryer combo. The sleeping loft , which is big enough for a queen-sized bed, is accessed by climbing some steps up onto a landing and then into bed. Thanks to the high ceiling, the bedroom is incredibly spacious, especially when compared to traditional tiny homes. The Aspen is also equipped with various energy-efficient features to withstand the cold Canadian climate. The radiant flooring has an additional heat recovery system to keep the home at a pleasant temperature all year long. The temperature is also maintained by a gel fuel fireplace, which provides a nice ambiance for the cabin-like tiny house. + Borealis Tiny Homes Via New Atlas Images via Borealis Tiny Homes

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The energy-efficient Aspen tiny home is built tough to withstand Canadian winters

Iceberg-inspired Greenland cultural center celebrates 20 years of resilience in the Arctic

February 21, 2017 by  
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Greenland’s harsh arctic climates are notoriously unforgiving, which makes the Katuaq Cultural Centre of Greenland’s 20th anniversary all the more impressive. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects completed the cultural and artistic center in February 1997 and forged a meeting space open to locals, the international Inuit community, and visitors from around the world. Located in Nuuk, the award-winning Katuaq Cultural Centre is largely inspired by the environment, from its iceberg-like massing to its timber unudulating screen that acts as an architectural metaphor for the northern lights . Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won an international competition for the Katuaq Cultural Centre in 1992 with its conceptual designs of a dramatic building inspired by the Greenlandic landscape. The 4,800-square-meter undulating building features a triangular monolithic body that mimics an iceberg , a “floating” second skin made up of golden larch wood that alludes to the northern lights , and a bright, white foyer space that references snow and ice. Natural light illuminates the foyer through roof lights and narrow oblong glass slits in the timber screen. The foyer leads to a theater, cinema, and cafe. Related: Greenland’s wooden Icefjord Center will offer sweeping views of the glacial landscape “Winning the competition to design the Cultural Centre in Greenland was a major breakthrough for our studio as our first project on an international scale. It spearheaded our architectural ambition to create cultural buildings with a strong sense of place and a space that acts as a meeting place for people,” says Founding Partner Morten Schmidt. “The challenge of constructing a sustainable building that could withstand the arctic climate conditions also brought us new knowledge about which materials we should use.” The Katuaq Cultural Centre has stood the test of time and welcomes approximately 100,000 visitors every year, an impressive number given Greenland’s estimated population of 56,500. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Iceberg-inspired Greenland cultural center celebrates 20 years of resilience in the Arctic

NASA scientists propose to make Pluto a planet again

February 21, 2017 by  
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Alan Stern has never been happy with Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet. Principal investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission, he told Gizmodo the International Astronomical Union’s new definition of a planet, which excludes Pluto, is “bullshit.” So he and a team of other NASA scientists have submitted a proposal to the IAU to once again refine the definition of what makes a planet, which would not only include Pluto , but also pretty much any round object in space that is smaller than a star. In the introduction of the new proposal , the scientists express concern that Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet diminishes its standing in the public perception. Apparently a lot of people want to know why NASA sent New Horizons to Pluto if it’s not a planet anymore. To mitigate the public’s concern, they propose a “geophysically-based definition of “planet” that importantly emphasizes a body’s intrinsic physical properties over its extrinsic orbital properties.” In this case, a planet would be “a sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has sufficient self-gravitation to assume a spheroidal shape adequately described by a triaxial ellipsoid regardless of its orbital parameters.” Related: New evidence of clouds could make Pluto a planet again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmqDpuDLVYw As Gizmodo points out, such a definition would make a lot more objects in space planets, including Earth’s moon , but the existing definition excludes a lot of space bodies that deserve new consideration. Here are a few of NASA’s concerns with the existing definition of planets, as broken down by Science Alert: “First, it recognises as planets only those objects orbiting our Sun, not those orbiting other stars or orbiting freely in the galaxy as ‘rogue planets’,” they explain. Second, the fact that it requires zone-clearing means “no planet in our Solar System” can satisfy the criteria, since a number of small cosmic bodies are constantly flying through planetary orbits – including Earth’s. Finally, and “most severely”, they say, this zone-clearing stipulation means the mathematics used to confirm if a cosmic body is actually a planet must be distance-dependent, because a “zone” must be clarified. This would require progressively larger objects in each successive zone, and “even an Earth-sized object in the Kuiper Belt would not clear its zone.” While Stern formerly expressed concern that astronomers, not planetary scientists, have control over this definition, the final decision rests with the IAU. Pluto fans stay tuned. Via Gizmodo Images via NASA

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NASA scientists propose to make Pluto a planet again

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