3D-printed Valentine heart in Times Square is the world’s largest lens

February 2, 2018 by  
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If you stop by Times Square this month, you are in for a treat. New York City is celebrating love this year with the world’s largest lens, which allows users to see the city, and their special somebody, through a totally different perspective. The 12-foot lens is made up of 3D-printed resin shaped into a giant heart that focuses and reshapes Times Square’s incredible light and energy. For the 10th anniversary of the New York City Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, designers pulled out all the stops. The winning design, by ArandaLasch + Marcelo Coelho is a 12-foot Fresnal lens realized by 3D-printing manufacturer Formlabs . When you view the lense from afar, it beds the light in Times Square, focusing it – and your attention – on a heart-shaped window in the center. Up close, users peer through the center, viewing their Valentine in a new way through the window. Related: Times Square Valentine’s Heart celebrates diversity and immigration in NYC Formlabs 3D-printed the giant lens – actually, multiple pieces – using resin instead of glass. Just as the manufacturing process is completely reimagined, the design encourages people to consider the world through a different lens. “Times Square is a symbol for how we experience our world,” said ArandaLasch + Marcelo Coelho. “It is a physical manifestation of our culture, one dispersed and absorbed through cameras and screens. And in this culture, to fall in love you must first fall through a lens.” Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, added, “On the 10th anniversary of the Times Square Valentine Heart competition, what better place to host the world’s largest lens than the Crossroads of the World – one of the most photographed places in the world and a hub for innovative technology and design” + Times Square Alliance + Marcelo Coelho + ArandaLasch + Formlabs

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3D-printed Valentine heart in Times Square is the world’s largest lens

New York delivers huge blow to the fossil fuel industry

December 22, 2017 by  
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New York just sent a big message to the fossil fuel industry . The state is freezing all fossil fuel investments – and they are divesting almost $400 billion in pension funds from the industry, according to Grist . In a statement , Governor Andrew Cuomo said the New York Common Fund has nearly $1 billion invested just in ExxonMobil – but described such investments as increasingly risky “as both New York State and the world back away from the use of fossil fuel as a primary energy source.” Cuomo and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the divestment decision in separate proposals this week. They could divest billions from fossil fuel companies with the aim of de-carbonizing pension funds. It’s a big move – New York’s Common Fund is the third biggest in America and manages retirement assets for over one million New Yorkers. Related: The World Bank will stop funding oil and gas projects after 2019 Cuomo said in the statement, “New York has made incredible strides in securing a clean energy future for this state with our nation-leading clean energy standard, offshore wind development, and aggressive investment in the clean tech economy, yet the Common Fund remains heavily invested in the energy economy of the past. Moving the Common Fund away from fossil fuel investments will protect the retirement savings of New Yorkers.” This year, the Common Fund had holdings in over 50 oil and gas companies that have been listed among the top 100 most carbon-intensive on Earth, according to Cuomo’s statement. Neither proposal has yet given an end date for 100 percent divestment. Stringer said his office would bring a proposal to New York City pension fund trustees in coming weeks. Cuomo said he’d partner with New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to launch an advisory committee to design a de-carbonization road map. Via Grist , Governor Andrew Cuomo , and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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New York delivers huge blow to the fossil fuel industry

Green-roofed Kew Gardens Hill Library lures patrons indoors with a lifted facade

December 1, 2017 by  
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A branch library in New York City is luring the community indoors with a clever facade that lifts up at the corner to reveal glimpses of the happenings inside. Local firm Work Architecture Company recently announced the long-awaited opening of the Kew Gardens Hill Library, a key institution in the diverse Queens neighborhood. The renovation and expansion project is filled with natural light and topped with a large green roof. The new 10,000-square-foot Kew Gardens Hill Library is a renovation and 3,000-square-foot expansion of the 1966 Lindsey Library. Custom glass fiber-reinforced concrete panels that clad the facade are molded into a rippled pattern of vertical folds. The curtain-like panels appear to be lifted up on the north corner of the building, where large exterior windows let in ample amounts of natural light and beckon passersby indoors. The concrete is exposed indoors and reflects indirect light from the south- and east-facing clerestory windows . “Not only expressive and functional but also structural, this concrete band acts as a 200-foot-long beam to support the green roof without interrupting the open interior,” write the architects. “Two columns are the only supports for this beam.” Related: This adorable red ‘train’ carts books around the New York Public Library “The new façade is a physical and metaphoric lifting up of the library’s exterior walls in order to broadcast the activities of the library to the outside.” From the glazed corner, the angular facade begins its descent to provide privacy at the staff and book drop areas behind before tilting upwards to form a second, smaller peak at the children’s corner for “child-sized views” to the south. The facade also dips down on the north side for privacy in the teen study area. The library opened to the public on September 6. + Work Architecture Company Images by Bruce Damonte

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Green-roofed Kew Gardens Hill Library lures patrons indoors with a lifted facade

BIG and WeWork reveal plans for interactive WeGrow kindergarten in New York City

November 29, 2017 by  
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International startup WeWork is expanding beyond its co-working roots with a public  kindergarten in New York City called WeGrow. The innovative school will be designed in collaboration  BIG Architects  and will provide an environment for education in an interactive space that focuses on introspection, exploration, and discovery. WeGrow will be a public elementary school for kids ages three to nine that aims to function as an environment where youngsters can experience hands-on and experiential learning. The first images of the space show wooden play areas, large grey pods for climbing and sitting, and several modular classrooms and treehouses that facilitate interaction. Related: 10 brilliant communal designs helping people work and live together WeWork claims that the new kindergarten will “focus as much on the growth of our children’s spirits as we will their minds.” References to various natural phenomena, as well as an element of futurism, permeate the new WeGrow concept, set to open its first location in Chelsea next autumn. “The design starts from the premise of a school universe at the level of the child: a field of super-elliptic objects forms a learning landscape that’s dense and rational – yet free and fluid,” said the firm. + BIG Architects Via Dezeen

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BIG and WeWork reveal plans for interactive WeGrow kindergarten in New York City

Snhetta unveils striking new skyscraper for Manhattans Upper West Side

November 29, 2017 by  
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Snøhetta has unveiled a handsome skyscraper for Manhattan’s prestigious Upper West Side at 50 West 66th Street. Undeniably modern yet sensitive to its historic context, the striking mixed-use tower will soar to a height of 775 feet with 125 residential units. The chamfered form, cut into an angular shape, is “evocative of the chiseled stone of Manhattan’s geologic legacy,” say the architects. Snøhetta’s skyscraper comprises luxury residences stacked on top a mixed-use podium. The residential entrance will be located on 65th Street, while the entrance to a synagogue will be located on 66th. A large terrace is placed atop the podium on the 16th floor, where the building’s residential slab is set back from the multilevel outdoor plaza. The lushly planted terrace will offer views of the Hudson River, Central Park, and the city. Related: Times Square now has double the public space The architects carved away the skyscraper to create a dynamic form with a chiseled crown. Handset and textured limestone , bronze, and glass clad the building. Construction is slated to begin in Spring 2018. + Snøhetta Via ArchDaily Images by Snøhetta and Binyan Studios

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Snhetta unveils striking new skyscraper for Manhattans Upper West Side

Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

Staten Island neighborhood returning to nature for superstorm buffer zone

October 27, 2017 by  
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The Staten Island neighborhood of Oakwood Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy five years ago. Since then, 80 percent of Oakwood Beach residents have sold their homes to the state of New York , which hopes to turn the area into a buffer zone to guard against future superstorms . Many homes have since been torn down, and the area is slowly returning to nature. Superstorms could hit the New York City region more frequently in the future. A recent Rutgers University study found storms flooding the city with at least 7.4-foot surges – an event which occurred every 500 years before 1800 – will hit once every five years by 2030, reports Reuters . Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery executive director Lisa Bova-Hiatt told Reuters the state pursued the home buyout program in large part because they expected more superstorms. She said, “To say that extreme weather is not our new normal would just be incredibly short-sighted.” Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm Many Oakwood Beach locals have taken the state up on their buyout program. The state has spent $255 million with money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase 654 properties, and most of those are in Staten Island. There are 83 more properties in the pipeline, according to the Office of Storm Recovery. Bova-Hiatt said the program is voluntary but “it would be fantastic to have the entire area as a buffer zone.” The state has torn down townhouses and bungalows, and planted grass on the sites of former homes. Out of 402 homes in Oakwood Beach eligible for the program, the state was unable to acquire 88. Reuters spoke with Gregory and Olga Epshteyn, locals who decided not to take the state up on their offer. Gregory said the city still provides services like street lights and trash pickup, and that the neighborhood is the best place to live in Staten Island. Olga told Reuters, “We love it here, but we miss our neighbors.” Via Reuters Images via Sunghwan Yoon on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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