Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

April 16, 2018 by  
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An hour north of Oslo, Danish studio Norm Architects have designed a family home they describe as the “epitome of hygge ,” a Scandinavian term for a mood of coziness and wellbeing. Set into a hillside, the Gjøvik House comprises a cluster of six interconnected timber volumes positioned to take in views of Mjøsa lake and the Norwegian woods. The overlapping areas of the timber volumes give rise to private pockets and cozy nooks, elements that the architects say are integral to the hygge concept. The 1,668-square-foot Gjøvik House was envisioned by the architects as a place “where you can truly hibernate while taking shelter from the frigid days of Nordic winter.” To blend the cluster-style home into the landscape, the architects clad the facade in vertical strips of timber that will eventually develop a silvery patina over time. Large glazed openings frame selected views of the landscape and bring in copious amounts of natural light. Related: 6 ways to make your life more “Hygge” – the Danish secret to happiness The interior features a similarly restrained materials palette of white walls, concrete , and wood paired with minimalist and modern furnishings. “The Gjøvik house, consisting of overlapping cubes of different sizes, makes for an intimate and dynamic family home with materials, levels and inbuilt, tailor-made furniture creating a minimal yet warm and secluded feeling,” wrote the architects. The spacious kitchen, located at the heart of the house, is awash in natural light and provides a contrast to the narrow nooks spread out across the home. + Norm Architects Images via Norm Architects

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Cozy minimalist home in Norway is crafted as the epitome of hygge"

Ice melting due to climate change in Norway reveals pre-Viking artifacts

January 25, 2018 by  
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Climate change is melting ice in high mountains, enabling archaeologists to discover artifacts once preserved in glacial ice in Scandinavia, North America, and the Alps. A team led by Lars Pilø of the Oppland City Council recently published their discoveries on artifacts, many related to reindeer hunting, in Royal Society Open Science , and Pilø wrote in a Secrets of the Ice blog post , “This is a new and fantastic archaeological record of past human activity in some of the most remote and forbidding landscapes.” Pilø said in the post, “The ice has acted like a time machine, preserving the finds through millennia like a giant prehistoric deep-freezer.” His team has conducted fieldwork in the mountains of Oppland County in Norway over more than ten years, and they’ve come up with some impressive finds. Pilø said they’ve recovered over 2,000 artifacts. Related: Archaeologist may have uncovered the second Viking settlement in North America Some of their discoveries date all the way back to 4,000 BC. They’ve uncovered arrows; remains of pack horses, sleds, and skis; and clothing from the Iron Age and Bronze Age . Ice melting is unveiling what the research paper abstract described as “a fragile record of alpine activity, especially hunting and the use of mountain passes.” In the article, the researchers share radiocarbon dates of 153 items, and they compared those dates against the timing of economic changes or environmental changes, like periods of warming or cooling. They came up with a few surprises; for example, while you’d expect cold temperatures to keep people out of the highest elevations in Norway, like in the Late Antique Little Ice Age from around 536 – 660 CE, it seems hunters kept going into the mountains. Archaeologist James Barrett of the University of Cambridge told Ars Technica , “Remarkably, though, the finds from the ice may have continued through this period, perhaps suggesting that the importance of mountain hunting (mainly for reindeer), increased to supplement failing agricultural harvests in times of low temperatures.” Nine researchers from multiple Norwegian universities, the University of Oxford, and the University of Cambridge contributed. + Glacial Archaeology, Ancient Reindeer Hunting, and Climate Change + Secrets of the Ice Via Ars Technica Images via Øystein Rønning-Andersen, Secrets of the Ice/Oppland Count Council; Johan Wildhagen, Palookaville; and secretsoftheice.com/Oppland County Council

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Ice melting due to climate change in Norway reveals pre-Viking artifacts

Greenery fills this sustainable glass-and-timber tower planned for Oslo

January 25, 2018 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter AS and C.F Møller Arkitekter have won a design competition for a stunning new cultural hub set to rise in Oslo. The project, called Nordic Light, comprises a master plan for the area and a modular glass-enclosed timber tower that will further develop the Oslo Central Station area into Norway’s largest mixed-use hub. The renderings show Nordic Light with greenery growing inside and out of the building on multiple levels as part of the architects’ sustainable vision for the tower, which will aim for BREEAM Excellent certification. Created for Fjordporten Oslo S, Nordic Light is designed to revitalize the area around the main train station with new publicly accessible cultural, retail, and dining facilities. The project will consist of four main elements: the area around the 19th-century station, a cultural and conference base, a pergola that links Queen Eufemia’s Street with the station, and the modular tower housing hotels and offices. The timber structure will be wrapped in a transparent glass facade allowing views of large trees and plants that will grow inside the building at multiple levels. The building will be designed to BREEAM Excellent with a focus on life cycle costing and life cycle assessment to inform sustainable building decisions. Related: Northern Europe’s largest aquarium unveiled for former Oslo airport site “‘Nordic light’ takes its strength from a controlled and careful form expression,” said the jury. “The project’s proposed integration with the station areas and the overall draft of the blueprint will help to further develop Oslo S as the country’s largest collective hub, and will offer the travellers great new spatial and qualitative experiences. The project showcases good solutions for the design and connection of the adjacent spaces to the project. The architect’s approach provides a good potential for the rehabilitation and enhancement of the protected Østbanen structure, and will give it a central role as part of the station’s future visual identity.” + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter AS + C.F Møller Arkitekter Images by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter AS and C.F Møller Arkitekter

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Greenery fills this sustainable glass-and-timber tower planned for Oslo

Norway shoots for 100% electric short-haul flights by 2040

January 18, 2018 by  
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More than 50 percent of new car sales in Norway were electric vehicles in December, according to Electrek . Now the country aims to take the electric revolution to the skies. Norwegian airports public operator Avinor wants all their short-haul flights to be electric in just over 20 years. CEO Dag Falk-Petersen told Agence France Presse (AFP) they’re hoping “to be the first in the world” to switch over to electric air transportation . Every short-haul airliner should be electric by 2040 in Norway, Avinor said this week. Falk-Petersen told AFP, “We think that all flights lasting up to 1.5 hours can be flown by aircraft that are entirely electric.” He said that would include all domestic flights and trips to nearby Scandinavian capitals. Related: Eviation Aircraft unveils all-electric plane with 600-mile range 2.4 percent of Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions come from domestic air transportation – and when international routes are taken into account the figure is over double that. Falk-Petersen told the AFP, “When we will have reached our goal, air travel will no longer be a problem for the climate , it will be a solution.” There are other benefits to electric flight besides lowered carbon emissions – such as reduced operating costs. Falk-Petersen also said electric flight would halve noise levels at least. Avinor will explore intermediary technologies, like hybrid fuel-electric options or biofuels , before making the switch to all-electric. The company recently teamed up with the Norwegian Air Sports Federation to purchase the first electric aircraft in Norway from Pipistrel . The Alpha Electro G2 is a two-seater aircraft with a range of 130 kilometers, or just over 80 miles. Falk-Petersen said in Avinor’s press release on the purchase that lower operating costs could have an impact on ticket prices as well. AFP reported Avinor also aims to start a tender offer to trial a commercial route with a 19-seat electric plane beginning in 2025. Via Agence France Presse and Electrek Images via Avinor ( 1 , 2 )

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Norway shoots for 100% electric short-haul flights by 2040

Former Angry Bird marketing guru proposes 80-mile underwater tunnel to link two cities

January 18, 2018 by  
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Peter Vesterbacka, the former marketing chief for the smash hit mobile game Angry Birds, has embraced a new challenge: the construction of an 80-mile-long tunnel between Helsinki , Finland and Tallinn , Estonia. This tunnel would facilitate a high-speed rail connection between the capital of Finland, an artificial island in the Baltic Sea that Vesterbacka plans on building, and the capital of Estonia. “Digging is just a few billion [euros],” Vesterbacka told Buzzfeed News . “Let’s say $15 billion and then it’s done. It’s pretty big.” Big is perhaps an understatement, not only in the resources required and procedural obstacles but in the potential economic impact of linking these two historic cities into one metropolitan area. Vesterbacka was inspired to revisit the old idea of connecting Helsinki and Tallinn, first proposed in 1871 as a bridge built with the assistance of massive balloons , during a May 2016 conference in Tallinn. “When Finns and Estonians get together, they typically start talking about the need to cooperate more,” he said . “It happened again and then I thought that OK, I will finally build it. Let’s walk the walk.” Vesterbacka then stood up, walked to Marina Kaljurand, then-minister of foreign affairs for Estonia, and told her that he and his friends now planned to build a tunnel . “I looked at him quite skeptically, as an enthusiastic and very naive Finn. But when he introduced his background, he started to sound more believable,” Kaljurand told BuzzFeed News . Related: Finland’s longest bridge will be a beautiful pedestrian and cyclist superhighway Admittedly, Vesterbacka had not entirely thought his plan through. For example, he later learned that the world’s largest traffic tunnel, the 35.5-mile-long Gotthard tunnel in the Swiss Alps, took two decades to finish and only recently opened in 2016. Nonetheless, Vesterbacka remains confident. “Building a tunnel is different than building a game, but not that different,” he said . “It’s about making things happen, bringing the right people together.” To this end, Vesterbacka has enlisted the services of two engineering firms with tunnel-building experience. Seventy percent of the project’s funding would come from undisclosed Chinese sources while the rest would be sourced from bank-run public pension funds. Even as the process of securing permits, funding, and a solid plan are daunting, Vesterbacka sees his initiative as a patriotic endeavor. “It is important for Europe as well. France, Germany, and the UK are totally incapable of doing anything. It is very important for the Nordic countries to step up and show the leadership,” he said . Via BuzzFeed News Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Former Angry Bird marketing guru proposes 80-mile underwater tunnel to link two cities

Giant twisting staircase revealed in Schmidt Hammer Lassen-designed solar-powered office

January 18, 2018 by  
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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has unveiled designs of a new sustainable office campus in Oslo for the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Norway’s largest geotechnical specialist community. Topped with green roofs and solar panels, the approximately 30,000-square-meter campus comprises two modern structures that will accommodate up to 300 employees. Both buildings will be flooded with natural light, while the larger of the two features a dramatic spiral staircase that winds its way up a light-filled atrium. Winner of a 2016 competition, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ designs for the new NGI campus aims to expand Oslo’s science community and increase public engagement. Approximately 20 percent of the campus will be open to the public with cafes, shops, and meeting spaces occupying the ground floor. The campus’ location at a busy intersection and the addition of a new public green space will also tie the campus in with the neighborhood. The area will also see the addition of a new cycling and pedestrian bridge in 2019. “The campus is designed with a modern expression and a strong identity with respect to its context,” said Kim Holst Jensen, senior partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “The campus buildings will stand prominently in the local skyline and will reciprocate the voluminous Ullevål Stadion, Norway’s national football stadium located directly across the street.” Related: Energy-conscious library that doubles as a “living room” breaks ground in Shanghai The office complex will be built to BREEAM NOR environmental certifications and draw energy from renewable sources. Ample glazing promotes transparency, optimizing natural light and views of the outdoors. In addition to the ground-floor public areas and a spacious atrium with a spiral staircase, the buildings will also include advanced laboratories, a central canteen and dining area, offices, meeting rooms, courtyards, and basement parking. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Giant twisting staircase revealed in Schmidt Hammer Lassen-designed solar-powered office

6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

December 26, 2017 by  
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Unless you are from Denmark or Norway, the concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) was likely foreign to you until the past few years when this idea of “cozying around” began gaining serious traction. In this big, loud, harsh world, many of us desire a return to good company, simple pleasures, and mindfulness in the moment, and hygge embodies these ideas and more. We’re sharing six ways to help you create this restorative state of mind beloved for centuries in Denmark (by way of Norway ). Image © @quizzically_yours 1. Host a low-key and intimate get-together Small hang-outs with friends are an ideal hygge-promoting gathering. Hygge get-togethers aren’t pretentious: think board game night , card night, or a bagel brunch in the comfort of your own home. The focus of these gatherings is on togetherness, not on spending five hours baking fussy hors d’oeuvres or desserts, so they are perfect for throwing together at a moment’s notice and are super potluck-friendly . An event that gets people absorbed in each other’s company and a low-tech activity that encourages them to detach from their phones is definitely high on the hygge scale. Linked to the concept of hygge is an appreciation of the outdoors, and Danes are known for prizing their open-air time from a young age: babies in Denmark and all over Scandinavia even take their naps outside . Take your gathering outdoors (weather permitting) to bring together the best of both worlds: huddling around an outdoor fire pit definitely fits the bill as does taking a dip in a hot tub. Image © Maria via Unsplash 2. Or make your own solo hygge experience Although hygge is often associated with cozy, candlelit get-togethers with dear friends, you can create your own hygge vibe when you are by yourself. Fredagsmys , a word from Denmark’s Nordic neighbor Sweden , is an actual term used for curling up indoors on a Friday night. So watch a movie, sit on the sofa, or make yourself some hot chocolate or tea and relax with a book (perhaps in front of a fire). Hygge is focused on the idea of enjoying and being aware of simple moments and experiences, so everything doesn’t have to be “just so”: partaking in a free flowing  yoga  practice or a nourishing  soup making  session applies. Image © Alisa Anton via Unsplash 3. Create hygge-friendly spaces in your home While it may be tempting to get caught up in the hygge-buying fever and feel the desire to suddenly possess a plethora of knit throws, cushy pillows, an array of scented candles, and more items, there’s no financial obligation required for creating a warm, comfortable, friendly space. Putting your favorite vintage and reclaimed  knickknacks on display creates a sociable, lived-in vibe. Ditto for items picked up during memorable vacations and roadtrips. If you have a home with large open spaces, consider arranging the furniture that you already own in configurations that encourage intimate tête à têtes. Even a small side table or an ottoman can be a place to gather around, set down your mug, or put your feet up. Interior designer Dani Arps for TaskRabbit suggests, “Texture and natural materials always add warmth; think chunky or nubby blankets stored in a mesh basket that sits next to a reclaimed coffee table.” Related: DIY Meditation Temple Built from Salvaged Materials Photo © Aaron Burden via Unsplash 4. Make space for quiet/meditation Mindfulness and gratitude are definitely components of a hygge mentality, and they dovetail nicely with many people’s goals of having a regular meditation practice. If sitting cross-legged and reciting a mantra isn’t your cup of tea, then consider making your cup of tea the meditation itself. Give yourself permission to really savor and enjoy your morning beverage  without feeling the need to check social media. Or take an invigorating walk with your dog by your side, soak in the tub , journal or even make a phone call to a friend or family member who you can’t connect with in person-these all align with the idea of creating a soothing and reflective practice. Since mindfulness is the goal, avoid multitasking while you are doing whatever activity you choose. Image via Inhabitots 5. Make comforting and nourishing food and drink If you were to scan Instagram, many of the images hashtagged with hygge would start to resemble each other: hands around a warm mug of something, a table laid out with humble but hearty fare, like this mushroom quinoa risotto , a bowl of oatmeal, or fruit and nut-studded granola. Another central tenet in Danish culture is spending time with family , so pulling out a favorite recipe that has been shared over generations for a family gathering is a great way to honor tradition (not to mention the fact that commonly beloved food seems to have a way of smoothing over many family riffs). A super hygge-friendly activity: create an intimate  multigenerational family cooking class with a matriarch or patriarch of the family teaching the younger set how to make a traditional family dish. A few other ideas to get you started include apple cider served in apple cups , a homemade vegan nutella-like spread , one pot sun-dried tomato and basil pasta , and a decadent vegan chocolate cake made with veggies . Image © Antonia Bukowska via Unsplash 6. Put hygge concepts to work year-round Although the idea of cozying around a fire or snuggled up on the couch with our favorites makes winter the season most associated with hygge, the concept of hygge can be employed throughout the year. After all, hygge is a mindset for making “ essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful ”. To that end, going for a midsummer midnight swim, having a backyard BBQ with a few friends, taking a hike in the spring rain, or organizing a pumpkin picking and carving session could all embody this mind/body/soul-nourishing concept. Lead image ©  Worthy of Elegance via Unsplash

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6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

December 22, 2017 by  
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Although frost has arrived in most subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, farmers still carry on even in the most extreme cold climates with the help of innovative technology and thoughtful design. Polar Permaculture Solutions of Norway  and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse of Canada are outstanding examples of defiant, determined agriculture in the Arctic. With features such as hydroponic systems, insulated greenhouses, and compost-warmed geodesic domes, these farms are far from frozen despite their high latitude locations. Benjamin Vidmar, founder of Polar Permaculture Solutions , was inspired to make a change through observations of his home, Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, the Svalbard archipelago’s largest island. “This whole island is about extraction: whales, coal, animals, fish, gas, oil,” Vidmar told Mic . “Everything here is based on taking things from the Earth . I feel like I have to do something for this town.” Vidmar, a chef, began researching methods for growing food in harsh, frigid climates and started growing microgreens for home and restaurant use in an insulated geodesic dome. Since then, Polar Permaculture Solutions has opened its doors for tours and classes for those interested in the challenge. Vidmar hopes to acquire a biodigester, which would create heat and fertilizer from food waste and quail droppings. Related: New Antarctic farm will grow produce despite temperatures of -100 d Across the Atlantic, then again across the most northern regions of North America, communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories are also implementing innovative systems to grow food despite the short season. In the small town of Inuvik, the Inuvik Community Greenhouse , which was converted from an old hockey rink, is now a cherished community space for all ages. The Greenhouse has 250 members, 149 community garden beds, and 24 smaller beds that grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. During the growing season, which lasts from May to September in the greenhouse, community members donate 100 pounds of food to the local food bank. The Greenhouse also offers a compost collection service for town residents, which reduces local food waste, helps to build greenhouse soil, and financially supports the greenhouse’s growth. Via Mic Images via Polar Permaculture Solutions and Inuvik Greenhouse

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The farmers growing food across frigid northern latitudes

Futuristic art center in China has detachable rooms that can bike around town

December 19, 2017 by  
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People’s Architecture Office just unveiled a futuristic cultural center in China that is equipped with detachable room that serve as “cultural satellites.” The incredible building – called the People’s Station – uses the flexible mini-structures to add extra space when necessary. When not in use, the mini-buildings can be collapsed and transported by bike to other locations. The architects used their own prefabricated system to manufacture the building, which took just three months to construct. Located in a quiet region of Yantai, the building’s design was created to attract visitors to the historic center of the city. Its funky angular volume is comprised of wide open entryways and various sections that seem to float off the ground. Related: China’s new futuristic library is unlike any we’ve seen before On the inside, the exhibition rooms are the first two floors are expansive, with high ceilings that are staggered up diagonally up to the second and third floors. Triangular glass panels flood the interior with natural light . On the top floor, visitors can enjoy a lounge area with a bookstore and a cinema. Throughout the building, there are various outdoor terraces that offer beautiful views of surrounding cityscape, as well as the ocean in the distance. + People’s Architecture Office Via Archdaily Photography courtesy PAO  

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Futuristic art center in China has detachable rooms that can bike around town

Pinecone-shaped apartment building unveiled for former military camp in Norway

December 18, 2017 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter just unveiled a striking apartment complex for the town of Ski, Norway. The 4,000-square-meter residences will take on a sculptural, pinecone-like shape with high-end apartment units in the green new neighborhood in Ski Vest. Set on the site of a former military camp, the building derives design inspiration from the historic site context. Commissioned by Solon Eiendom , the Ski Vest tower will offer 50 apartments when complete. In addition to its former military camp settings, the new-build will be slotted into a historical landscape surrounded by with buildings dating back to the late 19th century. “Through the conscious use of qualitative and location-oriented architecture , the project will reinforce and develop the inherent identity of the site,” wrote the architects. Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain The residential building eschews a boxy form in favor of a pinecone -like shape that tapers towards the top. The 50 apartments will feature large openings, tall ceilings, and sheltered terraces that provide both privacy and sweeping views. Linear copper terraces with beautiful perforated walls will wrap around the building. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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