3D-printed concrete forest pavilion proposed for Dubais Expo 2020

December 31, 2019 by  
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United Arab Emirates-based design practice MEAN* (Middle East Architecture Network) has proposed a sculptural 3D-printed pavilion for a prominent traffic roundabout to welcome visitors to the upcoming 2020 Expo in Dubai. Designed as a “spatial forest,” the interactive installation comprises a series of palm tree-like concrete elements and branching LEDs. The “Expo 2020 Landmark” proposal is also powered with solar energy and can be programmed to light up at night with a variety of lighting modes.  Towering at a height of over 26 feet, the domed Expo 2020 Landmark was inspired by the Expo 2020 logo and UAE’s iconic palm trees. As a symbol for innovative construction, the installation would be built from 3D-printed shell components that can be cast on-site with Ultra High Performance Concrete, a material selected for its durability and resilience to Dubai’s harsh desert climate. Related: Energy-producing pavilion proposal for Expo 2020 mimics Brazil’s biomes “Robotically 3D-printed concrete construction has been lauded for saving on material waste by reducing the amount of formwork involved in the process of casting, as well as providing a cleaner construction site, all while allowing for a higher degree of complexity in design,” the architects said in a project statement. “We believe that Expo 2020 would be a fantastic platform to showcase the possibilities of this emerging construction technology to the world.” The Expo 2020 Landmark can be enjoyed by motorists traveling in the roundabout as well as pedestrians, who would be invited to enter the pavilion and explore the spaces between the 3D-printed , palm tree-inspired elements. Solar panels installed on the structure would be strategically tilted for maximum solar exposure and to deter sand buildup. + MEAN* Images via MEAN*

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3D-printed concrete forest pavilion proposed for Dubais Expo 2020

The best eco tourism spots in Montreal

December 31, 2019 by  
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Montreal is a lively city where there’s always something going on. Perhaps you’ll arrive in the middle of an enormous Pride celebration, with pink balloon-festooned streets blocked off for a huge party. Or maybe you’ll play on 21 Balancoires, a set of musical swings — notes play as people swing — that appears downtown every springtime. Montreal has long been a major port city. It’s located at one end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which stretches from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of two million, Montreal is Canada’s second-largest city. It’s a bilingual city with a European feel. While more than half of Montreal’s residents are bilingual in French and English, quite a few only speak one language or the other, depending on their family’s native tongue and their education. Americans, especially those from the west coast, may love being in a place with Euro-style buildings dating back as far as the 1600s. It’s the mix of picturesque old and totally modern that makes Montreal so beautiful and fun. Outdoors Montreal For a more urban outdoors experience, check out one of Montreal’s many street fairs. May through June are the top months for closing off streets to traffic and turning them into party zones. Unless you’re extremely hardy, summer is the best time to partake in Montreal’s outdoors activities. Winter is long and cold here. You’ll need serious gear to have a good time outside. Mount Royal is a small mountain that overlooks the city and serves as a 692-acre city park that has it all. You can hike , rent a paddleboat, get your cardio workout by climbing the 550-step staircase on the south side, picnic or participate in a drum circle. During winter, people tube, toboggan, ski, snowshoe, or skate on a manmade lake. The Mount Royal Chalet rents winter equipment. Whatever you’re doing on Mount Royal, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city. The Montreal Botanical Garden is lovely in every season. Check out cultural gardens within the larger garden — Chinese, Japanese and First Nations are all represented here. In autumn you can stroll beneath golden leaves, and in winter you can cross country ski inside the garden . Don’t miss the Insectarium to get a close-up look at bug life. Did you know that 91% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Quebec? If you visit Montreal between late February and late April, get out to the countryside to experience a sugar shack. Many offer games, tastings and maple-themed meals as part of the fun. At La Cabane À Tuque , maple producers harvest maple sap the old-fashioned way, with buckets. Visitors can join in. They run an eco operation with a hempcrete -insulated house, a wall made with recycled bottles, and they even serve vegan meals. Montreal wellness scene Montreal is a secular city, but you’ll quickly notice the gorgeous churches and French Catholic influence. Nuns opened and ran the first hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, in 1645. For a historical look at the local wellness scene, at least from a European perspective, the Musee de Hospitallers chronicles Montreal’s early medical efforts. For one of the best modern spa experiences anywhere, pack your swimsuit and flip flops and head for Bota Bota , an old river ferry turned floating spa. It’s docked in the old port on Saint Lawrence River, where you can soak in a water circuit, fill your lungs with clouds of eucalyptus in the steam room, eat spa cuisine and relax in hanging chairs, all while gazing at river traffic. Bota Bota lets you choose between a quiet zone and a large area where you can visit with friends. Wanderlust Montreal , known for its Wanderlust Festival, is based in Montreal. Check out their website for current studio classes, concerts and yoga events. Eating out in Montreal When I asked local vegan activist Élise Desaulniers why Montreal has so many vegan restaurants, she said, “We hate debates in Canada . We like to find the middle ground. So, the conclusion is you should eat less meat. But being vegan 100% of the time is considered too extreme.” So that means Montreal’s omnivores support the vegan restaurants, making the city full of choices for veg visitors. Montreal has a vegan festival every fall, which Desaulniers co-founded. For some of the most interesting vegan sushi anywhere, Sushi Momo’s creations range from simple eggplant and avocado rolls to complicated concoctions full of exotic ingredients beyond my comprehension in French or English. I let the server choose for me. If you’re with a group, order the 2-foot-long wooden boat filled with assorted sushi. Lola Rosa draws people from all walks of life to its four locations for hemp burgers and international-inspired comfort food. Panthere Verte stays open late and is known for its falafel and organic vegan cocktails. Café Chat L’Heureux features a vegetarian menu of soups, sandwiches and salads, plus eight friendly kitty hosts. This is the place to get your feline fix when traveling through Montreal. Public transit Montreal’s subway system is relatively easy to figure out. Best of all, trains run every eight minutes on average, and every three minutes during rush hour. A robust bus system rounds out the public transportation network and will get you to all major landmarks. An express bus called the 747 Shuttle runs 24 hours a day between the airport and downtown, and only costs ten dollars. Ride-share services also operate in Montreal. The BIXI bike share system runs during fairer weather months, from April 15 through November 15. Since bike shares are aimed at shorter rides, consider renting a bike from Montreal on Wheels if you want one for a whole day or the duration of your stay. The bike rental shop also offers guided group bike tours. Eco-hotels For an upscale eco-hotel, stay at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth . Its impressively long list of sustainability initiatives includes employing three beekeepers , no using palm oil in its menus and turning old sheets and curtains into cleaning rags. On the more affordable, communal end of the spectrum, the Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal offers dorm or private rooms with shared bathrooms and an airy, plant-filled space with a full kitchen. The Hôtel de l’ITHQ , run by the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, is a clean, modern hotel run largely by tourism students. As a member of Canada’s Green Key eco-hotel program, it also follows many sustainability practices. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat and Bota Bota

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The best eco tourism spots in Montreal

Tree-topped bridge to double as public space for a historic Chinese town

February 8, 2018 by  
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MVRDV has won a competition for Dawn Bridge, a new multi-use bridge near Shanghai that will give locals and visitors the chance to experience a historic Chinese water town in a whole new way. Located near the famous water town Zhujiajiao, this new 80-meter-long landmark will be topped with trees and amphitheater-like seating that overlooks views of the water and riverside architecture. To blend the modern bridge into its surroundings, the architects drew a contextual palette of colors and materials referencing the local vernacular. Located between the 16th century Fangsheng Bridge and the Qingpu Road Bridge, the 24-meter-wide Dawn Bridge will mark a new era of development in the riverfront area. MVRDV’s winning design proposes a bridge that doubles as public space by turning part of the deck into amphitheater -like seating optimized for gatherings, meetings, and beautiful views of Zhujiajiao. The bridge also provides sufficient clearance to the approximately 80-meter-wide active riverbed that’s used for activities year-round. “The vertical alignment of Dawn Bridge defines a sense of lightness and elegance, and our aim was to provide a graceful low curve above the river that also blends with the landscape”, says Wenchian Shi, Partner at MVRDV. “Beyond blending, we wanted to create a bridge that invites public life over and around it and that is accessible to all people whether on foot or on wheels.” Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands The bridge’s pedestrian deck and landings will be painted in the same reddish hue as the wood found in the nearby houses, while the gray roofs and white walls of the local residences are echoed in the bridge’s white structural frame and gray asphalt. Proposed plantings and trees on the bridge mimic the greenery of the riverbanks . Completion is anticipated for 2019. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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Tree-topped bridge to double as public space for a historic Chinese town

It took more than 25 years to build this incredible walkable world map

June 5, 2017 by  
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You’d need around 11 years to walk around the globe – if you can walk on water. But a world map in Denmark makes the feat possible in a few minutes. Verdenskortet , or world map , is a walkable map , made of soil and stone, built on top of a pond. It took Søren Poulsen more than two decades to complete this extraordinary project, and it was worth the wait. Poulsen, who was born in 1888 in Denmark, realized a stone on his land was shaped similar to the Jutland Peninsula. That stone launched the idea to create a world map, and Poulsen started the project in 1944. He continued working on the map, located at his childhood home at Klejtrup Lake, until he died in 1969. Today the map comprises the center of a park offering outdoor activities and event space. Around 35,000 people visit every single year. Related: Our World: A Giant Pixelated LEGO Map Built from 1 Million Bricks! Poulson made the map out of rocks and dirt, using just hand tools, a pushcart, and a wheelbarrow. The Verdenskortet Facebook page explains the stones comprising the world map were moved onto the ice during winter, and then in spring the stones could be moved into place. Flags mark each country, and there’s even yellow bricks dividing America up into states. Red poles indicate where the equator lies. The world map is 300 feet by 150 feet, and every 10 inches represents around 69 miles in the real world. Today the park offers guided tours of Verdenskortet, paired with coffee and cake. People can play miniature golf on the grass, or take a class field trip to the map. Visitors can take a boat trip around the mini Pacific Ocean , and on land go on pony rides, play old Viking games, or jump on a trampoline. Park entry is inexpensive; around $12 for adults and $8 for kids. + Verdenskortet Via GOOD Images via Verdenskortet Facebook

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It took more than 25 years to build this incredible walkable world map

What’s next for the Paris Accord

June 5, 2017 by  
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What happens to the Paris Climate Agreement now that the leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions has signaled his intent to withdraw from the landmark accord? We take a closer look at the consequences of Donald Trump’s decision to rescind US efforts to limit global warming in accordance with the 2015 agreement. President Donald Trump is a showman and his press conference was political theater for the 61 million Americans who voted him into office last November. The reality is that the withdrawal process could take up to four years to complete and Trump could be exiting the White House before he exits the Paris Accord if he doesn’t win reelection. The other reality is that, thanks to Senate Republicans who would never ratify the Paris Accord as a treaty, in order to push it past the finish line with the US onboard, the deal had to be “non-binding,” meaning all actions are voluntary. Related: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement By declaring its intent to withdraw from the Paris Accord, the US joins Syria and Nicaragua in refusing the deal. It should be noted that Nicaragua didn’t join the agreement because it didn’t go far enough in emissions reductions for the Central American nation. Minus the US, a total of  194 countries have signed and 147 parties have ratified the accord , representing 66 percent of global emissions. The accord entered into force on November 4, 2016 — 30 days after at least 55 parties representing at least 55 percent of global emissions joined. While it certainly could be argued that Trump has damaged America’s standing in the international community, it is not so clear that Trump has actually hurt the Paris Accord, Actually, there are indications that Trump’s announcement is having the opposite effect, with countries, cities and corporations redoubling their commitments to the Paris Accord and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Many experts believe that since Trump was never serious about committing the US to climate action, that his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord could actually free up other world leaders to draft an even stronger agreement with enforcement mechanisms not possible with a Republican-ruled Senate in the US. Australian climate scientist Luke Kemp told The New York Times, “I worry that letting the United States just stay in the agreement and do whatever it wants could show how weak Paris is. It sends the message that the agreement is more about symbolism than action.” CHINA AND EU TAKING THE LEAD With Trump ceding US leadership on climate, China and the European Union are stepping in to fill the power vacuum. In a joint statement following Trump’s announcement, China and the EU — backed by all 28 EU member states — reaffirmed their commitment to full implementation of the Paris climate deal. The statement, the first between the EU and China, commited to cutting back on fossil fuels and increasing development of green technologies. Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump “The EU and China consider climate action and the clean energy transition an imperative more important than ever,” the statement reads. “The increasing impacts of climate change require a decisive response.” CITIES, STATES AND BUSINESSES STEPPING UP A group that so far includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses is negotiating with the United Nations to have their climate contributions accepted alongside other nations who have signed onto the accord. The Democratic governors of California, Washington and New York formed the US Climate Alliance to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Accord after Trump’s announcement. It isn’t only Democrats defying Trump — Charlie Baker, the popular Republican governor of Massachusetts, said on Friday that he was joining the US Climate Alliance . Related: US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump “As the commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change,” Baker said in a statement, adding that the initiative aims “to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation.” Also after Trump’s announcement, 187 mayors representing more than 52 million Americans and some of the largest US cities, stated their intention to individually join the Paris Accord and work together on stronger climate change mitigation measures and transitioning to the 21st century clean energy economy. Cities around the world protested Trump pulling out of the Paris accord, including Tel Aviv, which lit up city hall in green lights . “We need to take responsibility for the next generation,” Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement posted to Facebook. “That means, among other things, continuing to research, learn and act on the quality of the environment and the climate.” Major corporations are also on board with the Paris Accord — 95 of the world’s largest companies have commited to 100 percent renewables, including Google, Walmart and Nike. GREEN TECHNOLOGIES GETTING CHEAPER The price of solar, wind, batteries and other green technologies are dropping fast, leading to increased integration into the electricity grid. In 2016, the amount of new solar power coming online nearly doubled from the previous year — enough to power 2 million homes. Related: The sweet moment California got a record 50% of its electricity from solar Republican-ruled states are leading the renewables revolution. Kansas tripled its wind power production between 2011 and 2015. Wyoming leads the nation with 1,600 watts of new renewable energy capacity per capita being built. Nevada leads the nation in new solar power jobs while North Dakota leads in new wind power jobs. The conservative town of Georgetown, Texas is on track to be 100 percent renewable energy this year, becoming the largest US city to achieve the clean energy goal. Dale Ross, the mayor of Georgetown, admits “it’s the reddest of cities, in the reddest of states…but we put national politics aside to do our best for the people we’re elected to serve.” Images via Wikipedia 1 , 2 , 3 , 4  and White House Archives

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What’s next for the Paris Accord

Mirrored shipping container building reflects its natural surroundings in Taipei

June 5, 2017 by  
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We use mirrors to reflect on ourselves – but this mirrored building in Taipei asks us to reflect on how we interact with our environment. B+P Architects transformed an old shipping container into a shining art annex in New Taipei City that blends in with its surroundings while challenging viewers to question their relationship to nature. The project, titled “Within The Reflection : THE ARK of ART” establishes diversified environments for creativity using mirror-polished stainless steel. Its aim is to create a space where neighboring communities can learn about aesthetics. The architects chose to put the container at the far end of a boulevard in order to preserve the serenity and peace as integral parts of the project. Related: “Reflect London” conceals Covent Garden construction with a dazzling mirror display Mirrored buildings like Doug Aitken’s Mirage House and this beautiful reflective cafe in Japan by Bandesign are captivating examples of architecture blending into its surroundings and accentuating the beauty of nature. Mirror-polished stainless steel boards that cover the building allow the large box-shaped volume to be concealed in the reflections of the surrounding environment. Another aspect of the use of mirror-like surfaces is to stimulate students to rethink the relationship between themselves and their environments. + B+P Architects Via Archinect Photos by Hung-Yu Lin, WENYA Studio

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Mirrored shipping container building reflects its natural surroundings in Taipei

UGE’s Vertical Axis Wind Turbines now provide green power for the Eiffel Tower

February 24, 2015 by  
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The Eiffel Tower has just unveiled a new, sustainable facelift, and perhaps the most striking update to the famous landmark comes in the form of two of Urban Green Energy’s (UGE) vertical axis wind turbines . Installed 400ft up, within the tower’s iconic framework, the turbines are now providing 10,000kWh of green electricity each year. Read the rest of UGE’s Vertical Axis Wind Turbines now provide green power for the Eiffel Tower Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind power” , “wind turbine” , Eiffel Tower , france , green energy , green renovation , green upgrade , landmark , Paris , renewable energy , UGE , urban green energy

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UGE’s Vertical Axis Wind Turbines now provide green power for the Eiffel Tower

Mexico’s House of Representatives Passes Landmark Climate Law

April 16, 2012 by  
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Mexico is poised to become the second nation in the world (behind Great Britain) to pass sweeping climate change legislation that calls for dramatically reducing carbon emissions over the next four decades. Last week, Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies (its House of Representatives) voted to approve a new General Law on Climate Change by an overwhelming margin of 128-10. To become law, which appears quite likely now, the law must pass the Mexican Senate and be signed by President Felipe Calderón. Read the rest of Mexico’s House of Representatives Passes Landmark Climate Law Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: binding climate law , carbon emissions , climate bill , Climate Change , climate talks , energy policy , General Law on Climate Change , global warming , Mexican congress , Mexican government , mexico , President Felipe Calderón , renewable energy , United Nations

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Mexico’s House of Representatives Passes Landmark Climate Law

Serious Energy Greens Glass at New York Stock Exchange

October 5, 2011 by  
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Fresh from its window pane retrofit at the Empire State Building, Serious Energy has tackled a new project at another landmark in the Big Apple.

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Serious Energy Greens Glass at New York Stock Exchange

McMansions Endanger Native Species and Hollywood Icon

February 18, 2010 by  
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Alice Cooper paid about $28,000 to replace an O in the Hollywood sign back in 1978 when it was restored after years of deterioration. Since then, the famed sign has become legendary. Now Mad Men’ s John Slattery, Old Christine ‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Virginia Madsen, Tippi Hedren, and Aisha Tyler are trying to save the landmark from encroachment by a nearby development of gigantic estates

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McMansions Endanger Native Species and Hollywood Icon

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