Post-war home in Kyoto brilliantly renovated to blend modernity with tradition

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Japanese architecture is known for its minimalist sophistication and this beautiful renovation of a pre-war home in Kyoto is a shining example. Designed by Osaka-based firm, atelier Luke , the renovation process of the Ichijoji House included exposing the beautiful timber beams that were once concealed and conferring with local craftspeople to create design elements that pay homage to the traditional Kyoto vernacular. The home was originally built in 1961, but had become rundown over the years. A Danish-Australian furniture maker purchased the home to convert into a modern living space while maintaining its traditional character. Related: This nomadic origami teahouse is made of hundreds of sheets of folded paper Due to the poor state of the home, the first step was gutting the space while trying to retain the original timber structure. During the renovation process, the team found that many of home’s structural timber elements, such as the large cambered roof beams , had been hidden from sight. The decision was made to leave the beams exposed in order to create a series of wooden sculptural forms that enhance the home’s neutral, minimalist design. To make better use of the space, the layout of the home was reversed from the original layout. The first floor would now house the private spaces while the living area was installed upstairs, reached by a timber ladder. What was once the ground floor kitchen was converted into a beautiful traditional Japanese bedroom, complete with tatami mats , shoji screens, and handmade wallpaper. An extension was added to back of the home in order to make room for indoor plumbing system for the new bathroom and kitchen. The space was also built out to create a peaceful screened-in courtyard reached through a series of sliding timber doors and paper screens. As for the interior design , the design team went to local craftspeople from Kyoto, as well as Osaka and Nagano to create a traditional atmosphere. Most of the decorative or functional elements such as the stained wallpaper, lacquered flooring, and timber joinery were either hand crafted or finished using traditional techniques. Bespoke furniture pieces including various cabinets and the “floating” dining table were made out of Japanese oak. + atelier Luke Images via atelier Luke

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Post-war home in Kyoto brilliantly renovated to blend modernity with tradition

Groundbreaking study confirms neonicotinoids are toxic to songbirds

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

The controversial insecticides known as neonicotinoids don’t just harm bees – according to new research conducted by the University of Saskatchewan , they are also toxic to songbirds. The study shows that the chemicals can directly skew songbird migration . The research was led by Margaret Eng, a post-doctoral fellow. She worked alongside Christy Morrissey, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan . Reportedly, this is the first study to show that imidacloprid ( neonicotinoid ) and chlorpyrifos (organophosphate) — which are two of the most widely-used insecticides — are toxic to seed-eating songbirds. Said Morrissey, “Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees that have been experiencing population declines. However, it is not just bees that are being affected by these insecticides.” Eng added, “These chemicals are having a strong impact on songbirds. We are seeing significant weight loss and the birds’ migratory orientation being significantly altered. Effects were seen from eating the equivalent of just three to four imidacloprid treated canola seeds or eight chlorpyrifos granules a day for three days.” In the past, farmers sprayed their crops with neonicotinoids. Today, many seeds are already coated with the chemicals. Said Morrissey, “Birds that stop on migration are potentially eating these seeds , but can also mistakenly ingest the chlorpyrifos pellets for grit, something they normally eat to aid in the digestion of seeds.” For the study, Morrissey and Eng captured sparrows which were migrating during the spring. The birds were then fed daily for three days with either a low or a high dose of imidacloprid or chlorpyrifos. At the end of the experiment, they learned that neonicotinoids changed the birds’ migratory orientation and resulted in them losing up to 25 percent of their fat stores and body mass. Related: Neonicotinoid insecticides kill honeybee sperm York University biology researcher Bridget Stutchbury said, “Many small migratory songbirds use agricultural land as a stopover to refuel on long flights. These neurotoxic insecticides are widely used in North America but their effects on migratory ability in birds have not been tested before. Although neonicotinoids were thought to have a lower toxicity to vertebrates, it actually proved to be more harmful to these songbirds than the older organophosphate chemicals.” Following the cessation of dosing, most of the birds survived. But Eng is still concerned about their well-being. “The effects we saw were severe enough that the birds would likely experience migratory delays or changes in their flight routes that could reduce their chance of survival, or cause a missed breeding opportunity,” she said. Morrissey concluded that the research is likely to “have major implications for regulation decisions of these pesticides . Imidacloprid and chlorpyrifos are highly controversial for their safety to the environment or to humans and a decision on a proposed imidacloprid ban in Canada is being considered, with the federal government expected to make a decision on imidacloprid and its use in Canada sometime in December.” + University of Saskatchewan Via Phys Images via PxHere, Pixabay

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Groundbreaking study confirms neonicotinoids are toxic to songbirds

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