This kitchen in a box makes it easy to cook in micro-apartments and tiny homes

July 6, 2018 by  
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Young professionals living in micro-apartments and tiny homes can soon install a fully functioning kitchen in their residences, without the need for additional space or even complicated hardware. A recent graduate of Britain’s Royal College of Art has unveiled her capstone work titled Assembly – a single-package, flexible cooking set for millennials. The complete kit is about the same size as a toaster oven, but it contains everything an individual living in a micro-apartment  or a tiny home would need for a functional kitchen. Yu Li, the designer of Assembly, envisions the set as a “one-package solution that covers the whole cooking and dining process for one.” Related: Kenchikukagu: 3 tiny portable rooms from Japan that open like a suitcase Assembly contains a tablecloth, two pans designed to work with an included induction cooktop, a cutting board, cooking utensils and a single set of plates and flatware. When unpacked, the pieces work together as a full kitchen setup , ready to prepare and serve meals. The induction cooktop surface works with both pans and has fully-functioning temperature controls. The hotplate also has a timer feature, which gives aspiring chefs control over how long it stays powered. After dinnertime, the container that holds plates doubles as a drying rack. Between meals, everything is stored in this container, which can be put away for future use. Li says the “kitchen in a box” concept is designed for recent graduates and young people living in small urban apartments or competing for kitchen access with roommates. “The idea is to trim the original kitchen space down to a few minimal elements,” Li told Dezeen. “So space can be designed simpler , neater and transformed into other purposes to increase the space utilization.” Assembly was one of several designs on display during the 2018 Graduate Exhibition , which closed on July 1. More than 800 students showed off their work at four locations in London. Although the self-contained kit gathered plenty of attention, a manufacturer and distributor have yet to be announced, and the price for the Assembly set is still to be determined. + Royal College of Art Via Dezeen Images via Yu Li

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This kitchen in a box makes it easy to cook in micro-apartments and tiny homes

A former anti-aircraft platform is now a beautiful skywalk in Gibraltar

July 6, 2018 by  
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If you’re not afraid of heights, you can now experience the famed Rock of Gibraltar in a whole new way. Gibraltar-based architecture firm  Arc Designs has turned an old WWII military platform on the very top of the landmark into a gorgeous glass skywalk with stunning views of the Rock and the surrounding ocean. Located 340 meters above sea level, the Gibraltar Skywalk is comprised of four layers of glass and over 60,000 pounds of steel embedded into the rocky, steep terrain. The glass-enclosed viewing area is built in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, which contained a platform formerly used as an anti-aircraft base in WWII. The architects used the base as a starting point to extend a glazed walkway and balustrade over the rocky terrain. Related: This terrifying glass walkway in China ‘cracks’ as you step on it Visitors can access the viewing platform via stairs or a glass elevator. Once on the walkway, they can enjoy east and westward views that look out over the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. In fact, according to Arc Designs, the extraordinary location drove the inspiration for the skywalk ‘s design: “The design aspiration of this project was to afford the visitor with new and unrivaled views in all directions including over the rocky cliff-face below, while at the same time ensuring a subtle intervention, which did not detract from the natural and historic nature of this unique setting.” Although the setting guarantees beautiful views, the perilous terrain did present quite a few challenges for the project. “Because vehicular access to this area is limited to very narrow and winding roads, the entire walkway structure had to be fabricated in smaller sections which could be transported and assembled together in-situ,” explain the architects. To ensure that the glass skywalk was secure enough to withstand the visitor load, as well as the typical wind speeds – which can reach over 93 miles hour – the structure had to be embedded into the ground with multiple rock anchors. The entire project used a steel skeleton made up of 18 separate pieces. To build out the walkway, over 8,000 square feet of glass panels were installed. + Arc Designs Via Dezeen Photographs by Stephen Ball, courtesy of Bovis-Koala JV

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A former anti-aircraft platform is now a beautiful skywalk in Gibraltar

Schemata Architects weaves modern design into a traditional Japanese house

July 5, 2018 by  
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Tokyo-based  Schemata Architects have renovated a traditional Japanese residence into a modern dwelling with an office, while keeping many of the 80-year-old building’s original features intact. Located in the seaside city of Kamakura an hour south of Tokyo , the Hojo Sanci is set in a quiet and lush residential area. To minimize changes to the original building structure and retain an open feel, the architects used varying floor heights and finishes to differentiate the programmatic areas. Built primarily from wood, the two-story Japanese home — which comprises a beautiful onsite garden and verdant greenery beyond — dates back to the early 20th century. Schemata Architects oriented the home’s rooms outward to keep the original emphasis on the outdoors. However, they removed the fusuma (wood-framed paper sliding doors) that had divided the rooms to create one large open space. To celebrate the building’s past, the architects also preserved existing finishes and partially exposed the substructure by removing sections of the ceiling and walls. Tatami mats were also laid down in certain rooms, where the floor was elevated above ground by 60 centimeters. “We decided to focus on floor heights and finishes and treat them as means to express different spatial characters and define spatial/functional zones,” explained Jo Nagasaka, the founder of Schemata Architects. “Firstly, we set a tatami floor area raised 40 cm above the earth floor at the entrance as a reference plane and determined the height, dimension and finish of respective floors in other areas. Each room was distinguished from others by different characteristics of furniture placed there. The floor height differences create a vibrant feeling as well as different viewpoints, allowing one to constantly feel nature and creative energy at any place and anytime in this space.” Related: Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffee’s first Kyoto location The mix of modern and traditional becomes apparent in the various room designs. On the west side of the home, the architects inserted a Japanese-style room with tatami and an engawa (a type of covered veranda ) that connects to the garden, and OSB floors and gray geometric furnishings are used in the contemporary office addition. + Schemata Architects Images via Kenta Hasegawa

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The 1970s brick Upside-Down House gets an eco-friendly refresh

July 5, 2018 by  
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Melbourne-based Inbetween Architecture has breathed new life into a dark and tired 1970s double brick home in Kew, Australia. Nicknamed the Upside-Down House, the gut-renovation includes a dramatically transformed interior with a focus on natural daylight and energy efficiency . In addition to increased daylighting with skylights and adherence to passive solar principles, the remodeled home was fitted with energy-saving LED lighting, hydronic heating, improved insulation and solar-powered ventilators. When Inbetween Architecture was tapped for the project, the team debated between renovating and knocking the structure down to start anew. After weighing the environmental and cost benefits, however, the architects decided to retain the existing house, which was structurally sound but extremely dated and depressingly dark. As a result, they focused on bringing natural light into the home. Since the ground floor receives less access to daylight , the team decided to flip the ground floor and the first floor programming by placing the bedrooms on the ground floor and the communal living areas in the light-filled first floor — thus giving rise to the home’s nickname, the “Upside-Down House.” “The favorite part of our renovations is without question the soaring cathedral-like skylights that not only brought light in, but created space above without impacting on the roofline,” said the client, a young family of four. “Visually, our house flowed from room to room with the feature stair-case leading directly to the open tallow-wood living areas lit up by the northern sun. This flow continued to the outdoors with the clever relocation of an outdoor balcony to link to the previously isolated pool-area allowing for an expansive out-door entertaining area second to none.” Related: Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia The architects replaced the home’s original seven “closet”-sized bedrooms with four spacious bedrooms. The interior design follows a minimalist aesthetic with hidden storage to avoid clutter. Created to meet a six-star energy rating, the home takes advantage of thermal mass from the existing concrete slabs on both floors and the externally insulated double brick walls. Long roof eaves and new dual shading help mitigate solar gain . + Inbetween Architecture Images by Tatjana Plitt and Nick Stephenson

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A 17th-century Spanish hospital gets transformed into a cozy library

July 5, 2018 by  
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When Madrid-based design practice Murado & Elvira Architects won a competition to turn the ancient Sancti Spiritus Hospital into the Public Library and Historic Archive for the Spanish city of Baiona, they wanted the renovation to focus on the concept of hospitality. In contrast to the historic stone and plaster facade that was left in place, the architects transformed the interior with maple wood volumes to create a sense of coziness and comfort. Eight years in the making, the 1.5-million Euro adaptive reuse project was completed in March of this year. Located in the historic city center, the 17th-century Sancti Spiritus Hospital is protected under Bien de Interés Cultural status; however, the building suffered major alterations over the years, including the destruction of its interior in the 1970s. Instead of merely renovating the structure, Murado & Elvira Architects also worked to return parts of the building back to their historic roots. The interior, though, was given an entirely new identity organized around a thick stone wall that recalls the building’s original construction. All the rooms are wrapped in warm maple plywood, which was also used for the furnishing. “When we first visited the old building we felt the need for our project to create a new interior identity, connecting and giving continuity to the old structures,” say Clara Murado and Juan Elvira of the two-story renovation . “The building could be understood as a solid stone plinth and a wooden fitment on top of it. The library becomes a furniture to be inhabited. We always had in mind the studio of Saint Jerome in Antonello da Messina’s painting where the whole studio seems to be built around the book.” Related: An old London chapel is reborn into a modern home and artist studio The library’s interior layout was also informed by the historical sequence of rooms. The Historic Archive, the children’s library, and the service rooms dominate the ground floor. The children’s library also opens up to a courtyard space. Three stairs lead up to the upper floor where the main reading room, individual study alcoves, bathrooms, offices and bench reading rooms are located. + Murado & Elvira Architects Images via Imagen Subliminal

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Should You Visit Animal Sanctuaries When You Travel?

May 23, 2018 by  
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Animal sanctuaries like Japan’s fox village, Sri Lanka’s elephant orphanage … The post Should You Visit Animal Sanctuaries When You Travel? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Nissan to debut its self-driving taxis in Japan

February 23, 2018 by  
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Nissan will begin testing its Easy Ride self-driving taxi service in Yokohama , Japan on March 5, 2018, with plans to launch the full service by the start of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In collaboration with Tokyo-based mobile app developer DeNA, Nissan will run the trial service on a 2.8 mile-route running from their headquarters to the Yokohama World Porters shopping center. While limited to start, the opening of Nissan’s Easy Ride service marks an significant step forward into the future of autonomous vehicles and urban transportation. The Easy Ride system is designed to incorporate user interests into its presentation, offering helpful information on points of interest, events, and shops. To build further ties between the self-driving taxi and local business, Easy Ride will offer coupons for recommended restaurants and businesses for users to exchange after they’ve departed their self-driving taxi. Easy Ride will also record feedback from users regarding their ride experience and their opinion on what a fair fare should be. Related: Dubai tests the world’s first autonomous mobility pods Nissan’s initial trial is planned to run for only a few weeks. However, the company plans to conduct further, more extensive tests. Recognizing the need to serve an Olympic -sized constituency as well as Japan’s aging population, the automaker plans to add more routes, implement a multi-lingual interface, and refine arrival and departure procedures over the next two years. To assuage any concerns regarding the safety of the self-driving taxis, Nissan will link each taxi to a remote monitoring center, where workers observe each ride and could take the wheel from afar if necessary. Via Engadget Images via Nissan and aotaro/Flickr

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Plants appear to lose consciousness when sedated

February 14, 2018 by  
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Are plants conscious? Based on a new study, our anesthetics work on flora – but just what are they working on? University of Bonn plant cell biologist Frantisek Baluska told The New York Times , “Plants are not just robotic, stimulus-response devices. They’re living organisms which have their own problems, maybe something like humans feeling pain or joy. In order to navigate this complex life, they must have some compass.” Plants can be frozen with anesthetics, researchers discovered, including the medicines used on humans during surgery. The researchers’ findings could help us learn more about anesthesia – and plants. A team of scientists from institutions in Germany, Japan, the Czech Republic, and Italy exposed several different plants to substances like ether and lidocaine. They found, for example, that pea plants exposed to diethyl ether vapor stop moving and their tendrils curl. A Venus flytrap didn’t respond to stimulus similar to an insect that moved across it – its cells actually stopped firing, according to The New York Times. Related: German forester says trees are social beings with friends and personalities The plants seemed to return to life when the anesthesia wore off – almost as if they had regained consciousness. Baluska told The New York Times, “How organisms are perceiving the environment or responding or adapting are based on some very similar principles.” Cell membranes change under anesthesia, growing more flexible. Membranes of some of the plant root cells under anesthesia had difficulty performing tasks they normally would. Membranes are also key for transferring messages from one cell to another via electricity , and some scientists think electrical activity across neurons contributes to consciousness in humans. But when asked if plants are indeed conscious or not, Baluska said, “No one can answer this because you cannot ask them.” The journal Annals of Botany published the research in December. Via The New York Times Images via Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash and Jeffery Wong on Unsplash

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Plants appear to lose consciousness when sedated

Why GM and Ford face a long road ahead in the race to low-carbon transportation

January 23, 2018 by  
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As electrification charges ahead, today’s leaders come from Germany and Japan.

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Tokyo capsule hotel gets a Finnish-inspired refresh and sauna

January 22, 2018 by  
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Capsule hotels are commonplace in Tokyo, but the recently renovated ºC (Do-C) Ebisu hopes to stand out from the pack with its contemporary Finnish-inspired refresh. Designed by Tokyo-based practice Schemata Architects , the renovated hotel is one of the newest offerings by capsule hotel chain 9h (nine hours). Though guests won’t have much room in their tiny capsule units, they do have access to a roomy Finnish-inspired sauna. 9h hotels typically redesign and build their capsule hotels from scratch, but decided to take the renovation route with ºC (Do-C) Ebisu. Schemata Architects was asked to preserve the existing capsule units but otherwise gut the interior and overhaul the exterior. The building was also retrofitted with new saunas . “In Japan, people often stereotypically associate capsule hotels with saunas due to the conventional style of capsule hotels in the past,” wrote the architects. “The existing building was actually not equipped with saunas, but we intentionally recreated the stereotypical image by adding saunas there, while eradicating the conventional impression, to establish a powerful combination of capsules and saunas representing the identity of ºC.” Related: Kyoto’s Futuristic Nine Hours Capsule Hotel Offers a First Class Sleeping Experience in Tiny Pods The eight-floor capsule hotel’s narrow building facade was repainted in a rusty red hue, matching the color of the anti-corrosive paint applied to the structural steel members. Natural timber is used throughout the interior, while clear fiber-reinforced plastic, chosen for waterproofing purposes, can be seen in the space connecting the shower room and sauna. The project was completed December 2017 and is located a one-minute walk away from Ebisu Station. You can make bookings online ; the capsule hotel is open to both men and women. Per the name, each stay at the minimalist hotel is only nine hours: one hour to get ready for bed, seven hours of sleep, and one hour before checkout. + Schemata Architects Images by Nacasa & Partners

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