Red Mountain Retreat captures the essence of the rugged Icelandic landscape

November 13, 2017 by  
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The Red Mountain Retreat captures the mystique and mystery of the Icelandic landscape. Johanners Torpe Studios designed the proposal for a spa and wellness retreat that offers an escape from the stresses of everyday life and provides stunning views of a nearby glacier. The resort is located on the Western peninsula of Snæfellsness, where the river meets the sea. It faces a majestic glacier covered stratovolcano and references old Icelandic tales that celebrate the union between man and nature. The design explores the interplay between nature and architecture and aims to facilitate a journey of self-discovery. This is done by exposing the guest to nature in various ways, whilst maintaining a sense of protection and basic principles of shelter. Related: The world’s first 100% solar-powered five-star resort has opened The spa sits at the heart of the resort and captures several natural elements to create wind tunnels, fire baths and ice pools. The outdoor lagoon looks like a natural extension of the river and features shallow passages, areas with currents, and still water pools . Concrete reinterprets the rocky landscape of the surroundings, creating contrasting rough and smooth textures, as well as patterns inspired by those found in the layers of the turf houses. Green roofs references traditional building techniques and intensify the connection between the architecture and nature. + Johannes Torpe Studios [galley]

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Red Mountain Retreat captures the essence of the rugged Icelandic landscape

Bright blue trekking tents are designed to pop up with speed in Iceland

November 13, 2017 by  
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As if Iceland’s gorgeous waterfall-studded landscape wasn’t enough to draw the eye, Stockholm-based Utopia Arkitekter has designed a bright blue cabin for installation along the country’s most famous trekking trails. Created for a competition, the Skýli (“shelter” in Icelandic) is a rugged yet beautiful structure that takes after the classic tent shape. These off-grid shelters are designed for minimal landscape impact and are estimated to take two to three days for on-site assembly. Skýli was designed for high visibility with its four triangular gables and steel cladding painted bright blue, a hue reminiscent of Reykjavik’s colorful urban architecture. Each structure comprises four rooms: two bedrooms; a multipurpose kitchen area and first aid room; and a dining room with storage space. The cabin accommodates 15 people. Four triangular triple-glazed windows let in natural light and frame views, while the inner shell and furnishings are made from light-colored cross-laminated timber . Utopia Arkitekter designed Skýli for quick and easy installation anywhere on the landscape with efficient delivery via helicopter. A system of plinths would serve as stable foundation for the cabin’s weather-resistant steel shell painted with GreenCoat® , the only product on the market using Swedish rapeseed oil instead of fossil fuel-based oils. “Skýli is designed for pristine environments where sustainable development is of the highest importance. Materials need to be eco-conscious, while also resistant to extreme weather, which is one of the reasons we decided to choose GreenCoat steel for the roof,” said Mattias Litström, from Utopia Arkitekter. Related: Compact floating cabin pops up in extreme remote locations Each cabin would be equipped with a solar panel and battery for limited energy storage. Rainwater can be collected from the roof and can be purified for potable use. Liquified petroleum gas powers the kitchen appliances and can be used for heating when necessary. The Skýli trekking cabin was recently nominated for the World Architecture Festival Award 2017 in the category “Leisure-led Development – Future Projects.” + Utopia Arkitekter

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Bright blue trekking tents are designed to pop up with speed in Iceland

Iceland’s largest volcano is on the verge of eruption

November 2, 2017 by  
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Bardarbunga, the largest volcano in Iceland , is preparing to erupt. And if it does, it could send an enormous ash cloud across Europe, affecting travel, air quality, and agriculture. Encased under the Vatnajokull glacier, the 6,590 foot volcano has been hit by four earthquakes measuring up to 4.7 on the Richter scale within the past week. “The reason for the earthquakes in this place is that the volcano Bardarbunga is inflating, i.e. the pressure of magma in the magma chamber is increasing,” said seismology expert Páll Einarsson to the Daily Star . “It has been doing this since the last eruption ended, in February 2015.” When Bardarbunga last erupted in 2014, it made news as the largest eruption Europe had seen in 240 years. Although the eruption did not affect travel, it did negatively impact air quality throughout Europe. Several years earlier, in 2010, volcanic eruptions at Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland spewed out a massive ash cloud, which caused enormous travel disruptions throughout Europe. During the relatively small eruptions and their aftermath, 20 countries shut down their airspace to commercial flights while 10 million travelers were affected by the disruptions. Related: Climate change and volcanic eruptions could lead to years without summer Although the recent earthquakes are signs of a future volcanic eruption, that does not mean that the eruption is imminent. “The volcano is clearly preparing for its next eruption, that may happen in the next few years,” said Einarsson. “The earthquakes last week are just the symptoms of this process, they do not cause the volcano to erupt.” However, it is better to prepare now than be caught off-guard later, particularly since Bardarbunga’s glacier-bound status may cause a particularly violent eruption. Dr. Thomas Walter of the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences told the Daily Mirror , “In that case, we’d have had a water vapor explosion with a volcanic ash cloud even bigger and longer lasting than the one that followed the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010”. Via International Business Times Images via Peter Hartree/Flickr (1)

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Iceland’s largest volcano is on the verge of eruption

Kepler data reveals 20 potential habitable worlds

November 2, 2017 by  
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Many people once thought Earth was unique in outer space in its ability to support life. Recent discoveries could shatter that notion, like one new analysis of information from the Kepler Space Telescope . An international team led by Susan Thompson of the SETI Institute has discovered there might be 20 worlds where life could dwell. There could be as many as 20 habitable planets in space , according to this new discovery. One of the most promising worlds is KOI-7923.01. It’s 97 percent Earth’s size, and has a year comprised of 395 days. It is a bit colder than Earth – think more tundra and less tropical island – but it is warm enough, and it’s big enough to hold liquid water so crucial for life. Jeff Coughlin of the NASA Ames Research Center told New Scientist, “If you had to choose one to send a spacecraft to, it’s not a bad option.” Related: First hints of water detected on Earth-sized TRAPPIST-1 planets Many of the habitable worlds orbit stars similar to the sun. The star KOI-7923.01 orbits is a little colder than the sun, and that fact together with the exoplanet’s distance away makes KOI-7923.01 cooler than Earth. The time to complete an orbit varies among the potentially habitable worlds – at 395 days, KOI-7923.01 takes the longest. Some of the worlds finish an orbit in mere Earth weeks, or months. The quickest orbit is just 18 Earth days. Coughlin told New Scientist his team is around 70 to 80 percent sure these habitable worlds are solid candidates – they’ll need to confirm their hunch with further observations, such as from the Hubble Space Telescope or ground-based observatories. The original Kepler mission unearthed the planets, but it gazed at the same part of the sky for just four years until its reaction wheels broke, hindering its aiming ability. That means we’ve only glimpsed the planets just once or twice, and, according to New Scientist , the signals could be wobbly. The scientists recently submitted their research to a journal in the middle of October. Via New Scientist Images via NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle and NASA/W. Stenzel

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Kepler data reveals 20 potential habitable worlds

Worlds first negative emissions power plant opens in Iceland

October 13, 2017 by  
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Go, Iceland! On Wednesday, the nation flipped the switch on the world’s first power plant that eliminates more CO2 than it produces. The pilot program, which is operated by Climeworks , can remove an estimated 50 metric tons of CO2 from the air each year. The gases aren’t just contained; rather, they are turned into limestone where they will remain for at least one million years. The process works by capturing the CO2 from ambient air using Climeworks’ patented filter. The geothermal power plant then heats up the filter using low-grade heat; this extracts pure carbon dioxide . The gases are then bound to water and sent 700 meters deep into the ground. When CO2 reacts with basaltic bedrock, it forms a permanent solid mineral. Quartz reports that by burying the harmful greenhouse gases in rock, the odorless gas is prevented from being released for at least one million years. The project is still in its pilot stage, but scientists with Climeworks are optimistic that similar negative emissions plants could be rolled out across the globe. There are some challenges to this vision, however. The process isn’t exactly cheap, for instance. Climeworks estimates that it costs $600 to extract just one ton of CO2 from the air. Related: Midwest greenhouse heated with geothermal energy produces citrus year-round for $1 per day By the end of 2017, the full capacity of the plant is expected to be 900 tonnes per year — but that’s only the equivalent of the annual emissions of 45 American people. Nonetheless, the company remains hopeful that this is the beginning. Said Christoph Gebald, the founder and CEO of Climeworks, “The potential of scaling-up our technology in combination with CO2 storage, is enormous.” By 2025, the company seeks to cut costs to $100 a tonne and capture 1 percent of man-made carbon emissions each year. There are no details on how this will be accomplished, but with investors such as Bill Gates and the European Space Agency throwing money into research for “direct air capture,” it could be accomplished. Of course, it’s still important — now more than ever — that the general populace adopts sustainable habits , as data from the UN shows that humans are far from reaching the 2 degrees Celsius limit set by the Climate Agreement. + Climeworks Via Quartz Images via Climeworks , Arni Saeberg , Sandra O Snaebjornsdottir

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Worlds first negative emissions power plant opens in Iceland

8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list

May 11, 2017 by  
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Need an escape but don’t want to harm the environment in the process? There are hotels throughout the world centered around sustainability – from a seaside resort in Thailand that grows 100% of its produce to a self-sustaining vacation spot in Mexico. Featuring beautiful design and eco-friendly accommodations, these hotels allow you to satisfy your wanderlust in a conscious way. Hit the jump to check out the eight green hotels we’ve rounded up, and get your adventure started. Blue Lagoon hotel connects with Icelandic landscape When you think of Iceland , you probably think of the famous Blue Lagoon , colored via minerals in waste – but safe! – seawater from a nearby geothermal plant. But you may not know there’s a new resort, the Moss Hotel, under construction there, perched near the pools. The resort design is meant to connect seamlessly with the landscape. Visitors can explore lava corridors and waterfalls in a subterranean spa , and a new restaurant will feature seasonal and local ingredients. The 62-room hotel will open this fall. Related: Solar-powered cylindrical treehouse in Mexico is made with sustainable bamboo Thailand resort grows 100 percent of its produce Traveling to Thailand ? Look no further than The Tongsai Bay Hotel . The hotel was constructed with the environment in mind; not even one tree was cut down to make room for the family-owned resort. 66 species of birds and wildlife reside within the hotel’s 28 and a half acres. The resort also grows 100 percent of its produce , with food waste getting a second life as fertilizer. They practice radical reuse; a few examples include reusing old bathtubs as planters and old sheets as napkins. 121-year-old warehouse on Singapore River given new life as chic hotel An old Singapore warehouse – that once acted as an opium den – got a second chance as the classy Warehouse Hotel . The waterfront warehouse is 121 years old, but Zarch Collaboratives gave it new life with a design inspired by its industrial past in 37 rooms and a double-height lobby. The hotel kept some original elements of the warehouse like its peaked roofs and renovated others like the louvre windows. Self-sustaining Mexico resort incorporates permaculture principles Near Tulum, Mexico rests a self-sustaining, eco-luxe villa that’s the stuff of travel daydreams. The resort designed by Specht Architects is cooled in part by large cutouts in the walls and insulated with native plants adorning the roof. Solar-powered , the villa collects and filters rainwater for use. It even utilizes constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment. Not only does the hotel boast impressive sustainability but stunning bay views and gorgeous modern design as well. Switzerland visitors enjoy connection to nature in open-air hotel Brothers and artists Frank and Patrik Riklin took sleeping under the stars to a whole new level with their one-room, open-air hotel in Switzerland – with no walls or roof. Visitors to the second reincarnation of Null Stern (the first being a nuclear bunker turned luxury hotel) may not have access to a bathroom but do have a butler for the night who will bring breakfast in bed. The minimalist experience provides stunning views of the Swiss Alps . Sweden’s famed Treehotel welcomes Snøhetta-designed 7th room amidst the pines Treehotel , a collection of designer treehouses in Sweden , recently welcomed their 7th room designed by Snøhetta . The cabin is lifted over 30 feet above ground and immerses guests among the enveloping pine trees – Snøhetta said their goal was to bring nature and people closer together. Massive windows and skylights afford opportunities to gaze at the Northern Lights, and a pine tree print across the bottom of the cabin makes it appear invisible from underneath. Locally sourced, natural materials comprise spruce-clad Swedish hotel As you might guess, there’s more than one eco hotel in Sweden. Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture designed Öijared Hotel with a similar aim of blending the buildings into surrounding nature . Locally sourced and natural materials were used in the hotel’s 34 prefabricated rooms. Natural wood materials inside add to the earthy aesthetic. Whimsical hotel in Romania built with sand and clay In Romania , a storybook hotel built of clay and sand, hearkens back to both ancient stories and ancient building techniques. The Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor , designed by owners Razvan and Gabriela Vasile along with eco architect Ileana Mavrodin , includes 10 rooms and was constructed without drawing on any modern building techniques. Natural materials , shaped by local craftsmen, give the hotel a fairytale feel. Images via Blue Lagoon , Laura Mordas-Schenkein for Inhabitat, Warehouse Hotel , © Taggart Sorensen, Null Stern , © Johan Jansson, Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture , and Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor

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8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list

Icelands geothermal Blue Lagoon is getting an amazing new hotel this year

March 30, 2017 by  
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Travelers have been drawn to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon for decades, eager to take a dip in the steamy, mineral-rich water nestled in the heart of a lava field. Hundreds of thousands of visitors make the journey every year to experience the magical, intensely blue pools for themselves. Now, the spa is making plans to expand into a full-fledged resort with the 62-room Moss Hotel, a new Moss Restaurant, and a new spa called Lava Cove. The man-made lagoon is filled with the waste seawater released from a nearby geothermal power station. While the water is perfectly safe for visitors to take a dip in, the high mineral content makes it unsuitable for recycling and it must be filtered through the porous rock of the lava field before it can be returned to the landscape. The lagoon gets its trademark milky blue shade from the silica, sulfur, and other minerals infused in the water, which is said to aid relaxation and heal skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. Related: Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is an Incredible Hot Spring Spouting from the Runoff of a Geothermal Power Plant The new hotel will offer visitors stunning views with floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces leading directly to the geothermal waters. For a broader view, guests can visit the hotel’s balconies to see the stunning scenery of the lava field. The goal of the new resort is to make its connection to nature as seamless as possible. The subterranean Lava Cove spa takes advantage of the natural landscape, offering visitors the chance to explore lava corridors, waterfalls, and other geological features while they rest and relax. The new Moss Restaurant will serve up fresh, local, seasonal ingredients inspired by Icelandic cuisine, along with stunning views of the resort. The new resort is currently under construction and set to open in Autumn of 2017. + Blue Lagoon Hotel Via CNN

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Icelands geothermal Blue Lagoon is getting an amazing new hotel this year

Former concrete factory begins anew as an alternative high school with no curriculum

March 30, 2017 by  
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A former concrete factory west of Copenhagen has taken its first steps towards transformation into an experimental Danish folk high school. Designed by MVRDV and Cobe , the Roskilde Festival Folk High School that’s broken ground will include a 3,000-square-meter learning center for art, music, leadership, and activism, as well as 2,600 square meters of student housing. The former industrial appearance of the factory will be largely preserved wherever possible. Inspired by the ideals of the Roskilde festival and by Danish author and teacher N.F.S.Grundtvig’s beliefs on education, the Roskilde Festival Folk High School will differ in many ways from the typical high school and will be the first newly-established folk high school of its kind in Denmark in 45 years. The alternative school has neither curriculum nor exams, and both students and teachers will live on campus during the school year. Education will usually be focused on creative and humanistic topics, as well as on common life at school. Designed to accommodate around 150 students, the Roskilde Festival Folk High School will be organized into three main learning zones: the Mind, which caters to writing, debate, and leadership training; the Body, for dance and music education; and the Hand, with facilities and classrooms for the visual arts, architecture, and design. These zones will be housed within boxes inserted into the renovated factory. One of the boxes will include a 150-person auditorium. Students will be encouraged to decorate the industrial interiors with their art. Related: MVRDV and COBE to Transform Danish Concrete Factory Into Rock and Roll Museum The folk high school is part of the 11,000-square-meter ROCKmagneten masterplan that will transform the on-site cement factories into a district for “rock music, creativity and youth culture.” The Roskilde Festival Folk High School is slated for completion in fall 2018. + MVRDV + COBE Images via MVRDV

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Former concrete factory begins anew as an alternative high school with no curriculum

Circular school hides a kaleidoscope of color and geometry

March 30, 2017 by  
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Don’t be fooled by this Australian school’s staid appearance. A walk around to its main entrance reveals a surprising and dynamic kaleidoscope of color and geometry hidden at its heart. Designed by Australian architecture firm McBride Charles Ryan , the Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years & Science Center in Victoria is a multifunctional learning space that visually blends the school’s commitment to a well-rounded education and classical approach to learning with an embrace of the imagination and arts. McBride Charles Ryan made a name for themselves with their penchant for angular geometry and playful design, and the Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years & Science Center is no exception. The project was recently announced winner of the WAN Color in Architecture Award 2016 and was chosen for its use of color as a key element throughout the design. The building’s dark facade and circular shape is dramatically contrasted with the angular geometry and colorful surfaces in the central courtyard. “The contrast so evident in this building’s language encapsulates the contemporary methodologies for a well-rounded education,” write the architects. “The circular form is classical, representing order, and the certainty of knowledge – the building’s inner world, with its expressive and complex mosaic of spaces, represents the uncertainty and complexity of modern life and scientific understanding, and the necessity of the qualities of wonder and imagination to see us through.” Related: Simple Edwardian House Bursts Into a Daylit Cloud in Australia The building facade is made up of vertical fins that provide solar shading and is heavily insulated and built of robust materials that need little maintenance. The landscaped inner courtyard and the building’s large openings in the roof and at the main entrance help blur the lines between indoor and outdoor space and bring in ample natural light. The classrooms and learning spaces are strategically placed to maximize access to daylight and natural ventilation while minimizing solar glare. + McBride Charles Ryan Images by John Gollings

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Circular school hides a kaleidoscope of color and geometry

Artist makes Dust Jewelry out of soil from abandoned Icelandic farms

June 28, 2016 by  
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Icelandic artist Ágústa Sveinsdóttir reminds us all of the transience of nature by crafting jewelry out of a simple material: dust. Collected from the soil of deserted farms in the Icelandic countryside, with time the Dust jewelry withers away, revealing a manmade structure — a sort of skeleton within — giving the bearer a chance to savour every moment of its life span. Using a biodegradable adhesive, dust is transformed into a jewel coating. It is a celebration of the fragile beauty that time and use impart to materials. + Dust Jewelry The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Artist makes Dust Jewelry out of soil from abandoned Icelandic farms

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