Light-filled cancer center harnesses the healing power of nature

July 4, 2017 by  
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The healing powers of nature have been put to good use in the recently completed Maggie’s Oldham. London-based architecture studio dRMM completed this cross-laminated timber building, one of the United Kingdom’s many Maggie’s Centers that provide free practical, emotional, and social support for people with cancer. Nature surrounds the light-filled building both inside and out, from the garden that the center floats above to the tree that grows through the building. Built on the grounds of an NHS cancer hospital in Oldham, the recently completed Maggie’s Center is the first permanent structure of its kind built of sustainable hardwood cross-laminated timber . The architects write: “In wood there is hope and warmth, its use at Maggie’s Oldham is part of a bigger design intention to reverse the norms of hospital architecture, where institutionalised environments can leave patients dispirited.” All the surfaces show off the natural timber finish and the thermally modified tulipwood cross-laminated timber was carefully detailed to bring out its natural beauty. Cut-offs from the CLT fabrication process were recycled for use in the slatted ceiling. Related: Beautiful light-filled Maggie’s Cancer Center opens up to nature in Manchester To lift the spirits of whoever comes by, Maggie’s Oldham greets visitors with airy, light-filled spaces and unexpected views towards the garden below, the sky above, and out to the Pennine horizon. Large windows with American white oak frames let in copious amounts of natural light. The minimalist boxy building is elevated on slender columns above a garden framed by pine, birch, and tulip poplar trees. A tree grows up through the building at its heart, creating a central oasis that brings nature inside. The use of timber, rather than cold metal, complements the greenery and gives the building a sense of warmth. Wood fiber insulation is used for a breathable healthy environment. + dRMM Via ArchDaily Images © Alex de Rijke

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Light-filled cancer center harnesses the healing power of nature

Pavegen unveils world’s first energy-harvesting smart street in London

June 30, 2017 by  
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An underutilized street in London’s West End has been transformed into a colorful outdoor space exhibiting sustainable technologies , and right down the center runs Pavegen’s energy-generating pavement . The company, which has been around since 2009, has seen their pavement that harvests power from footsteps installed in 150 projects, but now their product is part of what they describe as the world’s first smart street. Walkers traversing the pavement can connect to an app and see how their footsteps in Bird Street have generated electricity . Pavegen installed a 107-square-foot array in Bird Street to harness and convert the power of footsteps into electricity, which will supply energy for lights and bird sounds in the area. Bluetooth Low-Energy transmitters are also part of this array, so that users can interact with the array via apps. People can see their steps on the energy-harvesting pavement translate into discounts, vouchers, and clean electricity. Related: Pavegen’s kinetic walkway in South African mall will power rural villages Pavegen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook said in a statement, “With installations in Washington, D.C. and at vital transport hubs including Heathrow, being able to demonstrate how our technology can bring to life the retail shopping experience is a vital step for us. As retailers compete with online, technologies like ours make being in the busy high street more exciting and rewarding for people and brands alike.” Other sustainable technologies on Bird Street include Airlabs’ CleanAir bench, which sucks nitrogen dioxide from the air to create a clean air bubble. Airlite air-purifying paint was also used in Bird Street. Pop-up shops offering shopping or dining beckon visitors. The outdoor space is meant to offer a vision for healthier urban areas. Transport for London Director of City Planning Alex Williams said the innovative Bird Street concepts could be brought to other areas of London, bringing 21st century thinking to improve urban streets. + Pavegen Images courtesy of Pavegen

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Pavegen unveils world’s first energy-harvesting smart street in London

Worlds first porcelain courtyard opens at Londons V&A Museum

June 30, 2017 by  
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London’s world-renowned Victoria & Albert Museum has made art even more accessible to the masses with the completion of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter. Set to open today, this beautiful and unique civic space includes the “first outdoor porcelain courtyard in the world” as well as a new subterranean exhibition hall. Designed by AL_A , this alternative museum entrance is the V&A’s largest architectural intervention in over a century. Created over the course of six years, the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter transformed the museum’s former boiler house yard into a new arts destination. The design includes the underground Sainsbury Gallery, a flexible 1,100-square-meter column-free exhibition gallery; the Sackler Courtyard, the world’s first porcelain public courtyard; the Blavatnik Hall, a new entrance into the V&A from Exhibition Road; and the Aston Webb Screen, a newly created colonnade with 11 openings. The £54.5 million project is part of the museum’s FuturePlan scheme that has updated two thirds of the V&A’s public spaces in the past 15 years. The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter is envisioned as bridge between the city and the museum, and a reflection of the founding mission to democratize access to culture and education. “The V&A Exhibition Road Quarter reframes the relationship between street and Museum, breaking down the barrier between the two,” says a press release. “We have created a less formal, more public place that is as much of the street as it is of the Museum, attracting and welcoming in new audiences, and making ideas of accessibility and democracy very explicit.” Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London The Sackler Courtyard is paved with 11,000 handmade porcelain tiles produced after two years of research and development. This new public space also hosts a cafe with furniture designed by AL_A and reveals architecturally significant facades and details never seen before by the public, such as the sgraffito decoration on the side of the Henry Cole Wing. Over 22,000 cubic meters of earth were removed from the site, 99% of which was recycled. In celebration of the project’s opening, the V&A is hosting REVEAL, a free, week-long festival from June 30 to July 7. + AL_A Images © Hufton + Crow

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Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

June 20, 2017 by  
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Today marks the official debut of Diébédo Francis Kéré’s spectacular rainwater-harvesting Serpentine Pavilion . The 2017 pavilion was unveiled on a perfectly sunny day – but when it rains the roof will protect protect visitors from drizzle while funneling precipitation it into a central waterfall and storing it for irrigation in the surrounding park. The pavilion is inspired by the culture of Kéré’s home village of Gando in Burkina Faso even as it plays with experimental construction techniques and embraces the climate in Britain. Diébédo Francis Kéré, who runs Berlin-based Kéré Architecture , is the first African architect to construct a Serpentine Pavilion . Kéré cited trees as his design inspiration. The pavilion is topped by a massive canopy – visitors can walk underneath and be safe from the rain while at the same time experiencing the weather through a transparent roof and wall openings that allow the wind to blow through. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The roof is made of wood , supported by a hidden steel frame. Raindrops that fall on the pavilion are funneled into an oculus, creating a waterfall. Then the water enters a drainage system on the floor for use in irrigation later. The walls are made from prefabricated wooden blocks. At night the blocks create an intricate play of shadow and light as the gaps twinkle from movement inside the pavilion. Trees offer a place to gather in Burkina Faso, and Kéré hopes his Serpentine Pavilion in London will also offer a space for people to visit and share their experiences. In his design statement he spoke of his aim for the Pavilion to “become a beacon of light, a symbol of storytelling and togetherness.” And in his video on the pavilion’s design, he spoke of his desire for the pavilion to be inclusive and offer a space for all. + Kéré Architecture + Serpentine Galleries Via ArchDaily Images © Kéré Architecture, Photography © 2017 Iwan Baan ; © Erik Jan Ouwerkerk; © Enrico Cano; and © Simeon Duchoud

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Dibdo Francis Kr’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today

Britain installs worlds biggest wind turbines near Liverpool

May 18, 2017 by  
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It’s official: Britain is now the world’s leader in wind turbine technology. Yesterday, Danish company Dong Energy finished installing 32 of the world’s biggest turbines in Liverpool Bay as part of the Burbo Bank extension. Standing 195-meters in length with blades longer than nine London buses, the turbines are now live and generating clean energy . Each of the new turbines stands taller than the Gherkin skyscraper and has more than twice the power capacity of those in a neighboring wind farm which was completed a decade ago, according to the Guardian. Said Benjamin Sykes, the country manager for Dong Energy UK, “That shows you something about the scale-up of the industry, the scale-up of the technology.” Sykes hailed the installation as a “very important milestones” for the renewable energy sector. The Guardian notes this is the first time 8MW turbines have been commercially used anywhere in the world. As a result, the UK can now boast that it has installed more offshore wind power than any other country. Subsidies, agreeable regulations, and a maritime past have made this monumental achievement possible. Related: Siemens Creates the World’s Largest Turbine Blades for New UK Wind Farm! Now, the UK has a capacity of 5.3GW, which means enough electricity can be generated to power 4.3 million homes. And, the sovereign state has no intention of slowing down. Eight more projects are already under construction, and they are expected to add more than half the capacity again. In Germany, Sykes recently received approval to build the world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm . By the time that project begins construction, he believes turbines as powerful as 13MW or 15MW will be on the market. “There’s every reason to think they will arrive,” said Sykes. Improved technology will also ensure those in the clean energy sector continue to receive taxpayer support in the UK, as ministers have made it clear cuts need to be made in the industry. “This and other projects have been crucial for driving costs down for the whole industry,” said Skyes, referring to the Burbo Bank extension. + Dong Energy Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay , Dong Energy

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This 18th-century London townhouse hides a swimming pool under a glass floor

May 4, 2017 by  
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London’s Marston Court transforms shipping containers into emergency housing for the homeless

April 26, 2017 by  
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A newly-constructed emergency h ousing development in London’s Ealing borough provides 34 temporary apartments to the needy. CargoTek teamed up with QED Property , ISO Spaces and Ealing Council to build the innovative Marston Court development out of re-purposed shipping containers, using a kit of moveable and re-usable parts for maximum flexibility. The project addresses the issue of homelessness with flexible, temporary and affordable design solutions. Marston Court is located on a disused brownfield site on Bordars Walk in Ealing. The project revitalizes vacant land by providing emergency accommodation to those in need, including young families and low-income individuals. Related: CargoTek taps shipping containers for affordable UK homes and offices The project will house up to 72 people in 34 fully furnished apartments with a management office, laundry and refuse storage. It includes a landscaped outdoor area with a playground. ISO Spaces manufactured the modular components in their production facility in Cornwall. The company’s founder Gregg Curtis said: “Homelessness is an issue that is always critical at any scale, We need to design and develop more solutions to these issues. Our focus is on providing real products to do that. And working in partnerships with organizations that can deploy those solutions at scale is critical.” + CargoTek + ISO Spaces + QED Property

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Europes tallest modular tower snaps together in north London

April 20, 2017 by  
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The last module has slotted into place on Europe’s tallest modular tower. Designed by multidisciplinary practice HTA Design LLP , the record-breaking Apex House is a new student housing development that rises to the height of 29 stories in the Wembley Regeneration Area. Completed in just 12 months, the modular high-rise makes use of highly advanced prefabrication techniques and boasts energy-saving systems to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent. Developed by Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems , the Apex House comprises 679 modules with over 580 rooms that’ll be ready for students to move into this fall. The modules were prefabricated in Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems’ factory 60 miles away in Bedford with all the furniture, windows, electric wiring, and plumbing installed before they were transported to the site. The modules were stacked to a height of 90 meters in just 13 weeks. Related: Apartment Tour: Inside the world’s tallest modular building “Modular construction provides a much faster alternative to traditional construction without compromising on the quality of the building, or the versatility of the design,” said Christy Hayes, chief executive officer at Tide Construction, according to WAN . “Modular produces 80% less waste, requires fewer onsite workers and provides certainty of cost and time. Apex House is a shining example of what modular construction can bring to UK property, whether its hotels, residential apartments, build to rent or student accommodation .” The Apex House is the second tallest modular building in the world. + HTA Design LLP + Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems Via WAN Images via http://www.visionmodular.com , photos by Richard Southall

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Europes tallest modular tower snaps together in north London

Greening the fleet: Uber eyes EV-only service in London

April 5, 2017 by  
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Charging infrastructure is the major barrier to rolling out all-electric taxis in London, according to findings from six-month Uber study.

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World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old

March 2, 2017 by  
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Around four billion years ago, bacteria formed tiny tubes and filaments, likely in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. An international team of scientists lead by the University College London (UCL) recently discovered those microorganism remains, preserved for billions of years, which the scientists think could be the oldest fossils humans have ever unearthed. The discovery might even hold clues to life on other planets like Mars .

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World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old

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