Trump Tower river violations incur a swift lawsuit by Illinois attorney general

August 15, 2018 by  
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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against the Trump International Hotel & Tower for alleged pollution to the Chicago River and threats to local wildlife. The lawsuit was filed in the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois this Tuesday against the conglomerate, and the suit cites infringements of the EPA’s U.S. Clean Water Act of 1972 . The Clean Water Act protects the waters of the U.S. from being inundated with polluting discharges, and it also sets wastewater standards for industries and residential zones. According to Madigan, this is the issue, put simply, with the Trump Tower building. The structure releases millions of gallons of water from air conditioning and other cooling systems into the river on a daily basis. The residential tower is mandated by the EPA to run studies on the residual impact of its activities to the surrounding river, something it has not done, the attorney general said. Related: Urban Rivers designs a multiplayer Trashbot Game to clean the Chicago River The 92-story tower is posing a threat to aquatic life by destabilizing the ecosystem in the river. “Trump Tower continues to take millions of gallons of water from the Chicago River every day without a permit and without any regard to how it may be impacting the river’s ecosystem,” said Madigan, who has held her position in the Illinois legal system since 2003. Related: Chicago drinking fountains have been running non-stop for months, and the reason why is infuriating The affairs of the building are now under the leadership of President Trump’s two sons since he assumed office in 2016. “We are disappointed that the Illinois Attorney General would choose to file this suit considering such items are generally handled at the administrative level,” representatives of the Trump Organization stated. “One can only conclude that this decision was motivated by politics.” The Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River groups have also recently stated plans to sue the Chicago Trump Tower for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. Via Reuters Image via Daniel Huizinga

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Trump Tower river violations incur a swift lawsuit by Illinois attorney general

Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

August 13, 2018 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects is bringing its modern, sinuous designs to Malta, a nation renowned for its historic sites. Set to become the tallest building in the country, the Mercury Tower will soar to 31 stories and a height of 112 meters in Paceville on the main island’s northeastern coast. The mixed-use tower will twist to separate the programmatic functions and optimize views of the sea. Zaha Hadid Architects’ Mercury Tower will take over a 9,405-square-meter site that had sat unoccupied for more than 20 years. The site is also home to the old Mercury House that dates back to the early 20th century. In addition to designing the strikingly modern Mercury Tower, the architects have been working with Malta’s leading conservation architect to renovate the area’s heritage structures, including the old Mercury House facades, and reuse the existing historic interiors for gathering spaces and as an entrance for the new apartments and hotel. Related: Chris Briffa Architects’ Sustainable Hanging Home Features a Green Roof in Malta The Mercury Tower’s new public amenities — such as cafes, shops and a large piazza with interactive water features — will be set alongside the refurbished Mercury House. The tower comprises nine stories of apartments below and a 19-story hotel volume above. The residences will be aligned with the street while the larger volume stacked above is rotated to position hotel rooms toward the Mediterranean Sea for better views of the water. This rotation — located at the 10th, 11th and 12th floors — also helps reduce solar gain. The insulated facade and carefully positioned glazing also improve the building’s thermal performance and ensure comfort for residents, workers and guests. Zaha Hadid Architects concluded in a statement, “Marrying a variety of public, residential and commercial functions together with the creation of a vibrant new civic space, the redevelopment of Mercury House includes the renovation of derelict heritage structures and responds to the demands of the island’s future socio-economic development.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects, by VA

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Zaha Hadid Architects unveils designs for sculptural Maltese tower

Escape to paradise in this nature-inspired surf hotel in Costa Rica

July 24, 2018 by  
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A beloved surfer hangout has been transformed into the stunning Gilded Iguana Hotel , a breezy and contemporary getaway that, despite its updated amenities, still exudes its original laid-back atmosphere. Located in the Costa Rican beach town of Nosara, the existing hotel was expanded and redesigned under the direction of Studio Saxe , a San Jose-based architecture firm renowned for its beautiful boutique hotel designs. Together with the owners, the architects sensitively restored and revitalized the originally run-down wooden house while imbuing it with bioclimatic design principles as well as other energy-saving systems including a solar photovoltaic panels and water recycling. Spanning an area of approximately 57,500 square feet, the Gilded Iguana Hotel includes a reception, spa, restaurant and bedroom suites all clustered around the communal pool located at the heart of the development. The renovated timber house is visually tied to the new structures through a shared natural materials palette that includes simple wood frames and balconies with hand-made palm thatch “palapas.” The nature-inspired palette continues indoors where sustainably sourced teak, palm thatch, jute fabric and concrete tiles are used alongside modern and locally crafted tropical furniture. “The Gilded Iguana Hotel is designed as a harmonious ‘dialogue’ between the tropical identity of the past and a new toned-down, unpretentious and timeless tropical modernity that sits softly in the landscape and reflects the relaxed town atmosphere which most wish to preserve,” explained Benjamin Garcia Saxe, principal architect and founder of Studio Saxe. Related: Scandinavian-inspired hotel emerges from the lush Costa Rican landscape As with many of Studio Saxe’s projects, the Gilded Iguana Hotel was largely informed by passive solar principles to naturally achieve a comfortable climate year-round. Locally sourced materials and labor were used to help create jobs for the community and reduce the project’s environmental impact. Water is recycled through water treatment systems, and solar energy is harnessed through solar hot water collectors and photovoltaic panels . + Studio Saxe Images by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Escape to paradise in this nature-inspired surf hotel in Costa Rica

This chic Moganshan resort celebrates the local Chinese landscape

July 20, 2018 by  
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Blessed with serene mountain vistas and a rich history, Moganshan also boasts a wide array of beautiful resorts including Anadu, a new rural retreat designed by local architecture firm Studio 8 . Located at the northern foot of the Mogan Mountain in Huzhou, about two hours from Shanghai , the luxury resort embraces its enticing surroundings comprised of lush bamboo forests, tea fields and ancient villas. Constructed with natural materials throughout, the hotel is undeniably connected to its rural setting while still offering a contemporary edge. Completed in 2017, Anadu covers nearly 13,000 square feet spread across three floors. Studio 8 was commissioned to oversee the architecture, interior design and visual identity of the luxury resort, which highlights  local resources from the ingredients used in the restaurant to the selection of construction materials. Following the brand’s motto of “Find yourself in nature,” every floor embraces the outdoors through large windows and stunning water features. “Water itself, and especially a very calm water surface, generates immediately a sense of relax,” explained Studio 8 in a statement. “[We] decided that this element would be the core of the hotel, a connection between the rooms that articulates the structure of the entire building. For that purpose, the roof of each floor was turned into an infinity water feature. By bringing natural elements into the architectural spaces, the design fosters a connection between the building and the outside.” Related: Heatherwick Studio wants to build a tree-covered mountain in the middle of Shanghai The resort’s various rooms are organized in four major narratives inspired by the immediate surroundings. The Tea Room, for instance, faces the white tea fields and is dressed in a material palette echoing the tea theme. To the south, the Mountain Room features a dark gray color palette and a water feature that reflects the distant mountain range. On the east side, the Bamboo Room mimics a bamboo forest with its bamboo wood furnishings and a rice-pink palette. The penthouse suite on the third floor follows the theme of Sky and is surrounded by an infinity pool to create the effect of a “floating island.” + Studio 8 Images by Sven Zhang ???

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This chic Moganshan resort celebrates the local Chinese landscape

Historic warehouses transformed into a swanky boutique hotel in New Orleans

July 12, 2018 by  
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New York City-based architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor tapped into New Orleans’ storied past for its design of The Eliza Jane , a new boutique hotel a few blocks west from the city’s iconic French Quarter. The unique hotel was created from seven centuries-old warehouses that were combined and renovated to form a variety of elegantly dressed spaces including 196 guest rooms with 50 suites, a fitness center, garden courtyard, lounge, restaurant, and lobby. Created as part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, the Eliza Jane hotel was named after Eliza Jane Nicholson, the first woman publisher of a major metropolitan newspaper in the United States. In the late 1800s, Eliza Jane had worked as the publisher of ‘The Daily Picayune,’ which was one of the original warehouse occupants. Moreover, Stonehill Taylor wove references to ‘The Daily Picayune’ and the buildings’ other original occupants—like the Gulf Baking Soda company and the Peychaud Bitters Factory—throughout the adaptive reuse design. The ‘Press Room’ lounge on the ground floor, for instance, is decorated with typewriters and other antiques referencing a 19th-century newsroom. “The intent was to create a quintessentially New Orleans setting, a sophisticated blend of old and new, that pays homage to the building’s past,” says Stonehill Taylor in a statement. “The hotel is built within seven historic warehouses that stand distinct on the outside but have been internally conjoined to create the luxury accommodations with a 2,000-square-foot open-air interior courtyard .” Related: Abandoned NYC warehouse is reinvented as LEED Gold-certified apartments The arrival sequence is anchored by a 60-foot-tall light-filled atrium surrounded by lush greenery and the original exposed brick and slate-colored plaster walls. Repurposed materials can also be found throughout the interior, while new custom wall coverings reference the different historic uses in each building. The opulent material palette is combined with vibrant patterns and rich colors to create a setting that feels luxurious and uniquely New Orleans. + Stonehill Taylor Images via The Eliza Jane

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Historic warehouses transformed into a swanky boutique hotel in New Orleans

100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability

June 18, 2018 by  
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Luxury travel doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. At Six Senses’ new Fiji Resort , visitors can indulge in five-star comforts and minimize their stay’s carbon footprint. Crafted by Auckland design firm Space Studio , this 24-villa resort on Malolo Island is powered entirely with solar energy and promotes environmental awareness throughout. Opened last month, the Six Senses Fiji comprises 24 villas, two restaurants, a lounge, a library, welcome and guest service areas and a spa. The development will soon include a total of 60 privately owned residences — 11 of which have already been completed. The five-star resort blends contemporary design with elements of traditional Fijian culture, which is celebrated in the handiwork and artwork produced by local villagers, the Rise Beyond the Reef charity and the local material palette of grass cloth wallpaper and timber. In addition to cultural awareness, Six Senses Fiji also turns its spotlight on sustainability. The 100 percent solar -powered resort is equipped with its own water filtration plant on site so that staff can bottle water in glass and eliminate single-use plastic bottles. Reusable containers can be found in places like the on-site gourmet deli, and guests are encouraged to return those containers for reuse. Food waste is turned into compost for the resort’s farm and garden with a worm-based septic system. Recyclable waste is sorted in the resort’s “recycling corner,” after which the items are shipped to Denarau Island on the return barges that bring food supplies twice a week. Related: Experience bliss at a luxury Indian spa nestled in a former coffee estate “We also try to have as little waste as possible by creating a lot of our own homemade tonics and bitters using local produce and shrubs, so there’s no waste to begin with,” said Karen Morris, Six Senses Fiji director of sales and marketing. “We’re growing our own kombucha, so we don’t need to ship it in, and we’re creating our own tepache, a fermented pineapple drink.” A luxurious night at Six Senses Fiji starts at $870. + Space Studio + Six Senses Fiji Images via Six Senses Fiji

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100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability

Foster + Partners turn an office tower into Hong Kongs newest luxury hotel

May 25, 2018 by  
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Foster + Partners transformed a former government headquarters tower into a luxury hotel in Hong Kong , and it has just opened its doors to the public. Located on the southern edge of Central with sweeping views of The Peak, the 336-room hotel — named The Murray — not only includes a striking interior overhaul, but also features new street frontage and green space to reconnect the 25-story tower with the urban fabric. The adaptive reuse project preserved the existing self-shading facade to maximize daylight penetration while reducing solar gain. The office tower, known as the Murray Building, was designed in the 1970s during an era that primarily catered to the automobile. To make the site more pedestrian friendly , Foster + Partners created new street frontage and added landscaped parks on the ground level to remove the site’s road-dominated appearance. Inside the building, the architects replaced the former car park with hotel lobbies and restaurants; transformed the plant room spaces into banquet halls, pools and spas; and turned the upper-floor office spaces into guest rooms. Though dramatic, the transformation from office to luxury hotel was sensitively executed in order to preserve the building’s architectural integrity. The architects also took care to retain the original facade, which earned the structure an Energy Efficient Building Award in 1994. The exterior features deeply recessed windows that are carefully positioned to avoid harsh tropical sunlight. Enlarged insulated glazing units improve energy efficiency , while a new suite of luxury materials create the hotel’s sense of grandeur. Related: Foster + Partners unveils sustainable masterplan for India’s new state capital Luke Fox, the Head of Studio for Foster + Partners, said, “Our design for The Murray creates a dialogue between the old and the new – giving the building a new lease of life and a renewed purpose, with a unique sense of character that is embedded within the fabric of the building.” + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , by Nigel Young and Michael Weber

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Foster + Partners turn an office tower into Hong Kongs newest luxury hotel

Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K

May 25, 2018 by  
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DIY home builds are never easy, and rarely cheap, but one ambitious couple managed to create a beautiful tiny home for under $10,000. Taylor and Steph Bode from Nomadic Roots created their sustainable 560-square-foot ‘Earthship’ mainly using reclaimed and repurposed materials. Inspired by the design principles of visionary architect Mike Reynolds and his company, Earthship Biotecture , the couple focused on creating a sustainable home that would employ passive and sustainable features to stay comfortable throughout the seasons, without air conditioning or heat sources. Related: Firefighter’s self-built tiny house is an earthship on wheels Once they found the perfect lot, the couple moved into a 14′ yurt while they slowly started the building process. To begin the project, they planned the home’s perimeters to maximize its potential thermal mass. Built into a south-sloping hill, the east, west, and north walls are buried underground , insulating the home and providing stable indoor temperatures. According to the owners, “The stylistic elements were secondary to creating a functionally competent structure that was well-suited for its environment.” To create the frame for the house, the couple cut down two young redwood trees from an adjacent grove. The siding and trim is crafted from old redwood fence boards. For the rest of the construction materials, Taylor and Steph scoured various sites to find discarded materials that could be reclaimed . They found new uses for countless thrown-away items such as automobile tires, glass bottles and aluminum cans. All of the home’s windows and doors were salvaged or found for free on Craigslist. Although the majority of the walls are buried, the many repurposed windows help flood the interior with an abundance of natural light . The couple created an earthen floor with a mixture of sand, clay, straw and water. After laying the mixture, they finished it with a hemp oil to create a warm, soft look. The Bodes used reclaimed barn wood for the interior walls, and they made or salvaged all their furnishings. + Nomadic Roots Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Taylor Bode via Nomadic Roots

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Couple builds an ‘Earthship’ tiny home for less than $10K

UK government wants to ‘eliminate’ wet wipes in plastic crackdown

May 8, 2018 by  
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It’s not just plastic bottles and plastic bags clogging waterways — wet wipes are a pervasive problem, and the United Kingdom government is planning to banish them in a plastic waste crackdown. A Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesperson told The Independent , “As part of our 25-year environment plan, we have pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, and that includes single-use products like wet wipes.” Many wet wipes, which contain plastic, are still flushed down toilets — and according to the BBC , are behind around 93 percent of sewer blockages in the UK. The Defra spokesperson didn’t say whether or not it would be illegal to sell or buy wet wipes. She did say, “We are continuing to work with manufacturers and retailers of wet wipes to make sure labeling on packaging is clear and people know how to dispose of them properly — and we support the industry’s efforts to make their customers aware of this important issue.” Related: Wet wipe pollution is clogging up riverbeds across the UK The BBC said manufacturers will either have to design wipes free of plastic, or people will have to live without them. They quoted Defra as saying it is “encouraging innovation so that more and more of these products can be recycled and are working with industry to support the development of alternatives, such as a wet wipe product that does not contain plastic and can therefore be flushed.” Besides congesting rivers, wet wipes are also part of so-called fatbergs , or congealed mounds of trash and fat in sewers — and the BBC said fatbergs are mainly comprised of wet wipes. The Independent said there are thought to be at least 12 fatbergs beneath London . Earlier this month, a UK environmental organization revealed over 5,000 wet wipes in a space as big as half of a tennis court near the River Thames . Tens of thousands of the wipes are sold every year in Britain. Via The Independent and the BBC Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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UK government wants to ‘eliminate’ wet wipes in plastic crackdown

Scandinavian-inspired hotel emerges from the lush Costa Rican landscape

May 2, 2018 by  
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European design elements meet Costa Rican craftsmanship in the newly completed Mint Santa Teresa , a modern hotel set into a steep hillside in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. San Jose-based architecture firm Studio Saxe completed the upscale hotel for Swedish owners who fell in love with the beautiful area, which has become a hotspot for surfing and yoga. Built to harmonize with the landscape, the hotel is comprised of pavilion-like structures that step down towards the beach. Mint Santa Teresa has multiple spacious,  pavilion -like guest rooms that fully open up to views of the surrounding nature while preserving privacy. Each room comes with a personal terrace overlooking the ocean in front of the hotel, as well as the tropical gardens behind it. Guests also enjoy access to a rooftop terrace with hammocks , lush landscaping, and elevated views. Rattan furniture sourced from the famous crafts town Sarchí is used throughout the hotel, as are locally sourced materials, such as the caña brava grass ceilings and other custom furniture made from  locally sourced wood. An infinity pool and sunset bar are located at the heart of the hotel, in the communal lounge area where the breakfast buffet is served. Related: Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design “Hotels traditionally became vast objects in the landscape that bear no relation to their surroundings and are devoid of genuine human interaction,” according to architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “At Mint, we endeavored to create a contextual design that adapts to its landscape and offers a new type of experience for a breed of traveler seeking authenticity.” + Studio Saxe

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Scandinavian-inspired hotel emerges from the lush Costa Rican landscape

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