This pinecone-inspired gazebo is a playground for kids and adults alike

May 2, 2018 by  
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This nature-inspired mobile gazebo is a place where both kids and adults can play. Czech designers Atelier SAD designed the structure, named “Altán Šiška,” as a small building with pinecone-like scales that facilitate natural ventilation and double as drawing boards for kids to express their artistic sides. The building was crafted from 109 waterproof scales made of plywood . The boards are coated with a glaze to make them more durable. They are joined by galvanized joints, creating a structure that is strong and sustainable. The structure’s scales are deliberately spaced for ventilation. The gazebo is perfect for taking a classroom outdoors, practicing yoga or enjoying a campfire. Related: Atelier SAD’s Modular Port X Home Can Pop Up on Land or Water! “It is on the cutting edge of architecture and design, and can even serve as a meditation space ,” said designer and owner of Altán Šiška, David Karásek. “During the design process, we were aiming to smash boundaries and move forward. The Pinecone project was a big challenge for us because it was more than just a one-dimensional product,” the designers said. The building can be placed anywhere — from a backyard, to a park, to school campuses — in one day. + Atelier SAD Via Archdaily

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This pinecone-inspired gazebo is a playground for kids and adults alike

Dumping ground reborn as beautiful bamboo and rammed-earth community space

January 26, 2018 by  
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H&P Architects dramatically transformed an informal dumping ground in Mao Khe, Vietnam into a beautiful pavilion built mainly of locally sourced bamboo and earth. Named BE (bamboo & earth) friendly space, the structure comprises a zigzagging rammed-earth wall punctuated with multiple openings and topped with bamboo roofing. The project was created as part of a series of projects to create a “friendly space in suffocating urban areas” increasingly dominated by concrete. Located in the center of the populous Vietnamese town of Mao Khe, BE friendly space is a 220-square-meter pavilion made of local natural materials and constructed by local labor. “The objective of BE friendly space is to help raise social awareness of the need for friendly spaces for community in the context of urbanization and concretization which is gradually suffocating Mao Khe – one of the most populous towns in Vietnam, thereby making contributions to shaping actions of community in the process of creating sustainable spaces for the future immediately from today’s friendliness,” said H&P Architects in a design statement. Related: Plant-covered bamboo structure in Vietnam offers low-cost sanitation and food A 40-centimeter-thick zigzagging rammed-earth wall forms the spine of the project and its short, asymmetric form stands out from the skinny modern apartments that surround it. Randomly placed windows connect the various spaces enclosed by the wall and promote natural ventilation . BE friendly space comprises several multifunctional open areas, while the service room, kitchen, and toilets are located in the fully enclosed rammed-earth building on the east side of the site. + H&P Architects Images by Nguyen Tien Thanh, Doan Thanh Ha

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Dumping ground reborn as beautiful bamboo and rammed-earth community space

Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability

December 27, 2017 by  
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Japanese influence weaves throughout the stunning Pound Ridge Residence, a luxurious forever home in rural New York designed by Tsao & McKown Architects for an acclaimed international clothing designer and her husband. The strong architect-client relationship spanning the course of 20 years granted the architects design control not just over the architecture, but the landscape, interiors, and custom furnishings as well. Built to target environmental and social sustainability, the timber-framed house minimizes its energy and resource footprint and is designed for aging in place. Set on 30 acres of forested land, the 2,900-square-foot Pound Ridge Residence opens up to the outdoors through ample full-height glazing and covered walkways. “The structure is formed of exposed heavy timber construction , a rarity today, which, in addition to its natural beauty, has the added advantage of reducing the need for interior walls,” wrote the architects, adding that timber frame construction was built of local wood . “The load-bearing timber beams span the interiors and, with their darkened hues, recede from view as they frames the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the gardens and surrounding woods.” With design control over the architecture, interiors, furnishings, and landscaping, the architects achieved a customized and “holistically conceived environment” reflecting needs and preferences of the clients, whom they knew well. “With full awareness of how they live, work, and entertain, we conceived the furnishings simultaneously with the architecture,” said the architects. Related: Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse The single-story home mainly features open-plan layouts that take advantage of natural ventilation and light through sliding glass doors, windows, and operable timber panels. Light is also let in through two large asymmetrically shaped skylights. Radiant geothermal heating and cooling regulate indoor temperatures and are complemented by two hearths with sculptural custom bronze chimneys. Low-energy materials were used in construction and all excavated stone was reused in the gardens and landscape. The exterior spaces and landscaping feature native species and minimize impermeable paving to capture runoff water. + Tsao & McKown Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Simon Upton

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Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability

Cities in Scotland to start universal basic income trials

December 27, 2017 by  
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Select residents of  Glasgow , Edinburgh, Fife, and North Ayrshire will soon begin receiving unconditional monthly payments as part of a Scottish universal basic income experiment. Universal basic income (UBI) is a policy that offers direct unconditional income for all citizens to ensure that everyone benefits from a basic standard of living. UBI is currently being tested in Scotland, as well as countries like Canada and Finland, and has attracted £250,000 (~$334,500) in public funding for feasibility studies. The selected cities must submit their plans for locally implementing the basic income program by March 2018. Proponents of a basic income claim that it will be necessary to implement UBI in some form in order to compensate for the major economic disruption and potential job losses from increasing automation due to advanced artificial intelligence . While the idea is still controversial, it is being increasingly taken seriously in cities and countries around the world. “It might turn out not to be the answer, it might turn out not to be feasible,” said Scotland ‘s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. “But as work changes as rapidly as it is doing, I think its really important that we are prepared to be open-minded about the different ways that we can support individuals to participate fully in the new economy.” Related: Wind power supplied 124% of household electricity needs in Scotland from January through June Scotland is not alone in its endeavor to understand how UBI might feasibly function. California , the Netherlands, Ontario, India, Italy, and Uganda all took steps in 2017 towards someday being able to implement a UBI system. In California, this work is being supported by companies like Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s largest start-up accelerator. “In a world where technology eliminates jobs, it will mean that the cost of having a great life goes down a lot,” tweeted Sam Altman, president at Y Combinator. “But without something like basic income, I don’t think we can really have equality of opportunity.” Via ScienceAlert Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Cities in Scotland to start universal basic income trials

Historic White House tree to be chopped down

December 27, 2017 by  
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The Jackson Magnolia that has adorned the White House South Lawn since the 1800s is coming down. Brought by President Andrew Jackson from Tennessee, and said to be planted in memory of his wife Rachel who died not too long after his 1828 election, the tree is slated for removal later this week. According to CNN , First Lady Melania Trump made the call as the tree is reportedly too decayed to stay in place. The Jackson Magnolia is the oldest on White House grounds, reported CNN. There have been many efforts to preserve it over the years, such as a cabling system. United States National Arboretum specialists came in at the request of the White House to assess the tree, and CNN obtained documents that said, “The overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised and the tree is completely dependent on the artificial support. Without the extensive cabling system, the tree would have fallen years ago. Presently, and very concerning, the cabling system is failing on the east trunk, as a cable has pulled through the very thin layer of wood that remains. It is difficult to predict when and how many more will fail.” Related: Washington DC’s national monuments are getting slimed White House officials fear the tree could fall when President Donald Trump’s helicopter takes off nearby. The First Lady’s director of communications Stephanie Grisham told CNN, “After reviewing the reports, [Mrs. Trump] trusted that every effort had been made to preserve the historic tree and was concerned about the safety of visitors and members of the press who are often standing right in front of the tree during Marine One lifts,” adding the First Lady asked that wood from the Jackson Magnolia be preserved. CNN reported offshoots of the tree have grown to around eight to 10 feet tall at an undisclosed location nearby, and there are plans for a new Jackson Magnolia to be planted in place of the old. Via CNN Images via U.S. Pacific Command and achuertas on Flickr

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Historic White House tree to be chopped down

Double whirlpool spotted in nature for the first time

December 27, 2017 by  
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Scientists at the University of Liverpool have observed “double whirlpools” in the natural world for the first time. Until now, the unusual fluid dynamics phenomenon had only been theoretically envisioned. While eddies, whirlpools that can span hundreds of miles in the open ocean , are not uncommon, two connected eddies spiraling in opposite directions was previously unheard of. “Ocean eddies almost always head to the west, but by pairing up they can move to the east and travel ten times as fast as a normal eddy, so they carry water in unusual directions across the ocean,” said Chris Hughes, study lead-author and University of Liverpool oceanographer. The double-whirlpools are known as modons and were suspected to exist for decades, though scientists had never acquired hard evidence of their existence. This changed when Hughes began to closely study satellite footage of the ocean surrounding Australia . “I happened to notice one little feature down in the Tasman Sea [between Australia and New Zealand] that was behaving very strangely compared to everywhere else,” Hughes told Popular Science . “Almost all these eddies drift slowly westwards, but this little feature was going quickly eastwards.” Related: Scientists find the Earth’s constant hum is coming from the ocean floor After further investigation, Hughes and his team learned that modons are not actually as rare as once thought. Satellites had been recording images of the phenomenon for decades, though scientists had not known where to look for them. Although there is still much research to be done, scientists believes that a double-whirlpool may form when two whirlpools collide with each other in the ocean. It is also possible that modons emerge as a result of friction impacting a whirlpool close to the coast. After formation, a modon casts a U-shaped underwater vortex and can endure for up to six months. Given their size and speed, modons may play an important role in ocean ecology. “My thinking is that these linked, fast moving eddies could ‘suck-up’ small marine creatures and carry them at high speed and for long distances across the ocean,” Hughes said. “You would get particular blobs of water where the biology and the conditions are totally different from the surrounding area. It’s quite possible there are shoals of particular types of fish following these eddies for their special conditions. Fish would actually actively follow the eddies by choice because of what’s in them.” Via ScienceAlert Images via DepositPhotos , NASA , University of Liverpool and Depositphotos

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Double whirlpool spotted in nature for the first time

This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden

November 28, 2017 by  
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The verdant Villa Jardín in Mexico City uses vegetation to unify its indoor and outdoor spaces. Architecture firm ASP Arquitectura Sergio Portillo introduced terraces, pergolas and an entire room packed with greenery to this apartment occupying the lower level of a residential building in Mexico City. The result is an exotic home that draws nature inside. The naturally ventilated apartment features a series of outdoor spaces that interact with the indoors through semi-private areas. Two terraces joined by a pergola occupy the northeast side, which features a lush vertical garden made of wooden boxes reclaimed from the shoring system used during the construction process. Related: Apostrophy’s gorgeous Bangkok townhouse boasts a 25-foot vertical garden The second terrace sits on a lower overhang and offers a direct connection to level below. A more private garden located in the southwest part of the home. This green space connects to the bedrooms, TV room and kitchen, and ultimately leads to the Garden Box – a modular space designed for contemplation. + ASP Arquitectura Sergio Portillo Via v2com Photos by Rafael Gamo

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This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden

This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

November 13, 2017 by  
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This amazing school in rural Ghana was built in 60 days for just $13,976. The new InsideOut School replaces the only school in the area, which was destroyed by strong winds. Architects Andrea Tabocchini & Francesca Vittorini designed the non-profit project and built it with the local community and volunteers from 20 different countries. The team had to work without electricity, which meant they had to build the structure by hand. They moved 58,000 kg of and crafted materials available on site. Local soil was compacted to create staggered walls, while a lightweight wood structure lifts the roof to allow zenithal light into the building. The skylight also facilitates natural ventilation. Related: Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower The result is an affordable school that can be replicated anywhere with a similar climate. Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Andrea Tabocchini

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This rammed earth school in Ghana school cost only $13,976 to build

Trees grow on every balcony of this Hanoi university building

October 20, 2017 by  
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This university building in Hanoi weaves Vietnam’s tropical landscape into its checkerboard facade, with trees growing on every balcony. Designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects , the recently completed FPT University administrative building is the first phase in a greater masterplan to convert the campus into a “globally competition environmentally conscious university.” The university is part of Vietnam’s largest technology park, the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, on the outskirts of Hanoi. Completed early this year, the administrative building serves as a campus gateway and will welcome students, staff, and visitors with its tree -integrated envelope. “The building acts as a gateway to the campus and the green facade clearly dictates the future direction of the campus,” wrote the architects. The nature-infused project is characteristic of the architecture firm’s world-renowned style for bringing plants into buildings. Related: Giant bamboo planters protect a Ho Chi Minh City home from the sun and rain Built of concrete , the asymmetric building is clad in prefabricated facade modules to cut down on waste and construction time. Building orientation and large windows optimize the flow of natural ventilation and daylight into the building, while trees on the balconies minimize solar gain. Accessible green roofs top the structure. + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Via Dezeen Images via Vo Trong Nghia Architects , by Hoang Le

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Trees grow on every balcony of this Hanoi university building

Schmidt Hammer Lassen breaks ground on LEED Gold-seeking incubator in Shanghai

September 21, 2017 by  
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A striking new high-tech building in Shanghai is going for gold— LEED Gold , that is. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects just broke ground on the new CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters, an incubator for high-tech firms designed for LEED Gold certification. Engineered for climate control, the boxy green-roofed center will mitigate Shanghai’s muggy summers and bone-chilling winters with its stacked and staggered massing. Located east of downtown Shanghai near Hongqiao Airport, the government-backed CaoHeJing Hi-Tech Park is one of Shanghai’s earliest high-tech business parks serviced by its eponymous metro station. The technological development zone covers an area of 14.5 square kilometers and is home to around 1,200 domestic and overseas high-tech companies. The CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters is Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s third project for CaoHeJing, following the firm’s transformation of an old office building into the CaoHeJing Innovation Incubator. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects unveils competition-winning design for the Shanghai Library The CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters is made up of three stacked and staggered glass volumes connected with two external landscaped terraces. The divisible incubator studio spaces are located on the upper levels while the ground-floor volume comprises the main lobby, exhibition and event space, and a coffee bar. “The volumes are playfully staggered to create a combination of exposed and shaded external spaces that can be utilised at different times of the year in Shanghai’s variable weather conditions”, said Schmidt Hammer Lassen Partner, Chris Hardie. “By doing this we create a direct connection to exterior green space for the buildings occupants to use throughout the year.” Full-height glazing with operable windows maximizes access to natural light and ventilation to keep energy costs low, while deep overhangs mitigate solar heat gain in the summer. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen breaks ground on LEED Gold-seeking incubator in Shanghai

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