A former ski lift station takes on new life as a bold mountain lodge

July 12, 2018 by  
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A small mountain lodge has replaced an old ski lift station on the Krkonoše mountains in the Czech Republic. Czech studio ADR designed the ?erná Voda, named after a nearby stream, to serve as a place of respite for short-term guests of a nearby lodge’s owner. The isolated retreat stands in a meadow apart from the Horní Malá Úpa village, among tall trees and lush shrubbery that shroud the cabin in serenity. Stepping inside the ?erná Voda, guests will find a bright, minimalist design. Light timber, which covers the walls, floors and ceilings, creates an open, airy feel. The kitchen space offers a sharp contrast with blackened wood cabinetry. The simple interior draws focus to the large windows and their picturesque views of the mountains , including Sn?žka, the highest mountain peak in the country. One window opens to the outdoors and allows a breath of fresh air into the cabin. Upstairs, a sleeping loft outfitted with protective netting offers a quiet space for visitors to rest. As natural light filters into the ground floor at daybreak, the loft benefits from the pitched ceiling and retains some darkness for guests who prefer to sleep in. During cooler months, a small wood-burning stove keeps the cabin toasty and inviting after a long day of exploring the outdoors. The mountain lodge blends into its forested surroundings in the summer with its dark metal and blackened wood cladding. When the landscape becomes blanketed in snow, the gabled cabin stands out boldly in its environment. On the west end of the home, a deck extends the living areas to the outdoors. The ?erná Voda mountain lodge has been nominated for a 2018 Czech Architecture Award , which promotes projects that embrace the public and the environment by both new and seasoned architects. + ADR Images via Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma / BoysPlayNice

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Scientists uncover giant canyons under the ice in Antarctica

May 29, 2018 by  
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Researchers have discovered three large canyons frozen beneath the ice of Antarctica , each of which is hundreds of kilometers in length. The canyons, which move through tall mountains that lie beneath the snowy surface of the southernmost continent, were discovered through radar and may serve a key function in Antarctic ice flow. “These troughs channelize ice from the center of the continent, taking it toward the coast,” study co-author Kate Winter told the BBC . “Therefore, if climate conditions change in Antarctica, we might expect the ice in these troughs to flow a lot faster toward the sea. That makes them really important, and we simply didn’t know they existed before now.” The three canyons are the Patuxent Trough, the Offset Rift Basin and the Foundation Trough, the largest of the three, which is more than 350 kilometers long and 35 kilometers wide. The bottom of the Foundation Trough is buried beneath two kilometers of ice. All three canyons are located beneath and across the high ice ridge known as the ice divide that runs from the South Pole toward West Australia. This divide is similar to other continental divides, such as those found in North America , in which water, or ice, flows toward different bodies of water based on which side of the divide it falls. Related: Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years These newly-discovered canyons have altered scientists’ understanding of Antarctica’s future in a warming climate . “People had called this area a bottleneck,” study co-author Tom Jordan said . “The thought was that if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to collapse, then ice could flood out from the east. But the mountains we’ve found effectively put a plug in that bottleneck.” The data, much of which was unobtainable through satellite imagery, was gathered using radar and sensors attached to planes that surveyed the continent from above. “Remarkably, the South Pole region is one of the least understood frontiers in the whole of Antarctica,” researcher Fausto Ferraccioli said. “Our new aerogeophysical data will … enable new research into the geological processes that created the mountains and basins before the Antarctic ice sheet itself was born.” + PolarGAP Project Via BBC Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs

May 19, 2018 by  
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Inspired by 20th-century architect R. Buckminster Fuller , architect Pavlina Williams transformed a decrepit dome house in Palm Springs into a dreamy retreat that channels bohemian and mid-century modern vibes. Now available as a vacation rental on Boutique Homes , the Geodesic Dome House offers stunning desert views on a private five-acre lot. Keep reading for a peek inside. Pavlina  and her husband Carter worked on their passion project on weekends and completed the renovation in a year. The key to the redesign was opening up the interior to natural light; Pavlina ordered custom windows from Home Depot to create a band of glazing for panoramic views . For a more modern appearance, Pavlina and Carter ripped up the existing flooring to expose the structural slab, which they then polished. Related: Couple spent seven years handcrafting their dream geodesic home In contrast to its bohemian exterior, the interior is bright and airy with a mid-century modern aesthetic in homage to the movement’s impact on Palm Springs . When asked by Boutique Homes about her favorite part of the home, Pavlina replied, “The location and the views. It’s five acres — and you hardly see the neighbors. You’re in the middle of nowhere. I mean that in a good way. You have the windmills all around you, so it feels like this is the end of the road, like you are here on your own. I love the desert, I love the mountains. In my mind, it’s really all about what’s around it.” The three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home accommodates up to six guests with rates starting at $245 a night . + Geodesic Dome House Images via Boutique Homes

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Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs

Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills

May 18, 2018 by  
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The Catskills area will soon welcome the Eastwind Hotel , a 1920s bunk house that has been converted into a gorgeous boutique hotel and accompanying tiny cabins. The space is geared toward outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy the lush Windham Mountain area. For those really looking to get back to nature, the hotel offers a series of tiny A-frame huts that provide guests with a solitary off-grid experience. The 14-by-14-foot Lushna Cabins are tucked into the landscape overlooking Windham Mountain — just a two hour drive north from New York City. With a simple aesthetic, the cabins are designed to return guests to nature. The huts are insulated to withstand the seasons, and each structure has a single window that offers  natural light and incredible views of the surroundings. Related: Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700 The wooden cabins are equipped with a simple queen-sized bed with top-of-the-line linens, a wooden chest and plenty of wildlife journals to take while exploring the area. Visitors can also make use of the provided camping kits, complete with grilling equipment to use in the fire pits. The hotel’s goal is to meet the needs of all types of guests. For those who’d like a little bit more luxury, there are boutique suites that offer the best in amenities. Visitors will also be able to choose from various events and activities including outdoor movie screenings in summer, game nights in winter, concerts, classes and outdoor excursions. Eastwind Hotel & Bar is slated to open for business this June. + Eastwind Hotel & Bar Via Dwell Images via Eastwind Hotel & Bar

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Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills

BIG designs a high-end tiny house that goes off-grid

May 18, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed images for the firm’s first-ever tiny house—the A45—designed for the prefab-housing startup Klein . Inspired by the traditional A-frame cabin, the A45 takes on an angular form conducive to rain run-off and easy construction. The 180-square-foot timber cabin boasts a completely customizable interior design and can be built within four to six months in any location. Constructed in Upstate New York, the prototype for the A45 tiny house is clad in blackened pine with a triangular glazed end wall to immerse homeowners in nature even when they’re indoors. The triangular floor-to-ceiling window—made up of seven glass pieces—and the soaring 13-foot-tall ceiling help create a sense of spaciousness despite the structure’s small 180-square-foot size. The cabin is slightly elevated on four concrete piers in order to minimize site impact and to give homeowners the freedom to place the tiny home in areas without heavy machinery. “The resulting crystal-like shape gives A45 an ever-changing appearance,” said BIG in a statement about their modification of the traditional A-frame cabin. “Upon entering, the 180 [square-foot] interior space reflects a minimal Nordic abode prioritized for ‘hyggelig’ comfort and design.” The subtle natural material palette, from the exposed timber frame built of solid pine to the Douglas Fir floor planks and the space-grade insulating natural cork walls, further emphasizes the Scandinavian aesthetic. Cedar clads the compact bathroom, and the fixtures were sourced from VOLA. Related: This tiny timber cabin was built from construction waste for under $30K The A45 tiny house comprises 100% recyclable materials including the timber frame, wall modules, and subfloor. The home get all of its power from  solar panels, and the service equipment is hidden from view in the back. The cozy interior is furnished with a Morsøe wood-burning stove and handcrafted Nordic furniture including pieces by Carl Hansen and a bed fitted with Soren Rose Studio’s Kvadrat fabrics. Københavns Møbelsnedkeri designed the petite kitchen. + Bjarke Ingels Group + Klein Via AD Images via BIG

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Even NASA isn’t quite sure how to explain these holes in the Arctic Sea’s ice

April 23, 2018 by  
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Can you identify the holes in the sea ice pictured above? If so, let NASA know. They recently posted the image, snapped over the Beaufort Sea, as the April 2018 Puzzler on their “Earth Matters” blog. They aren’t quite sure what caused them, although they ventured a few ideas, including heat, thin ice, and even rogue seals. NASA Operation IceBridge mission scientist John Sonntag captured the baffling image from a P-3 research plane soaring over the eastern Beaufort Sea. Sonntag had never seen holes like this before; writing from the field, he said, “We saw these sorta-circular features only for a few minutes today. I don’t recall seeing this sort of thing elsewhere.” Related: The first salty lakes discovered in the Arctic could hold the key to finding alien life Before the agency revealed that the photo was from the Arctic , Internet users offered plenty of guesses as to its location – from fires in Oklahoma to the surface of Mars. User Scott Stensland came close when he guessed the circles were open water holes in ice created by ocean mammals, such as seals . Indeed, that’s similar to one answer NASA has come up with: the holes bear a resemblance to photographs of breathing holes harp seals and ring seals have created. National Snow and Ice Data Center scientist Walt Meier told NASA, “The encircling features may be due to waves of water washing out over the snow and ice when the seals surface. Or it could be a sort of drainage feature that results from when the hole is made in the ice.” Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory sea ice scientist Chris Polashenski told NASA he’d glimpsed features like these holes in the past. Seals could offer one answer; another is convection. University of Maryland at Baltimore County glaciologist Chris Shuman, who’s based at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told NASA, “This is in pretty shallow water generally, so there is every chance this is just ‘warm springs’ or seeps of ground water flowing from the mountains inland that make their presence known in this particular area. The other possibility is that warmer water from Beaufort currents or out of the Mackenzie River is finding its way to the surface due to interacting with the bathymetry , just the way some polynyas form.” + NASA Earth Observatory + Curious Circles in Arctic Sea Ice Images via John Sonntag/Operation IceBridge/NASA and NASA/Joe MacGregor

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Even NASA isn’t quite sure how to explain these holes in the Arctic Sea’s ice

California’s desert battery could be three times the size of Tesla’s

April 12, 2018 by  
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Tesla’s 100-megawatt (MW) South Australia battery will no longer be the world’s largest if a new solar project goes through. According to  USA Today ,  Recurrent Energy has requested permission from the federal government for the Crimson Solar Project, a 350-MW solar plant with as much as 350 MW of battery storage in the California desert east of Palm Springs. Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar , aims to build a battery storage project and associated solar plant on 2,500 acres of public land near California’s Mule Mountains, south of Interstate 10. Solar power has rapidly expanded in  California , creating a need for more battery storage. Recurrent Energy’s plans for such a massive battery are encouraging for the clean power industry; GTM Research energy storage analyst Daniel Finn-Foley told USA Today, “If they actually installed 350 MW, that would be a bombshell.” Related: Tesla’s massive Australia battery rakes in estimated $1 million AUD in a few days But it’s not a done deal at this point. The federal permitting process could take years, and Recurrent lacks a buyer for the solar plant’s electricity . Large utilities like Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas & Electric could be possible customers. Recurrent Energy’s director of permitting Scott Dawson told USA Today, “If someone wants it, we’ll build it.” There are environmental concerns at the location, although Dawson said the company has redesigned the Crimson Solar Project to avoid the most sensitive habitats. The plant would disrupt 30 sand dune habitat acres where the Mojave fringe-toed lizard resides; a prior plan disrupted 580 acres. A previous plan also saw the plant disrupting 95 acres of biodiversity-rich microphyll woodlands, but that number is now at 1.2 acres. The solar project would not encroach on critical habitat for the desert tortoise. + Recurrent Energy Via USA Today Images via Recurrent Energy

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This turtle with a green mohawk is one of the most endangered reptiles in the world

April 12, 2018 by  
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It’s not every day you see a turtle with a mohawk – even if that mohawk is made up of algae and not hair. The Mary River turtle is eye-catching for this stylish feature, and it is also known as a butt-breather, or a reptile that can breathe through its genitals. But this unique animal is now ranked 29 out of 100 on the Zoological Society of London ‘s EDGE of Existence Program , a list of vulnerable reptiles . According to an article from herpetologist Rikki Gumbs, the Mary River turtle can breathe through organs in its cloaca — an ability that allows the turtle to remain underwater for as long as 72 hours. Gumbs is also a lead author on a recently published PLOS One study that, according to The Guardian , highlights that reptiles such as the Mary River turtle are in trouble. According to Gumbs, “Intense historical collection for the pet trade, combined with habitat disturbance in its tiny range, mean this species is threatened with extinction .” We launched our #EDGEreptiles list yesterday, and the #punkturtle Elusor macrurus has stolen the show with its algae mohawk and unique ability to breathe through its genitals! Read more about the Mary river turtle here: https://t.co/CLfd355DQT pic.twitter.com/TYhZPyWveT — EDGE of Existence (@EDGEofExistence) April 12, 2018 Related: Turtle hatchlings spotted on Mumbai beach for the first time in nearly 20 years The freshwater turtle lives in Queensland , Australia in — as you might have guessed — the Mary River.  EDGE  explained yet another reason why the turtle is so distinct: “The only species in its genus, the Mary River turtle diverged from all other living species around 40 million years ago. In comparison, we split from our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, less than 10 million years ago.” The International Union for Conservation of Nature  also lists the Mary River turtle as endangered on its Red List. EDGE said it takes a long time for the reptiles to reach sexual maturity; they don’t breed before age 25. Dam construction is one key factor in their decline. The organization said conservation programs are now in place to protect the species. Other striking turtles that made the top 10 list include the Cantor’s giant softshell, which is among the largest freshwater turtles in the world; the pig-nosed turtle, whose nose says it all; and the Roti Island snake-necked turtle, “one of the 15 most endangered turtles worldwide.” + Top 100 EDGE Reptiles + Top 10 Most Amazing EDGE Reptiles + Mary River turtle + PLOS One Via The Guardian Image courtesy of Chris Van Wyk/Zoological Society of London

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The ‘Dutch Mountains’ will be the world’s largest wooden building

March 16, 2018 by  
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The Netherlands is famously flat—but a massive green mountain is rising up in the Dutch city of Veldhoven. The Dutch Mountains project will be the world’s largest wooden building, combining natural materials with high-tech design to create a state-of-the-art, self-sustaining development. The ambitious project will include several offices and work spaces, as well as various conference centers. It will also feature a hotel located on site and short-stay facilities for out-of-town visitors. The main building will be constructed of solid wood and, once completed, will be the largest wooden building in the world. Related: Eindhoven unveils plans for a solar-powered city block with living roofs and urban farms The Dutch Mountains master plan envisions an entirely self-sufficient complex, with closed cycles for energy, water, waste and materials. The architects chose timber as the principal building material in order to create system that reduces CO2 emissions. Additionally, they plan to integrate the building’s facade with a smart technology that reduces energy usage. The project envisions a future where the building can be updated with greener materials that help improve the building’s sustainability. For example, the building’s temperature-regulating facade will be one of the most innovative on the market, but if a smarter facade is created in the future that produces more energy, it can easily replace the old version, which will be recycled or repurposed. Built with optimal flexibility in mind, the structure’s individual spaces will be adaptable to future uses. For example, if more office space is needed, the conference spaces can be converted, or vice versa. The complex will not only use sustainable building materials, but also provide an abundance of green space to create a vibrant, healthy atmosphere. From green roofs and a large park to an artificial marshland, the complex will be virtually covered in vegetation. + Dutch Mountains project + Studio Marco Vermeulen Images via Studio Marco Vermeulen

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This historic Italian town is selling homes for 1 Euro

January 30, 2018 by  
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If your idea of the good life is making your home in a stone-built cottage in a historic Italian town, stop dreaming. For just one Euro ($1.24), you can make it happen. That’s because the city of Ollolai in Sardinia is selling homes to buyers who are willing to invest a little blood, sweat and tears into restoring their aging stone homes. ? in love with #barbagia #autumn #autunnoinbarbagia #sardinia #ollolai #sardegna #photography #sardinialovers #explore #igers #igersardegna #supagufrittu A post shared by ?? Sardegna ?? (@antonellapala9) on Dec 1, 2017 at 9:05am PST The beautiful town of Ollolai rests in the mountains of Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean. The city has over 200 stone dwellings that are falling into disrepair, and a population that is rapidly dwindling. To reverse the problem, the city is selling off homes for one Euro, provided that the buyer commits to restoring the home over three years. Related: Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free C'era una volta…………#cortesapertasollolai #pastafattaincasa #sardinia #sardegnaofficial #sapori #sosbattormorossardegna #lovesardegna #lanuovasardegna #focusardegna #bestsardegnapics #like4like #specialesardegna #instafamenow #illife_sardegna #thailand_allshots #wonderful #volgosardegna #borghipiubelliditalia #sardegna_reporter #hashtag #ollolai #autunnoinbarbagia2017 #illife_sardegna#autunnoinbarbagia #borghisardi #the_hub_sardegna#nikond3400 #nikonitalia #photography A post shared by Ely (@elysjourneys) on Nov 30, 2017 at 11:21pm PST “We boast prehistoric origins,” said Efisio Arbau, mayor of Ollolai. “My crusade is to rescue our unique traditions from falling into oblivion. Like many small towns, Ollolai has seen its younger population move to larger cities and a falling birth rate. Last year, the mayor asked former homeowners to donate their crumbling dwellings and put them on the market. So far, three have sold, with over 100 offers coming in from around the world. Sound like your cup of cappuccino? Head over to Ollolai comune to check out the available homes and start picturing yourself eating the local cheese under the Italian sun. Via CNN Images via Wikimedia and Ollolai comune

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