New Marine Education Center in Malm raises climate change awareness

January 17, 2020 by  
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In Malmö, Sweden, the recently completed Marine Education Center is giving visitors a closer look at the effects of climate change and sustainable technology. Copenhagen-based practice NORD Architects designed the building, which not only provides an indoor-outdoor learning landscape but also visually blurs the boundaries between the built environment and its surroundings. As a beacon of sustainability, the center is integrated with energy-efficient technologies including solar panels, geothermal heat exchangers and rainwater collection systems. Located next to the Öresund strait, the Marine Education Center officially opened in the fall of 2018, four years after NORD Architects won the bid for the project in a design competition. Surrounded by earth berms built up to resemble sand dunes, the single-story building appears nestled into the landscape, while its long footprint emphasizes the vastness of its surroundings. The wave-like protrusions that top the roof add both visual interest and practical purpose; the angled elements are used to mount solar panels , let in indirect daylight and promote natural ventilation. Related: Obra Architects stimulates climate change discussion with a “climate-correcting machine” Beneath the roof are two enclosed areas separated by a large, sheltered walkway. Walls of glass surround the classrooms and gathering spaces to let in light and frame views of the sea, while the use of timber adds a sense of warmth to the interior. The Marine Education Center was designed to be highly flexible and can adapt over time to accommodate new technologies.  “We have developed a learning landscape where education is everywhere,” said Johannes Molander Pedersen, partner at NORD Architects. “It is in the landscape, in the building and in the transition between nature and culture. The center is open for everyone who is interested in the role we as humans play in nature’s life cycle. It allows hands-on learning experience that invites users to explore using their senses in the field, and thereafter analyze and understand their observations of the marine life .” + NORD Architects Photography by Adam Mørk via NORD Architects

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New Marine Education Center in Malm raises climate change awareness

Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

January 16, 2020 by  
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Romanian architecture firm BLIPSZ has created a near-autonomous holiday home that combines the charms of rural Transylvanian architecture with a sustainable and contemporary design aesthetic. Surrounded by gently rolling hills and valley views, the Lodge in a Glade comprises two barn-inspired structures with green-roofed surfaces that appear to emerge from the earth. South-facing solar panels generate about 90% of the building’s energy needs, which are kept to a minimum thanks to its passive solar design and underfloor heating powered by a geothermal heat pump. Located in a Transylvanian mountain village, Lodge in a Glade is a luxurious retreat that seeks to embrace its surroundings while minimizing its visual impact on the landscape. To that end, the architects used mostly natural building materials, including locally molded clay bricks and mineral gabion wall cladding, as well as gabled roof profiles that recall the region’s rural vernacular. The expansive size of the four-bedroom home is partly hidden by its horizontal massing and the local grasses that cover the non-pitched roof sections.  The green roofs provide insulating benefits that are reinforced by cellulose, wood fiber, and compacted straw bale insulation. Triple-glazed windows frame views of the outdoors while locking in heat. The thermal mass of the timber house also benefits from the clay brick wall fillings and thick polished concrete floors throughout. Thirty-three solar panels generate the majority of the home’s energy needs and are complemented by a safety back-up electrical grid connection for very cold and cloudy days. Rainwater is collected and reused for automated irrigation.  Related: Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare “The challenge of the project was experimenting with a multitude of alternative techniques and materials to seamlessly integrate traditional and high-tech elements demanded by the clients along with the sustainable , green solutions,” the architects said in a statement. “The required interior area is quite impressive, especially compared to the modest, traditional local households nearby. Shapes and materials were chosen to blend the expansive building in the special scenery.” + BLIPSZ Via ArchDaily Images by Makkai Bence

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Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

Children hurt after Delta jet dumps fuel on schools

January 16, 2020 by  
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On January 14, a Delta jet malfunctioned and dumped jet fuel over Los Angeles-area schools. The incident injured more than 50 people, including students from Park Avenue Elementary, San Gabriel Elementary, Graham Elementary, Tweedy Elementary, 93rd Street Elementary and Jordan High School. Currently, injuries such as skin and eye irritation and breathing problems have been reported. As the Los Angeles Unified School District said, “Students and staff were on the playground at the time and may have been sprayed by fuel or inhaled fumes.” Several people affected by the fuel were treated on-site. A “reverse 911” text message was sent out to locals, informing them of the event, noting affected areas and advising residents on how to proceed. The L.A. County Fire Department also updated its Twitter with the number of patients affected at each school site. As of Tuesday evening, the patient count included 31 patients from Park Avenue Elementary, six patients from Tweedy Elementary, one patient from Graham Elementary and six patients from San Gabriel Elementary. The Delta flight in question was Flight 89 to Shanghai , which apparently experienced an engine malfunction after takeoff. According to Delta, safe landing procedures following such a malfunction required fuel release — though the Federal Aviation Administration commented that fuel-dumping procedures “call for fuel to be dumped over designated unpopulated areas, typically at higher altitudes so the fuel atomizes and disperses before it reaches the ground.” This event isn’t the first environmental issue Park Avenue Elementary has faced, either. For an eight-month period between 1989 and 1990, the school was closed due to a mysterious ooze appearing. Investigation then discovered that the school was formerly the site of a city dump . As Elizabeth Alcantar, recently appointed mayor of Cudahy, said, “The very same playground experienced another environmental injustice. For our residents, they’re rightfully upset, and there is concern over when this will truly be over.” Via L.A. Times and CNN Image via Pixabay

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Children hurt after Delta jet dumps fuel on schools

The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

January 15, 2020 by  
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Architecture is often heavily influenced by the existing landscape surrounding a structure, but architect Dan Brunn didn’t let the weaving waterways on his Los Angeles property limit the options for his home. Dubbed the Bridge House, this 4,500-square-foot home straddles 65 feet of natural stream without harming the landscape. The long, narrow home nestles into the forested background with limited street exposure. The focus on nature is evident with natural light streaming in from expansive windows throughout, a living wall in the living room and an outdoor terrace. In fact, the 210-foot-long home provides a wide expanse of northern exposure for more natural light and less energy consumption. Related: The Garden House features greenery and bee-friendly landscapes While the overall theme is sleek and minimalist, the pool area — complete with a full pool house, an outdoor shower, space for grilling and a Yamaha music room — aims to create an oasis for entertaining. But don’t let the luxuries and size fool you. In addition to the layout and physical situation of the home, each space was designed with low impact in mind. Starting with the foundation, the bridge design suspends a large portion of the structure, minimizing the impact on the landscape. For the structure itself, a BONE steel modular system was incorporated to ease on-site construction with sustainable materials. Plus, the system’s precision leaves little to no cutoff waste, and the steel itself comes from up to 89% recycled material . Although there was waste from the removal of the previous home, all usable parts were donated to the local Habitat for Humanity for reuse. The air quality inside the home is enhanced by the living wall of plants and superior insulation. A water filtration system eliminates the desire for bottled water, and solar power provides for much of the home’s energy needs. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Brandon Shigeta via Dann Brunn Architecture

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The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

Couple turns old van into home-on-wheels for just $1K

January 15, 2020 by  
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IKEA offers an almost infinite amount of space solutions for any type of abode — for one couple looking to convert an old van into a home on wheels, IKEA products were their saving grace. Ambitious couple Grace Aquino and her husband Marlon were on an extremely tight budget when they decided to turn their old van into a full-time home so that they could travel the world. As impressive as it is shocking, the couple managed to create their beloved  Flippie van for just $1,000 using IKEA products and doing the work themselves. Van conversions are nothing new, but creating a custom living space on wheels isn’t always as cheap as people expect it to be. Whether buying or building, the cost of living, dining and bedroom furniture can add up quickly. But for one ambitious couple looking to create a bespoke living space within a very compact 60 square feet, everyone’s favorite Swedish furniture brand, IKEA, helped them customize their new home, which they managed to do by themselves for just $1,000. Related: Old van converted into solar-powered bohemian beach hut on wheels When they first decided to embark on a nomadic lifestyle, Aquino and her husband planned to contract professionals to convert an old 2017 Ram ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van into their roaming hut on wheels. However, when they realized that the cheapest estimate given would run them $15,000, the couple decided to take a more practical, DIY route. Accordingly, their first stop was IKEA. “To our surprise, the cheapest quote we were given was $15,000 for a very basic build without a platform for our bed. So our only practical choice was to do it ourselves. While doing our research, we were overwhelmed at the amount of work it takes to convert a van. We didn’t have the tools, the space and the skillset needed. My husband had really only built Ikea furniture in the past, so we thought why not visit Ikea to get some inspiration? Once we found a few things that we knew would work for our van, we decided to fully commit to building just with Ikea,” Aquino explained to Lonely Planet. Except for the flooring, power station, insulation and ottoman, all of Flippie’s furnishings came from IKEA. First, however, the couple had to make sure that the space was comfortable for living in full-time. Therefore, they started by insulating the 60-square-foot interior with styrofoam insulation covered with a foil liner, which they bought from Home Depot. Later, the van’s flooring was topped with exercise floor mat puzzles purchased at Walmart. Once the main envelope of the van was customized, the couple headed straight to IKEA to purchase space-saving, affordable furnishings . First, they purchased a large sofa bed that pulls out at night, but folds up during the day to create more space. The couple also added storage where possible, including a spacious overhead cabinet that was installed over the bed. At the back of the van, two large doors open up into the compact but functional kitchen, which was built using Raskog Cart and Pantry unit that cost just $29.99 and a Sunnersta mini-kitchen set that costs $121. In this area, the couple also installed a pressure shower system for the faucet and added various baskets for storage. A unique back wall is covered in pegboard to hang utensils, paper towels, etc. Across from the tiny kitchen is the couple’s work space, which includes a Besta Burs desk and a Top Trones storage unit. A large ottoman pulls double duty as extra seating and extra storage. In addition to the IKEA products, the couple splurged a bit on an Eco Power Station ($700). While the company is still developing a solar panel , the couple uses shore power to charge the battery so that they can charge their phones and laptops. + The Sweet Savory Life Via Apartment Therapy Images via The Sweet Savory Life

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Couple turns old van into home-on-wheels for just $1K

Snhetta to revitalize Midtown Manhattan with vibrant garden

January 15, 2020 by  
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Midtown Manhattan will soon become much greener thanks to New York City Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of Snøhetta’s design for a new privately-owned public space (POPS) in 550 Madison, a Philip Johnson-designed postmodernist landmark. Designed as a “vibrant sensory retreat,” the new public space will take the shape of a lush garden — the largest of its kind in the area — that will become a haven for both people and urban pollinators. The garden is being developed as part of the recent renovation of 550 Madison, which will open this year as a multi-tenant building under The Olayan Group. This structure will be the only LEED Platinum and WELL Gold certified building in the Plaza District. Proposed for the west end of the tower, the 550 Madison garden will engage the public with a series of interconnected outdoor “rooms.” The landscape design takes inspiration from its urban surroundings and architecture. Philip Johnson’s playful use of circular motifs at 550 Madison will inform the geometry of the garden rooms, while the layered planting plan references the canyon-like verticality of Midtown Manhattan. The lush circular rooms will encourage passersby to slow down, linger, and connect with nature. “Privately-owned public spaces are a critical part of New York City’s public realm. Urban life thrives in and around spaces that allow us to connect with one another and to nature,” said Michelle Delk, Partner and Director of Landscape Architecture at Snøhetta. “Moreover, we need to make the most of the spaces we already have and recognize that they are part of a network that contribute to the livelihood of the city. We’re thrilled to be a part of renewing the future of this historic site.” Related: Philip Johnson’s secret brick and glass home in Manhattan, NYC The immersive green respite will comprise a seasonal Northeastern planting palette that will include evergreens, perennials and flowering shrubs. Over 40 trees will be planted in the space. An enormous glass canopy will flood the interior with natural daylight . The architects will also install a central water wall as a point of interest and noise buffer from the commotion of the neighborhood. Informational signage will punctuate the space and provide details about the site’s environmental and cultural history. + Snøhetta Via ArchPaper Images via Snøhetta

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BIG plans unveiled for pedestrian paradise in Downtown Brooklyn

January 3, 2020 by  
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After nearly a year of research, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and WXY Studio have unveiled their visions for improving Downtown Brooklyn — a 370-acre urban district with updated streetscapes, plazas, and public spaces. Commissioned by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Vision includes a comprehensive study of the urban district’s existing conditions as well as a bold, long-term design vision for making the area more inclusive, inviting, and safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Vision was created in response to Downtown Brooklyn’s unprecedented growth over the last fifteen years since its 2004 rezoning. The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership tapped WXY Studio and BIG, who worked in collaboration with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and Sam Schwartz Engineering, to create a comprehensive study and implementation plan. This plan is intended to help unify the growing mixed-use area and meet the needs of the diverse community, which is expected to welcome 50,000 additional residents by 2025. “The Plan draws upon the District’s existing conditions, systems, land uses and policies to create a bold design vision that is uniquely Brooklyn, provides a greener, safer pedestrian and bicycle experience, and unlocks projects, initiatives and pilots for a more vibrant public realm,” BIG explained in a project statement. “Downtown Brooklyn Public realm is re-animated into a playful environment largely focused on the pedestrian experience. A place where residents, workers and visitors can enjoy gathering outdoors, practice sports and celebrate the diverse culture of Downtown Brooklyn.” Related: Reclaimed NYC water towers are upcycled into a NEST playscape in Brooklyn To visually unify the updated streetscapes, the architects have proposed a distinct yellow-orange color palette for the mixed-use area that will be applied to the bike paths, street furniture, and planters. Greenery and public art have also been woven throughout the pedestrian-friendly design. + BIG + WXY Studio Images via BIG

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Artist unveils sand-covered traffic jam on Miami beach to protest climate change

December 9, 2019 by  
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Argentinian conceptual artist Leandro Erlich is already well-known for creating massive art installations that provoke reaction. This time, the innovative artist has unveiled his largest art installation yet — a collection of more than 60 “vehicles” made of sand that are stuck in a traffic jam on Miami Beach. According to the artist, the installation, called Order of Importance, was created to raise awareness to the burgeoning issue of climate change . Unveiled at Lincoln Road for this year’s Miami Art Week, the enormous art installation consists of 66 sand-covered sculptures in the shapes of cars and trucks. Placed in a straight line and separated by a divider, the “vehicles” are arranged to resemble a traffic jam. Seemingly made out of compacted sand, the sculptures are partially buried into the landscape, giving off the illusion that they are being slowly submerged underwater — a nod to the reality of rising sea levels caused by climate change. Related: Leandro Erlich unveils gravity-defying floating room in France The artist’s largest work to date, the project took three months to complete. The colossal installation is especially poignant in the Miami area, considering that the city is one of the many coastal cities around the world threatened by flooding from rising sea levels. At the unveiling, the artist revealed that his work was inspired by the ongoing climate crisis . “Climate change and its consequences are no longer a matter of perspective or opinion,” Erlich said. “The climate crisis has become an objective problem that requires immediate solutions. As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality. In particular, the idea that we cannot shrink away from our responsibilities to protect the planet.” The Order of Importance will be on display until December 15 on the oceanfront of Lincoln Road. Just mere steps away from the Miami Conference Center, visitors are invited to walk around the “traffic jam” while it lasts. + Leandro Erlich Via Dezeen Photography by Greg Lotus and Leandro Erlich Studio

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Artist unveils sand-covered traffic jam on Miami beach to protest climate change

A family builds an impressive, 300-square-foot tiny home to travel the world

December 3, 2019 by  
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It’s the freedom to travel that continues to push the tiny home trend. Families like Bela, Spencer and their young daughter, Escher, are able to enjoy a minimalist lifestyle while also exploring the world whenever they get the urge to get up and go. What’s more, this family’s custom tiny home on wheels , as functional as it is beautiful, features all of the creature comforts of a contemporary home. Bela and Spencer began their love affair with tiny home living on their honeymoon, where they spent a few days off the grid in a quaint cottage in Appalachia. The experience stayed with them for years, even as they found themselves paying a whopping $2,300 a month to rent a studio apartment in Redwood City years later. Related: Newlyweds forgo pricey wedding to embark on an incredible tiny home adventure Wanting a better life that would allow them to travel with their new addition, baby Escher, the couple decided to embark on a DIY tiny home project. Once they located an idyllic spot in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, they got to work building the tiny home of their dreams. The couple decided to approach each design step by focusing on spatial awareness and functionality instead of the limited square footage. This focus allowed them to create functional, custom spaces that best suited their own needs as a family. The finished tiny home on wheels features an expansive, open-air deck, complete with a comfortable lounge space, dining set and barbecue grill. The family spends quite a bit of time here, enjoying the views and fresh mountain air. The entrance is through a glass garage door that opens vertically and connects the interior to the front deck. Interestingly, the interior layout was designed to have nine distinct living spaces, each one separated from the other by either a difference in level (steps or a ladder) or a soft partition of some sort (glass door, curtain or shoji paper). This strategy allows each section to have a unique purpose. The ground floor features a living room and high-top dining table that looks out a window over the landscape. The fully equipped kitchen, with a striking copper backsplash, is elevated off the ground by a short staircase that slides out of the wall to create storage space . Behind the kitchen is the master bedroom, which, like the rest of the home, benefits from an abundance of natural light. The queen-sized bed is built on hydraulic lids, enabling it to fold up to reveal more storage underneath. On the other side of the home, a spacious bathroom with a composting toilet features a lovely, spa-like shower stall. Above this area is an L-shaped loft accessible by a ladder. This upper level houses two distinct spaces: an extra bedroom and storage. + This X Life Via Living Big in a Tiny House Photography by Bela Fishbeyn; family photos by Ryan Tuttle

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A family builds an impressive, 300-square-foot tiny home to travel the world

Sigurd Larsen completes a luxurious, treetop hotel cabin in a Danish forest

December 2, 2019 by  
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Danish architect Sigurd Larsen has just unveiled a beautiful, angular treehouse  tucked deep into a picturesque Danish forest. Built for the Løvtag hotel group, the tiny treehouse, which is just 333 square feet, is elevated 26 feet in the air and is accessible by a wooden bridge that leads directly into a stunning, luxurious interior. The treehouse cabin is the first of nine to be built in a quaint, remote forest on the Als Odde peninsula. The idyllic location offers guests the opportunity to explore Denmark’s longest fjord, the Mariager, which is adjacent to the site. Related: Sigurd Larsen adds the ultimate grown up playhouse to Berlin’s Hotel Michelberger Elevated 26 feet off the landscape, the cabins will provide stunning views of the natural surroundings. The studio said, “The cabins are located on a small hilltop overlooking a meadow, which gives a wonderful view over the top of the forest and lets the sunshine in during the afternoon.” The entrance is reachable by a wooden bridge that leads up from the forest floor. Clad in light wood and dark metal sidings, the treehouse hotel was built around an existing pine tree, which rises straight through the cabin’s interior and roof. Designed to be an expression of “ Nordic minimalism ,” the cabins are compact but use every inch of space to create a light-filled, luxurious atmosphere. The interior includes a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom with a cantilevered shower room and main living area. Each treehouse can accommodate up to four people thanks to a double bed and a double sofa bed. The interior features a floor-to-ceiling window to let in natural light and provide unobstructed views of the surroundings from morning to night. For a comfortable space where guests can really take in the views, the cabins have rooftop terraces with plenty of seating. + Sigurd Larsen + Løvtag Cabins Via Dezeen Photography by Soeren-Larsen via Sigurd Larsen

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Sigurd Larsen completes a luxurious, treetop hotel cabin in a Danish forest

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