Zen-like Seattle retreat keeps a minimal footprint in a lush landscape

July 20, 2017 by  
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For those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, feast your eyes on this beautiful light-filled cabin just outside Seattle in Greenwater, Washington. Robert Hutchison Architecture designed Crystal River Ranch House, a cedar -clad home hidden in the shadow of Mount Rainier that exudes a zen-like air of tranquility. Crafted to blend into the lush evergreen landscape, the 1,900-square-foot retreat was kept as compact as possible to minimize site impact and to epitomize the small home living movement. Set within a forest on the banks of the White River, the two-bedroom Crystal River Ranch House emphasizes connection with nature through its large glazed walls and natural materials palette . Custom-run and blackened Western Red Cedar planks clad the building and help it blend into the landscape. The entry courtyard serves as a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor environment. Despite the home’s compact size, the interior looks surprisingly spacious thanks to use of a centrally located double-height space , large glazed windows, white-painted surfaces, and abundance of natural light. The modern design is characterized by simple, clean leans and a cozy yet minimalist aesthetic. The communal areas, including the open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room, as well as a covered patio and outdoor patio, are located on the east and south sides of the home. The two bedrooms are placed on opposite ends of the house, with the master suite on the northeast side and the guest bedroom on the southwest side. Related: Natural material palette brings warmth to minimalist Swiss home The architects write: “Designed as a zen-like retreat from the bustle of the city, the open living area uses large glass walls to create a sense of space and light even on the Northwest’s darkest, rainy days. A steel-clad fireplace mass serves as a central architectural feature and utility, complementing the natural wood interiors while separating the living room from the covered outdoor patio.” + Robert Hutchison Architecture Images by Mark Woods

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PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a stunning look inside our plastic waste problem

July 20, 2017 by  
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Much of our trash is hidden from our daily lives, which is why design collective Luzinterruptus is shining the light on wastefulness in their latest environmental art installations. Located at the heart of Madrid’s popular tourist attraction Plaza Mayor, PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a massive maze constructed from the thousands of plastic bottles that had been consumed in and around the plaza in the past month. The Madrid City Council commissioned the installation, built in June for the fourth Centennial Celebration of Plaza Mayor within the “Four Seasons” city art program. The PlasticWaste Labyrinth design developed out of Luzinterruptus’ desire to create a large-scale interactive installation befitting the historical plaza. The giant plastic bottle maze is intentionally claustrophobic so as to make the public feel disoriented while exploring the intricate path and narrow passages flanked with three-meter-tall walls. Wrapped around the King Philip III statue, the 300-square-meter maze features corridors measuring 170 meters in length and takes three minutes to pace. “The idea was to graphically visualize the amount of plastic we generate in our daily lives which we don’t often recycle accordingly,” said Luzinterruptus. “As a consequence, all this plastic is dumped in nature and ends up floating in the ocean, forming huge plastic islands that are destroying the marine ecosystem and will not ever decompose. Bearing all this in mind, we thought it was paramount that the piece didn’t look friendly.” Related: Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbao’s book festival Around 15,000 plastic bottles, inserted with lights and placed in bags, were used for the walls of the PlasticWaste Labyrinth. The plastic bottles were collected from businesses surrounding the square as well as from local residents and visitors who could dispose of their plastic waste in two giant containers placed in the square. The maze was open day and night for four days. + Luzinterruptus Photography: Lola Martínez © 2017

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PlasticWaste Labyrinth is a stunning look inside our plastic waste problem

Oozing hagfish spill covers highway with slime in Oregon

July 17, 2017 by  
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The images seem as though they were lifted from some horror show in which alien creatures paralyze highways and melt cars wherever they fall. In a stranger-than-fiction twist, something quite similar actually occurred in Depoe Bay, Oregon . A truck hauling eels known as hagfish for their ghoulish appearance overturned on an Oregon state highway last week, leaving the roadway covered in a debilitating layer of ooze. “What to tell the #drycleaner?” tweeted the Oregon State Police as the clean-up team worked to clear the road. The hagfish that spilled across the highway were en route to port, from which they would be shipped to Korea ; there, hagfish are considered a delicacy. As the truck driver tried to slow down near road construction, containers of hagfish, 7,500 pounds of eels in total, slipped from the truck bed, hitting the pavement and nearby passing cars. The highway was shutdown for several hours as state and local authorities bulldozed and hosed the unlucky hagfish and their accompanying slime off the road. Related: The Biomimicry Manual: That Crafty Green Chemist, the Hagfish When hagfish are agitated, they excrete a large amount of the slime observed in the pictures of the flooded highway and wrecked cars . This slime production is actually encouraged by intentionally distressing the hagfish, as their slime is used in some cuisines in a similar manner as one might use egg whites. It only takes one hagfish a few seconds to transform a five-gallon bucket of saltwater into a sticky, slimy mess. This slime can also be used as an unexpected natural fiber , which can be processed into a replacement for oil-based polymers. Via the Seattle Times Images via NOAA Photo Library and Oregon State Police

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Oozing hagfish spill covers highway with slime in Oregon

What’s causing “milky rain” to fall in the Pacific Northwest?

February 10, 2015 by  
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Scientists may have uncovered the cause of a strange “ milky rain ” that fell on large parts of Oregon and Eastern Washington state last week. The unusual rainfall left a powdery residue on cars and windows, as well as a lot of concerned residents who wondered what it was and where it came from. Reuters reports that meteorologists now think the strange precipitation is the result of dust storms happening hundreds of miles away in Nevada. Read the rest of What’s causing “milky rain” to fall in the Pacific Northwest? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: meteorology , milky , milky rain , national weather service , Oregon , Pacific Northwest , precipitation , rainfall , washington , weather

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New Study Suggests Pacific Ocean is Polluted With… Coffee?

August 6, 2012 by  
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People aren’t the only ones getting a jolt from caffeine these days; in a new study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin , scientists found elevated concentrations of caffeine in the Pacific Ocean in areas off the coast of Oregon. With all those coffee drinkers in the Pacific Northwest, it should be no surprise that human waste containing caffeine would ultimately make its way through municipal water systems and out to sea – but how will the presence of caffeine in our oceans affect human health and natural ecosystems? Read the rest of New Study Suggests Pacific Ocean is Polluted With… Coffee? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Boston Harbor , caffeine , coffee , contaminated water , intertidal mussels , marine life , Oregon coast , pacific garbage patch , Pacific Northwest , pacific ocean , scientific research , septic tanks , wastewater pollution

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New Study Suggests Pacific Ocean is Polluted With… Coffee?

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