This hand-built island is the start of Copenhagens parkipelago of floating public spaces

March 14, 2018 by  
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A tiny wooden island floating in Copenhagen harbor is bringing life and interest back to the city’s waters. Australian architect Marshall Blecher and Magnus Maarbjerg of Danish design studio Fokstrot designed CPH-Ø1, an experimental floating island park buoyed by recycled plastic bottles that could bring about more floating public spaces all along the city’s waters. Created as a prototype for the Copenhagen Islands project, the 215-square-foot timber island is punctuated by a single linden tree and is temporarily located in Sluseløbet. Launched last year with support by Kulturhavn365, CPH-Ø1 first served as a resting area for adventurous Copenhageners who are invited to moor alongside the island by boat or kayak. The public space also doubles as a small events venue and, according to Dezeen , will host a lecture series next month about the future of harbor cities. CPH-Ø1 was constructed by hand in Copenhagen’s boat building yards using traditional wooden boat building techniques with locally and sustainably sourced materials. Related: Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmark’s most energy-efficient laboratories CPH-Ø1 is the first in what the designers hope will be a ‘parkipelago’ of nine islands that offer creative public spaces in the harbor, particularly in forgotten and unused areas. Future iterations may include a floating sauna island, floating mussel farms, floating gardens, and even a floating sail-in cafe—all of which will be open to the public. The islands can be connected together or float separately. + Copenhagen Islands Via Dezeen Images via Fokstrot

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This hand-built island is the start of Copenhagens parkipelago of floating public spaces

This modern hiking hotel blends into the dark alpine forests of Italy

February 23, 2018 by  
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The darkened wood façade of the award-winning Hotel Bühelwirt is tinted to complement the moody, dark green of the surrounding forest. Pedevilla Architects designed the hotel as an extension of the breathtaking alpine landscape in South Tyrol, Italy. While designing the space, the architects sought to create harmony with the environment and give every room a breathtaking view of the landscape. The 20-room hotel references traditional hiking hotels of the region. Rectangular forms meet an asymmetrical saddle roof and feature diagonally protruding bay windows that offer expansive views of the mountains. Each room in the hotel features stunning views, strengthening the connection between guests and the surrounding landscape. Related: 17th-century farm transformed into amazing hotel in the hills of Norway The minimalist interior features accents that add warmth and a feeling of coziness to the space, while creating focus on the outdoor environment. This is achieved through the use of locally sourced materials such as larch wood . Handcrafted copper lamps and locally manufactured curtains reflect a strong regional connection between the design of the hotel and its locale. + Pedevilla Architects Via Dwell Photos by Gustav Willeit

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This modern hiking hotel blends into the dark alpine forests of Italy

New ‘category 6’ may be necessary to describe strengthening storms

February 23, 2018 by  
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Do we need a category six in defining storms ? Some climate scientists think so, as tropical cyclones increase in duration, intensity, and strength, The Guardian reported . Climatologist Michael Mann said, “Scientifically, [six] would be a better description of the strength of 200 miles per hour storms, and it would also better communicate the well-established finding now that climate change is making the strongest storms even stronger.” The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale currently runs from one to five, based on sustained wind speed, according to the National Hurricane Center . Should we change the scale to include a six rating? Climate scientists at the Pacific Climate Change Conference in Wellington, New Zealand floated the idea, according to The Guardian. Related: “We are not prepared” for climate change — scientists issue bleak warning New Zealand climate change minister James Shaw said 2016’s Cyclone Winston could have been a category six storm if that rating existed. Winston, according to The Guardian, is the strongest cyclone we’ve recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Shaw said at the conference, “The only reason it wasn’t a category six cyclone is because we don’t have a category six, but we might need one in the future.” Mann said adding category six or reevaluating the scale could hold implications for how communities prepare for cyclones, and for how scientists understand changing cyclone behavior in the climate change era. But not everyone is convinced we need a category six. Principal scientist Chris Brandolino at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said meteorologists and the public are already familiar with the established scale, saying, “Categories are engaging to the public and it’s easy for us to understand and communicate the severity of a storm. I always encourage us reevaluating the science , we should always be asking, ‘Is what we are doing appropriate for the time?’ But I think if we are seriously to consider this it requires a holistic approach, looking at the whole scale, not just adding a category. Maybe the whole scale gets rejigged to reflect the times.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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New ‘category 6’ may be necessary to describe strengthening storms

Gorgeous site-sensitive home ushers in the outdoors

February 23, 2018 by  
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In Northern California, a spectacular modern home embraces nature in more ways than one. Palo Alto-based Field Architecture designed the spacious residence, named Forty-One Oaks after the property’s oak trees that became the inspirational spark behind the design. The home was envisioned as an extension of the oak-studded landscape, an effect achieved through full-height glazing , a natural materials palette, and preservation of an on-site wildlife corridor through which deer, bobcats, and mountain lions traverse. Located in Portola Valley south of San Francisco, Forty-One Oaks comprises a series of rectilinear volumes built with great expanses of glass to blur the indoor-outdoor boundary, concrete walls that echo the verticality of tree trunks, and deep steel roof overhangs for solar shading . “41 Oaks produces an architecture that is in conversation with nature,” wrote the architects. “The house is centered around the idea of creating porosity, connecting with the forty-one oaks that dot the site. Instead of creating a massive block of living space, [we] created a series of pavilions that jut into the landscape.” Related: Solar-powered family retreat beautifully blends into California’s rolling hills The contemporary interior is awash in natural light and the mostly neutral palette keeps attention on the outdoors. Forty-One Oaks’ best example of indoor-outdoor connection can be seen in the dining room, housed in a cantilevered window box with floor-to-ceiling views of the canopy for a treehouse -like feel. Outdoor terraces are reached through sliding glass doors from the main living space, while the master bedroom opens up to a Japanese rock garden. + Field Architecture Via Dezeen Exterior photography by Steve Goldband, interior photography by John Merkl

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Gorgeous site-sensitive home ushers in the outdoors

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

Idyllic ecolodge tucked into remote Vietnamese mountainside is made of locally-sourced granite

January 15, 2018 by  
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Located in a remote region in northern Vietnam, the Topas Ecolodge could just be the ultimate off-grid getaway . Set in an idyllic location with stunning views of the lush green mountainside, the sustainable complex offers 33 one-bedroom bungalows constructed from local white granite quarried from the surrounding mountains. The lodge is located in the remote village of Sapa in northern Vietnam, deep in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The area is quite popular for tourism and many people come to visit the traditional hill tribe villages found in the area. In the past, visitors to the region would stay in the villages, but as tourism grew, the area was in dire need of a sustainable lodging option that would not take away from the idyllic surroundings. Related: Bolivia’s Ecolodge del Lago takes inspiration from traditional Lak’a Uta architecture The Topas Ecolodge was designed to provide rustic, but comfortable lodging that blends into the landscape. Situated atop two cone formed hills, the project’s construction was based on sustainable principles in order to create as low impact on the environment as possible. The 33 one-bedroom bungalows were all made out of locally-sourced granite quarried from the nearby mountains. Additionally, the complex has an innovative wastewater facility that was designed to avoid pollution of the surroundings. Additionally, the goods and products used in the lodge are all found locally. Created as a wellness retreat , thee bungalows have no TV and no internet. Visitors can spend their time hiking or biking through the mountainside and when they’re ready for a bit of relaxation, the infinity pool offers breathtaking views of the mountainside. Additionally, there is an onsite spa that specializes in the traditional Red Dao herbal bath. + Topas Ecolodge Via Uncrate

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Idyllic ecolodge tucked into remote Vietnamese mountainside is made of locally-sourced granite

New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

January 15, 2018 by  
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British company Earth-i just launched a new prototype satellite that paves the way for the “world’s first full-color, full-motion video satellite constellation.” CARBONITE-2 is a test version of the the Vivid-i commercial satellite constellation, and its imaging system “is designed to deliver 1m resolution images and color HD video clips with a swath width of 5km.” CARBONITE-2 (which the Earth-i team calls VividX2) blasted off from the Indian Space Research Organization ‘s Satash Dhawan Space Center aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle late last week. Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) manufactured the technology demonstration satellite. In their statement on the launch they said it “will demonstrate a low-cost video-from-orbit solution using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf technologies.” Related: Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space An Ultra High Definition camera on CARBONITE-2 can snap high-resolution images and capture up to two minutes of video. The satellite weighs around 220 pounds, and it will orbit 314 miles, above the planet, moving at around 4.3 miles a second. European Space Agency Earth Observation Programs director Josef Aschbacher said in a statement, “The launch of VividX2 is a significant next development of Earth-i’s constellation, and welcomed by ESA. The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-color video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and lives on Earth.” The company said such images and videos could help governments or businesses monitor assets, track activities or changes, and even “predict future events with more certainty.” Earth-i has already ordered the next five satellites for Vivid-i from SSTL. Via Engadget , Earth-i , and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited Images via SSTL/Beaucroft Photography

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New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

Recycled bedsprings transformed into an art pavilion at Dubai Design Week

November 23, 2017 by  
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Old copper bedsprings have been transformed into a surprisingly chic exhibition space at this year’s Dubai Design Week. Fahed + Architects designed Pavilion Abwab (“doors” in Arabic) to house a curated selection of 47 designs by design talent from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA). The cloud of mesh metal made of locally sourced materials takes inspiration from nature and showcases the firm’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. The temporary Abwab pavilion consolidates all the designs into a single space, unlike Dubai Design Week’s former practice of commissioning independent pavilions for six MENASA countries. Designers from 15 different MENASA countries were represented this year at the exhibition that was split into eight categories: interpretation, mimicry, intersection, geometry, tactility, artisanal, nostalgia, and re-use . Related: Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami Fahed + Architects sourced the used bedsprings from local waste management company bee’ah . A series of interconnected posts supported the cloud of mesh. “Set against a large mass of buildings within the d3 corridors, the structure’s silhouette will be reminiscent of impetuous ocean waves, coral clusters in a reef and clouds in the sky, referencing the practice’s environmental commitment,” reads a statement on Dubai Design Week . “The pavilion will distill daylight to create patterns on the exhibited works and on the ground.” + Fahed + Architects Via Dezeen Images by Photo Solutions

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Recycled bedsprings transformed into an art pavilion at Dubai Design Week

This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

November 13, 2017 by  
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This amazing school in rural Ghana was built in 60 days for just $13,976. The new InsideOut School replaces the only school in the area, which was destroyed by strong winds. Architects Andrea Tabocchini & Francesca Vittorini designed the non-profit project and built it with the local community and volunteers from 20 different countries. The team had to work without electricity, which meant they had to build the structure by hand. They moved 58,000 kg of and crafted materials available on site. Local soil was compacted to create staggered walls, while a lightweight wood structure lifts the roof to allow zenithal light into the building. The skylight also facilitates natural ventilation. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The result is an affordable school that can be replicated anywhere with a similar climate. Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Andrea Tabocchini

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This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

This cozy off-grid cabin shows beauty on a budget in upstate New York

November 8, 2017 by  
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Manhattan studio JacobsChang shows off beauty on a budget with their completion of the Half-Tree House, a one-room cabin tucked into the forests of upstate New York’s Sullivan County. Located on a remote 60-acre site, the 360-square-foot structure operates off-grid and was built by amateur weekend builders with a limited budget of $20,000. Despite the challenging steep slope, the architects and builders achieved an elegant result that dramatically juts out into the landscape. JacobsChang kept construction costs for the Half-tree House low by sourcing most of the materials on-site , including the timber cladding made from locally felled pines. To minimize site work and use of retaining walls , the architects anchored the building on one side with simple concrete footings and then used the existing trees to support the other side with a Garnier Limb anchoring system. Related: Prefab tiny cabin perched on a granite rock to minimize environmental impact Traditional Scandinavian pine tar was used to give the cabin a dark facade, which contrasts with the whitewashed interior. Three floor-to-ceiling pivoting windows open the cabin up to the outdoors, letting in ample natural light and ventilation. Say the architects: “The space is heated with a highly efficient Jotul wood stove and power, if needed, is drawn from a portable generator. The entire construction was performed by its two owners, and in the true spirit of New England barnraising, with a team of dedicated weekend support.” + JacobsChang Via ArchDaily Images © Noah Kalina

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This cozy off-grid cabin shows beauty on a budget in upstate New York

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