Michael Bloomberg pledges $4.5 million to fund the Paris climate agreement

April 23, 2018 by  
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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg just pledged to personally cover the $4.5 million bill that the United States is obligated to contribute as part of the Paris climate agreement . In doing so, Bloomberg is picking up the slack for Donald Trump , who dramatically withdrew the United States from the Paris agreement in 2017. “America made a commitment and as an American, if the government’s not going to do it, we all have responsibility,” said the former Republican NYC mayor on CBS’s Face the Nation . Bloomberg, who has amassed a $50 billion fortune through his financial services, mass media, and software company Bloomberg L.P., has occasionally appeared on speculative lists of candidates for President of the United States. Still, the former mayor of the most populous city in the United States said that the likelihood of a Bloomberg 2020 campaign was “not very high.” When asked whether his actions served to fill a leadership gap in Washington , Bloomberg replied that he was simply serving the public interest “Well, I think that this is what the American public when you poll them say they want to do,” he explained. Related: Trump fails to evade climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youths Despite his apparent disinterest in presidential politics, Bloomberg did have a few words of wisdom for President Trump . “He should change his mind [on the Paris climate agreement] and say look there really is a problem here,” said Bloomberg. “America is part of the problem. America is a big part of the solution and we should go in and help the world stop a potential disaster.” Bloomberg has not committed to providing the funds necessary under Paris beyond 2018. He hopes that Trump will have changed his mind by then. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia and Face the Nation

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Michael Bloomberg pledges $4.5 million to fund the Paris climate agreement

The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs

April 23, 2018 by  
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This beautiful brownstone in Brooklyn  has been refurbished into the first Passive Plus House in the United States. Located in Carroll Gardens, 78 Third Place features an impressive array of cutting-edge renewable technologies wrapped in a thoughtful renovation that preserves the original home’s historic character. The house, remodeled by Baxt Ingui Architects , saves 80 to 90 percent of the energy needed to heat and cool the building and nearly reaches net-zero energy consumption. The Brooklyn townhouse was originally built in the early 1900s. Baxt Ingui Architects expanded the building to include a new third floor with a mansard and a modern rear addition that nearly doubles the brownstone’s original footprint. “The homeowners’ goal was to create a beautiful, open and inviting home suitable for everyday living and entertaining as well as respecting the historic character of the original house while incorporating high-performance construction,” the architects wrote. “They emphasized the need for abundant natural light throughout the home as well as an open flow when designing indoor/outdoor living spaces.” Related: Park Slope row home renovation marries historic charm with energy-conserving features The architects collaborated with a team of six contractors, three engineers, Passive House consultants and eco-conscious clients to make the upgrades. Baxt Ingui Architects installed low E and argon-filled triple-glazed windows, cellulose insulation and a 387-square-foot Brooklyn Solarworks solar canopy to help offset the home’s energy needs. The well-sealed townhouse is also equipped with a very quiet Energy Recovery Ventilation system, an air-to-air heat pump and an improved gas-condensing boiler. + Baxt Ingui Architects Via ArchDaily Images © John Muggenborg Photography

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The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs

Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint

April 20, 2018 by  
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A new fashion exhibit in Queens underscores the ongoing water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan . “Flint Fit” comprises a series of garments inspired by the “power and necessity of water, manufacturing history of Flint, and resiliency” of the people of Flint, who have had to cope with the effects of lead poisoning since 2014. Visual artist Mel Chin  — with an assist from Michigan-born, New York City–based fashion designer Tracy Reese —  conceived of the clothing to highlight the water crisis. Flint has had to resort to bottled water for everything from drinking to bathing, which has also created a tragically bountiful waste stream. Chin enlisted Unifi , which makes recycled textiles, to clean, shred and transform more than 90,000 used water bottles into a performance fabric known as Repreve . To manifest Reese’s designs, Chin turned to the commercial sewing program at St Luke N.E.W. Life Center  in Flint, where at-risk women stitched the pieces. The items include a trench coat, a wide-leg jumpsuit and swimwear. Chin said, “By opening the door for new ideas, Flint Fit aims to stimulate creative production, economic opportunity and empowerment on a local scale.” Jay Hertwig, Unifi’s group vice president for global brand sales, said the brand was “proud to be a part of this exciting moment in art-fashion history.” He continued, “At Unifi, we’re able to transform plastic bottles into Repreve for products that people enjoy every day. And we’re thrilled that Repreve is playing a key role in such a positive movement that came from something so catastrophic.” Part of Chin’s All Over the Place exhibit at Queens Museum , “Flint Fit” will be on display through August 12, 2018. + Flint Fit + Queens Museum

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Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint

This NYC skyscraper will clean the air "at a rate of 500 trees"

April 12, 2018 by  
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This new  condominium building in New York City will actually clean the air . 570 Broome , designed by Tahir Demircioglu of Builtd , will be wrapped with a new facade material that utilizes sunshine to turn contaminating agents into salt and water vapor. The self-cleaning exterior will have an equivalent impact to removing 2,000 cars from roads for a year, or that of 500 trees . The luxury condominium, located in the West Soho neighborhood, boasts more than just floor-to-ceiling windows and 10-foot-nine-inch-tall ceilings. The exterior of the 25-story building cleans itself and the air around it. The facade material was developed in collaboration between sintered stone company Neolith and manufacturer PURETi . Related: This new Berlin apartment building literally purifies the city’s air According to Neolith’s website , the exterior material consists of Neolith plates sprayed with PURETi’s “aqueous and titanium dioxide nanoparticle-based treatment.” Sunlight activates the titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which “transform the moisture in the air into oxidizing agents which destroy the nitrogen dioxide particles and contaminating agents and transform them into water vapor and salt.” The process is called photocatalysis, and it’s “repeated millions of times per second,” enabling the building to clean itself. The technology improves air quality and is anti-bacterial, anti-allergen and anti-odor. Neolith and PURETi’s technology “receives LEED points when specified,” according to Neolith. The building’s design hearkens back to the history of the area, once called the Printing District, with “a silhouette evocative of staggered cubes,” according to Builtd . Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed the interiors. Indoor bicycle storage, an entry garden featuring a Japanese maple tree, a lounge opening onto a landscaped terrace and double-pane windows treated with a low-emissivity glaze are among the building’s other features. Sales for 570 Broome, which includes 54 units of one- to three-bedroom condos, began last fall. + 570 Broome + Builtd + Neolith + PURETi + Neolith + PURETI Images courtesy of 570 Broome

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This NYC skyscraper will clean the air "at a rate of 500 trees"

$300M live-work campus gets green light to replace former juvenile jail in NYC

March 29, 2018 by  
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Green spaces, affordable housing , and over 300 jobs are coming to the south Bronx. The Peninsula, a mixed-use development designed by WXY architecture + urban design and Body Lawson Associates , just received the City Council go-ahead. Located in the Hunts Points peninsula, the $300 million initiative will transform the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center into a greenery-filled live-work campus spread out across five acres. First unveiled in 2016, The Peninsula aims to transform the neighborhood with a projected 740 units of 100% affordable housing, 52,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, and over 300 permanent new jobs. “It’s a big day for justice in the Bronx . As we move to build more than 700 affordable homes, open space and small businesses in Hunts Point on the site of the old Spofford facility, we are seeing a community rising and the righting of old wrongs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. Related: Former juvenile justice center to become a greenery-filled affordable housing complex in the Bronx As a mixed-use destination, The Peninsula will also offer 15,000 square feet of commercial space, 50,000 square feet of light industrial space, and 53,500 square feet of community facility space, a quarter of which will be dedicated artist workspaces. Anchored by local businesses, the five-acre campus will comprise five buildings featuring solar panels and green roofs as indicated by renderings. The Peninsula will be constructed in three phases with phase I expected for completion in 2021, phase II to be completed in 2022, and overall completion slated for 2024. + WXY architecture + urban design + Body Lawson Associates Images via WXY architecture + urban design and Body Lawson Associates

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$300M live-work campus gets green light to replace former juvenile jail in NYC

Foster+Partners unveil design for first-ever Vatican Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

March 29, 2018 by  
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For the first time ever, Vatican City will be represented at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Curated by Francesco Dal Co, the Pavilions of the Holy See will comprise 10 temporary chapels each designed by a different architect. Foster + Partners , chosen to design a chapel on the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore, just unveiled their chapel design set in a quiet wooded space. Created in collaboration with Italian furniture manufacturer Tecno, Foster+Partners’ Vatican City pavilion was largely informed by the landscape. The architects started the design process with a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore and the site selection of a quiet green space framed by mature trees close to Palladio’s magnificent church and the Teatro Verde. “It was like a small oasis in the big garden, perfect for contemplation,” said Norman Foster. “Our aim is to create a small sanctuary space diffused with dappled shade and removed from the normality of passers-by, focussed instead on the water and sky beyond.” Related: Vatican City Crowned the ‘Greenest State In the World’ Timber was chosen as the temporary chapel’s primary material. Three large crosses provide the supporting beams for the pavilion, which will take visitors down an angled timber walkway that culminates with lagoon views and seating. Porous timber latticework covers the pavilion’s sides and to obscure views and create a dynamic play of light and shadow. The pavilion’s opening ceremony will be held on May 25 and will remain open to the public between May 26 and November 25, 2018. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , sketches by Norman Foster

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Foster+Partners unveil design for first-ever Vatican Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

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

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