Cranbrook School teaches environmental stewardship

July 27, 2021 by  
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Education comes in all forms — books, videos, audio recordings and interactive, hands-on, learning like that taking place at Cranbrook School in the Wolgan Valley, located about three hours north of Sydney, Australia. Students on this campus share experiences uncommon to mainstream education, mainly in the way they are relied upon to actively participate in the buildings’ and site’s upkeep. The idea is to educate students about a host of life skills such as gardening, homemaking, fire-building and even constructing in a hands-on ‘rituals of stewardship’ approach. The campus is the result of a competition that asked designers to develop an architectural design for a new school in a rural area in the Greater Blue Mountains National Park. Andrew Burns Architecture submitted the winning project with an emphasis on the student experience. With the understanding there is no better teacher than experience, students are taught resilience through work. Along with the physical aspects of collecting wood and maintaining a fire in order to heat water for the heater, students learn about providing for others. Similarly, while they nurture the stewardship garden, they give back to the environmental remediation of the land. Related: The River School places classrooms around a central courtyard The campus merges into the natural bluff with a crescent shape for the buildings’ footprint, while still providing the utilitarian aspects of a school. This design also creates efficient access for services across the buildings. In a press release, the architects explained, “The buildings are anchored to the Crescent by a series of chimneys, recalling the remnant chimneys from the neighbouring historic town of Newnes. The buildings rise up from the Crescent to take in the dramatic form of the escarpment, illuminated by easterly morning light.” To further honor the connection with nature, the materials palette came mostly from natural sources such as wood and metal in an effort to make “the buildings…both shelter and pedagogical tools — devices to heighten the experience of landscape and environmental systems.” + Andrew Burns Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Brett Boardman via Andrew Burns Architecture

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Cranbrook School teaches environmental stewardship

Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration

July 21, 2021 by  
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The best architecture tells a story. It honors tradition and culture. It speaks to history. Although it doesn’t require onlookers to understand the heritage behind the design, it does require the architect to have a deep understanding of the traditional elements that define the style. Such is the case with Cloudy Courtyard, a residence and hotel in Shiguan Xiang, Anqing Yuexi, Anhui. Architectural firm One Take Architects recently completed the project, which began with an idea and developed through the study and replication of “traditional houses in west Anhui.” The result is a series of spaces that are intertwined and connected by courtyards . Inside and out, these spaces connect to nature, not only with the use of varying colors and textures but with focused and generalized views of the surrounding area. Cloudy Courtyard is located at the meeting point between Anhui, Jiangxi and Hubei at the end of a rural road in a town called Yuexi, a place well-acclaimed for its architectural richness. Related: Solar Trees Marketplace honors nature, technology and Chinese culture “Yuexi has been on the main road of Hakka immigrants since ancient times. In the early Ming Dynasty, a large number of immigrants from the Poyang Lake Basin in northern Jiangxi moved from Waxieba to Anqing Mansion and elsewhere. And immigration factors made Anqing a subculture area of Jiangxi culture,” the architects explained of the significance and design influence of the location. The rural setting has a backdrop of mountains that further inspired the free-flowing but organized design elements, with an emphasis of framing the vast, countryside and mountainous views from inside the house and in the tranquil inner courtyard. The property sits at a high elevation, contributing to the use of natural ventilation as a result of carefully planned patios and shade-providing plants . The blueprint of the project consists of multiple residences with continuous patios and courtyards. The stepped gable roofline borrows elements from the Ma Tau Wall in Huizhou architecture. Using natural materials from the land around them, the owner and designers sourced pebbles from the mountain stream for use at the base of the wall. They also contracted the cutting down of bamboo from the mountain forest nearby to build the fence. Throughout the project, the architects relied on stone, sand, steel, cement and gravel to replicate the contrasting drama and peace of nature with the goal to make “the architecture symbiotic with the land instead of just building on the land.” + One Take Architects Photography by Wang Shilu (Ranshi Studio) and Nan Xueqian via One Take Architects

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Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration

This backyard cottage in Seattle is only 800 square feet

July 16, 2021 by  
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Everyone has their idea for the perfect home. For this couple, it’s a comfortable crash pad with natural eleme nts that provides them a simple yet functional space for downtime in between outdoor adventures. Located in the Central Area neighborhood in Seattle , Washington, this 800-square-foot home is a backyard cottage with a lot to offer. Not only does it feature enviable sleek lines and built-in storage, but the entire design intermingles indoors with outdoors to match the clients’ active lifestyle. Designed by Seattle-based firm Fivedot in collaboration with contractor Hanson Construction and Equlibria Engineering, this urban oasis is L-shaped to take advantage of a central courtyard, which is accessible from both the main living area and the bedroom. Related: Orchard House honors the past while building a brighter future The home is a single-story to accommodate needs as the couple ages, but also so they can enjoy high ceilings. Exposed wood beams draw the eye to the ceiling and provide a spacious feel for the small place.Expansive windows and a wall-to-wall retractable door flood the interior with natural light. The door opens to the courtyard , blurring the line between inside and out. Once outside, the courtyard features a sitting area, fire pit, a separate dining area and plenty of room for guests or additional seating. The garage provides additional storage for outdoor gear and a workshop space. On the exterior wall, designers included a mini climbing wall, which also serves as roof access, as a nod to the couple’s passion for the sport. Entering from the alley, a landscaped courtyard welcomes guests with plants and a wooden walkway. The front door, otherwise completely hidden against the dark Yakisugi (burnt Japanese cypress) siding, entices with a colorful welcome mat and striking accent colors around the frame. For the nature-loving couple, the space features natural materials such as Oregon white oak casework and milestone walls for the shower. The project reflects the values of a simple life and provides the added benefit of low maintenance requirements. + Fivedot Photography by Mark Woods

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This backyard cottage in Seattle is only 800 square feet

Moon wobble could lead to massive flooding

July 16, 2021 by  
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Considering retiring on the coast one day? Better rethink your plans. A new NASA study explains that a cute-sounding phenomenon called a “ moon wobble” could lead to devastating coastal floods in the next decade. “In the mid-2030s, every U.S. coast will experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by climate change ,” the report warned. Related: Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100 But don’t expect to look up and catch a glimpse of a jumpy moon. The wobble refers to an 18.6-year cycle that sharp-eyed astronomers first noted in 1728. During the cycle, the moon wobbles a little in one direction, then the other. One way means lower tides, the other, higher. As you can imagine, higher tides coupled with rising seas will mean some very wet and ruined  coastal  cities that could put humans at risk. “We’re going to have sort of a double-whammy,” William Sweet,  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA) oceanographer and one of the study’s authors, told The Washington Post. “It means that coastal communities — unless they adapt and fortify — are likely to expect even greater flooding than they might otherwise.” In 2019 alone, NOAA tracked 600  floods  caused by high tides on the Gulf and East Coasts. Once the moon wobbles, this number could shoot up. NASA said some clusters of floods could last over a month. Not only could we have flooding, but also public health disasters like stinking cesspools. The moon is now amping up for the flood-prone half of its cycle. And if the human race survives for another 18.6-year cycle, the next one will be worse, thanks to rising  oceans . In the 2030s, Hawaii and Guam will be in trouble, along with just about every piece of U.S. coastline, except perhaps Alaska. For the study,  researchers  examined 89 coastal locations in U.S. states and territories. They studied astronomical cycles and predicted the likelihood of how the moon will affect tides and flooding up to the year 2080. NASA’s  Sea Level Portal  helps citizens better understand what might be in store. Via HuffPost , AlJazeera Lead image via Pixabay

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Moon wobble could lead to massive flooding

These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant

July 16, 2021 by  
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What began as a mission to provide a stable housing option in Papua New Guinea turned into a business model that now sees plug-and-live housing being shipped everywhere in the world. The founders of what became Nestron were met with many obstacles in completing that initial commitment following their visit to Papua New Guinea in 2013. Learning from the process, they launched the Nestron company in 2017. Four years later, they are setting a standard for tiny houses of the future. Nestron’s tiny homes have been called futuristic with their otherworldly look contoured out of a steel frame. Thee company currently offers four models of tiny homes , each of which is 100% prefabricated and equipped with smart features and green technology. The designers found it was most efficient to prefabricate the homes to avoid issues with contractors and supplies on the receiving end. While the pipeline production maximizes accuracy in manufacturing, it also minimizes material waste. Related: Tiny Topanga builds steel-framed tiny homes with artisan touches The houses are customizable with a variety of color and style options. Customers can even select their favorite furniture, because each tiny house arrives fully furnished and ready to live in. Once on location, the tiny house leaves a minimal site impact thanks to its ability to sit directly on flat land without a foundation. The compact designs require little installation with the exception of plugging into electrical and plumbing systems. As part of the customization process, customers can add on green features such as solar panels and a composting toilet. “We take our efforts in caring for the environment seriously because we believe that everything starts at home, hence we equip our houses to make a living in them clearly environmentally friendly and enable people to live a sustainable lifestyle without additional effort,” Nestron said.  Along with the home’s steel frame, 90% of the materials used in the construction process are recyclable and produce very low emissions . The exterior coating and interior insulation offer a high level of soundproofing, but the houses are also rated to endure level-7 earthquakes and level-10 typhoons. The exterior wall material is fire-resistant for two hours or more, and the interior walls are fire-resistant for at least one hour. In addition to the 14.5-square-meter Cube One, and 26-square-meter Cube Two, the company offers more traditional models with the Legend One and Legend Two. All models come with a 50-year material and construction guarantee. The company ships anywhere in the world. + Nestron Images via Nestron

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These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant

La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

July 16, 2021 by  
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The story of la Poste du Louvre is both historic and modern. Originally built as a post office (la Poste) on du Louvre street in a central area of Paris , France, the building is now undergoing a transformation into a multipurpose space that has earned several environmental certifications.  It’s an example of honoring a classic building, constructed from 1888 to 1898 following the design by Julien Guadet. La Poste du Louvre has long served as a post office in a changing industry that has resulted in endless renovations over the century-and-a-half of its history. Updates took place during the 1960s through the 1980s, with intensive reconstruction following a fire in 1975. But the building, under the ownership of la Poste du Louvre’s real estate subsidiary Poste Immo, is receiving a comprehensive and modern conversion guided by architect Dominique Perrault, whose vision includes a hotel, restaurant , shops, offices and social housing. Plus, the post office remains intact. Related: Ranch Dressing house sets example for modernization with minimal impact Perrault placed a special focus on going beyond the outlined criteria required to earn certifications related to sustainable architecture. As a result, the building achieves triple certification from NF HQE Rénovation (Excellent level), LEED Core & Shell Gold and BREEAM (Very Good level).  While working to keep the framework of the original building, secondary structures were built inside for additional support. In this way, the new design kept the building’s original stone and metal as well as original decorative elements like painted ceilings and heritage clocks. Even in keeping with the existing architecture, the space received extensive upgrades in regards to thermal insulation. Updates to air treatment systems and controllable facades keep interior temperatures at a comfortable level with high energy-efficiency . Long-term living spaces feature strategically placed windows to maximize views and natural lighting. Furthermore, the roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement energy usage. The roof doubles as a garden with a selection of plants. The building is equipped to recover rainwater , which will be reused for cleaning and watering the plants. Even the basement is upgraded, with the bottom two levels of the building equipped for parking, including charging ports for electric or hybrid vehicles. La Poste du Louvre is expected to open to the public in 2022. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Photography by Michel Denance via Dominique Perrault Architecture

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Verdi creates home dcor from natural fibers and metal

July 1, 2021 by  
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Interior design is a culmination of many things, not the least of which is culture. Mix in the desire for sustainable, fair-trade textiles and other decorations that are made from non-toxic materials and you’ll find a Colombian company called Verdi, rich in history yet innovative in design. Verdi began in 1995 when Carlos Vera Dieppa began exploring techniques to make unique rugs and later developed his own looms. Following his death, his son and daughter took the torch and launched Verdi in his name (VERa DIeppa). The company now specializes in fique and metal rugs, organic silk cushions, plantain-fiber and copper-thread curtains, textiles, tableware and silver-plated handbags among other handwoven items. Related: Cariloha luxury textiles use organic, sustainable bamboo The newest release is called AES, which is Latin for rough bronze, and once again highlights the company’s passion for interweaving natural fibers with lineal metal. This rug collection is made up of ethically sourced alpaca fleece, plantain fibers and solid bronze plates. The resulting designs are not only original and handmade but also represent sustainable manufacturing. To avoid toxic dyes that pose a danger to workers and the environment, Verdi developed its own eco-friendly options. The company is dedicated to harvesting fibers in a sustainable way by only removing external leaves of the plants during the collection of fique fiber. Fiber and textile waste are looped back into the system as part of new pieces, as samples or as decorations in the office. Verdi also eliminates pattern waste by reusing acrylic patterns. The company is built on three pillars of home, fashion and art, yet all products are made with the environment in mind. Verdi relies on natural materials at the core of each design and acts sustainably in its fair-trade manufacturing with 30 skilled artisans that represent generations of inherited craftsmanship. In addition, the company sources its main fibers close to home, supporting at least 19 farming families in the process. Verdi is involved in at least a half-dozen social and environmental initiatives. + Verdi Images via Verdi

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Verdi creates home dcor from natural fibers and metal

Verdi creates home dcor from natural fibers and metal

July 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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Interior design is a culmination of many things, not the least of which is culture. Mix in the desire for sustainable, fair-trade textiles and other decorations that are made from non-toxic materials and you’ll find a Colombian company called Verdi, rich in history yet innovative in design. Verdi began in 1995 when Carlos Vera Dieppa began exploring techniques to make unique rugs and later developed his own looms. Following his death, his son and daughter took the torch and launched Verdi in his name (VERa DIeppa). The company now specializes in fique and metal rugs, organic silk cushions, plantain-fiber and copper-thread curtains, textiles, tableware and silver-plated handbags among other handwoven items. Related: Cariloha luxury textiles use organic, sustainable bamboo The newest release is called AES, which is Latin for rough bronze, and once again highlights the company’s passion for interweaving natural fibers with lineal metal. This rug collection is made up of ethically sourced alpaca fleece, plantain fibers and solid bronze plates. The resulting designs are not only original and handmade but also represent sustainable manufacturing. To avoid toxic dyes that pose a danger to workers and the environment, Verdi developed its own eco-friendly options. The company is dedicated to harvesting fibers in a sustainable way by only removing external leaves of the plants during the collection of fique fiber. Fiber and textile waste are looped back into the system as part of new pieces, as samples or as decorations in the office. Verdi also eliminates pattern waste by reusing acrylic patterns. The company is built on three pillars of home, fashion and art, yet all products are made with the environment in mind. Verdi relies on natural materials at the core of each design and acts sustainably in its fair-trade manufacturing with 30 skilled artisans that represent generations of inherited craftsmanship. In addition, the company sources its main fibers close to home, supporting at least 19 farming families in the process. Verdi is involved in at least a half-dozen social and environmental initiatives. + Verdi Images via Verdi

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Verdi creates home dcor from natural fibers and metal

Amazon deforestation threatens harpy eagles

July 1, 2021 by  
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A new study published in the journal  Scientific Reports has found that young harpy eagles are dying in the Amazon due to deforestation. The harpy eagle, one of the world’s largest eagles, has almost “zero” chances of surviving if Amazon deforestation continues. The study has established that harpy eagles are dying of starvation in areas where significant deforestation has occurred. The Amazon is the last remaining hope for the survival of harpy eagles, with almost 90% of the birds currently residing there. The study warns that the geographical range of the eagle is continuously being limited by continued deforestation. Related: Monarch butterfly population declines due to climate change and logging Professor Carlos Peres of the University of East Anglia, U.K. and co-author of the study said, “Considering that harpy eagles have the lowest life cycle of all bird species , their chances of adapting to highly deforested landscapes are nearly zero.” The adult harpy eagle females grow to 10 kilograms, making them one of the largest raptors in the world. They are native to the tropical forests of Central America to northern Argentina. Unfortunately, due to human interference and widespread deforestation, the eagles have disappeared from large parts of their native range. Currently, the biggest threat to the survival of the birds is deforestation . However, other factors, such as hunting, are also threatening their existence. In some countries, including Brazil, Panama and Suriname, the harpy eagle has legal protections. Unfortunately, enforcement of the laws in these regions has remained a big challenge. The study was led by Everton Miranda of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In their study, the researchers monitored 16 nests in the Brazilian Amazon using cameras. They found that eagles in the region mainly feast on two-toed sloths, brown capuchin monkeys and grey woolly monkeys. From bone fragments observed around nesting areas, the researchers established that the eagles could not find alternative food where there was deforestation. The most alarming observation was that in areas with 50% to 70% deforestation, at least three eagles died from starvation over the period of the study. In areas with deforestation over 70%, there were no nests to be found. Via BBC Image via cyrusbulsara

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Amazon deforestation threatens harpy eagles

Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

July 1, 2021 by  
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The U.S. has long prized personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of sparkly stuff to set on fire come the Fourth of July. But this year,  fire  chiefs in some cities across the West Coast are saying no to fireworks. Excessively hot and dry conditions plus amateur pyrotechnics equals a terrifying  wildfire  season for western states. Fireworks have started major wildfires in the past, including the 2017 Eagle Creek fire outside Portland, which was started by a 15-year-old boy and burned 50,000 acres. A 2020 gender reveal party in California started a wildfire that killed a firefighter. Related: Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year Portland , Oregon, broke heat records last Monday with a sizzling 116 degrees. In response, the Portland Fire Department has prohibited all fireworks until further notice. Fire departments in nearby Tualatin, Oregon, have banned fireworks through July 9. “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” said Portland fire chief Sara Boone in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national  holiday , but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.” City officials in Yreka,  California , which is only thirty miles from the currently raging Lava Fire, have also banned fireworks until further notice. Some Utah, Washington and Montana towns have banned private fireworks this year. Steamboat Springs, Colorado, canceled its official public fireworks show. Clark County, in southwest Washington state, banned the sale and use of fireworks from June 29 through midnight on the Fourth of July. “We recognize that this decision will cause some hardship to some residents’ celebration plans as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that sell fireworks,” said Eileen Quiring O’Brien, the county council chair, according to KATU. “We empathize with all who are affected, but we must follow county codes. They are in place to protect the welfare and  safety  of Clark County residents.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

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