Bald eagle population bounces back from brink of extinction

March 29, 2021 by  
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The once shrinking population of bald eagles has quadrupled over the past 12 years, according to a new survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study has found that there are over 316,000 bald eagles in the lower 48 states of the U.S., with over 70,000 breeding pairs . According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there were approximately 500 breeding pairs of bald eagles in the U.S. in the late 1960s. However, the story changed with the discovery that DDT, often found in insecticides , was affecting wildlife, effectively leading to its ban in 1972. In 1973, the federal government signed the Endangered Species Act, which led to the protections of various species, including the bald eagle. Related: Critically endangered regent honeyeaters are losing their song Since then, the population has been growing gradually, and the bird was removed from the endangered species list in 2007. Following a recent survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has discovered that the number of bald eagles has more than quadrupled since 2009 when they were last counted. Speaking to the press, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that this turnaround is historic. “The bald eagle has always been considered a sacred species to American Indian people, and similarly it’s sacred to our nation as America’s national symbol,” Haaland said. This success story proves that conservation measures work. Although the birds were hunted, killed and poisoned for years, the population has grown thanks to focused conservation efforts. While the report might seem like a good indication for the future of wildlife in the U.S., the reality on the ground is quite different. A recent study by Cornell Lab of Ornithology has established that the overall population of birds in the U.S. has dropped by about one-third in the past 50 years. A different report by the National Audubon Society has established that about two-thirds of North American birds are at an increased risk of extinction, primarily because of climate change. “By stabilizing carbon emissions and holding warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, nearly 150 species would no longer be vulnerable to extinction from climate change ,” the report noted. + U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Via NPR Image via Jan Temmel

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Bald eagle population bounces back from brink of extinction

Tidal turbines power electric vehicles on Scotland’s Yell Island

March 29, 2021 by  
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As countries around the world increasingly embrace electric vehicles , charging is top of mind. In Scotland, the island of Yell is powering its EVs with tidal energy. Nova Innovation has built an underwater network of revolving tidal turbines anchored to the ocean floor. You can’t see them from above, and they’re designed to pose no navigational hazards. One thing is for sure about Yell — there’s plenty of ocean around it, so this is a predicable power source for the island’s grid. Related: Scotland to become first country to test 100% green hydrogen At 83 square miles, Yell is the second largest of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. Sheep outnumber the 966 inhabitants by about 10 to one. The underwater turbines have already been powering houses and businesses on Yell for the last five years. “We now have the reality of tidal powered cars , which demonstrates the huge steps forward we are making in tackling the climate emergency and achieving net-zero by working in harmony with our natural environment,” said Simon Forrest, Nova Innovation’s CEO. Scotland has long been a global renewable energy leader. The blustery country has harnessed enough wind to power a country twice its size. Its first tidal energy farm launched in 2016, and by 2020, it had more underwater turbines than any other country. The new tidal turbine charging station is a first. Forrest says this technology can be deployed around the world. Because traditional combustion engines in vehicles produce about one-fifth of U.K. carbon emissions, underwater turbines could be key in meeting emission reduction goals. More tidal turbines could be coming soon, as the Scottish government has banned the sale of new cars powered solely by diesel or gas by 2032. Marine scientists are still assessing the effects on wildlife . According to Andrea Copping with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, animals colliding with the turbines could be bruised but probably not killed. Compared to other coastal energy endeavors, such as offshore oil drilling, the threat from underwater turbines seems low. Via EcoWatch and Hakai Magazine Image via Leo Roomets

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Tidal turbines power electric vehicles on Scotland’s Yell Island

Oregon State University building on a reclaimed mine targets net-zero energy

March 15, 2021 by  
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Seattle-based SRG Partnership has unveiled designs for Edward J. Ray Hall, a new Oregon State University Cascades Campus building with ambitious net-zero energy targets in Bend, Oregon. Designed to showcase OSU-Cascades’ commitment to sustainability, Edward J. Ray Hall will serve as a scalable and adaptable prototype for future buildings that, in addition to a goal of net-zero energy, will be built from regionally sourced mass timber for a small carbon footprint. The 50,000-square-foot building will be the first campus structure to engage a 46-acre reclaimed pumice mine that the university acquired for future expansion. Built primarily with timber inside and out, the Edward J. Ray Hall will offer a warm and welcoming environment for a new student hub and learning facilities for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). Cedar sourced from Sustainable Northwest will clad the locally sourced and low-carbon mass timber structure; the cedar indoors will be left exposed and complemented by additional wooden surfaces. Large expanses of glazing will flood the interiors will natural light and strengthen visual connections between the mass timber building and the forested outdoors. Related: Oregon Ducks hit a home run with über-green Jane Sanders Stadium “The building was conceived through a prototyping process focused on defining a new type of academic environment that would support a variety of educational activities and functions, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, and embody social equity and sustainability,” the architects explained. “The concept utilizes a centralized, flexible technology core paired with a modular grid to organize the multiple activity-based space typologies derived from project goals and objectives.” Oriented east to west for optimal solar conditions, Edward J. Ray Hall will be set atop the reclaimed pumice mine’s steep eastern rim and face panoramic views of the future west campus and mountains beyond. Solar panels will top the building’s broad roof, which extends out to help shield the interior from unwanted solar gain; vertical shading devices also help mitigate glare indoors. + SRG Partnership Images via SRG Partnership

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Oregon State University building on a reclaimed mine targets net-zero energy

ZHA designs sustainable expansion to China’s largest international exhibition center

March 15, 2021 by  
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Beijing’s New China International Exhibition Center — the largest international exhibition center in China — is set to become even larger with  Zaha Hadid Architects’  competition-winning Phase II designs. Inspired by traditional Chinese glazed tubular ceramic tile roofing, the new copper-colored buildings feature curvaceous forms and large rounded windows that give the project a futuristic flair. In addition to integrating solar arrays and a smart building management system into the buildings, the architects also plan to use modular construction and fabrication methods to further minimize the project’s carbon footprint.  The International Exhibition Center is strategically located next to Beijing’s Capital International Airport in Shunyi District, an area that’s home to large communities of foreign expatriates. As part of the government’s vision to elevate  Beijing  as a leading center of knowledge and International exchange, the venue will be expanded with a 438,500-square-meter Phase II project that will not only provide more space for conferences, trade fairs and industry expos but also welcome residents with a comprehensive program of events and attractive public spaces. The expansion will be organized along a central north-south axis that connects the east and west exhibition halls as well as the conference center and hotel at the north of the site. Shared  courtyards  interspersed in between the buildings provide informal meeting areas and space for landscaped gardens, cafes and outdoor public events. Circulation will be optimized with the separation of pedestrian from vehicular traffic as well as the use of secondary bridges that link the upper levels of buildings.  Related: ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with world’s largest atrium in Beijing The copper-colored buildings feature a composite rounded roof system that not only provides insulation and maximum sound absorption but also supports an efficient and lightweight large-span structure for column-free, flexible interior spaces.  Modular  construction will help minimize material waste and construction time. To minimize embodied carbon and emissions, the buildings will be topped with solar panels and integrated rainwater collection and graywater recycling systems. Natural ventilation will be optimized and supported by high-efficiency HVAC equipment when necessary.  + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Atchain, Slashcube, BrickVisual and ZHA

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ZHA designs sustainable expansion to China’s largest international exhibition center

Walkingboxes turns shipping containers into custom food trucks

March 10, 2021 by  
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The future of food trucks is sustainable — at least according to Walkingboxes, a German startup creating custom food trucks out of shipping containers. The company, which is barely a year old, is the brainchild of award-winning designer Daniel Lorch. Walkingboxes uses 90% recyclable or biodegradable materials in its construction processes. According to the founder, the idea stemmed from his mother, who dreamed of opening a street food truck in southern Germany. The designer realized an unmet demand in the market for sustainable, accessible and individual food truck options while doing research for his mom. Instead of purchasing an expensive food truck and outfitting it with unique elements to fit the company’s style, he would opt for lightweight construction with a towable food trailer instead. The resulting design is now available in 213 different colors, three separate sizes and comes either empty or fully equipped with cooking equipment inside. Related: This AI food truck could bring fresh produce directly to you Thanks to the lightweight construction method to help offset the heaviness of the steel shipping containers , the trailers can be towed by smaller vehicles, like station wagons or minivans. Not only does this reduce fuel consumption, but it allows for more versatility in selling locations. Materials like steel, wood and linoleum go into each design. The standard version comes permanently attached to a tandem trailer and is already set up for electricity and water. This option is perfect for those with interior design or construction chops who want to fill the inside with their own cooking components. The company also employs mobile cooking experts to help potential buyers plan their interior kitchen layout with stainless steel appliances like gas cooktops, griddle plates and fryers. Apart from the color choices, buyers can choose from different exterior design options like illuminated lettering, foil lettering, banners, metal signs and flags to set their company apart from other food trucks. The outer fastening system is modular to simplify the process for attaching and exchanging media for menus, specials or announcements. + Walkingboxes Images via Walkingboxes

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Walkingboxes turns shipping containers into custom food trucks

Caf Terra is an urban oasis with raw earth surfaces in Dubai

March 3, 2021 by  
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United Arab Emirates-based design studio Bone Architecture has recently completed its latest hospitality project: Café Terra, a courtyard-inspired eatery filled with plants in Dubai . Crafted as an urban oasis, Café Terra provides respite from both the heat and the bustle of the city. Natural materials, handmade goods and a monochromatic palette inspired by nature give Café Terra its welcoming and earthy atmosphere. Completed in November 2020 near a major intersection about 1.5 miles from the Arabian Gulf, Café Terra was carefully crafted to shelter visitors from the busy streets. The east-facing shop welcomes guests with 5-meter-tall pivoting glass doors that swing open to reveal a light-filled interior of 200 square meters enveloped by lush greenery. The interior dining space extends to a 100-square-meter outdoor terrace also framed with plants. Full-height glazing fills the café with natural light that highlights the varied textures of the interior’s many handcrafted elements, from the hand-hammered column at the heart of the space to the uneven surfaces of the terracotta tiles. Related: Breezy, prefab cafe blends contemporary and traditional styles in Thailand “With a strong desire to blend architecture and craftsmanship, Bone worked alongside several talented specialists that helped compose the space,” the architects explained in a project statement. “The raw earth surfaces emulate different colors that are natural and pigment free. Clays from different parts of Italy have been sourced by Matteo Brioni, who developed the traditional raw earth surface finish that is healthy, hypoallergenic, versatile, and sinuously adaptable to any surface. Matteo’s brothers, who own Fornace Brioni, have also collaborated with Bone to compose the terracotta floor tiles that grace the space with their imperfections and artisanal craft.” Warm, natural materials temper the minimalist and modern design of the café, from the reclaimed and weathered wooden surfaces to the linen fabrics and handmade ceramics used for dining. A pair of raw earth walls frame a glimpse into the custom kitchen that can be seen from the dining area. + Bone Architecture Photography by OMAR AL GURG and OCULIS PROJECT via Bone Architecture

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Caf Terra is an urban oasis with raw earth surfaces in Dubai

Modern, barn-inspired home ages gracefully in a wild Pozna meadow

March 1, 2021 by  
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After finding the perfect plot of land 30 minutes outside of Pozna?’s historic city center, Carolina reached out to Polish architecture studio PL.architekci to realize her dream home — a Hollywood Western-inspired abode where she could fulfill her passions for horseback riding and raising cacti. To that end, the architects crafted a handsome residence that resembles the traditional, rural vernacular and features a streamlined, modern appearance to complement the surrounding landscape. Designed to connect with nature in multiple ways, the Poz_7 House is built primarily of timber and wrapped in low-maintenance, untreated larch that will naturally develop a silvery patina over time to match the hue of the nearby trees. Completed over the course of three years, the Poz_7 House is a gabled , single-story residence of roughly 270 square meters — occupying less than 3% of the total site. “[We] managed to fit such a building into the landscape by not competing with the surrounding environment and by letting the architecture complement the environment,” the architects noted. “Thanks to that the house is not like a monument in the middle of a field.” Related: Contemporary Polish home is clad almost entirely in cedar planks While the home’s external cladding is made of untreated larch , the building structure is constructed of Siberian larch, a material chosen for its durability. Following modernist principles, the architects eschewed embellishments and unnecessary ornamental designs in favor of a clean and minimalist look. A timber palette continues to the interior, where ash lines multiple surfaces, including the floors. The architects also celebrate wood by exposing the timber roof trusses and topping the kitchen island with an untreated plank. Glazing on all four sides lets in natural light and frames views of the landscape to create a constant connection with the outdoors. Although the client initially sought a south-facing living room, the architects instead oriented the living space toward the northeast to face the site’s most beautiful view: a wild meadow dotted with trees and bisected by a small river. + PL.architekci Photography by Tom Kurek via PL.architekci

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Modern, barn-inspired home ages gracefully in a wild Pozna meadow

Pod-shaped Coco Villa immerses guests in nature and luxury

February 8, 2021 by  
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Hidden in the jungle high above Hermosa Beach near the Costa Rican town of Uvita is the  Art Villas Resort , a luxurious and sustainably-minded glamping destination with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Founded by Czech owner Filip Žák, the resort comprises three architecturally striking villas with differing designs. Prague-based architecture firms ARCHWERK and  Formafatal  completed the resort’s newest addition, the Coco Villa, a set of five egg-shaped houses. Completed in June 2020, the Coco Villa is a cluster of five  treehouse -inspired structures built primarily of local tropical wood along with light-colored tent canvas textiles and metal elements. ARCHWERK architects created the concept and architectural design of the nest-like pods, while Formafatal oversaw the interior design and exterior finishing of the structures, including the footbridges and stairs that connect the individual buildings.  “Filip turned to us with an amazing challenge: to build with simple solutions and local materials a luxurious, but at the same time adventurous living, bringing the experience of an immediate stay in the  Costa Rican  jungle,” ARCHWERK explained in a press release. “According to his words, they should be “tree houses” placed on the hillside of the Art Villas resort, but in the freshly established garden without fully grown trees.” Related: Green-roofed villa blends into a Costa Rican jungle landscape The interiors of the Coco Villa pods echo the  minimalist  and playful approach of the exterior. Each cabin includes a raised bed carefully positioned to take advantage of breathtaking views of the outdoors. The cabins vary in size, with the largest housing a shared kitchen and dining area. In addition to the newly completed Coco Villa, the Art Villas Resort includes a concrete Art Villa designed by architecture firm Refuel; the tropical minimalist Atelier Villa by Formafatal studio; and the Wing, a tropical multifunctional pavilion that was designed by ARCHWERK studio.  + ARCHWERK + Formafatal Images by BoysPlayNice

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Pod-shaped Coco Villa immerses guests in nature and luxury

Sneci houseboat leaves no footprint while floating on Lake Tisza

January 27, 2021 by  
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Sneci isn’t your typical summer home, considering it doesn’t even come with a foundation. Then again, a foundation isn’t needed for this floating escape located on Lake Tisza in Hungary. The clients, Réka and Balázs, live in a small apartment in Budapest where they enjoy an active social and professional calendar. But when they went looking for a place to get away from the hum of busy days, they sought out a unique summer experience. That launched the idea of a small houseboat where they could fully immerse themselves into a region they love. The couple took their idea to Hungarian architect Tamás Bene, who said, “As an architect, I found it highly interesting to conceptualise and design a living space that has no tangible groundwork or foundations.” In order to match the houseboat with the area, Bene considered the massive, humanmade lake, which also acts as a nature reserve housing copious wildlife , including over 100 species of birds. With this in mind, Bene said, “We aimed to design a boat capable of assimilating into these surroundings, one that may become part of this scenery.” Related: Rental houseboat in India celebrates fire, water, air and earth elements The design is heavily inspired by traditional fishing boats in the area. Structurally, Sneci is composed of aluminum, which extends to the exterior of the structure with aluminum cladding surrounding the vessel. Complementing this material choice is the heat-treated thermowood that adorns the roof, decking and rear wall. Inside, the comforts of home include a kitchenette with seating that folds down to create a double bed. Natural light flows into the space through a panoramic window, large porthole windows and a sliding door that provides access to the back deck. In a marriage of coziness and natural elements, the interior walls are clad with a combination of redwood and thermowood. The tiny, floating home is powered by two solar panels mounted to the roof. These solar panels provide sufficient off-grid electricity to power the front and rear headlights, interior lighting and a small fridge. + Tamás Bene Via Dezeen Images via Balázs Máté

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Sneci houseboat leaves no footprint while floating on Lake Tisza

House of Childhood is a daycare that emphasizes energy efficiency

January 20, 2021 by  
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As part of a National Association for Urban Renewal project that will run until 2030, the Maison de l’enfance à Albertville (Savoie, France) is the first step in an ambitious urban development masterplan in the area. Translated House of Childhood, the building was designed by Tectoniques Agency and is functional, inviting, striking and environmentally friendly. With a commitment to early childhood, this initial project is a multipurpose facility with a dynamic, open floor plan that incorporates a municipal daycare center, a family daycare center, space for nursery assistants, a leisure area and a school restaurant. Related: Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village According to a press release, the House of Childhood is, “set in the heart of the Bauges, Beaufortain, Lauzière and Grand Arc mountain ranges,” making for a natural backdrop in nearly every direction. Architects placed an emphasis on the upper level of the building in order to capture the sweeping landscape. In addition to exceptional views of the surrounding peaks, the building responds to a goal of minimal site impact . In fact, a compact design caters to the architects’ call for preserving the ground in anticipation of future land development of green spaces. The team relied on a concrete foundation — Albertville is in a seismic zone — but equally relied on natural materials like different types of locally sourced wood for framing and furniture. To soften the look, the concrete walls are surrounded by a wooden structure. The upper facade offers protection and visual appeal with a combination of shimmering bronze and copper coloring. A significant portion of the building was built using prefabricated panels, ensuring industrial quality while allowing expediency of construction. This technique enabled the project to be completed in 13 months. Energy-efficient elements are included, such as the biomass heating network and ventilation provided by an adiabatic AHU to keep children cool during hot summers. The centralized entrance provides access to a reception area on one end and the dining room, activity rooms and technical rooms on the other. The first floor houses a courtyard with a generous playground. Natural light illuminates the interior through a combination of skylights and glazed facades. The interior design is also focused on the children, drawing natural elements inside with fully exposed bleached beech and spruce walls, ceilings and furniture. Paint colors designate separate spaces; for example, yellow defines the changing rooms and blue defines the restrooms.  + Tectoniques agency Photography by Renaud Araud via Tectoniques agency 

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House of Childhood is a daycare that emphasizes energy efficiency

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