TRS Studio turns shipping containers into low-cost Pachacutec housing

June 6, 2019 by  
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Improved housing could soon be coming to Pachacutec, a dusty shantytown on the outskirts of Lima. Peruvian architectural practice TRS Studio has proposed low-cost cargotecture dwellings that not only are sensitive to the local vernacular, but also offer improved comfort and safety as compared to existing housing. The single-family homes would be made from shipping containers and recycled materials, including oriented strand board, wooden planks and polycarbonate panels. For the marginalized populations living in the “Pesquero II” settlement of Pachacutec, education and basic services can be difficult to obtain. A stable and comfortable house could give families greater stability and empower them to improve their living conditions. Thus, TRS Studio designed cargotecture housing adaptable to different family situations and would be built with community participation to give inhabitants a greater sense of ownership over their homes. Related: Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project Each modular house consists of two floors. The first floor comprises the main living areas, including a kitchenette, as well as the master bedroom in the rear and an 18-square-meter space for a side garden or flexible recreational space. The second floor houses two additional bedrooms and a study that could be converted into a fourth bedroom. The natural finish of the construction materials would be left exposed yet reinforced for long-term durability. The shipping container frame, for instance, would be reinforced with steel columns, while unpainted OSB boards would be used for dividing walls. Recycled polycarbonate roofing would let in plenty of natural light indoors. “The construction in the first habitable modules will have educational purposes; we will have with the experience in this project, an exponential training in the construction process of the following habitable modules, helping to the future replicas will be even more effectives,” say the architects. “A fundamental aspect in this experience will be the change in the urban image of Pachacutec city, as a demonstrative zone in the field of sustainable construction in the long run, this differential implies that they will have formed in this district entrepreneurial people of the self-built sustainable architecture with the ability to teach other members of their community and to provide their services in other districts. Then, the attention will not be only in the project as architectural design, but also in the formation of future and sustainable constructors, improving their quality life and strengthening their values.” + TRS Studio Images via TRS Studio

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TRS Studio turns shipping containers into low-cost Pachacutec housing

8,000 barrels of oil spill in the Peruvian Amazon

December 14, 2018 by  
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Approximately 8,000 barrels of crude oil have spilled into the Amazon, and the Peru State oil company Petroperu says its because local indigenous people severed the pipeline. According to a company statement , members of the Mayuriaga community in the Loreto region first damaged the pipeline and then interfered with the technicians trying to repair it. “The townspeople prevented us from securing the pipe to stop petroleum from spilling from the pipe,” said Beatriz Alva Hart, a Petroperu spokeswoman. The spill is one of the worst the region has seen in years, and it comes after the Mayuriaga community threatened to attack the pipeline in protest of recent district election results. Related: Crude oil spill off Newfoundland coast deemed impossible to clean up The pipeline transports the crude from the Peruvian Amazon oil fields to Petroperu’s refinery on the Pacific coast. And, during the past two years, local vandals have attacked it fifteen different times over issues that have nothing to do with the company. Data from OEFA, an environmental regulator, shows that the repeated attacks have caused over 20,000 barrels to spill from the critical pipeline , and over 5,000 barrels have sprung leaks thanks to corrosion or operative failures. The leader of Peru’s Wampis Nation — whose members make up the Mayuriaga community — has denied Petroperu’s accusations. Just days before the spill, the company received a handwritten letter from three individuals threatening to damage the Norperuano pipeline if the company didn’t declare recent election results invalid. They also claimed fraud and corruption in the local mayoral election. The letter’s authors identify as indigenous peoples of Morona, the district that contains the Wampis community of Mayuriaga, which sits about 500 yards from the spill site. Petroperu is not in charge of the local elections, but 20 of their employees were held hostage before the threatening letter arrived, a practice that the Mayuriaga community has been accused of in the past. Company officials have still not been able to assess the damage from the spill or do any cleanup work because the community will not allow them to enter the area safely. Via Reuters , Earther Image via Shutterstock

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8,000 barrels of oil spill in the Peruvian Amazon

MAD Architects curvaceous Himalayas Center nears completion in Nanjing

December 14, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based architecture firm,  MAD Architects, is nearing completion on yet another of their massive mountain-inspired projects— the Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center. Inspired by the Chinese traditional painting style of ‘ shan shui ’ (‘mountain water’), the mixed-use development was designed as the “spiritual and poetic retreat in the middle of the city” and features curvaceous forms that mimic Nanjing’s surrounding mountains and waterways. In addition to its impressive mountain-like appearance, the highly complex city-scale urban project also integrates energy-saving strategies from ample glazing and vertical sun shades that mitigate solar gain while letting in natural light to the landscape irrigation systems that use recycled rainwater. Famously unveiled at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014, the Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center is one of MAD Architects largest projects and covers approximately 560,000 square meters. The development will consist of a mix of office spaces, retail and restaurants, hotel and residences. “The scheme seeks to restore the spiritual harmony between humanity and nature through the integration of contemplative spaces that, while immersing inhabitants in nature, still meets the conveniences of modern day living,” explains the firm of the nature-inspired architecture. Envisioned as a “village-like community,” the project is centered on publicly accessible gardens and a mix of low-rise commercial buildings connected with footbridges and elevated pathways. The most eye-catching low-rise structure is enveloped entirely in greenery and features a rounded form suggestive of a hill. Surrounding this “village” are the mountain-like towers along the boundary of the site with white, curved glass louvers that “‘flow’ like waterfalls.” A series of water features—from ponds and waterfalls to brooks and pools—connect the buildings alongside lush landscaping. Related: MAD’s mountain-like towers reach completion and LEED Gold in Beijing The Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center is currently in its third and final phase of construction and is slated for completion in 2020. + MAD Architects Images via CreatAR Images, MAD Architects

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MAD Architects curvaceous Himalayas Center nears completion in Nanjing

Giant curtain built in Peru to study climate change in the cloud forests

January 5, 2018 by  
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Biologist Dan Metcalfe is leading a study that seeks to understand how climate change may impact the cloud forests of Peru and elsewhere by using a giant curtain to affect the local environment. A professor at Lund University in Sweden, Metcalfe describes his unprecedented plan as “an experimental approach where we actually physically try to remove clouds from a portion of the forest.” Cloud forests are unique ecosystems, which, although small in land area, provide enormous regional ecological benefits. Despite their importance, there has been little research on how climate change may impact cloud forests. Metcalfe’s study will test how the forest reacts to reduced cloud and moisture cover in hopes of understanding what is in store for these precious habitats. At only 1 percent of the world’s total forested area, cloud forests are well adapted to mountainside locations near the equator between 500-4,000 meters (1640-13,000 feet) in elevation. Cloud forests function as moisture banks for rivers and lowland habitats, storing water in its spongy soil and releasing it when needed down below during a dry spell. Many species of plants and animals are endemic to cloud forests and may face threats to their habitat due to climate change. Scientists suspect that clouds will form further uphill, leaving the forest to deal with decreased levels of moisture. Metcalfe’s experiment intends to observe what effects this change might have on the forests and those who call it home. Related: Fly through Ecuador’s cloud forest on a human-powered sky bike! After earlier curtain designs proved impractical, Metcalfe salvaged a damaged tower not longer suitable for climbing to rig up a ten-story tall curtain. Even after reaching a final plan, Metcalfe’s project continued to endure delays and obstacles. A key team member became sick, essential gear was destroyed by fire , and Metcalfe’s wife gave birth to two children, limiting travel to Peru. After four years of work, the curtain is almost finished and extensive data on the cloud forest and climate change will soon be arriving. Via the Guardian Images via William Ferguson/Wake Forest University ,  Dan Metcalfe/Lund University , and  Caroline Granycome/Flickr

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Giant curtain built in Peru to study climate change in the cloud forests

Villagers in Peru stumble across what may be an ancient Inca city

October 17, 2017 by  
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Locals in the southern rainforest of Peru may have stumbled across an Inca city while grazing cattle. The Provincial Municipality of La Convención shared images of the site, close to the National Sanctuary of Megantoni. In a space around two hectares big, residents found houses, walls, passageways, platforms, and streets that could date all the way back to the Inca civilization . Villagers told local authorities of their find – which occurred on September 9 – and returned with officials to take another look at what could be an old Inca citadel that had been covered by vegetation. La Convención mayor Wilfredo Alagon said he would report the find to the Decentralized Culture Directorate of Cusco (DDCC), and monument management body head Jorge Yabar Zamalloa told the Andina news agency they have sent an archaeologist to the site to put together a technical report. Related: 2,000-year-old pre-Aztec ancient palace complex found in Mexico Structures made with stone can be glimpsed in the photographs, which have been presented as evidence for the city, according to Andina. There’s no firm date attached to the archaeological remains as of yet – although the Inca civilization flourished between 1,425 C.E. and 1,532 C.E. in South America, according to the non-profit organization Ancient History Encyclopedia . The Inca civilization often utilized stone in buildings. In a 2014 article , Ancient History Encyclopedia writer Mark Cartwright said, “Inca architecture includes some of the most finely worked stone structures from any ancient civilization…it typically incorporated the natural landscape yet at the same time managed to dominate it to create an often spectacular blend of geometrical and natural forms.” Alagon said they’ll take measures to protect these remains, according to Archaeology. Via Archaeology , Provincial Municipality of La Convención , and Andina Images via Provincial Municipality of La Convención

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Sprawling MW House blends into the Peruvian landscape with an undulating green roof

July 13, 2017 by  
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MW House by Riofrio+Rodrigo Arquitectos acts as an extension of the desert hills in Peru . Resembling the relief of the rocky landscape and featuring an undulating green roof, this seasonal house establishes a direct relationship with its surroundings and offers a series of rich indoor and outdoor spaces to its occupants. The house comprises two L-shaped blocks that house different functions. The first one is the main house which accommodates the living room, dining room, kitchen, wine cellar and a bedroom. This volume also features spaces that direct the view of the main rooms of the house towards the nearest hills. Related: Peru’s Chontay house was made using locally-sourced wood and clay to help it blend in with the surrounding mountains The second, smaller side houses service rooms and the entrance, laundry, bedrooms, car parking, kitchen and a storage space . An open courtyard connects the main house with secondary and guest bedrooms and allows occupants to enjoy a direct connection to nature. All of this is enclosed under a green roof that helps the home blend seamlessly with the landscape. + Riofrio+Rodrigo Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photos by Juan Solano Ojasi

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Sprawling MW House blends into the Peruvian landscape with an undulating green roof

Modern day Machu Picchu wins inaugural RIBA International Prize for the worlds best new building

November 25, 2016 by  
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The grand jury, chaired by world-renowned architect Richard Rogers , commended UTEC as an inspirational example of civic architecture in empowering people and societies to innovate and progress. The vertical campus building is made up of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs, and grottos to provide natural ventilation , shade, open circulation, and exposed meeting spaces. This permeability puts the building’s activity on full display to the surrounding neighborhood to help blend UTEC into Lima’s urban fabric. Related: Six of the world’s most incredible buildings shortlisted for the RIBA International Prize “UTEC is an exceptional example of civil architecture – a building designed with people at its heart,” said the RIBA jury. “Grafton Architects have created a new way to think about a university campus , with a distinctive ‘vertical campus’ structure responding to the temperate climatic conditions and referencing Peru’s terrain and heritage. Sitting on the border of two residential districts in Lima, in section UTEC perches tantalizingly on the edge of a ravine. Seen from across the ravine it is as bold and as pure a statement of the symbiosis between architecture and engineering as could be imagined; a piece of geology imposed on its pivotal site, mirroring the organic curve of the landscape and accommodating itself in the city. To its close neighbours, it is a series of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs and grottos, a modern day Machu Picchu.” + Grafton Architects + RIBA Images by Iwan Baan

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Modern day Machu Picchu wins inaugural RIBA International Prize for the worlds best new building

Latticed aluminum shelters to help coastal Peruvians in climate emergencies

March 15, 2016 by  
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BIG, Foster + Partners, and Grimshaw Architects unveil designs for Dubai’s 2020 Expo

March 15, 2016 by  
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Mercury pollution poison threatens to wipe out a remote tribe of indigenous Amazon people

March 14, 2016 by  
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Mercury poisoning could potentially wipe out an isolated Amazonian tribe in Peru . Over 80 percent of the members of the Nahua tribe are currently sick with mercury poisoning, which is linked to anemia and kidney malfunction, and one child has reportedly died from the illness, according to tribal protection group Survival International (SI). Health experts say that Camisea Gas Project , the country’s largest gas field, is the source of the poisoning. Read the rest of Mercury pollution poison threatens to wipe out a remote tribe of indigenous Amazon people

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Mercury pollution poison threatens to wipe out a remote tribe of indigenous Amazon people

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