The Washington Alley Project seeks to revitalize D.C.

October 22, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

The Washington Alley Project seeks to transform D.C.’s alleys for modern urban living. In Washington, D.C. , there are 82,397 single-family residential properties with alley frontage. If the Washington Alley model was applied to all of these spaces, it could house 187,900 new residents. Mark Lawrence is the principal and co-founder of EL Studio, the company behind this ambitious project. Lawrence and co-creator Elizabeth Emerson started the Washington Alley Project to show how cities can adapt and change without sacrificing their architectural history, a major concern for many urban centers across the country. EL Studio has organized Alley Hops, self-guided walks in city alleys, which feature viewfinders that show the potential of various alley areas. Images might show a basketball court, mural, performing stage, seating areas, sculptures and even gardens . These images illustrate the project’s vision for transforming the city’s alleys. Related: ODA’s vibrant new complex transforms a conventional DC block The Alley Hops were designed to show that D.C. is full of unused spaces, places that could be teeming with life and activity. Alley Hop participants provide feedback about how they think alley spaces can and should be used and what they’d like to see. Using the Alley Hops, EL Studio did an extensive survey of the alleys and designed ways to turn these spaces into vibrant living and community spaces. There are 3,217 alleys in Washington, D.C. alone. Together, they take up 246 linear miles. That’s a lot of potential space that is largely going unused. Imagine a space full of options instead. Modular dog parks made with Astroturf could create areas for pets to play. Market stalls could offer space for farmers and artisans to display their goods. Safety lights could brighten up the shadowy areas. Rubber surfaces in bright colors could create play areas for children. And perhaps best of all, new housing in these underused areas could provide homes for people. It’s a vision for the future that is already beginning to come true. Prather’s Alley in D.C. will be the project’s starting ground. The improvement plan for the alley will see the addition of safe zones cut off from traffic and resting places for residents and patrons who come to the many nearby businesses. + Washington Alley Project Images courtesy of Liz Gorman and EL Studio

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The Washington Alley Project seeks to revitalize D.C.

Try these hauntingly delicious vegan treats for Halloween

October 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

When we see seasonal treats at the grocery store, we remember our childhood memories of munching our way through the holidays. Scouring for vegan options, we might flip the bag over to read the label, then put it back when we find it doesn’t measure up. Instead of scrutinizing every ingredient, make your own deliciously ghoulish treats at home instead. It gives you the power to know what’s in the  recipe  and earns you some bonus parenting points too.  Candy corn This ubiquitous Halloween classic is easier than you think to make at home. With a few ingredient swaps, you can make it vegan too.  This recipe from Cheeky Kitchen at Tablespoon  gives you all the pointers you’ll need. The sweetness comes from brown rice syrup and powdered sugar, while the thickness is created by tapioca flour. Use your favorite food coloring for the candy corn effect.  Another candy corn option by  Chocolate Covered Katie  uses cashew butter as the base.  Related: Enjoy these delicious hot vegan Starbucks drinks this fall Peppermint patties If you pick up your candy at the store, you can find sweet, fruity favorites to meet vegan needs. Popular choices include Airheads, Blowpops, Bottlecaps, Dots, Dum-Dums, Fruit Roll-ups and licorice. But these options are missing a crucial ingredient — chocolate.  To recreate the classics in a vegan way, look to dairy-free chocolate in powder and other forms. For example, this  Healthy New York Peppermint Patties recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie  combines coconut oil with cocoa powder and other ingredients to make a chocolate top and bottom. The filing comes from coconut butter infused with peppermint extract and has earned rave reviews so far.  DIY Crunch bars If you’re inspired by the ever-popular Crunch bar, make a few substitutions from the store-bought version to bring them to the party. This  Mini Crunch Bars with Peanut Butter Shell Drizzle recipe  by Oh She Glows pairs coconut oil and cocoa powder with some other flavors to coat the rice crisp cereal of your choice. The optional drizzle (your favorite nut butter thinned with some sweetener and coconut oil) adds the classic partnership of peanut butter with chocolate. Fudge Sometimes you just want chocolate served with more chocolate. Not only does fudge cater to the craving, but it’s easy to decorate for any occasion , including Halloween. When your fudge is ready, simply adorn squares with googly eyes, apply a jack-o’-lantern face in icing or cut the pieces into ghostly shapes. This  No Cook Fudge recipe by Cookie and Kate  is not only vegan but also includes instructions on how to make your own coconut butter and peanut butter if you desire.  For a variation on the standard flavor, try this  Pumpkin Spice Fudge by Seitan Beats Your Meat . This recipe enhances the chocolate with traditional  plant-based  spices like cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.  Chocolate bark The best thing about chocolate bark is you can use the recipe for nearly every occasion. Crunchy chocolate can be topped with any number of things, all of which can create a holiday vibe. For example, break up some candy canes for a Christmas topping and use dried cranberries on Valentine’s Day.  For Halloween, use this  Easy Chocolate Bark recipe by Cookie and Kate  and use her suggestion to replace the chocolate with a quality dairy-free option. Then top with dried apricots, candied oranges or bits of orange candy. Truffles These little bonbons allow for creativity in spades. Top them with orange sprinkles for a simple option, or add homemade candy corn to each one. The great thing about truffles is they can be a base for any of your favorite flavors. Try these  Pumpkin Peanut Butter Truffles from One Green Planet , which are a ball of sweet peanut buttery goodness infused with pumpkin pie spice and topped with a coconut oil and cocoa powder coating.  Also on One Green Planet, you can find this  Raw Chocolate Coconut Balls  recipe made from, you guessed it, coconut. A touch of coarse salt and a bit of maple syrup round out the flavors. Monster Eyeballs The recipe is  Nightmare-Worthy Bloody Coconut Raspberry Monster Eyeballs , and the result is indeed delightfully terrifying. The same decorating technique can be transferred over to some of the truffle ideas above, so be creative with both your flavors and your toppings.  Caramel Apples No Halloween season should go by without a crunchy, gooey caramel apple in the mix. Whether you prefer a sour apple to contrast the sweet topping or like to layer sweet on sweet for a less bitter option, caramel apples are fun to make, fun to decorate and a delight to eat. Check out this  vegan version from Wendy Irene at One Green Planet  that relies on vegan butter and almond milk rounded out with cane sugar and organic corn syrup. Happy Halloween. May your sweet tooth be hauntingly pacified.  Via Bustle Images via Pexels and Pixabay 

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Try these hauntingly delicious vegan treats for Halloween

Wild & Stone products are all plastic-free

October 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Plastic waste is junking up the ocean. Many companies and individuals are finding ways to help reduce the levels of waste by creating brand new products out of recycled plastic waste. Meanwhile, more and more waste is being created every day. Wild & Stone is working on a more permanent solution: replacing single-use plastic altogether. Wild & Stone’s catalog of items contains a selection of personal care and baby items, all of which are sustainably produced, ethically sourced and CO2 neutral. The company has sold more than 100,000 products. Related: The Refill Shoppe enforces zero-waste packaging, provides bulk refill solutions for myriad household and beauty products There are more than 80 different products available through Wild & Stone. The company plans to introduce 30 new products to the line in the near future. Currently, the product line includes: shaving razors, metal straws in various sizes, toothbrushes, a reusable coffee cup and more. Yes, it’s all plastic-free. To really address the plastic waste problem that’s causing such big environmental issues, the plastic has to be removed out of the equation. New products made in different materials are the best way to fill the market with alternatives to plastic that can help reduce the amount of waste created and subsequently swept into the oceans . Plastic has become a huge part of everyday life. You’ve probably touched at least five items made of plastic this very day. It’s everywhere. Plastics are typically made from oil , which is bad enough, but the real problem is that it does not biodegrade. Little pieces of plastic will continue to litter the planet for many, many centuries into the future, even if plastic production completely grinds to a halt tomorrow. Around 400 million tons of plastic are created every year, about 40% of which is single-use plastic that is thrown away, according to BBC . A lot of plastics can’t be recycled and a lot of this trash created by plastic ends up in oceans. By 2050, all the plastic in the ocean will weigh more than every single fish in the ocean. Animals such as turtles and seabirds get caught in plastic or attempt to eat it. Plastic kills 100,000 sea animals every year. The cost of plastic is steep. Companies like Wild & Stone are taking steps to start evening out that debt . “It feels incredible to know we’ve left this world a little bit better off than before, but there is so much more work to be done,” said Wild & Stone Founder Kathryn Jonas. + Wild & Stone Images via Wild & Stone

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Wild & Stone products are all plastic-free

This futuristic design uses recycled bottles, coffee and oranges

October 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Dubai Expo’s Italian Pavilion is a futuristic, sustainable creation. The 38,000-square-feet (3,500-square-meter) masterpiece opened on Oct. 1 at Dubai Expo 2020. Designed by Carlo Ratti Associati ( CRA ) and Italo Rota Building Office, the Italian Pavilion stands out for its creativity in utilizing sustainable materials. Thanks to its innovative design and materials, the building has already won Best Entrepreneurial Project of the Year at the Construction Innovation Awards. Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion These innovative materials include 2 million recycled plastic bottles that form a multimedia facade. The designers also used recycled algae, coffee grounds and orange peels as building materials. Recycling, reusing and renewing are at the core of the design. The roof is probably the most outstanding part of the entire design. It uses three boat hulls that could set sail immediately after Dubai Expo. According to Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab, the Pavilion addresses issues that architectural designs have failed to address for many years. “Our design for the Italian Pavilion deals with what I believe is architecture’s most important challenge today: advancing the double convergence between the natural and the artificial. It anticipates issues and suggests strategies that will be increasingly crucial for the future of our cities as we address the consequences of the current climate crisis ,” Ratti said. The facade is fitted with LEDs that can be lit to transform the entire building into a multimedia surface. According to the designers, the bottles that make up the surface can be used again after the expo ends. But what about the coffee grounds and orange peels used in the design? The coffee and orange peels were left to dry and turned into powder used to coat suspended pathways. The setting of the Italian Pavilion on a five-meter-high dune made out of locally sourced sand also speaks to the design’s sustainable focus. + CRA Images © Michele Nastasi

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This futuristic design uses recycled bottles, coffee and oranges

Volvo teams up with Phillip Lim on sustainable weekender bag

October 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

In a collaboration between iconic Volvo and well-established sustainable luxury brand 3.1 Phillip Lim, they have developed a limited-edition weekender bag made from the same bio-based material being used in Volvo’s electric cars.  The announcement is no surprise, considering the focus of both businesses. Volvo released a statement in September 2021 vowing to take an ethical stance in the name of animals by committing to leather-free materials in its current and future electric cars. The company plans to move to a line of fully electric vehicle production by 2030. Related: Adidas 100% recycled jacket is solving plastic pollution Phillip Lim has an equally defined commitment to sustainable production, with a history of products such as algae dresses and eco-sleepwear. Since the start of his business, his core focus has been on the environment .  The 3.1 Phillip Lim weekend bag is made from the same bio-based and recycled materials found in Volvo’s leather-free car interiors, known as Nordico. Nordico was developed by Volvo and is a mixture of textiles made from recycled material like PET bottles, recycled corks from the wine industry and materials from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland. The bag was developed with the modern , eco-traveler in mind. The color’s name is Dawn, but a black color option from the same material will be released for the Volvo interiors. It showcases a Scandinavian design with inside storage and both hand and shoulder straps. Although the bag won’t be available at a retail level, the limited number produced will be showcased through competitions, charity auctions and giveaways. “Our brand mantra is to make less, mean more,” said Phillip Lim, Co-Founder and Creative Director of 3.1 Phillip Lim. “Connecting with Volvo on this sustainability project was an instant alignment of values. I strongly feel that in our collective current state of mind, we have the freedom to find sustainable solutions with new materials, while still being able to achieve high design, which is the ultimate luxury.” “We have a vision of where we need to go in the future, with the first step to ensure we harness sustainable, natural and recycled materials,” said Robin Page, head of design at Volvo Cars. “The collaboration with 3.1 Phillip Lim, to create a bag inspired by tomorrow’s materials, solidifies both our ambitions to challenge the wider design industry to reconsider the materials we use. From creating runway collections to the interiors of cars, we have a shared responsibility to find sustainable material alternatives.” + Volvo Cars and Phillip Lim   Images via Volvo Cars and Phillip Lim

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Innovative biophilic design planned for new village in Portugal

October 18, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

A new development is in the works, designed to sit on a Portuguese hillside and provide a community with unique characteristics and a focus on sustainable design, function, well-being and innovation. The project is dubbed Fuse Valley. It’s a collaboration between Farfetch, the leading global technology platform for luxury fashion , and Portuguese real estate developer Castro Group. The duo brought in notable sustainability-focused architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to design the plan for the site. Related: The High Performance Surfing Center honors nature inside and out Located along the slopes of the Leça River in Porto, the site was chosen for its proximity to convenient transportation and the river. The overall blueprint of Fuse Valley will include 24 buildings for a mixture of tech companies, a hotel , small start-ups, and services. Farfetch HQ will encompass 12 interconnected buildings that open the doors to creativity and idea exchange between employees and visitors. “The individual buildings that constitute the various elements of the organization are connected to form large contiguous work environments – physically consolidated, but spatially varied to create a human-scale experience,“ said João Albuquerque, Partner in Charge at BIG . The BIG design places the buildings around plazas, parks and courtyards meant to blur the lines between the outdoors and indoor spaces while promoting a healthy work and community  environment . The Farfetch buildings include lobbies, an academy, an auditorium, a canteen and wellness facilities that flow together as an extension of the surrounding hillside and emphasize biophilic design throughout the spaces. The location and the focus on health are seen through the plans to cater to mobility to, from, and onsite with electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure to support the use of bicycles and electric scooters. Fuse Valley will also connect to the main public transport via shuttles. According to Paulo Castro, CEO of Castro Group, “Fuse Valley is the perfect interpretation of our golden rule, applied to all our projects: location, innovation, sustainability, and technology . What we are going to do in Matosinhos is something unique and that puts this space on the international map of what is best done both in terms of sustainability and in terms of innovation. With this project, we intend to develop a smart city, or in this case, a smart valley.” In both construction and scheduled use of the buildings, Farfetch and Fuse Valley are leaning into  green building practices  and low environmental impact with the hope of being one of the most sustainable building developments in Portugal and Europe. Fuse Valley is scheduled to break ground by early 2023 and open its doors in 2025. + Farfetch Via BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group Visualizations by Lucian R, courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

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Innovative biophilic design planned for new village in Portugal

DroneSeed makes reforestation easier after a large wildfire

October 18, 2021 by  
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According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 6,480,861 acres have burned across the United States this year alone as a result of 47,201 wildfires . In response, a Seattle-based company is tackling the issue of replanting and restoring forestry health in a rather science-fiction way.  DroneSeed has spent the past few years developing a drone system that specifically targets the most efficient way to replant forests following a burn. It began by evaluating the current method of reforestation , which requires nurseries to spend one to two years growing small trees that are then hauled to the forest and planted by hand. Workers can cover about two acres per day. DroneSeed said they aren’t looking to replace any of those workers. Instead, they want to supplement the process.  Related: BreezoMeter’s real-time data tracks air quality and wildfires At its roots, DroneSeed is a drone company . The very cool technology is not only fun to watch, but it performs the crucial task of dropping tree pods in a targeted way that emphasizes the best chance of growth success. Rather than simply dispersing seeds across the forest, which is imprecise and results in a high failure rate, the drones carry pods that are intentionally packed with everything the tree needs to grow including seeds, nutrients and natural pest deterrents. These seed vessels are placed using advanced laser mapping that identifies the healthiest soil areas to plant in.  Working in groups of five to six drones, controlled by four employees, they can plant an area covering 50 acres per day. While that barely makes a dent in the millions of acres burned each year, it does equal thousands of acres per year that would otherwise lay bare for a few years before replanting even begins. DroneSeed can start work as soon as 30 days after a fire. It is already replanting after summer burns in California and Oregon. In addition to speed and efficiency, the drones can complete the task while saving the landowner money . DroneSeed estimates a 30% to 50% savings in replanting expenses.  Although air seeding is not new and there are other drone companies capable of doing the work, DroneSeed is the only company approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to deploy a fleet of heavy-lift drones to reforest after wildfires. The company recently raised enough capital from investors to acquire Silvaseed , a long-standing forestry company that will enhance seedling production for DroneSeed. “Global reforestation is key to our fight against climate change ,” said Jay Zaveri, a partner at Social Capital. “We’ve supported DroneSeed from the very beginning given its promise to terraform our planet for good. Since then, DroneSeed has scaled its effort to reforest land, found a profitable model through carbon markets and transformed the experience of forest development for landowners.”  + DroneSeed  Images via DroneSeed ?

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DroneSeed makes reforestation easier after a large wildfire

Adidas 100% recycled jacket is solving plastic pollution

October 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

When Adidas releases a new jacket, it’s hot fashion news. When that stylish jacket is made with ocean plastic, it’s world-changing. The Terrex MyShelter PrimaLoft Hooded Jacket has classic Adidas styling and all the good looks you could want. It’s also part of Adidas’ commitment to end plastic waste all over the world. Working with Parley for the Oceans and the material science company PrimaLoft, Adidas has created a comfortable, functional and fashionable hooded jacket that’s ready to wear outdoors. It’s made with 100% recycled fiber and uses a no-dye technology. Related: Harvested plastic and a pro skater create new Adidas shoe The jacket is made with a woven shell made with PrimaLoft’s insulation. The insulation is lightweight, insulating, quick-drying and breathable and still made from 100% recycled fiber. The jacket design itself has two-hand zip pockets, classic Adidas branding, and an elastic hood. Additionally, the Terrex MyShelter is made with plastic waste that was intercepted from shorelines and coastal communities before it could get into the oceans. Plastic waste in the oceans is becoming a truly catastrophic environmental issue. In 2015, 448 million tons of plastic were produced. That number is expected to double by 2050. Around 8 million tons of plastic waste leak into the oceans every year. Once it reaches the ocean, plastic can make its way around the entire world. Over time, the winds, waves and sunlight break down plastic until it becomes small particles about one-fifth of an inch long. These are known as microplastics . Thanks to human activity, microplastics have been found literally everywhere on Earth. They are on Mount Everest, the tallest mountain, and in the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean trench on the planet. Plastics are extremely harmful to animals . Millions of animals are killed every year as a direct result of plastic waste. They have affected both water and land-based animals of all kinds, according to National Geographic . This jacket from Adidas is the start of a solution to put an end to this problem and the company’s commitment to do their part in helping rid the world of plastic waste . + Adidas Images via Adidas

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Adidas 100% recycled jacket is solving plastic pollution

8 boxes that explore the effects of habitat destruction on birds

October 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

A Montreal-based firm, KANVA, developed a thought-provoking display for the Canada Pavilion at World Expo 2020 Dubai. Called TRACES, it’s an interactive and eye-opening look into the effects of climate change on wildlife . In their recent showcase, the team used migratory birds as the subject for the project, which was commissioned by Global Affairs Canada and produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). “The concept for TRACES began with the location of the Canada Pavilion in the sustainability section of the Expo grounds, and with the main exhibition being inspired by Canadian landscapes and natural diversity,” said Rami Bebawi, a KANVA partner and lead architect of the TRACES project. “We wanted to create something that would emphasize the threats that climate change and global warming pose to those same landscapes and, more specifically, to the species that inhabit them.” Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion The exhibit is made up of eight boxes that walk visitors through a progression of understanding and appreciation for the plight of birds experiencing a rapid decline of suitable habitats. The title TRACES represents what may be left of their existence without attention to protecting their existence. “They are simply erased from memory and our collective amnesia allows us to persist in their destruction ,” said Olga Karpova, architect and senior project lead at KANVA. “TRACES reinterprets that cycle by fossilizing the species to ensure that it is not forgotten.” Each of the box displays measures eight feet length, 8 feet width and 8 feet depth. They contain objects for reflection. The Jewel box focuses on fossilized birds on a pedestal, accentuated by lighting that offers an ominous setting. The Nearness box features a wall of migrating birds against a backdrop of filtered light. The Memorial box appeals to the emotions with a tomb of fallen birds. The Forgotten box represents waste stacked in cubes that has been thoughtlessly discarded. The Seat box places visitors at an old school desk where they can reflect on their personal responsibility towards sustainable actions. Opening the desk reveals a 3D-printed bird struggling from the effects caused by ocean spills. The Gathering box highlights collective responsibility, empowering group-think problem-solving with birds emerging into flight. Sounds around the table devolve from notably distressed birds to soothing nature sounds as discussions around the table offer hope. The Sanctuary box offers insight to a human-free world where birds thrive. Finally, the eighth box, labeled The Awareness, consists of four chairs facing each other from the corners. Intense sounds set a tone for concern and an empty bird cage hangs from the ceiling.   + KANVA   Photography by Gerry O’Leary

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8 boxes that explore the effects of habitat destruction on birds

Netherlands’ massive vault of sustainability and art

October 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Located in Amersfoort, Netherlands, the CollectionCentre Netherlands (CC NL) designed by cepezed architects is a masterpiece of modern architectural design . From the impressive exterior design, to the functionality of the collection center, the CC NL is a true reflection of the future. The building was officially launched on September 13, 2021 by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid Van Engleshoven. With a storage space of about 30, 000 square meters, the building is home to over 500, 000 pieces of art and historical objects , including artifacts, evidence, paintings, jewelry, clothing and furniture. The CC NL holds pieces from the Rijksmuseum, Netherlands Open Air Museum, Paleis Het Loo and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Related: Sculptural roof tops eco-minded Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts expansion CC NL is designed in three sections: the ”head,” ”neck” and ”trunk.” The “neck” is the busiest of the three sections of the building, functioning as workshops where all the objects are processed, shaped and preserved before being transferred to storage rooms. It is also home to the freezer room, oxygen-free area, photo studio and X-ray room. The “head,” on the other hand, contains the entrance and walkways. Lastly, the ”trunk” forms the most co-pact part of the collection center. The CC NL has four stories with large pans for the storage of key objects. The storage in this section features maximum protection and also has small fire compartments. It has rooms with highly classified information stored under special rooms in special facilities. The aim of the building is to achieve durable, sustainable and beautiful preservation of history. To achieve this, the designers constructed the building with special rooms where museum species can be taken to get rid of harmful pests through freezing. With open access, the building’s resources can be used by research institutions. The CC NL is ranked the 15th most sustainable in Holland. The roof and facades used in the construction of the building give it a highly insulating outlook. The ground is less insulated since it was intended to act as a buffer. Its direct contact with the earth buffers the environment within, cutting down the need for air conditioning. On average, internal temperatures are maintained at about 12 and 15 degrees Celsius. This ensures the safety of the CC NL and reduces the risks of fires.Other aspects of the building that make it stand out in terms of sustainability include water recycling and renewable energy . With over 3,600 square meters of solar panels on the roof, the center can manage most of its energy needs without requiring external support in sunny months. It is also fitted with an ATES and gray water flushing toilet. The center also uses a rural rainwater collection system , that acts as an infiltration facility for the local vegetation. The widespread ecological landscape with detailed integration of flora and fauna makes the design one of the most sustainable section centers in the world. For those who work at the CC NL, the breathtaking beauty , comfort and usability are key factors. The working space here is among the best in Europe and will remain so for years. + cepezed architects Photography by Lucas van der Wee

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