This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

April 21, 2017 by  
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In 1959, the small village of Caowangba in China ’s Guizhou Province had a problem – a drought had dried up all the nearby water sources, and residents were forced to rely on a single well for drinking water. Even that single well was faltering, sometimes leaving the people of the town without enough water to go around. Worse yet, the town’s single rice paddy had dried up, making it hard for residents to access enough food. Something had to be done. But rather than give up and move to a new home, one man named Huang Dafa decided to lead an ambitious project to dig a 10-kilometer canal along the face of several sheer cliffs to bring water to his home. It took 36 years and at least one failed attempt, but now enough water flows to the city to provide food and drinking water to everyone. Many have compared Dafa to the legendary figure Yu Gong , an old man whose determination caused the gods to literally move mountains from his path. At only 23 years old, Dafa made the project his life’s work. To build the canal, villagers had to carve along the sheer cliffs of three karst mountains , dangerous work that involved climbing up the side of the mountains, tying themselves to trees, and rappelling hundreds of meters down the cliff to dig. Related: Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest Naturally, it took a bit of persuading before anyone else in town was willing to take on this dangerous work. But in the end, the only other option was to do nothing and watch the town continue to struggle. Unfortunately, after a decade of work, the first attempt at a canal was unsuccessful in bringing water to the city. It wasn’t a total waste: the effort did create a tunnel through the mountains that allowed for easy travel through the stone, rather than around, which is still in use today. Dafa realized they needed a better understanding of irrigation to make the project work. So he left to study engineering for several years, and planned his next attempt even more meticulously. In the early 1990s, he persuaded the villagers to try again. The workers often slept in caves along the cliff side, and the remote location made it difficult to reach them in case of emergency – in fact, Dafa was working in the mountains when his daughter and grandson passed away, unable to reach them before they died. Related: Hundreds of beehives hang off a steep cliff in China to save wild honeybees Finally, in 1995, the new channel was finished, and water began to flow to Caowangba. As if the channel weren’t enough, Dafa’s efforts were also responsible for bringing electricity and a new road to the town that same year, allowing the residents to step into the modern era. Now, the community is thriving, and Huang Dafa is celebrated as a local hero at 82 years old. The channel provides running water to three other villages that happen to cross its path as well, providing water to 1,200 people and allowing them to grow 400,000 kilograms of rice every year. Via Oddity Central Images via VGC , China Daily

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This man spent 36 years carving through mountains to bring water to his village

Black mountain cabin lights up like a lantern at night

April 18, 2017 by  
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Architect Tomislav Soldo designed a handsome mountain cabin that owes its existence to a fortuitously placed walnut tree. Set on a sloped site in the Croatian mountains, the 100-square-meter home was designed and built as an afterthought following the completion of a terrace beneath the shade of a walnut tree. Clad in Siberian larch painted black, the modern building features a ventilated facade and large windows that allow it to glow like a lantern at night. Located in Ogulin, the two-story compact cabin echoes the local vernacular with its use of timber and simple pitched roof . Two layers of black wood tar were painted onto the facade to protect the building from the elements and to minimize maintenance. The 30-centimeter-thick walls were constructed from aerated concrete blocks, saving the architects from adding extra thermal insulation and allowing for speedy construction. Thermal efficiency is improved with the installation of a ventilated facade made from Siberian larch cladding. Related: Salvaged wood clads handsome mountain cabin in Vermont In contrast to the dark facade, the interior features white-painted walls, light-toned timber floors, and black accents such as the wood-burning stove and window trim. The use of a light color palette, high ceilings, and large windows that overlook the mountains and forests give the home a spacious feel despite the small footprint. An open-plan kitchen, living, and dining room are located on the ground floor. The bedroom is placed on the mezzanine level and overlooks the living room below. + Tomislav Soldo Via ArchDaily Images by Jure Živkovi?

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Black mountain cabin lights up like a lantern at night

Street artist uses reverse graffiti to transform dirty cars into animal art

April 18, 2017 by  
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Moscow’s filthy cars are getting a brand new look thanks to opportunistic street artist Nikita Golubev . Using reverse graffiti, a method of creating temporary art by removing dirt from a surface, Golubev etches amazing images of animals and other figures onto the sides of dirty vehicles. These unlikely works of art are part of his latest works in his “Dirty Art” series. Cars, vans, and large trucks are all fair game to Golubev, who uses his fingers and paintbrushes to wipe, scrape, and embellish images made on each surface. White vehicles encrusted in layers of dirt and grime offer up the ideal canvases for reverse graffiti , also known as “clean graffiti.” Depending on how much Golubev chooses to scrub away, he can create different shades of gray that give surprising depth and realism to his art. Related: REVERSE GRAFFITI: Street Artists Tag Walls by Scrubbing Them Clean These eye-catching pieces are temporary and will disappear over time or whenever the vehicle is cleaned. The prolific Moscow-based artist, who signs with the name ProBoyNick, drew on his ample art repertoire for the Dirty Art series, from his experience in painting to digital art. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Behance . + Nikita Gobulev Via Colossal Images via Nikita Gobulev

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Street artist uses reverse graffiti to transform dirty cars into animal art

New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal staus as a person

March 16, 2017 by  
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A river in New Zealand now has legal status similar to a human being, marking a historic victory for indigenous people. For over 100 years, the Whanganui Iwi have fought over the rights of the Whanganui River, the country’s longest navigable river . Now the New Zealand Parliament has recently passed the Te Awa Tupua Bill , or Whanganui River Claims Settlement Bill, acknowledging past wrongs and declaring the river “an indivisible and living whole.” The Whanganui River can now be represented through two human representatives, one appointed by the New Zealand government and the other by the Whanganui Iwi. Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told Newshub, “I know some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality, but it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies, or incorporated societies.” A $56 million financial redress payment is also part of the significant legislation. Related: Indonesian president gives forest management back to indigenous communities It’s been a long battle for the Whanganui Iwi. According to the bill, “Since 1873, Whanganui Iwi have sought recognition of their authority over the River, including by pursuing one of New Zealand’s longest-running court cases.” Whanganui Iwi spokesperson Gerrard Albert said the people have challenged the government’s impact on the river’s health since the mid-1850’s, and sought recognition of their rights over the river. In a statement he said, “We have always believed that the Whanganui River is an indivisible and living whole – Te Awa Tupua – which includes all its physical and spiritual elements from the mountains of the central North Island to the sea.” A government website adds, “The tribes of Whanganui take their name, their spirit, and their strength from the great river…The people say, ‘Ko au te awa. Ko te awa ko au’ (I am the river. The river is me).” Over 200 Whanganui Iwi descendants were present in Parliament as the bill passed, and sang songs after the third and final bill reading. Via EcoWatch Images via Alex Indigo on Flickr and eyeintim on Flickr

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New Zealand river world’s first to obtain legal staus as a person

Record winter storm pounds California

January 24, 2017 by  
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California is battling one of the strongest winter storms the state has seen in years, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in 50 counties. After a brutal five-year drought , the state needs rain but the severe weather has also led to mudslides, flooding, and evacuations. Southern California in particular has been hit with a deluge of rain , breaking records in some areas. Los Angeles County coastal areas received most of the brunt of the storm. Long Beach Airport actually saw a new rainfall record of 3.87 inches. National Weather Service meteorologist Brett Albright said some parts of southern California received up to four inches. He told the Los Angeles Times, “Today was very intense. It’s not a normal event…It’s not often we see higher rainfall totals on the coast than in the mountains.” Related: California storms could herald the end of punishing historical drought The storms continue the trend of more rain than usual in California. Since October 1, 2016, downtown Los Angeles has received over 13 inches of rain, which is 216 percent more than normal for this time period, or around 6.26 inches according to the National Weather Service. Swaths of southern California experienced extreme events connected to the storm. Rockslides in Malibu closed roads. In Isla Vista, close to Santa Barbara, a patio and a cliff crashed into the ocean. Residents were told to evacuate in Duarte, Glendora, and parts of Santa Barbara County and Orange County, where 2016 wildfires left behind burned areas that are more susceptible to mudslides. One death in Pomona has been likely connected to the storm; a driver lost control of their car and crashed while driving in heavy rain in the afternoon. Rainfall is supposed to continue into this week, and some areas could see four to six inches of rain during the next couple of days. The state of emergency will help secure state and federal funds to help those struggling with what Gov. Brown called “conditions of extreme peril.” Via the Los Angeles Times Images via Flickinpicks on Flickr and nosha on Flickr

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Mexican designers envision Trumps border wall in "all of its gorgeous perversity"

October 31, 2016 by  
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“Based on Trump’s statements, the economic, ecological and financial aspects have been called into question,” Estudio 3.14 explained in an article by Designboom . “However, he continues with his verbal plan. As architects and designers, we have the capacity to imagine and interpret what trump is saying, and we are convinced that if we can make people see it, they can assess his words and the perversity in his proposal.” In the images, the wall is rendered in hot pink – a reference to Mexican architect Luis Barragán, and a tongue-in-cheek jab at Trump’s insistence that the wall will be “beautiful.” The wall crosses through bodies of water, mountains , and buildings, showing just how insane such a structure would really be. Related: Someone built a tiny wall around Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star Much of the border runs through public lands held by national parks , so the wall as depicted could have a devastating impact on the environment. The seasonal ebb and flow of the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers would also be a challenge to plan around. The studio hopes that by making these logistical barriers more obvious, more people will begin to truly understand the issues with Trump’s campaign promise. + Estudio 3.14 Via Design Indaba

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Mexican designers envision Trumps border wall in "all of its gorgeous perversity"

World’s longest, deepest rail tunnel opens after almost 20 years of construction

June 1, 2016 by  
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After nearly two decades of construction, the world’s longest tunnel is now ready to carry cargo and passengers on a route that cuts right through the Swiss Alps. The 35-mile high-speed Gotthard base tunnel snatched the title of world’s longest and deepest tunnel upon its opening, and now connects northern and southern Europe. Swiss officials celebrate the high-speed rail as a major advancement for European transportation. The new tunnel in Switzerland is actually two tunnels, each with a single line of tracks for high-speed trains, running side by side for the length of the route. Prior to today’s opening, the longest tunnel in the world was the 33.5-mile Seikan rail tunnel in Japan. The Gotthard base tunnel, at 35 miles long, edged out Seikan to take the top slot, and also wins the designation of being the deepest rail tunnel on Earth. At its deepest point, the rail line runs nearly 1.5 miles under the mountains. Related: Chinese-funded $13.8B railway to slice through Nairobi National Park Just a year ago, the tunnel’s route was traveled by a million heavy cargo trucks, hauling goods across the continent. That inventory will now be transported by rail, hopefully saving time and energy costs. Although the new record-holding tunnel officially opens today, commercial rail schedules won’t begin until December. Rail officials celebrated the $10 billion tunnel’s completion with an inaugural run by two trains , one on each track, heading opposite directions. Aboard the trains were government and rail authorities, as well as members of the public who won tickets in a contest. Nine tunnel miners killed during the long construction period were also memorialized during the opening ceremony. Via BBC Images via Niedax

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World’s longest, deepest rail tunnel opens after almost 20 years of construction

Crushed bricks recycled for a cave-like concert hall in Poland

June 1, 2016 by  
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© Jakub Certowicz Located between Torún’s old town, a UNESCO-protected site, and the new development area of the city, the concert hall employs in a very special way two conventional materials: red bricks and white concrete. Each personify a specific historical age and corresponding architectural aesthetics. More precisely, classic red bricks recall the old town streetscape and ancient buildings’ façades. White concrete, on the other hand, represents contemporary architecture. The two materials symbolically fuse old and the new. © Jakub Certowicz Architect Fernando Menis calls this technique cof mixing concrete with other materials “picado” and often employs it in his works. It has been certified by the Spanish and the Polish Building Research Institute. Besides its powerful visual effect, this technique provides excellent acoustic results, which is particularly useful for the CKK Jordanki project. Plus it gives a second life to trashed bricks. Related: Menis Architects’ Agora Garden is a rock-like residential tower wrapped in vegetation © Ma?ogorzata Repli?ska. Courtesy CKK Jordani and Fernando Menis The shape of the building emphasizes the interplay and dichotomy between modern and historic design. While the exterior of the Jordanki Hall features cold, rigid and almost anonymous geometry, its interior is a surprisingly fluid and dynamic cave-like space. Inside, Jordanki is smoothly-shaped and molded to provide necessary space for the program functions. To understand better the nature of the concert hall’s interior space, think of Zurek, a traditional Polish soup served directly in a scooped-out loaf of bread. © Ma?ogorzata Repli?ska. Courtesy CKK Jordani and Fernando Menis The Jordanki Concert Hall is a flexible building that can be easily transformed from a classic opera configuration into a theater, a symphony orchestra, a central scene performance space or even a banquet hall. The hall can also be adapted to a different capacity, shrinking or expanding it like a sponge. + Fernando Menis + Polish architecture Images © Jakub Certowicz, Ma?ogorzata Repli?ska. Courtesy CKK Jordani and Fernando Menis

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Andrea Claire’s sculptural chandeliers transition from fine art to green lighting at the flip of a switch

June 1, 2016 by  
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Andrea Claire ‘s unique hand-crafted lighting fixtures are lovely to behold during the day, but are even more magical when switched on at night. Thoughtfully made in Claire’s Brooklyn studio, the collection of unique pendant lamps and chandeliers appear as cutting edge (and totally opaque) hanging sculptures when they’re not turned on. But when illuminated at night, their vibrant textures and colors become visible thanks to the glow of the LED bulbs within. Trained as an architect and artist, Claire began designing sustainable light fixtures after gaining experience working for Frank Gehry, Liz Larner and Vito Acconci. With her fine art experience, she developed a line of interchangeable products that could transition from fine art objects to functional objects at the flip of a switch. Related: Graypants’ Mobius Lamp mimics flocks of starlings with sparkling cubes strung from fiber optic cables Combining the fine art aesthetics of Cubism with durable, long-lasting materials, Claire’s light fixtures, wall pieces and chandeliers double as sculpture and hanging mobiles. The geometric pieces are made from sustainable wood, quality porcelain and fine metals, hand painted in either wood or color finishes that change when illuminated. Each piece is also completely customizable to suit any interior. Claire’s beautiful fixtures challenge the role of lighting in our homes, forcing us to reconsider a need beyond illumination. + Andrea Claire

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Andrea Claire’s sculptural chandeliers transition from fine art to green lighting at the flip of a switch

Geothermal-powered Wildcat Ridge Residence boasts breathtaking views of Aspen, Colorado

April 16, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Geothermal-powered Wildcat Ridge Residence boasts breathtaking views of Aspen, Colorado Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Aspen , black walnut , colorado , floor to ceiling glass , geothermal energy , geothermal well , moss rock wall , mountain ridge , mountains , panoramic views , Rocky Mountains , sandstone , Voorsanger Architects , Wildcat Ridge Residence

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