President Obama establishes controversial new National Park in Northern Maine

August 25, 2016 by  
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In honor of the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary, President Obama declared the establishment and protection of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a new National Park site in Northern Maine . Katahdin Woods “may be one of the last, large national parks that we see in our lifetime,” said Theresa Pierno, chief executive of the National Parks Conservation Association. More than 87,500 acres of woodland wilderness were donated to the National Park Service by Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of Maine-based Burt’s Bees. President Obama’s declaration puts an end to a contentious process, which has pitted conservationists against local residents and Maine politicians. The region is home to lynx, bears, brook trout and moose, as well as rare birds such as gray jays, boreal chickadees and the American three-toed woodpecker. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is located in the North Maine Woods region, where the decline of the paper industry has left the economy weakened. Locals expressed concern that a National Park designation would further threaten their livelihoods through increased regulations and restrictions. The Maine Legislature and Governor also opposed the creation of the Monument. “It’s sad that rich, out-of-state liberals can team up with President Obama to force a national monument on rural Mainers who do not want it,” said Governor LePage (R). Related: Tiny Off-Grid Cabin in Maine is Completely Self-Sustaining Despite the requirement of an act of Congress to create a National Park, Maine’s congressional delegation refused to introduce such a measure. President Obama maneuvered around this opposition by using the authority granted by the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President to create National Monuments without Congressional approval. To accommodate this strong opposition, the establishment of Katahdin Woods has been shaped by compromise. The new National Monument will be the only National Park Services site that allows hunting , though the killing of bears will remain forbidden. Snowmobiling, a popular local pastime, will also be allowed on all existing trails at the site. The site is not without its supporters in Maine. Angus King, independent US Senator and former governor of Maine, said that “the benefits of the designation will far outweigh any detriment” and a National Park site “will provide much-needed diversity to the region’s economy .” “This isn’t the only monument that has been criticized, and our governor isn’t the only governor who has criticized a monument,” says Lucas St. Clair, organizer of the pro-park campaign. “From the Grand Tetons to the Everglades , it’s a theme in the creation of these parks. But I think time will help heal these divisions.” Via Washington Post Images via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region  and North Maine Woods Inc.

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President Obama establishes controversial new National Park in Northern Maine

Washington DC’s national monuments are getting slimed

August 15, 2016 by  
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The US’ national monuments are under attack – not from a foreign power or aliens, but from microscopic organisms called biofilm . The National Park Service announced biofilm is blackening landmarks around Washington DC, and they’re searching for a way to combat the biofilm and return the monuments to a shiny white state. Biofilm is not only a menace to the Jefferson Memorial, but to monuments and old structures around the world. Angkor Wat, Egyptian monuments, and Hadrian’s Villa have all been victim to the microscopic organisms. Biofilm can be seen on many Washington, D.C. area monuments, including the Jefferson Memorial’s dome, the Congressional Cemetery tombstones and the Lincoln Memorial. Related: The National Museum of the Marine Corps Is a Green-Roofed Monument to US Servicemen Biofilm love to grow on stone . According to the National Park Service, the Jefferson Memorial’s once-smooth marble blocks eroded over time, creating an ideal environment for biofilm to thrive. The Jefferson Memorial biofilm ” became noticeable ” in 2006 and continued to grow. In 2014 a coalition of molecular biologists, architects, and conservators started to study the biofilm. Chief of Resource Management Catherine Dewey said in a press release, “Treatment of biofilm is difficult, as there is no known permanent method for removing it, and we have to ensure that any treatment must not do further damage to the soft marble of the memorial nor encourage further growth. We are testing a variety of treatment techniques to find the option that is least damaging to the stone, safe for the environment and visitors, and cost effective.” Biofilm has been dealt with successfully before in 2011 at the D.C. War Memorial. Now the National Park Service is testing ” 10 different chemical biocides ” along the Jefferson Memorial’s base to see how well they work. They’ll also test out non-traditional methods like laser irradiation. + National Park Service Images via National Park Service and Wikimedia Commons

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Washington DC’s national monuments are getting slimed

Archaeologists find 2,150-year-old Petra monument ‘hiding in plain sight’

June 10, 2016 by  
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The ancient city of Petra in Jordan is known for its fascinating ruins built into surrounding rocky cliffs, and now archaeologists have made an exciting new discovery. Using satellite images , they recently discovered a massive subterranean monument that remained hidden for years. The monument is about the length and double the width of an Olympic swimming pool . The archaeologists used satellite imagery to find the platform, which is 184 feet by 161 feet. An interior platform had columns along one end and a huge staircase. Based on pottery studies, the researchers think the platform could be at least 2,150 years old . Related: Family accidentally discovers “extraordinarily well-preserved” Roman villa in England Given the colossal size, it’s surprising no one has yet discovered the monument, but the researchers said it was difficult to get to and “hidden.”Even though the monument is close to the center of Petra – just around half a mile south, prior surveys didn’t find it. The paper the archaeologists published is titled ” Hiding in Plain Sight .” Co-author of the paper Christopher Tuttle told National Geographic, “I’m sure that over the course of two centuries of research [in Petra], someone had to know [this site] was there, but it’s never been systematically studied or written up. I’ve worked in Petra for 20 years, and I knew that something was there, but it’s certainly legitimate to call this a discovery.” Tuttle told The Guardian the platform could have been used for “some kind of massive display function.” Throughout the rest of Petra, there are several shrines and sites used for “various cultic displays or political activities.” However, one reason the new monument stands apart is because the massive staircase doesn’t face Petra’s city center. “We don’t understand what the purpose [of visible shrines], because the Nabateans didn’t leave any written documents to tell us,” Tuttle said. “But I find it interesting that such a monumental feature doesn’t have a visible relationship to the city.” As of now the researchers don’t have a plan for excavation , but they hope to work at the site at some point. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Archaeologists find 2,150-year-old Petra monument ‘hiding in plain sight’

5 buildings around the world that memorialize tragic losses of life

May 27, 2016 by  
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1. Light and darkness contrast in Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin One of the most moving memorial buildings ever created, Daniel Liebeskind ‘s Jewish Museum in Berlin, utilizes architecture to take visitors on a journey through some of humanity’s darkest moments during the Holocaust, when millions of people were murdered by the Nazis. From above, the museum appears to be an ” exploded Star of David .” Sharp angles and zigzagging hallways take visitors on a contemplative journey to the Holocaust Tower, Garden of Exile, and Stair of Continuity. The strong design of the museum stands out from other buildings nearby, bringing attention to its important purpose. 2. Reflecting pools allow contemplation at the National 9/11 Memorial by Michael Arad Right where the Twin Towers used to stand in New York City, Michael Arad designed the National 9/11 Memorial to capture the enormous loss and invite visitors to reflect. Carved in bronze, the names of those who died on September 11 surround two massive reflecting pools with the biggest man-made waterfalls in America. The simplicity of the memorial contrasts with the grandiose scale, evoking the sense that each loss is incredibly personal while remembering so many died and were impacted that day. 3. Earthquake debris utilized in Ishi-no-kinendo Memorial by Koishikawa Architects In the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 earthquake , 18,000 people died or went missing. Tokyo’s Koishikawa Architects created a memorial, called Ishi-no-kinendo , from the rubble of a city hit hard on Japan’s east coast. Lines etched into mirrored stainless steel on top of the monument point mourners to the other locations impacted by the earthquake so they can grieve the loss of loved ones around the country. Since the earthquake struck in the spring, a nearby cherry tree that blossoms that time of year adds natural beauty to the monument. 4. Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux’s Qatar World Cup Memorial tower is scalable Over 1,000 migrant workers in Qatar have already perished in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup Stadium . Architects Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux imagined a scalable tower commemorating those people as part of their experimental 1 Week 1 Project effort. Their Qatar World Cup Memorial would draw attention to the country’s reprehensible labor practices, and could grow as more die to build the stadium under conditions some have described as akin to slavery. They said if nothing changes for these workers, the memorial might stretch close to a mile in the sky. 5. Chapel of Reconciliation by Rudolf Reitermann and Peter Sassenroth on old no-man’s-land Architects Rudolf Reitermann and Peter Sassenroth utilized rammed-earth architecture to create a minimalist chapel between what was once East Berlin and West Berlin. They erected their Chapel of Reconciliation on the site of a former church torn down in 1985 for ” security measures .” Some materials from the demolished church were incorporated in the new chapel in remembrance of what was lost when Berlin was divided. The building also usher in a new era through the use of ” sustainable natural methods ” in its construction. 9/ll Memorial image © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat; other images via Daniel Libeskind , Koji Fujii/Nacasa & Partners , 1 Week 1 Project , and jaime.silva on Flickr

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5 buildings around the world that memorialize tragic losses of life

Tom Dixon transforms a 17th-century London church into a chic co-working space

May 27, 2016 by  
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The motivation behind the project began with Baughen’s desire to make the church more available to the daytime residents and creative workforce of Clerkenwell, an area in central London. The temporary intervention also gave Dixon the opportunity to display his new lighting and furniture products against a stunning historic backdrop with soaring ceilings and huge stained glass windows. “As the Church evolves and adapts to the new conditions of the 21st century, the opportunity of opening up to new audiences and unexpected collaborations becomes a necessity,” says Dixon. “For the design audience and the more permanent residents of Clerkenwell, we hope that a contemplative and spiritual space becomes more comfortable and accessible thanks to our small intervention.” Related: Tom Dixon’s dazzling Lens pendant lamps are made from 60 lenses The most eye-catching of Dixon’s pieces are the silver-coated CURVE lights that hang like a chandelier in the church’s main space and offer a sharp contrast with the colorful stained glass windows. The designer’s easily recognizable geometric chairs and tables have been added to an upstairs co-working space , while other furnishings populate the area close to the altar. The chandelier, along with a few other furnishings, has been donated to the church as gifts. + Tom Dixon Via Dezeen Images via Tom Dixon

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Tom Dixon transforms a 17th-century London church into a chic co-working space

Underwater “Stonehenge” discovered near Sicily is over 10,000-years-old

August 7, 2015 by  
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Off the coast of Sicily, researchers have discovered a giant stone monolith submerged in a shallow channel. A report published in Science Direct suggests the man-made object was created by an ancient civilization for a purpose likely akin to that of Stonehenge, which the monolith resembles. Researchers estimate the monument’s age at over 10,000 years, and believe its existence confirms “significant Mesolithic human activity in the Sicilian Channel region.” Read the rest of Underwater “Stonehenge” discovered near Sicily is over 10,000-years-old

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Underwater “Stonehenge” discovered near Sicily is over 10,000-years-old

The West Coast is still on track for a huge El Niño event this year

August 7, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. NASA and other agencies are finding indications that an intense El Niño event may be heading to the west coasts of North and South America. NASA JPL climate scientist Bill Patzert stated , “It’s no sure bet that we will have a strong El Niño, but the signal is getting stronger. What happens in August through October should make or break this event.” While this may sound dandy for drought-stricken areas , the event could bring more hazards than respite. Read the rest of The West Coast is still on track for a huge El Niño event this year

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The West Coast is still on track for a huge El Niño event this year

Gustavo Penna’ Shining Freedom of The Press Monument Wins World Architecture Festival Award

October 17, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Gustavo Penna’ Shining Freedom of The Press Monument Wins World Architecture Festival Award Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architecture award , brasilia , Brazil , brazilian architecture , Freedom of The Press Monument , gustavo penna , journalists , monument , WAF 2014

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Gustavo Penna’ Shining Freedom of The Press Monument Wins World Architecture Festival Award

Daniel Libeskind Design Wins Canadian National Holocaust Monument Competition

May 13, 2014 by  
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Team Lord of Toronto, which includes architect Daniel Libeskind , was just announced as the winner of the new Canadian National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. Their proposal, entitled Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival, was selected out of six finalists and is scheduled for inauguration in the Fall of 2015. Read the rest of Daniel Libeskind Design Wins Canadian National Holocaust Monument Competition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architecture competition , Canada architecture , Canadian National Holocaust Monument , Canadian War Museum , Daniel Libeskind Canada , Daniel Libeskind holocaust memorial , holocaust memorials , Holocaust Museum , memorials architecture , Ottawa architecture , starchitects , triangular architecture

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Daniel Libeskind Design Wins Canadian National Holocaust Monument Competition

Winners Announced for National Mall Design Contest in Washington, DC

May 4, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Winners Announced for National Mall Design Contest in Washington, DC Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Constitution Gardens , davis brody bond , District of Columbia , green design , Gustafson Guthrie Nichol , Landscape Architecture , landscape design , National Mall , national mall design winners , OLIN , OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi , Peter Walker and Partners , rogers marvel architects , Union Square , Washington Monument , Weiss/Manfredi

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Winners Announced for National Mall Design Contest in Washington, DC

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