Soaring timber tower could clean up contaminated water in NYC’s Central Park

September 22, 2017 by  
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New York-based DFA Studio has unveiled plans for a soaring wooden tower in Central Park that could actually purify the heavily contaminated Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The proposed tower measures 712 feet tall with a 112-foot-tall spire – and if it comes to fruition, it will be the world’s tallest timber tower. The tower’s helix structure is wrapped with a lattice of curved timber beams . The building would be anchored securely to a pre-cast concrete base with tensile steel cables. A transparent material covers the tower’s exterior, providing 360-degree views as visitors climb up to the top. Related: LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir currently contains an estimated one billion gallons of stagnant, contaminated water . The tower’s filtration system could potentially convert the body of water into a clean pond. “Aside from supplying water to the pool and Harlem Meer, the Reservoir sits stagnant and fenced off due to its current state as a health threat to millions of New Yorkers, tourists and animals,” said DFA studio founder Laith Sayigh. “DFA envisions a temporary landmark that is remarkably of its time to creatively transform the reservoir into one of New York’s boldest urban amenities.” The tower’s integrated filtration system (as well as the elevators) would be powered by a wind turbine installed at the top of the tower. Sayigh believes that the NYC project would serve as an example for urban design around the world, “The Central Park Tower has the potential to be a model project for other cities aiming to fix existing infrastructure, build tall to capture views and elevate the urban public realm.” + DFA Via Dezeen

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New York City to install around 1,000 fast-chargers for EVs

September 21, 2017 by  
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New York City aims to majorly expand their electric vehicle (EV) charging network with a $10 million investment. They recently introduced a plan to bring 50 fast-charging hubs to the city by 2020 – and each hub could have 20 chargers . The city hopes to encourage more people to drive EVs, with the goal that by 2025, 20 percent of new car registrations will be electric cars. New York City is working to become a more EV-friendly region. They want to install fast-charging hubs in each one of the five boroughs. Starting next year, the city will work with energy company Con Edison to pick one site in each borough – and together those five hubs could charge over 12,000 EVs a week. Ultimately, under the plan, there could be around 1,000 high-speed chargers in the city. Related: Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, “New York will continue to invest in the new technologies we need to reduce our emissions , especially in the face of Trump’s abdication of leadership on climate. By helping develop the infrastructure necessary for electric vehicles, we’re going to make it easier than ever for New Yorkers to switch. This is another step towards aligning our action on climate change with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree stretch goal.” Many public EV charging stations currently offer only a few chargers – International Business Times pointed out even Tesla Supercharger stations typically don’t have more than six chargers. Also, there are level two chargers at around 300 sites in New York, but these aren’t as rapid as high-speed chargers. The 526 level two chargers in New York City are ideal for charging an EV overnight, but not for topping off a car in hour or two while a driver is shopping or eating lunch. In contrast, fast chargers are closer in function to a Tesla Supercharger, providing what International Business Times described as a meaningful amount of range in less than an hour. Right now, New York City only has 16 of these fast chargers. Via The City of New York and International Business Times Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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New York City to install around 1,000 fast-chargers for EVs

Futuristic floating bubble car wins London design competition

September 21, 2017 by  
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Renault and Central Saint Martins – UAL have teamed up to develop the car of the future. Part of a design competition, students of the school’s MA Industrial Design program have been challenged to think about the future of autonomous, modular cars, along with the infrastructure and services that might support them. The winning design, The Float, envisions futuristic bubble cars that use magnetic levitation technology to get around. The competition started with 15 students with three semi-finalists left standing – Stephanie Chang Liu for her ‘Flo’ design, with three different sized vehicles, Tuna Yenici for his emotive vehicle named ‘Vue’ and Yuchen Cai for her vision of vehicles moving around using Maglev technology, called ‘The Float’. Yuchen Cai was announced as the winner at the opening of Designjunction 2017. The Float connects people in a new way, demonstrating how autonomy will help drivers become more open and social with the outside world. With the appearance of a bubble that moves without conventional wheels, it uses magnetic levitation technology that gives it the ability to move in any direction without the need to turn around. Related: Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt The exterior is covered in transparent glass, while passengers sit in silver seats. The large swathes of glass will provide a new way for people to connect through tessellation. Users can also use a smartphone app to rent a Float, just like how a user would request an Uber or Lyft ride. The concepts have been unveiled in London at Designjunction 2017, which runs from September 21-24. Renault is a partner in the competition, since it is eager to develop the technologies of the future with an emphasis on electric power, autonomous driving and connected technologies. Renault’s ultimate goal is to have autonomous electric vehicles on the road by the early 2020s. + Renault Images @Renault

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Futuristic floating bubble car wins London design competition

Light-filled home for book lovers and their cute cats is built of recycled materials

September 18, 2017 by  
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If you’re a bibliophile who loves cats, prepare to swoon over this light-filled row home in New York City . Barker Freeman Design Office (BFDO Architects) transformed a row house in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn into the House for Booklovers and Cats. The renovated dwelling was built with materials recycled from the original architecture wherever possible, and features an expansive built-in book wall and special cat accommodations. The clients, a pair of poets, asked BFDO Architects to infuse color and light into their old Brooklyn row house , while creating a live/work arrangement with room for their extensive collection of art and books. The literary couple also requested that the renovation include special circulation for their two shy cats that like to hide in high and small places. The architects began the renovation process by sprucing up the facade and painting the front door a vibrant shade of red. They gutted the interior—originally dark, musty, and narrow—and knocked down walls to create an open and airy space and repainted it with bright white walls. Full-height rear windows and a skylight flood the interior with natural light. The main floor comprises the 20-by-50-by-10-feet tall primary living space with an eye-catching full-length bookshelf on one end integrated with special pieces that allow the cats to circulate through the room. “Shelves project to create steps for the cats to climb up to a continuous open ledge where they can observe activities from a high vantage point,” said the architects. “Trap doors allow the cats access to rooms above at either end of the house.” Related: CATable: A Multifunctional Work Desk to Keep Your Cat Entertained and Off Your Keyboard In addition to the living room, the main floor includes a media room, dining area, and kitchen. The upstairs houses the studio with a balcony, as well as a concealed skylit “nest” built from timber recycled from the home. The bottommost level is a “cat-free zone” comprising a workout space and guest suite. Playful pops of color punctuate the modern space, from the yellow-hued columns and melon-popsicle shelf niches. Materials in the home were recycled when possible; the architects reused the existing paneled wood doors, doorknobs, and hardware, and also refinished the pine flooring. + Barker Freeman Design Office Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

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Light-filled home for book lovers and their cute cats is built of recycled materials

Inspiring urban farm teaches kids how to grow their own organic food

August 14, 2017 by  
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A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but an amazing urban farm flourishes on Governors Island . An inspiring GrowNYC initiative is teaching inner city kids how to plant, water, harvest, and cook pesticide-free fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Located on Governors Island just a quick ferry ride from lower Manhattan, the Teaching Garden is a 21,000-square-foot urban farm that offers free educational field trips to NYC students—many of whom have never seen how food is grown. Now in its fourth season, the half-acre Governors Island Teaching Garden comprises raised planters, a fruit orchard, an outdoor kitchen with a large solar oven , high-tunnel greenhouse, and even an aquaponics system housed inside a converted shipping container . The Teaching Garden currently has 69 individual planting beds built from recycled plastic lumber with over 40 plant varieties during the summer season. Although the urban farm isn’t certified organic, all the fruits, herbs, and vegetables are grown with all-natural and pesticide-free practices. Earth Matter NY supplies the compost. “There are students here every day of the week so we want to encourage students to be able to eat straight from the plant so we don’t want to put anything harmful in the plants,” said GrowNYC to Inhabitat during a farm tour. “But we do have natural pest management such as introducing ladybugs to eat the unwanted insects.” Related: Project Farmhouse community space with wall of edible plants coming to Union Square The majority of students who visit are from immigrant families, such as the group of fourth graders from PS 503 present on the day we visited. The educational journey begins with an introduction about the fruits and vegetables the participants harvest as well as a lesson on their nutritional value. The group is then led to the different planting beds and orchard to pick ingredients, followed by a trip to the outdoor kitchen for a lesson on cooking what they harvested for a true farm-to-fork experience. The students also plant seeds for future harvests and learn about sustainable initiatives ranging from renewable energy to recycling and composting. “We feel that young people in the city don’t have the same opportunities to experience the natural world,” said GrowNYC. “So we want to provide that for them and hope that when they leave they feel a connection and feel more comfortable with eating healthy fruits and vegetables, or even in cooking. Almost all the food we grow here the students eat. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t have to bring more food onto the island so we made an expansion to grow more food to reach self-sufficiency . Now we only bring on olive oil and spices. Expansion also lets us to bring more students out here and slightly larger classes. It also shows students what a small scale farm would look like.” In addition to expansion, the Teaching Garden is in the process of building a solar-powered aquaponics system designed by Harbor School students and housed inside a shipping container. The nitrate-rich water taken from the tilapia holding tanks will be pumped up to the roof where it’ll be used to irrigate vegetables. Other sustainably minded projects are being built with the help of corporate volunteers. CSR programs help subsidize most of the costs of the Teaching Garden to keep the educational program free for students. In addition to school visits, the urban farm is open to the public on weekends during Governors Island’s open season that runs until mid-autumn. + Governors Island Teaching Garden Images © Lucy Wang

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Floating Cloud lamp adds levitating magic to any room

August 14, 2017 by  
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Take your home to new atmospheric levels with this incredible floating cloud lamp. Designed by Richard Clarkson Studio and Crealev , Floating Cloud is a magnetically levitating ambient lamp that adds a magical touch to any room it hovers in. The designers just announced a limited production run of these unique and fluffy lamps—read on for more details and to see the cloud come alive. Floating Cloud is the latest iteration of an ongoing collaboration between Richard Clarkson Studio’s cloud-themed designs and Crealev’s innovative levitation technology. Made from PETG and hypoallergenic polyester fiber, the fluffy cloud-like mass floats approximately 2.75 inches off its base using magnetic levitation. The Cloud is entirely wireless and the base is powered with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The cloud spins and bobs side-to-side for a “more realistic atmospheric experience,” while hidden sound-reactive RGB LEDs create the powerful illusion of a storm cloud with lightning. To reduce weight and size, the Floating Cloud does not include a speaker, however it will react to existing sound systems and voices. The Cloud flashes to the beat of the music in four different styles using an embedded microphone. An infrared remote controls a range of ambient lamp modes from white to colored versions. Related: This water-filled lamp makes it rain in your home “The Cloud is held in place using both rare earth magnets, electromagnets, and a location sensor,” write Richard Clarkson Studio. “There is a discrete infrared locating beam in the center of the Cloud, which, if obstructed by an object (such as a hand) will result in the Cloud “falling off” it’s levitating balance point. In such an event the Cloud has a soft felt bottom to cushion the fall. To return the Cloud to its floating position, use your fingers to pry the Cloud off the base and with two hands hold the Cloud roughly in position, slowly move the Cloud from side to side until you feel it ‘lock’ in place.” The studio has released a limited 100-unit production run of the Floating Cloud, available on their website for $4,620 USD . + Richard Clarkson Studio

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The Brooklyn Childrens Museums new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city

August 4, 2017 by  
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The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is bringing the wilderness to the middle of the city. This weekend, the museum will unveil a space that includes a forest, trails, interactive exhibits and a winged canopy that takes center stage. Future Green Studio designed the rooftop’s landscaping by dividing the 20,000-square-foot terrace into four quadrants catering to different themes – woodland, play, lounge and dining – giving kids in the city the perfect place to learn about and explore the natural world. Kids will be able to play outdoors in a safe environment in between checking out the kid-centric exhibits throughout the museum. The dynamic space will also be used for cultural events and experiences that compliment the museum’s ongoing mission to educate children in interactive ways. For example, the terrace’s opening on August 5th and 6th will be accompanied by a Senegalese dance festival with choreographer and professional dancer Papa Sy. Papa Sy will tell stories, play Senegalese music and get all ages moving as they welcome this space into the community. “The inspiration for the roof garden was to create a place that epitomized the heart of Brooklyn where kids could feel immersed in nature and free to explore and roam in an unprescribed way,” said David Seiter, Principal and Design Director of Future Green. As a Brooklyn parent himself, Seiter used his experiences of visiting the museum with his children to create a space flexible enough to host playdates, family get-togethers and cultural events “bridging both old and new Brooklyn and bringing people together.” Related: This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets A small woodland trail features a walkway made of sustainable black locust hardwood that meanders through groupings of sweet bay magnolia and sassafras trees. Various types of shrubs and perennials, including high bush blueberry, hayscented fern, butterfly weed, mayapple and blue wood aster, are sprinkled in between while ground covers like bristle-leaf sedge and hayscented fern can be found throughout the nature walk. Tree trunk pavers and sculptures that serve as seating are made from black locust and white oak rounds. Before tackling this project, Seiter and his team visited the Donald & Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area in Prospect Park , a children’s play area where trees damaged by storms and other natural materials take the place of swings and slides. “It was inspiring to hear about the design decisions that go into creating a new type of play space for kids where they might feel more connected to natural elements and have the ability to explore risk and confront fears,” Seiter said. “We tried to achieve a similar sense of wonder and play in our Woodland Walk.” The open lawn play space is also constructed from black locust lumber, chosen because it’s not sourced from tropical rain forests like most other exterior decking. Because of its greater exposure to the sun, different plantings that can handle those conditions were used: smoke trees, cone flower, ornamental onions and wormwood. All the plants used in the landscaping are native and drought tolerant, and a water-efficient irrigation system was installed to keep the environment lush. And at the center of it all is a white canopy designed by Toshiko Mori Architect . The 7,300 square-foot open-air pavilion looks like it’s billowing in the wind and about to take flight. It evokes references Eero Saarinen ’s TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, but much more airy, and while it serves to provide respite from the sun, a lot of light still pours in through the translucent panels. The use of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene cladding allowed for a column-free design, and wooden seats surround the anchor points from which the white steel ribbings arch up and meet overhead. From the side, the tops of the panels reflects the clouds and seems to blend into the sky. From high above, the pavilion resembles a square sheet of paper that has found its way onto the museum’s roof. And from underneath, the pavilion, with the landscaping surrounding it, feel like a breath of fresh air. + Future Green Studio + Toshiko Mori Architect All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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Ride the Chair of Death on world’s highest cliff drop swing

August 4, 2017 by  
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Picture it: you jump off a cliff edge 360 feet in the air and plummet past the rocky cliff face until the tension catches, and then you careen across the canyon on the world’s craziest swing . If that sounds like your idea of a good time, then you need to check out the Shotover Canyon Swing in New Zealand – the world’s highest cliff drop. Riders hook onto a 650-foot cable before launching off the cliff. As you fall, you can reach speeds up to 90 mph until your free-fall is arrested by the cable. If stepping off the cliff side isn’t enough for you, you can also choose to ride a bicycle off the cliff, shoot off on a slide, or be tipped over in a plastic chair, known as the “chair of death.” Related: Amazing Tiny Treehouse Boasts the World’s Wildest Swing 8,350 Feet Above Sea Level! Once you master the art of the world’s highest cliff drop, you can add in the “Canyon Fox” option, where you are tethered to two lines 600 feet above the canyon floor. You launch yourself off a sloped ramp, falling until the tether catches you and tosses you across the canyon on a massive zip line . The entire experience, including Swing and Fox ride, will cost you a cool $299 and possibly 10 years off your life. + Canyon Swing Via Thrillist

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Trippy transforming coffee table illuminates microscopic art

August 4, 2017 by  
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Thanks to the popularity of tiny home living , flexible furniture is more popular than ever. However, one inventive company is taking it one trippy step forward by adding microscopic art into the mix. Designed by Italian firm Art Is Therapy , the Microcromo is a 3D-printed , transformable coffee table that illuminates with a top of glowing microscopic art. According to Marco Zagaria, creator of the funky 3D-printed table , the inspiration for Microcromo came from the desire to blend multifunctional furniture design with his own love of microscopic art photography. The table tops are created using a series of unique micro-images photographed with the microscope. The images of veiny patterns and vivid colors are backlit with ambient lighting system controlled by an app, creating one very unique art piece within the table. Related: 11 pieces of transforming furniture that work wonders for small spaces Adding flexibility to the design , the table’s telescopic base is retractable so that the table can be almost completely flattened. This feature not only lets homeowners open up their living space quickly, but also means that the table can be hung on the wall as a stand-alone art piece. Zagaria says that the table’s artsy and functional design was inspired by the common confines of living in a tiny space ,  “ As more and more people decide to live in small homes, they must have objects that are more functional while still having a strong impact of design, at the same time.” + Art Is Therapy

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Trippy transforming coffee table illuminates microscopic art

Magical Cape Cod-style cottage perched on NYC rooftop goes on sale for $3.5M

July 18, 2017 by  
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If you have a cool $3.5 million lying around, you could live in one of NYC’s most mysterious and envy-inducing rooftop homes . This sweet East Village cottage – which just so happens to be perched on top of a building at 72 East 1st street – has just been put up for sale. As for the price, the property does come with a slight catch – the beautiful rooftop studio also comes with the massive duplex underneath. The cedar-shake structure is a beautiful rooftop studio whose ownership was a mystery for years until the NY Post unveiled the current owner as Gale Barrett Shrady. Shrady’s late husband, Henry Merwin Shrady III, bought the entire walk-up building in the 80s and renovated it to sell, but he kept the fourth and fifth floors as a duplex for his family. He subsequently added the Nantucket-style studio years later, complete with French doors, a tower and even a horse weathervane. The one-bedroom, one-bath apartment opens out into an envy-inducing wraparound terrace . Related: Philip Johnson’s secret brick and glass home in Manhattan, NYC After years of living in the large space, Mrs. Shrady is selling their duplex and cottage together. Although the small studio is obviously a truly unique gem, the rest of the home isn’t too shabby. The 2,000-square-feet, four-bedroom duplex has high ceilings with exposed beams, spacious living and dining rooms, and a great room balcony on the second floor. There is a grand total of 22 windows that flood the interior with natural light and two wood-burning fireplaces, perfect for NYC’s chilly winters. Via NY Post and Curbed Photos via Compass  

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