Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

August 18, 2017 by  
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A “green lung” in Qatar’s desert landscape is helping people stay healthy and active, and reconnecting them to nature. Erik Behrens and James Haig Streeter of AECOM recently completed Oxygen Park, a unique public space in Doha’s Education City. Built to promote exercise and social gatherings, Oxygen Park is partly buried underground and features undulating, organic forms masses inspired by the desert’s wind-eroded rocks and landscapes. Oxygen Park derives its name from the elemental life-force of oxygen , which the park also produces with its tree-studded green landscape. The designers wrote: “Oxygen Park is a man-made ‘green lung’ with a design inspired by nature. It is an antidote to the generic indoor gym environment and helps people to get back to nature, while fostering social engagement and promoting active healthy lifestyles.” A series of “balloon lights” float above the subterranean landscape to draw attention to Oxygen Park from afar. Related: SOMA Architects’ luxury Shaza Hotel breaks ground in Doha The park’s exercise features include shaded running trails, subterranean pitches for team sports, and equestrian facilities. More passive recreational areas also punctuate the park in the form of water plazas, sensory gardens, shade gardens, play gardens , and a series of soundscape -filled, folly spheres. The use of water and shade are seamlessly integrated into the design to provide relief from the hot climate. At night, a beautiful lighting scheme illuminates the park and water to create a safe and attractive environment for workouts and strolls after sundown. + AECOM Images by Markus Elblaus

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Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

Curvaceous green landscape near Edinburgh Castle will hide buildings underneath

August 2, 2017 by  
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Scotland’s historic Edinburgh Castle may date back to the 12th century, but the landscape next door is getting a modern refresh. American architecture firm wHY and Edinburgh office GRAS just won the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition with their designs for a curvaceous green landscape with buildings hidden underneath. The winning design, called Butterfly, beat out proposals by six other teams including the likes of BIG , Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, and Sou Fujimoto Architects. Located on the West Princes Street Gardens site, the £25 million Ross Pavilion will be integrated within a rolling terrain that the jury commended for its sensitivity to the landscape history as well as for increasing the green space within the Gardens. The design embeds the pavilions , which will comprise a visitor center and cafe, underneath an undulating landscape to keep Edinburgh Castle the focal point. The pavilion will replace an existing garden bandstand and host key events in Edinburgh’s calendar. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects unveil plans for spectacular Eco Park in England “They demonstrated an impressive collaboration which respects and enhances the historical context and backdrop of the castle and the city, whilst creating new heritage and increasing the green space within the gardens,” said jury chair Norman Springford. “All of which were key aspects for us all and respected the importance of the space within a world heritage site.” A sunken outdoor amphitheater sits between the green-roofed buildings and is accessible via a ramped pathway. Construction on the Ross Pavilion and West Princes Street Garden is expected to begin in 2018. + wHY Architects Via ArchDaily Images by wHY Architects

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Curvaceous green landscape near Edinburgh Castle will hide buildings underneath

This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

July 28, 2017 by  
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Nigel Kirkwood worked in the mining industry for 25 years and it was his fascination with the natural sustainability of tunnels that led him to build his own underground, earth-sheltered home to live out his retirement years. Located in Quindalup, Western Australia, Kirkwood’s self-built hobbit house is buried under nearly 1,000 tons of soil and covered with greenery. Working in the mining industry taught Kirkwood a thing or two about the sustainable features of underground structures. Using the tunnel layout as inspiration, he built the home on two large concrete footings and covered the structure with 19 tons of high-quality steel. He then sealed the structure with a Polyurea water- and fire-proof coating and, as the final step, buried his new home under 1,000 tons of locally-sourced loam sand. Along with the protection against fires and storms that underground homes offer, the earth-sheltered structure has natural insulative properties, requiring require no heating or cooling. Additionally, the interior is virtually sound-proofed against outdoor noise. Related: This cute little hobbit home cost just $100 to build The interior of the home is surprisingly bright and airy, thanks to the all-glass entranceways on either side of the home. The rooftop is covered in natural plants and beautiful flowers that bloom in the summertime. The greenery is drip irrigated and fertilized throughout the year. Mr. Kirkwood will be opening his house to the public in September for Sustainable House Day in order to inspire others to consider sustainable building options. Via Homecrux Images by ABC South West: Roxanne Taylor, via Homecrux

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This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

Upcoming nuclear power plant in the UK may shoot giant rainbows into the sky

July 25, 2017 by  
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A new proposal could have a nuclear power plant in the UK shooting literal rainbows into the sky. UK-based master planning firm, One Creative Environments , has submitted a landscape design proposal that envisions Cumbria’s Moorside Power Plant equipped with two large glass towers that would use light and mist to create a continual arching rainbow over the site. The Moorside Power plant is slated to be completed in Cumbria’s rural landscape in 2024. A creative design competition, sponsored by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute, called on designers to submit creative landscape proposals for the project. One Creative Environments’ rainbow pitch, called Discovery Park, was recently shortlisted along with four other design firms . Related: Artist weaves stunning rainbows from 60 miles of thread The company’s submission envisions a master landscaping plan that would seek to integrate the power plant into the area without sacrificing the existing landscape’s beauty. The proposal calls for using 13 million cubic meters of excavated earth to form a green-covered hillscape, which would be sculpted into various earthworks shaped into representations of splitting the atom, energy and particle trails. An outdoor science park would house educational activities and science exhibitions, and a large, open-air amphitheater would host concerts throughout the year. However, the cherry on top of the design is clearly the massive man-made rainbow that would arch over the landscape. Two large glass prismatic towers would be placed on opposite sides of the project and would use light and mist to create a continual rainbow. An onsite plant nursery would produce “floristically-rich grassland habitats” that would echo the colors of the rainbow on the ground. According to the designers, the rainbow installation was inspired by a William Wordsworth poem remarking on the beauty of Cumbria, “My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky”. One Creative Environments director, Mark Martin, hails the company’s design as a feasible option that would be able to incorporate the power plant into the area without sacrificing its rural landscape. “To see our landscape designs in the top five is an achievement in itself, and going by the comments received, we appear to have caught the imagination of the public,” he said. “The landscape designs, discovery centre and rainbow installation will create a destination in their own right, helping the power station blend in with the stunning scenery in the region, whilst providing a place for people to visit and learn about NuGen’s advancement of safe nuclear science and power.” + One Creative Environments Via World Architecture News

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Upcoming nuclear power plant in the UK may shoot giant rainbows into the sky

Celebrate the magic of silence in this enchanting sound-proof treehouse

July 25, 2017 by  
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Visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew can now celebrate the sound of silence in the park’s amazing new Quiet Treehouse. Also referred to as the Woodland House, the eco-friendly, sound-insulated treehouse was designed by Quiet Mark to highlight the many health benefits of noise reduction in our daily lives. Developed in partnership with UK retail chain John Lewis, Quiet Mark created the cool, sound-proof structure as part of their company campaign, which promotes the reduction of noise levels in urban and rural settings. Recently unveiled in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew as part of its annual summer festival, the treehouse is located in front of the park’s new Woodland Walk, a path that leads through the “natural area” of the park’s woodlands. Related: Wolfgang Buttress’ Hive is brought back to life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew Co-founder of Quiet Mark, Poppy Szkiler, explained that the unique treehouse is more than just a fun structure in the park, “The Quiet Treehouse is a stunning combination of the latest acoustic and architectural design, not only beautiful to the eye, but a peaceful place that represents the value of quiet. After touring some of the UK’s most prestigious events, we wanted the structure to continue its Quiet legacy with the perfect partner that would fully utilise its potential. We couldn’t have hoped for a better permanent home than the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where it can be enjoyed by the next generation in harmony with nature.” + Quiet Mark Photography via Tom Luddington

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Celebrate the magic of silence in this enchanting sound-proof treehouse

German community bands together to convert old WWII bunker into a ‘green mountain’

May 29, 2017 by  
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Hamburg residents are taking their community’s urban design into their own hands – and the results are amazing. A team of local residents and architects are planning to convert a WWII bunker into Hilldegarden , a mixed-use community space topped with a rooftop garden covered in lush greenery. The massive bunker was originally used to launch anti-aircraft fire at enemy planes, but has since been occupied by a number of businesses. The space has been home to a popular nightclub, a music school, retail spaces, offices, etc. The new project would see the space continue its mixed-use atmosphere, but topped with a massive public rooftop garden with walking trails. Related: Century-old WWI bunker is reborn as a contemporary alpine shelter Working with a number of local design studios, the community has created a proposal that would extend the bunker by almost 200 feet to add space for more facilities such as a kindergarten, community center, and even a hotel. A building permit was recently issued that approved the proposed additional space. However, the most spectacular part of the proposal is the massive, terraced roof top. The greenery would be staggered into a winding walkway that leads up to the roof, creating an artificial hill that would provide a beautiful 360-degree view of Hamburg. The green space would be open to the public, inviting people to stroll around the “green mountain.” The garden would use a number of sustainable techniques to operate, including a grey water-collection system for irrigation. Part of the public garden will be dedicated to urban food production where residents can apply to run their own garden plots. According to the organizers behind the project, “The Hilldegarden will offer a view to all. For a new, more symbiotic city. Housing plants, trees, bees, birds. Symbolizing reunion, learning and collaboration. And a bit of plain hedonistic pleasure. Funded by investors. Made for everyone.” + Hilldegarden Via Archdaily Images via Hilldegarden

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German community bands together to convert old WWII bunker into a ‘green mountain’

Shanghai is planning a massive 100-hectare vertical farm to feed 24 million people

April 12, 2017 by  
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International architecture firm Sasaki just unveiled plans for a spectacular 100-hectare urban farm set amidst the soaring skyscapers of Shanghai. The project is a mega farming laboratory that will meet the food needs of almost 24 million people while serving as a center for innovation, interaction, and education within the world of urban agriculture. The Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District is composed of vertical farms that fit in nicely between the city’s many towers, adding a welcomed green counterpart to the shiny metal and glass cityscape. In a city like Shanghai, where real estate prices make vertical building more affordable, the urban farm layout counts on a number of separate buildings that will have various growing platforms such as algae farms , floating greenhouses, vertical walls and even seed libraries. The project incorporates several different farming methods including hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Related:Sasaki Architecture convert a former disco club into an office space with floating walls The masterplan was designed to provide large-scale food production as well as education. Sunqiao will focus on sustainable agriculture as a key component for urban growth. “This approach actively supports a more sustainable food network while increasing the quality of life in the city through a community program of restaurants, markets, a culinary academy, and pick-your-own experience” explained Sasaki. “As cities continue to expand, we must continue to challenge the dichotomy between what is urban and what is rural. Sunqiao seeks to prove that you can have your kale and eat it too.” Visitors to the complex will be able to tour the interactive greenhouses, a science museum, and aquaponics systems, all of which are geared to showcase the various technologies which can help keep a large urban population healthy. Additionally, there will be family-friendly events and workshops to educate children about various agricultural techniques . + Sasaki Via Archdaily

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Shanghai is planning a massive 100-hectare vertical farm to feed 24 million people

This incredible forest park lets you trampoline in the treetops

March 27, 2017 by  
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Imagine if your next trip to the forest allowed you to meander hidden pathways into the treetops, swing on hammocks, and bounce on giant trampolines, like an oversized playground for grown-ups. Architects Studio Dror envisioned a bold new urban park experience for a “city with no Central Park” — Istanbul , Turkey. Studio Dror’s goal was to “design a love story between people and nature” for their new “Parkorman” park, with numerous pathways, swings, hammocks and trampolines scattered throughout. The design transforms the existing green space located six miles north of Istanbul’s city center into a playground where visitors can create their own unique experiences. While providing clear paths and spaces, the park also allows people to be surprised by unexpected discoveries along their journey. Related: Dallas is building one of America’s biggest urban nature parks The park comprises five main zones, each with its own distinct qualities. The Loop features swings and hammocks suspended above the forest floor, while giant ball pits, inspired by Turkish spice markets, dominate The Pool. A footpath meanders through the forest and twists around tree trunks into giant loops with trampolines at the center in The Chords. A maze-like trail surrounded by sculptures, called The Grove, aims to encourage exploration, while a cube-shaped Fountain of Clarity envelops visitors in water. + Studio Dror

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This incredible forest park lets you trampoline in the treetops

Russian ice skating rink doubles as a solar-powered outdoor cinema and geothermal spa

March 27, 2017 by  
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This solar-powered ice skating rink for a natural lake in the Kamchatka peninsula, Russia, is designed to double as an outdoor cinema and natural geothermal spa. Photovoltaic panels and geothermal turbines provide enough energy to keep the lake at frozen temperatures, power the cinema and LED lighting , and still pump excess energy back into the grid. Margot Krasojevi? Architects designed the project as a fully self-sufficient multi-use structure that reflects the fluid nature of its immediate environment. Surrounded by hot springs and scenic routes amidst a volcanic terrain, the lake stays frozen during winter months. The architects introduced solar panels to generate enough electrical current that keeps it frozen in warmer weather and during ice hockey tournaments. A sequence of cedar wood sections partly surround the ice rank, while a canopy with attached solar panels holds the lighting and cinema projection outlets. Related: BIG Unveils A Green-Roofed Ice Hockey Rink That Is Downright Cool When it’s not used as an ice skating rink, the project turns into an outdoor cinema with foldable seating – keeping the project flexible. A biodegradable LED net shelters the area of the lake and provides light and charging stations during the evening. + Margot Krasojevi? Architects Via v2com

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Russian ice skating rink doubles as a solar-powered outdoor cinema and geothermal spa

EarthCraft-certified Organic Life House teaches Atlanta agrihood residents about healthy living

March 27, 2017 by  
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An American agrihood making waves with its sustainable living movement turned heads again with the completion of the first Organic Life House early this year. Located on the outskirts of Atlanta, Ga., the Serenbe community teamed up with Rodale’s Organic Life Magazine to build an EarthCraft-certified demonstration home to teach residents and visitors about healthy living and eco-friendly building practices. Constructed from natural materials, the 6,000-square-foot dwelling draws energy from renewable geothermal and solar sources and features a variety of wellness-promoting spaces. Designed by architect J.P. Curran and built by Bobby Webb, the Organic Life House is a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home that promotes wellness and connection with the outdoors. In addition to the use of natural materials throughout the home, the stone-clad Serenbe house reinforces its ties with nature with views of the preserved woods, edible and medicinal gardens, and a series of outdoor spaces like the labyrinth and multiple porches. Thoughtful choices for the neutral-toned interior, from the flooring to window treatments, create a healthy indoor environment promoting wellness and relaxation. Tall ceilings, ample natural light, and warm textures create a homey feel. “The partnership between Serenbe and Organic Life is the perfect collaboration,” says Steve Nygren, founder of Serenbe. “We are both dedicated to helping people enjoy well-balanced lives that are in tune with their environment and community. The Organic Life House will be an exciting opportunity to introduce the Serenbe lifestyle to the Rodale audience and show how they can apply these practices in their own homes.” Related: America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free The Organic Life House expands on the Serenbe mission to serve as an inspiring leader for agrihoods and wellness communities, and was the first home to break ground in the 1,000-acre community’s newest neighborhood, Mado. Like Serenbe’s other energy-efficient homes, the Organic Life House features renewable energy systems like geothermal heating and cooling as well as energy-saving appliances. The home also includes a yoga and meditation studio, saltwater lap pool, and hot tub. + Organic Life House Images by J. Ashley Photography

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