Maven Moment: Dad’s Library

April 24, 2019 by  
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An article about the challenges of recycling hardcover books put … The post Maven Moment: Dad’s Library appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Maven Moment: Dad’s Library

Why Is U.S. Drinking Water Dirty?

April 24, 2019 by  
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Clean water has long been a crisis in the developing … The post Why Is U.S. Drinking Water Dirty? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Why Is U.S. Drinking Water Dirty?

3GATTI hopes to land a ‘green spaceship’ in Madrid

April 15, 2019 by  
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3GATTI Architecture Studio has unveiled a spectacular design for a new public library in Madrid. The firm envisions an eye-catching “green spaceship” for the public space; it is a building almost entirely clad in lush Virginia creeper vines. As well as creating an attractive landmark for the community, the building’s expansive greenery will act as a passive feature that will help to insulate the structure in winter and cool the interior spaces in the hot summer months. The international firm has proposed landing the green spaceship in the Villaverde district in southern Madrid. According to the architects, the library’s unique design was inspired by the desire to create a recognizable landmark in the community, a vibrant public space that will attract local visitors and forge a strong bond between residents and the neighborhood. Related: This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops The base of the two-story building will be comprised of a simple concrete and brick construction clad in a dark plaster. The first floor of the building will be completely transparent with floor-to-ceiling glass facades. This bottom floor will house the public areas, which will contain the ‘noisy’ functions. On the top floor will be the quiet zones, where visitors will be able to study and read. From the outside, this level will be completely covered in Virginia creeper vines planted on the roof of the building. Contained with red tubes and metallic netting, the lush greenery will look like it is floating above the street, giving the library a surreal, spaceship vibe. However, in addition to being eye-catching, the concept is also very practical and optimized for the city’s climate. Green walls and rooftops always add an extra level of insulation. In this case, the vines will help cool the interior spaces during the hot summer months by shading them from direct sunlight. Adding to the building’s abundance of green spaces, the structure will house several courtyard spaces that let in air and light into the interior spaces. At the eastern side of the building will be enough space to plant an urban vegetable garden . Attached to the youth library rooms, these gardens will be used to teach children about the benefits of healthy living. Through the community gardens, workshops and various activities, the library will have a strong connection to the neighborhood. + 3GATTI Architecture Studio Images via 3GATTI Architecture Studio

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3GATTI hopes to land a ‘green spaceship’ in Madrid

Recycling can get kids free books in southern Italy

February 27, 2019 by  
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An Italian bookseller has come up with a novel way to promote recycling . Michele Gentile, who owns Ex Libris Cafe in southern Italy, is giving away free books to children in exchange for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Michele Gentile said he thought of the recycling program, because he wanted to inspire children in the small town of Polla to read and pay attention to the environment. To that end, his book giveaway is offered to school kids who donate one aluminum can and a plastic bottle to his shop. Related: Bottle recycling in Oregon hits 90 percent record high “My goal is to spread the passion and love for books among those people in Italy who do not usually read while at the time helping the environment,” Gentile explained. The idea for the initiative came after Gentile collaborated with a nearby middle school on an aluminum recycling project. Working together, the schoolchildren and Gentile collected enough cans to purchase books for an entire classroom. His new program took off from there and has already spread into northern Italy . Gentile hopes his work will continue to make headlines and become a worldwide initiative. The free books come from customers in Gentile’s shop who have donated money to purchase a “suspended” book. The idea stems from a World War II practice in which customers would buy two coffees : one for themselves and another for the next person in line. Gentile has been using the extra books as part of his recycling initiative. While Gentile’s program is a great way to recycle and get kids to read, it also brings awareness to the growing problem of plastic waste. Single-use plastics make up around 26 percent of all the plastics in the world, only 14 percent of which are recycled. Plastics that end up in landfills take around 500 years to decompose, posing a major concern for environmentalists. Cutting down on plastic waste is important if we want to better the environment for future generations, and recycling programs like Gentile’s book giveaway are a great way to meet that goal. Via CNN Image via Public Domain Pictures

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Recycling can get kids free books in southern Italy

Guide to sustainable winter activities

December 3, 2018 by  
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Just because the temperature plummets and the daylight runs short doesn’t mean your bustling days need to end. Instead of hibernating like a bear, wearing pajamas and watching Netflix day after day, put some fun on the schedule and look forward to a winter full of activities. Of course, consumption and waste are always a consideration here at Inhabitat so here’s our top choices for the best eco-friendly, sustainable activities for your winter calendar. Snow play Those who love winter often anticipate the arrival of snow. Even those who long for summer have to admit that there is much fun to be had in the snow. Besides the obvious snowboarding and skiing, think local. Drag a sled up and down a hill for the afternoon and follow it up with hot cocoa or cider back at home. Take those cross-country skis off the wall and head to a nearby field or back-country road. Make, rent, or purchase some snowshoes for an invigorating experience. No discussion of snow would be complete without recommending you build a snowman and enjoy the mandatory snowball fight that comes with it. Alternately, build an igloo or snow cave. If you’re really adventurous you could even camp out in it! Get into nature Many outdoor activities can roll over from fall into winter. If the weather is not too severe, keep up your nature hikes and monitor the changes in the landscape throughout the season. While you’re out, look for supplies that you could use in crafts, such as pine cones, leaves, rocks, curved bark, acorns, or colorful berries. In fact, make it a challenge with a scavenger hunt or look up geocaching in your area and see if you can find the prize. Have a picnic Yes, you can. Of course you can. Why not? Replace the summer Chablis with a thermos of heated goodness. Bring along some hearty favorites and a thick blanket or pop-up tent. Find cover at a nearby park and watch the river rush by or the birds forage for food. Have a war For those mild-weather regions or even those with snow on the ground, grab the kids or a group of friends and head to the woods for a paintball war. Just be sure to wear eye protection and choose eco-friendly paints for you guns. Of course, you can recreate the same fun at home with rubber band guns and they are even easy to make yourself with any shape of wood and a clothespin mounted on top to fire the rubber bands. Baking party As soon as the days begin to shorten, the baked goods are in high demand. Instead of spending hours alone in the kitchen, why not make it a party? Invite over a few friends and pool ingredients to maximize the eco-friendly advantages of bulk foods, reduced packaging, and minimal waste. At the end of the day you’ll each have a variety of baked goods to take to your family or give as gifts. Travel by train There’s something about traveling by train that is timeless and serene. Of course, it’s also nice that it’s one of the most earth-friendly forms of transport. So whether you’re traveling to reach a destination or simply to take a scenic tour, hop aboard the train as your first option. Local events Communities organize events during every season and winter is no exception. Check the local online pages and printed newspapers for sustainable events in your area. These might include taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or attending a tree lighting ceremony, fundraising event, or salmon education walk. Volunteer Wintertime is a rough season for the homeless and less fortunate. Take some time to help out at a soup kitchen or local food bank and feel good about your contribution. Craft party For an indoor activity, invite over some friends or plan a party for your kids. You can make any number of things as a group including wreaths, blankets, quilts, pick-me-up cards for seniors or veterans, etc. For the kids, make Play-doh, Flubber, fingerpaints, or paper snowflakes. Donate them if you like or use them as gifts during the holidays and beyond. Build a birdhouse Your feathered friends will enjoy a warm place to sleep too. Get together with friends and make birdhouses for your backyard sanctuary. Visit the library The library is a great place to spend a soggy winter afternoon. Learn something new or just enjoy some quiet time. Indoor herb garden Many plants will grow indoors, even during the winter. Take pleasure in planting an herb garden and watch it grow while you enjoy fresh herbs year round. Take an adventure There’s no need to wait for summer for your next adventure. Instead, hunt down eco-friendly winter options around you. Go ice skating on the lake, visit the local reindeer farm, or experience your first dog sled ride. Winter is waiting. Go get it! Images via Shutterstock, Andrew Ly , Ethan Hu , lukasbieri , rawpixel , skeeze , jill111 , Michael Mroczek , Susan Yin , pintando la luz

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Guide to sustainable winter activities

Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade

November 7, 2018 by  
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Calgary’s new Central Library has just opened its doors to the public — and it’s a thing of elegant, energy-efficient beauty. International architecture firm Snøhetta teamed up with North America-based multidisciplinary design firm DIALOG to create the new main branch of the Calgary Public Library, one of the largest library systems on the continent. Wrapped in a dynamic, triple-glazed facade overlaid in an intricate, hexagonal pattern, the eye-catching library provides 240,000 square feet of expanded facilities in a contemporary and light-filled environment. Located in downtown Calgary and elevated above the Light Rail Transit Line, the $245 million CAD Calgary Central Library is the city’s largest public investment since the 1988 Olympics. Opened on Nov. 1, 2018, the library is expected to welcome over twice as many annual visitors and offer a strengthened role as a public gathering space with new areas dedicated to social interaction and exchange as well as sufficient spaces for studying and learning. The outdoor landscape has also been designed to facilitate public gatherings with outdoor amphitheaters and an entry plaza that unites the Downtown and East Village, two neighborhoods previously split by the Light Rail Transit Line. The outdoor planting plan references Calgary’s mountains and prairies with a palette of native flora. The crystalline geometry of the building facade dramatically stands out from the urban fabric while fritted glass cutouts provide views into the building from afar. “From these shapes emerge familiar forms: parts of the pattern might resemble an open book, snowflake-like linework or interlocking houses, anchoring the ideas of the collective and community,” the firm explained. “Most importantly, the entire building volume is enclosed in the same pattern, allowing all sides to function as the ‘front’ of the building. This visual vocabulary continues inside, expressed in the design of CPL’s new visual identity and wayfinding signage in the building, unifying the library’s goals of inclusivity.” Related: Snøhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change Inside, the library is spread out across six floors and lined with wood throughout. The floors are organized “on a spectrum of ‘fun’ to ‘serious’” with the more active programming, like the Children’s Library, placed on the lower floors and the quiet study areas and jewel box-like Great Reading Room on the upper floors. + Snøhetta + DIALOG Photography by Michael Grimm via Snøhetta

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Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade

Earthquake-resistant Christchurch Central Library is a stunning symbol of rebirth

October 26, 2018 by  
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Nearly eight years after multiple massive earthquakes ravaged the New Zealand city of Christchurch , Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects have completed the Christchurch Central Library, a “stunning symbol of hope, unity and rebirth” built on the concepts of resiliency and sustainability. Dubbed T?ranga — M?ori for “foundation” — the earthquake-resistant building also pays homage to the deep cultural heritage of Ng?i T??huriri, the local M?ori people, through various artworks as well as with a striking gold facade inspired by the shape of the local harakeke flax. The $92 million library is one of several major public projects aimed at revitalizing the city. Located at Christchurch’s historic Cathedral Square, the Christchurch Central Library spans five stories across 9,500 square meters. To protect against potential earthquakes in the future, Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers developed a seismic force-resisting system consisting of large-scale concrete walls connected to high tensile, pre-tensioned steel cables that allow the building to sway and then return to its original position. The self-centering mechanism means that the library will sustain minimal structural damage even during large earthquake events. In addition to its earthquake-resistant properties, the building is modeled after the vernacular architecture of the Ng?i T??huriri thanks to close collaboration with the Matapopore Charitable Trust. The organization helped weave the many M?ori references into the library from the building materials to the various terraces oriented for views of significant Ng?i T??huriri landmarks like Mount Grey and Hawaiki. Schmidt Hammer Lassen drew on its extensive experience with library design to create an inviting and light-filled environment centered on a grand, staggered atrium that doubles as a social staircase and gathering space. Related: Shigeru Ban completes incredible cardboard cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand “T?ranga is the kind of multi-faceted project that layers architectural interest with significant cultural relevance,” said Morten Schmidt, founding partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen . “It has been a privilege to design a project that not only fulfills the need for a new central library , but also one whose mission of restoring the soul of the city includes the deep cultural heritage of Ng?i T??huriri, the local M?ori people.” + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Photography by Adam Mørk via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Earthquake-resistant Christchurch Central Library is a stunning symbol of rebirth

This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

August 20, 2018 by  
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A new pagoda-like library in China’s megacity of Shenzhen sweeps visitors above the tree canopy with an elevated walkway. Located in Xiangmi Park, a densely forested area originally used as an agricultural research center, the Xiangmi Park Science Library celebrates its verdant surroundings with a “treetop walk” and an abundance of glazing. International architecture and design firm MLA+ led the design of the library and visitor center, and ZEN landscape architects handled the landscape design. Completed in 2017 in Shenzhen’s central Futian District, the Xiangmi Park Science Library covers an area of 1,500 square meters. The park had been protected from urban encroachment for 35 years and includes a large lychee orchard on a hill, fishponds, a flower market and a rich diversity of local flora and fauna. The architects have compared the site to an “undiscovered treasure box in the middle of a metropolis” and thus aimed to preserve and enhance the natural environment as much as possible. Drawing inspiration from classical Chinese garden architecture, the pagoda-like library building is made from steel and glass for an airy and lightweight feel; the cantilevered elements provide solar shading and reference local architecture. In addition to library stacks, the building includes a meeting room, a reading area, terraces and administrative offices. Related: BIG completes an energy-efficient sculptural skyscraper in Shenzhen “Perched in between the trees , the building offers an ever-changing experience of its surrounding landscape,” the firm said. “This experience varies from floor to floor. With its dematerialized ground floor, it becomes a part of the shaded forest floor. Structural elements blend with the surrounding tree trunks. Upper levels sit in between the dense canopy of leaves and therefore have a more enclosed, intimate feeling. The very top floor offers the views of the surroundings and the city. Experiencing the library is like climbing a tree — a tree of knowledge.” + MLA+ Images © Vlad Feoktistov

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This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

Chinas first Slow Food Village will promote local foods and traditions

May 24, 2018 by  
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Rural-urban migration in China is at an all-time high, with experts estimating an influx of 243 million migrants to Chinese cities by 2025 . In a bid to combat this wave of migration and raise living standards for farmers, Stefano Boeri Architetti  designed Slow Food Freespace, China’s first Slow Village that follows the philosophy of the Slow Food Movement. The Slow Village pilot project will be presented this week at the 16th Venice Biennial. Founded in Italy in 1986, the Slow Food Movement has grown into a worldwide campaign that promotes local food, traditional cooking and sustainability in agricultural economies. Inspired by this vision, Stefano Boeri Architetti created a Slow Village program for China that comprises three cultural epicenters — a school , a library and a small museum — that would be built in each village and serve as hubs for disseminating farming knowledge and celebrating each area’s unique cultural characteristics. “We easily forget that the rural areas provide sustainability to our daily lives,” Stefano Boeri said. “It is an inevitable necessity of architecture to confront the speed of evolution while also feeding it with the richness of the past. For this reason, we have proposed to enhance the agricultural villages with a system of small but precious catalysts of local culture, able to improve the lives of the residents.” Related: NYC Design Collaborative Shows Communities How To Cook with Ingredients from the Sidewalk The first Chinese Slow Village will be located in Qiyan, in the Southwest province of Sichuan. Stefano Boeri Architetti China will provide its services pro-bono for the design and construction of the first pilot system, including the library, school and museum. Likened to a “single organic accelerator,” the three buildings will teach about the preparation, consumption and supply of food, as well as ancient and deeply rooted food traditions. The Slow Villages are also expected to spur and accommodate tourism. The Slow Food Freespace presentation will take place at the Venice Biennial  on May 25, 2018. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Chinas first Slow Food Village will promote local foods and traditions

Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

February 9, 2018 by  
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This gorgeous visitor center in China was inspired by Mongolian yurts . Architecture firm HDD combined locally sourced stone and wooden beams to create a multi-functional space where local children can play and read. The Mulan Weichang Visitors Center also offers overnight accommodations and a great spot for astronomy enthusiasts to observe the night sky, all nestled within the stunning Mongolian grasslands. The building is located in the northeast of Hebei province, an area connected to inner Mongolia grasslands where ancient Chinese emperors used to hold autumn hunting festivals. Blending into its grassy surroundings, the building resembles the traditional Mongolian yurt. This layout creates a series of round, semi-public spaces that fit perfectly with the modern lifestyle. Related: A Firsthand Look at the Magnolia 2300 Yurt – the First Energy Star Home in British Columbia The middle of the library is a sunken living space, and the kitchen and dining area located off to the side. Large windows fill the interior with natural light and offer views of the landscape. This openness toward the exterior dominates every corner of the interior, including the bathroom, where a freestanding bathtub sits in front of another large window. Related: Trakke Transforms Ancient Yurt into a Packable Round House That Pops Up Anywhere for the Everyday Adventurer The architects used local materials including old stone and used wooden beams in order for the building to blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings. The main structure of the building is steel framing, combined with triple layered low-e glass panels, while the exterior wooden frames double as an efficient shading system. + HDD Architecture Via Contemporist Photos by Shengliang Su

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Yurt-inspired visitor’s center in China blends into its exceptional surroundings

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