Solar protective glass gives the iceberg-like Hercule home a mirrored finish

January 31, 2019 by  
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Modern, monolithic and minimalist , Hercule is a single-family home designed like an iceberg — the bulk of the building is hidden while the visible portion emerges out of the ground like the tip of an iceberg. Named after local hero John “Hercule” Gruen for its “robust strength,” the house located in Mondorf-les-bains in the south of Luxembourg is the recently completed work of local architecture practice 2001 . Embedded into the sloped terrain, the concrete dwelling further immerses itself into the landscape with a massive wall of solar reflective glass that mirrors the surroundings. Located on residual land between an old farmhouse and a suburban villa, the project site had a sloped terrain that the architects decided to turn into a design attribute rather than an obstacle. The natural context determined the layout of the home’s three floors, which step down the slope from west to east. Covering a built footprint of 446 square meters, the home appears deceptively compact from street level because of the spacious basement level. The main living spaces as well as the technical rooms are all located on the basement floor, which includes a two-car garage, a fitness and spa area, a wine cellar, storage and the open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area that open up to an enclosed outdoor courtyard through full-height glazed sliding doors. The dimensions of the open-plan living area — measuring 14 by 6 meters — is repeated on the two floors above ground that house the bedrooms and bathrooms. Related: Mirrored pavilion all but disappears into nature Minimalism is stressed throughout the design, with the main structural elements visible and enhanced through formwork and sanding.  Solar protective glass clads the east and west facades, which are oriented toward the street and the garden. To the south, a blind béton brut wall serves as a beam for the upper two floors to ensure a column-free living area below, while the north side is punctuated with garden-facing openings. + 2001 Photography by Maxime Delvaux via 2001

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Solar protective glass gives the iceberg-like Hercule home a mirrored finish

Luxembourg will be the first country to offer all public transportation for free

December 10, 2018 by  
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Luxembourg — a small, landlocked European country that borders Belgium, Germany and France — is going to be the first country on Earth to have completely free public transportation . The newly re-elected Xavier Bettel and a coalition government will lift the fares on all of the public trains, trams and buses starting in Summer 2019. The country’s capital, Luxembourg City, is small but has some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. It has a population of about 110,000, but more than 400,000 additional commuters from neighboring countries travel into the city each day for work. Related: Estonia will soon offer free public transportation The traffic jams aren’t just in the capital. The entire country (which is only 999 square miles) is home to approximately 600,000 people, but another 200,000 people cross the Luxembourg border every day to get to work. Free public transportation will begin next summer, and it will continue Luxembourg’s progressive approach to transport. This year, it started offering free transportation to everyone under the age of 20. Secondary school students can also ride free shuttles between school and home. Currently, all other commuters pay a little over two dollars for up to two hours of travel . Since the country is small, that fare covers just about every commute. But by 2020, all tickets will be abolished. There is still some work to do on the policy, because the government has yet to figure out a plan for the first- and second-class train compartments. Still, it is a step in the right direction to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. Via The Guardian Image via Rubentje01

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Luxembourg will be the first country to offer all public transportation for free

Historic Luxembourg building is metamorphosed into an eco-friendly powerhouse

October 3, 2018 by  
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Paris-based Vincent Callebaut Architectures has placed first in POST Luxembourg’s international design competition with its chrysalis-inspired vision for transforming the telecommunication company’s historic headquarters building into a carbon-neutral city landmark. Dubbed the Metamorphosis of the Hotel des Postes, the winning design includes nearly 120,000 square feet of mixed-use space comprising housing, co-working, retail, a brewery, restaurant and a permaculture rooftop garden. Although the design calls for a significant revamp of the structure’s energy systems, the architects will also take care to preserve the building’s historic architectural elements that date back to the turn of the 20th century. Designed by the government architect Sosthène Weis in the early 1900s, the historic building is mainly built of stone and reinforced concrete but has also been remodeled over the years with several extensions. Vincent Callebaut Architectures will begin its “metamorphosis” of the property by removing three of the extensions and then carefully inserting new changes, which include transforming the interior courtyard into a covered atrium. Central to the redesign is the addition of a chrysalis-inspired, multi-story volume in an oblong shape as well as a photovoltaic cell-studded glass “solar dome.” “[Our goal is to] reveal the intrinsic heritage qualities of the building and highlight them with contemporary architecture that assumes its era,” the architects explained. “Between history and modernity, between heritage and innovation, this metamorphosis presents a project reinforcing the patrimonial identity of the place by transforming the historic building into a showcase of contemporary, ecological architecture. Low-Tech and high-tech are therefore in tune to serve this exceptional project.” Related: Five bridges topped with urban farms could revitalize war-torn Mosul Designed to meet carbon-neutral status, the project aims to consume less than 30 kWh of energy per square meter annually and meet near net-zero energy targets. The building will not only be powered with renewable energies such as solar, wind and biomass, but it will also be renovated to follow passive design principles and updated with an airtight building envelope, double-glazed windows and highly efficient insulation. Metamorphosis of the Hotel des Postes is currently seeking approval from the local government. + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Playful guerrilla group unleashes 50 swings across San Francisco

February 26, 2018 by  
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A guerrilla group in San Francisco has unleashed a bunch of swings across the city. Swing Bomb SF installed more than 50 sneaky swings in many undisclosed locations, delighting residents and instilling a much-needed sense of playfulness. Sadly, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department wants to take them down. They just installed 50 swings all over the city to inspire folks to go out and play! We even made the news! #swingbombsf #sanfrancisco Repost: @dianaleebee A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 21, 2018 at 5:14pm PST Swing Bomb SF swept in with the goal of transforming the city into a pop-up playground . They’ve spoken anonymously to news outlets, and told SF Weekly , “We decided to create a present for the city, where it would wake up one morning and have a moment of surprise.” They installed over 50 swings around the city; the tops are hand-painted and underneath the words #SwingBombSF and a number tell people just which swing they’re playing on. Related: Hundreds of colorful swings transform a busy street in Luxembourg The anonymous crew told SF Weekly they wanted to install the swings in diverse locations; the Tenderloin and Lombard Street are a couple examples. SF Weekly reported Swing Bomb SF had engineers on the team to ensure the structural integrity of the trees for the swings. “I have spent the last day and a half feeling like I could burst into happy tears at any given moment. I am learning how awesome independent feels and I am so lucky that the people in my life encourage that in me. ?????? #Repost @platinum_runner #sanfrancisco #lombardstreet #tourist #vacation #independentwoman #freedomtour #love #happiness #adventure #californiadreaming #swingbombsf @swingbombsf A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 22, 2018 at 9:11pm PST The SF Rec & Parks isn’t so sure. Operations manager Dennis Kern told ABC 7 , “They did not come to us for us to take a look at what they wanted to do, so that we can ascertain that this is safe.” He said without a permit, the department will have to take swings down. But Swing Bomb SF purposefully didn’t disclose the location of all the swings; they told ABC 7 it was “to create that element of surprise and joy” but it also means the Recreation and Parks Department has to find the swings before they can remove them. "We don't stop playing because we grow old…we grow old because we stop playing." #swingbombsf @swingbombsf Photo via #sambrock #sanfrancisco A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 22, 2018 at 10:51am PST People stumbling across the swings in the city have posted gleeful pictures to Instagram. Swing Bomb SF told SF Weekly of the city, “It really nurtures this inner child, it’s a very playful community. We wanted to play into that, and make the concept of S.F. being an adult playground into a reality.” You can check out more pictures on Swing Bomb SF’s Instagram here . + Swing Bomb SF Via SF Weekly and ABC 7 Image via Depositphotos

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Playful guerrilla group unleashes 50 swings across San Francisco

This futuristic metal-clad residence is segmented like a lobster tail

April 5, 2017 by  
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This futuristic residential building in Luxembourg has a segmented facade that resembles the tail of a lobster or an exotic insect. Design studio Metaform sought to eliminate some of the major problems that occur in multi-family housing projects – such as the lack of privacy, natural light , and open space. Metaform approached the project in an experimental way in order to respond to the steep topography and preserve the existing three-century-old trees located on the plot. These elements inspired the form of the building, which is split into six smaller, vertically shifted blocks. This allowed the designers to preserve the required density while providing residents with a sense of belonging, identity and human scale. Thanks to the resulting layout, the units receive ample amounts of natural light and have panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and the city. Related: Innovative Gap House in Seoul saves space with communal living areas The ventilated facade is clad in triangular aluminium panels . Passive house design features work together with a well-insulated facade and glass elements coated with anti-UV film that protects the interior from overheating. Solar panels and living roofs round out the home’s green building strategies, ensuring low-energy performance. Related: Belles Townhomes is SF’s First LEED Platinum Multi-Family Housing The design eliminates long, horizontal circulation routes, which can often be dark and acoustically problematic. Three vertical cores connect underground parking directly to the apartments–an element that allows the units to have three-sided orientations. Apart from offering privacy, the architects also wanted to give residents the possibility to meet and get to know each other in common shared indoor spaces like kitchens and living rooms. + Metaform Via v2 com Photos by Steve Troes Fotodesign

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This futuristic metal-clad residence is segmented like a lobster tail

Luxembourg bar renovation mimics Japanese origami for a low footprint

November 25, 2016 by  
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The new structure that envelops the existing building looks like a folded sheet of paper that allows the interior to open up to the natural surroundings. Lightweight and self-supporting, the wooden structure helps orientate the bar and eating areas toward the outside and guides views to the tall tree stalks, while allowing the possibility of changing the project in the future. Related: Reclaimed Wood Clads This Japanese Izakaya’s Origami-Like Interior in Montreal The architects also refurbished the existing kitchen and eating area on the ground floor and formed a smoking area with a fireplace and small dining area. They partly removed the lateral outdoor terrace and replaced it with a white sand beach. + Metaform architects Via v2com Photos by Steve Troes Fotodesign

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Hundreds of colorful swings transform a busy street in Luxembourg

July 21, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nyr6pIDtr5w The swings are suspended just out of reach of pedestrians, evoking a sense of nostalgia for lazy summer days and childhood memories. With the ropes painted in bright colors, the installation is impossible to miss. In an article published at Dezeen , Mertens explained his intent: “Re-appropriated, multiplied and transposed in an unexpected context – suspended over a downtown pedestrian street – the swing becomes a playful work of art.” This isn’t the first time Mertens has created a magical and slightly surreal outdoor art installation. In the past, he’s created an “urban game” that passersby could play using a giant red balloon controlled by motion detectors, and sculptures involving balloons, chandeliers, and lightbulbs sprouting from the floor like flowers. The installation was created as part of a competition organized by the City of Luxembourg and several local groups. It was selected out of five other finalists for display, taking a month and a half to put together the swings and three days for a team of workers to install. If you’d like to catch it while it’s still on display, don’t wait — it’s only going to be up through August 2016. + Max Mertens

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Hundreds of colorful swings transform a busy street in Luxembourg

More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries!

October 30, 2013 by  
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Bicycle photo from Shutterstock The bicycle and the automobile were invented in Germany, so the European love affair with both modes of transportation goes back a long time. However last year bike sales actually overtook car sales in 23 of the 27 European Union member states. (New car registrations weren’t available for Cyprus and Malta, and car sales topped bike sales in Belgium and Luxembourg). In Italy, bikes outsold cars for the time since World War II, and in Spain bike sales topped the transportation charts for the first time ever. Read the rest of More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bicycles , bike sales , bike-friendly policies , car sales , cars , european union , italy , recession , romania        

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More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries!

Biotic Earth Infographic Shows How Soil Building Techniques Can Encourage Plants to Grow

October 29, 2013 by  
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Biotic Earth just launched a new infographic that shows a variety of ‘ soil building ’ techniques that can improve arable land and encourage plants to grow. The infographic explores how soil is naturally created, and how organic and erosion resistant materials and management techniques can be used to improve soil quality. Check out the full infographic after the break! The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Read the rest of Biotic Earth Infographic Shows How Soil Building Techniques Can Encourage Plants to Grow Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , Biotic Earth , erosion , Gardening , green design , infographic , Soil Building , sustainable design        

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Biotic Earth Infographic Shows How Soil Building Techniques Can Encourage Plants to Grow

10 EU Countries Pledge to Create North Sea Renewable Energy Grid

December 13, 2010 by  
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The North Sea is already home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm , but its seems the sea is about to get even greener as ten EU countries have signed a memorandum to develop an international offshore energy grid . The memorandum saw Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom pledge to combine renewable wind energy sources in the sea

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