Art installation in Milan shows how much CO2 trees capture

November 22, 2021 by  
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Natural Capital is one of the largest data visualizations ever created, and it is suitably impressive. This installation has been erected in the famous historical botanical garden in Milan, the Orto Botanico di Brera. It shows exactly how plants absorb emissions in a way that’s beautiful, informative and poignant. Each tree species is matched with a sphere that shows how much CO2 the trees can capture and store. This installation is the result of a collaboration between design office Carol Ratti Associati (CRA) and energy company Eni. Natural Capital will examine the key role that trees play in creating oxygen and by showing how much CO2 each tree species can capture and store. The installation is spread out over 500 square meters of garden, a striking series of floating bubbles. Related: How many trees are needed to offset a city’s carbon emissions? Eni is committed to protecting forests as part of its decarbonization strategy. Each large globe showed exactly how much CO2 would be in the air if the trees weren’t here to collect it. You can visually see how much dangerous gas would be in the atmosphere for each and every single tree. It’s a lot to take in and that’s exactly what this installation is all about. The entrance to the garden has a giant sphere that’s right on the ground. This is the amount of CO2 that is produced, on average, by a human body every single year. Humans need nature and that’s why we must preserve nature. Together, CRA and Eni plan to explore circular economy and sustainability paradigms. This data visualization is an excellent reminder of how important forest ecosystems are. + Carlo Ratti Associati Photography by Marco Beck Peccoz

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Art installation in Milan shows how much CO2 trees capture

Huge solar energy project coming to Winona State University

November 18, 2021 by  
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Reducing energy reliance results in lower electrical bills and benefits the  environment  through resource conservation. The larger the usage, the larger the impact. So, when it comes to university campuses, the opportunity for significant energy reduction is heavy in both the investment required and the rewards achieved for the campus and the planet. A partnership between national construction and energy services firm McKinstry and Winona State University (WSU) with campuses in Winona and Rochester has broken ground on a comprehensive $12.3 million sustainability and solar energy project. Related: Portland State University’s new hall qualifies for LEED gold As the largest energy performance contract project in the Minnesota State University System, it will set an example for  energy efficiency  with an estimated annual cost savings of $685,000. That represents a 23.8% reduction in utility usage and costs with a total savings of $26 million over the project’s 25-year lifetime. So while the upfront investment is large, the long-term savings are more than double that amount.  The key energy-saving feature of the project is the installation of six  solar panel systems  at different buildings on campus including Haake Hall, Helble Hall, Integrated Wellness Complex, Kirkland Hall, McCown Gym, and Wabasha Recreation Center. Additionally, there will be four solar carports in the Integrated Wellness Complex parking lot.  Planners say, “The 1.4 MW project will generate almost 1.7 MWh of renewable energy each year, making it the largest solar energy system of its kind at any Minnesota State campus. The on-site solar PV will provide nearly 10% of WSU’s annual electricity consumption while reducing CO2 emissions by 9,670,000 pounds, which is equivalent to driving the average passenger vehicle more than 11 million miles.” Projects aimed at sustainability are nothing new to the Winona State system. In fact, it has developed the Leading Energy Savings and Sustainability (LESS) initiative that incorporates campus-wide changes such as 21,000 lighting upgrades throughout the campus’s buildings and parking areas, upgrades to the backup generator system, the installation of destrat fans and a focus on  water conservation  with the replacement of every faucet, toilet and showerhead on campus.    “We’re excited to partner with McKinstry on this sustainability and solar energy project to reduce WSU’s environmental impact while dramatically improving campus energy and water efficiency,” said Nathan Engstrom, WSU’s Campus Sustainability and Planning Director and LESS Project Manager. “This initiative will remove $7.5 million of deferred maintenance from the university’s backlog, allowing us to reduce maintenance expenditures, modernize and improve facilities, increase comfort and aesthetics, and – most importantly – improve the educational experience for our students, faculty, and staff.” The project has an expected completion date of August 2022. + McKinstry and Winona State University  Images via Winona State University

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Huge solar energy project coming to Winona State University

The International Garden Festival presents new 2021 installations

August 23, 2021 by  
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Magic lies outside  is the theme of the annual International Garden Festival, which aims to “bring us hope, to exalt creativity and to add colour to this world that is struggling to overcome this global pandemic and to come out of several months of confinement.” Now in its 22nd year, the 2021 edition at Reford Gardens in Quebec , Canada features five new installations, submitted from Canada, the United States, France and Sweden. These additions extend the current gardens, creating an outdoor museum of art. Related: Casa CBC incorporates greenery at every level   Choose Your Own Adventure Balmori Associates from New York present this work, inspired by the effects of global warming . The fight against climate change, coupled with the impact of the pandemic, drove the team to rethink the human/nature connection.  This contemplation is represented in simple lines of  plants  crisscrossing with hard materials. The message simplifies our relationship with the soil, water, air, plants and animals. Choose Your Own Adventure sets out to encourage visitors to feel the hot ground underfoot, smell the moisture or dryness in the air and hear the crunch of gravel as they walk. Hässja Architect Emil Bäckström from Stockholm, Sweden presents Hässja, a traditional hay-drying technique that offers shelter and a connection to nature. Each of the three structures is made up of millions of pieces of straw, transforming a once-living grass into a cozy and protected space for contemplating the resurgent need to intermingle human needs with those of nature. A press release explains the installation by saying, “The covid-19 pandemic has taught us a lot. It has exposed a disconnection from nature, agriculture and the importance of biodiversity . All around the globe, a regained interest in traditional, sustainable ways of inhabiting the earth is emerging.” Miroirs Acoustiques Presented by landscape architects Emmanuelle Loslier and Camille Zaroubi from Montreal (Quebec) Canada , Miroirs Acoustiques gives visitors the chance to experience sound in a newly presented way. Inspired by sound mirrors used across the coast of Great Britain during WWI to detect approaching enemy aircraft, the installation allows sounds to bounce and focus, amplifying them via two parabolic reflectors ( recycled  aluminum antennas) planted in the ground. Open Space A team of architectural interns for Quebec, Canada (Gabriel Lemelin, Francis Gaignard, Sandrine Gaulin) delivers an open space in the outdoors . The premise is a completely unboxed house, loaded with endless possibilities. It not only provides an open space but a way for the mind to openly roam with new consideration for the doors, staircases, windows and walls around us every day. Porte-bonheur David Bonnard, DE-HMONP architect, Laura Giuliani, landscaper, and Amélie Viale, visual artist, represent Lyon, Villefranche-sur-Saône and Lissieu, France with Porte-bonheur, an installation about reopening the doors firmly shut during the pandemic lockdowns. “Porte Bonheur is a rite of passage between reality and potentiality. The installation invites visitors to dare to throw open the door, cross thresholds, go outside and explore their surroundings with all the wonder of a small child.” The Reford Gardens will be open daily from May 29 to October 3, 2021, in addition to being accessible to members in the low season. + Jardins de Métis Images via JC Lemay, Martin Bond, Nancy Guignard and Antoine Proulx

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The International Garden Festival presents new 2021 installations

Unprecedented rainfall hits snowy summit in Greenland

August 23, 2021 by  
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On Greenland’s highest summit, snow is the norm. But on the weekend of August 14-15, it rained. A lot. Seven billion tons of water hit the ice sheet for the heaviest  rainfall  since researchers started keeping records in 1950. This means that Greenland is  heating  way, way too fast, according to senior research scientist Ted Scambos of the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center “What is going on is not simply a warm decade or two in a wandering climate pattern,” Scambos told CNN. “This is unprecedented.” Related: Greenland’s ice melt enough to cover Florida in water Over the weekend, temperatures at the  Greenland  summit climbed above freezing for the third time in the last 10 years. This resulted in an ice mass loss seven times higher than the daily mid-August average. “Increasing  weather  events including melting, high winds, and now rain, over the last 10 years have occurred outside the range of what is considered normal,” said Jennifer Mercer, program officer for the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation, as reported by CNN. “And these seem to be occurring more and more.” And July wasn’t any better. Last month, in a single day, the Greenland  ice sheet  lost more than 8.5 billion tons of surface mass. That’s the third instance in the past decade deemed “extreme melting” by scientists. The culprit? You guessed it. Climate change. According to a recently published study in the journal  The Cryosphere , since the mid-1990s, our planet has lost 28 trillion tons of ice. Much of that came from the Greenland ice sheet and other parts of the  Arctic . The recent deluge will alter the properties of Greenland’s snow. The ice crust it will leave behind will eventually be buried in  snow , but will form a barrier preventing water from melting downward. Instead, there will be runoff at higher elevations. “We are crossing thresholds not seen in millennia, and frankly this is not going to change until we adjust what we’re doing to the  air ,” Scambos told CNN. Via CNN Lead image via Pixabay

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Wind-powered machine mimics the sound of 500 galloping horses

September 11, 2017 by  
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How do you bring an ancient landscape to life? Architecture studio NEON breathes life into England’s historical Chesters Roman Fort by recreating the sound of 500 galloping horses. Architect Mark Nixon led the design of Cavalary 360, a wind-powered installation that mimics the sounds of horse hooves clopping on the ground while framing the North Tyne landscape. The site-specific musical instrument pays homage to the 500 horses that belonged to the Roman cavalrymen that roamed the land 1,600 years ago. Calvary 360 was created as part of Hadrian’s Calvary, an exhibition that celebrates the Roman cavalry with unique installations installed along Hadrian’s Wall . “It can be difficult to make a connection between the preserved walls of the Roman cavalry fort (the most extensive in Britain) and the powerful mounted troops based here,” wrote NEON. “Cavalry 360° is a vast site specific musical instrument which uses the force of the wind to create the sound of the cavalry moving across the landscape beyond. The piece creates an equine soundscape as a means of evoking the imagination of the viewer to fill in the gaps.” Related: Mobile residence for writers to meander the border of England’s former Roman Empire The massive musical instrument is a circular structure made up of 32 wind turbines elevated on tall black frames. Each wind turbine is connected to 15 beaters, each of which represents a single horse in the cavalry. The frame units are visually paired to represent the 30 horses in a turma, the term for a cavalry unit in the Roman Roman army. The cups at the end of the three turbine arms catch the wind, which powers and rotates the insulation that changes sound depending on the direction and speed of the wind. Visitors are encouraged to stand in the middle of Cavalary 360 to experience the full effect and look out to views of the fort and landscape through the black frames. + NEON Via Dezeen Images by Lightly Frozen

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Alex Chinnecks mesmerizing crack on a brick building turns heads in London

August 1, 2017 by  
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From a melting house to a floating building, British artist Alex Chinneck has a knack for turning heads—and his latest work is no exception. For his first permanent artwork, Chinneck created an enormous crack down the side of the building in an optical illusion called “Six pins and half a dozen needles.” Created with a group of engineers, steelworkers, and brick-makers, this monumental artwork at Assembly London is officially unveiled to the public today, August 1. Commissioned by AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets , the surrealist Six pins and half a dozen needles artwork is located at Assembly London , a major mixed-use campus on a site that previously housed publishing facilities. Chinneck references the publishing industry in his design, which resembles a torn sheet of paper. “The work was conceived to engage people in a fun and uplifting way,” said Chinneck. “Although we use real brick , it was designed with a cartoon-like quality to give the sculpture an endearing artifice and playful personality. I set out to create accessible artworks and I sincerely hope this becomes a popular landmark for London and positive experience for Londoners. Following 14-months of development, this represents my studio’s first permanent project and we are excited to be working on more. Forthcoming artworks include a trail of four sculptures with a combined height of 163-metres that will be constructed from over 100,000 bricks.” Related: Alex Chinneck Builds a Wax House in London Just to Watch it Melt Six pins and half a dozen needles is constructed from 4,000 bricks and over 1,000 stainless steel components. A crane was used to carefully position the artwork in place at 20 meters above ground level. The installation leans against a concrete facade and weighs approximately ten-tonnes. + Alex Chinneck Images by Charles Emerson

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Studio Gang designs massive paper tube Hive for the National Building Museum

April 19, 2017 by  
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The National Building Museum has welcomed giant ball pits , mazes , and icebergs into its historic Great Hall, and this year the Washington, D.C. museum will welcome yet another imaginative creation: the Hive. Architecture firm Studio Gang designed the latest installation for the Museum’s Summer Block Party series that commissions larger-than-life temporary structures. The massive Hive will be built from thousands of recyclable paper tubes stacked to reach 60 feet in height. Built with over 2,700 wound paper tubes , the Hive will soar to the uppermost reaches of the museum and take on a curved form reminiscent of Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis and even a spider’s web. The tubes, which vary in size, are interlocked to create three interconnected domed chambers, the largest of which has an oculus over 10 feet in diameter. The tubes will have a reflective silver exterior and a bright magenta interior. “When you enter the Great Hall you almost feel like you’re in an outside space because of the distance sound travels before it is reflected back and made audible,” said Studio Gang founding principal Jeanne Gang. “We’ve designed a series of chambers shaped by sound that are ideally suited for intimate conversations and gatherings as well as performances and acoustic experimentation. Using wound paper tubes, a common building material with unique sonic properties, and interlocking them to form a catenary dome, we create a hive for these activities, bringing people together to explore and engage the senses.” Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. The Hive will open to the public July 4 until September 4, 2017. A full schedule of concerts, tours, talks, and programs will be hosted alongside the installation . + Studio Gang Images via National Building Museum

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Studio Gang designs massive paper tube Hive for the National Building Museum

Air-purifying pavilion uses plants to absorb harmful toxins in Hanoi

April 19, 2017 by  
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A green oasis has popped up in Hanoi , a city choked by smog. Hung Nguyen Architects designed and built the Pavilion of Origins, a greenery-draped structure that uses living plants to purify the air. Set on the terrace of a three-story house in Hanoi, the pavilion is minimal and modern with a simple palette of green leafy plants, white upcycled steed frames, and a light gray pebble floor. Hanoi ranks among the worst in the world for air pollution with traffic congestion blamed as the leading cause. In an attempt to bring a breath of fresh air to the city, Hung Nguyen Architects created a pavilion covered with a wide variety of plants, including the peace lily and snake plant, selected for their air-purifying and decorative qualities. The plants are arranged inside and around a collection of simple white cuboid frames of varying sizes built of upcycled steel. A translucent polycarbonate roof allows natural light to pour through while reducing solar radiation. The white frames and light-colored pebble floor keep the focus on the plants, which grow and spread on multiple levels. White netting on the tops of the larger cuboid frames can be used as hammocks for relaxation. Related: 7 indoor plants that purify the air around you naturally “In Pavilion of the Origins, trees and plants play a role as the main users for the amount of time they spent in this space, while the pavilion owners act as the servants who have the duties to take care of those main users and subsequently be paid in clean, fresh air, as well as experiencing the vivid beauty of the natural origins,” wrote the architects. “This slender structure is just a minimal intervention of human to nature. Architecture, in this sense, acts as a rope to tighten up the interaction and connection between humans and nature.” + Hung Nguyen Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Hung Nguyen Architects

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Air-purifying pavilion uses plants to absorb harmful toxins in Hanoi

Award-winning grass-covered pavilion in India constructed with over 1,000 recycled pallets

February 14, 2017 by  
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Over a thousand discarded shipping pallets went into the making of this partly planted, undulating pavilion in New Delhi. Local architecture firm M:OFA Studios drew inspiration from India’s ruins and their love of upcycling to create Pensieve, an award-winning experimental pavilion with a name inspired by the “memory basin” in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The temporary installation served as an urban playground and public gathering space that inspired people to contemplate their surroundings. Built as part of India Design ID 2014, the Pensieve is no longer standing though it continues to be recognized in awards, such as its nomination in the Kohler Bold Design Awards 2016. Over 1,200 recycled pallets were stacked together in an asymmetrical shape inspired by the hundreds of stone ruins that dot the capital, where many locals used as playgrounds in their childhood. Compost added inside some of the open pallets was used as a growing medium for grass and other plants. Related: Charming Wine Shop Built with Repurposed Shipping Pallets Pops Up in Poland “The concept initiated from the basic idea of ‘fluid’ thoughts,” write the architects. “Built out of recycled wood , this pavilion was asked on the idea of unobstructed thoughts associated often with the children. The pavilion became a reminder of those simpler times, where the kids looked at the world beyond a 4 inch by 3 inch display screen in their hands.” The large 800-square-foot installation framed a public gathering space that also included solar-powered furniture that lit up when people sat on them and a hundred fiber-optic sculptures that used motion sensors to light up at night. + M:OFA Studios Images via M:OFA Studios

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Award-winning grass-covered pavilion in India constructed with over 1,000 recycled pallets

A river made of 10,000 glowing books flows through Toronto

October 26, 2016 by  
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This large, interactive  art installation is created by group of anonymous artists/activists who “want literature to take over the streets and conquer public spaces, freely offering those passersby a traffic-free place which, for some hours, will succumb to the humble power of the written word.” Related: Alicia Martin’s Amazing Book Sculptures Pour out of Windows and Into the Streets The team has previously carried out the installation illegally in New York and Madrid, received official permission to appear in Melbourne, and has recently visited Toronto during Nuit Blanche Toronto, an annual, city-wide celebration of contemporary art. For this occasion, the group has used 10,000 books donated by the Salvation Army and worked for 12 days alongside 50 volunteers to replace cars with books on Hagerman Street, downtown Toronto . Related: Guy Laramée Carves a Majestic Lifelike Mountain Range Out of an Encyclopedia Britannica Set The artwork was open to the public for one night, during which visitors could immerse themselves in a literal flow of words and paper illuminated by soft lighting coming from the pages. They would sit down to read, take photos and eventually take pieces of the installation home. It took 10 hours for the installation to self-dismantle. + Luzinterruptus + Nuit Blanche Toronto

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A river made of 10,000 glowing books flows through Toronto

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