Light-filled family home sensitively embraces a British Islands native landscape

April 17, 2018 by  
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When DLM Architects was asked to create an energy-efficient and sustainable family home in St Peter Port of Guernsey, the site’s densely planted vegetation proved both a boon and a challenge. The local planning department had imposed many site restrictions due to the number of protected trees, but after four years of negotiation the architects managed to settle on a solution resulting in a beautiful and light-filled dwelling with a sensitive environmental footprint. Named ‘The Glade’ after the its location in a clearing surrounded by forest, the new-build family home occupies a spacious 3,230 square feet of living space spread out across two floors in a roughly L-shaped plan. To preserve privacy and views from and to neighboring properties, the home is partly sunken into the site’s natural topography with the basement set into an existing swimming pool excavation from the previous build. Guernsey granite and reclaimed brick , mostly sourced on site, clad the ground floor. Cladding is split on the upper floor, with the eastern side featuring a steel-framed cantilever covered in a living wall of 4,000 plants of 13 native species to camouflage the building into the tree canopy. The living wall also doubles as an extra layer of insulation while providing a buffer from acoustic and air pollution from the nearby roads. A double-glazed link housing the staircase separates the plant-covered east wing from the west end where the second level is clad in cedar. Related: Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials Open-plan living is prioritized throughout the home, as is ample glazing to maintain a fluid connection with the outdoors. A natural materials palette is also used throughout the interior. “A skin of locally reclaimed brick is coated with lime slurry, raw pigment plasters line the walls, with grey limestone to the floors, oak joinery, machined brass ironmongery, a bespoke raw steel staircase and furnishings and a reclaimed granite trough as the cloakroom sink,” wrote the architects. “Where possible local materials and fabrication has been utilised delivering a soft traditional character within a contemporary envelope.” + DLM Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Peter Landers

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Light-filled family home sensitively embraces a British Islands native landscape

Soak in views of the Indian Himalayas at this bamboo-clad hotel villa

April 17, 2018 by  
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Perched high on the mountains of Uttarakhand, India sits The Kumaon , a rustic yet elegant hotel with breathtaking Himalayan views. Boasting floor-to-ceiling mountain views, the hotel designed by Zowa Architects seeks to highlight the natural landscape as much as possible with its minimized footprint and use of locally sourced materials. All hotel structures were designed to harvest rainwater that’s stored in a large holding tank at the bottom of the site, while interstitial spaces between buildings are planted with seasonal crops to be used in the kitchen. Located in the village of Kaser devi near the town of Almora, The Kumaon comprises 10 rooms housed in chalets and separates the main shared facilities—the lounge and dining room, library, reception, and spa—in the main building at the highest point of the site from the services building placed at the bottom. The rooms are embedded into the terraced sloping landscape. “We decided to design the rooms in pairs, one atop the other and scatter them across the site at different levels,” wrote the architects. “This was partly to reduce the bulk of the building and also to reduce the overall footprint of the development.” The main building consists of two floors: the ground floor houses the managers’ quarters and offices in addition to a spacious lounge and library. The floor above is dramatically cantilevered to the north to allow for spectacular views of the Indian Himalayas , which are best enjoyed in the second-floor dining room. The roof of the ground floor doubles as a terrace for outdoor dining and yoga. Related: Himalayan Village: A Charming Mountain Resort Made of Local Materials in Northern India To pay homage to the local culture, the architects enlisted the help of local craftsmen and used local materials wherever possible, such as local pinewood that’s found in the flooring, doors and windows. Furnishings were also designed and made on site. The structures, built of concrete, are clad in bamboo stringed together with copper wiring to soften the architecture. The handcrafted furnishings, natural materials palette, and emphasis on natural light give the hotel a rustic back-to-nature vibe. + Zowa Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Akshay Sharma

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Soak in views of the Indian Himalayas at this bamboo-clad hotel villa

Dutch designer creates a wooden motorcycle powered by algae

August 11, 2017 by  
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An algae-powered wooden motorcycle? The concept isn’t too far out, considering algae has been used to create everything from eco-friendly sneakers to living lamps that absorb CO2 . There’s even an entire algae-powered building in Hamburg ! Dutch designer Ritsert Mans and scientist Peter Mooij created a wooden motorcycle that runs on algae to increase the visibility of the lesser known fuel source. “For every part of the bike, I looked to what nature could provide me with,” said Mans, who built the frame and springs with wood. He used cork for the dampeners and hemp for reinforcement. The team was interested in showcasing how algae oil could be potentially used in the future. So, they grew algae in saltwater, built a wooden motorcycle that runs on the stuff, then tested the concept on a local beach. In his narration, Mans likens the experiment the pioneering era of the 1900’s. Back then, people had no idea what to expect in terms of the up-and-coming automotive landscape. Now that millions of citizens are making a collective effort to invest in renewable energy and sustainable initiatives, great advances are expected to take place. “People don’t know what the world will look like 30 years from now in terms of transportation and energy,” Mans said, “but that uncertainty allows people to develop and build their own ideas.” “Even though the single-sided swingarm seems to contrast with the ‘prehistoric’ material it is made of, it’s actually a full composite, with all sorts of directional fibers provided by nature,” he added. Related: Mexico-sized algae bloom in the Arabian Sea connected to climate change Mans and Mooij wrote a book called The Thick Algae (or De Dikke Alg, in their native Dutch). Their wooden algae bike was made to accompany the resource. If you’d like to learn more about the project, watch Peter Mooij’s 2015 TED talk on algae oil: + Ritsert Mans Via Motofire Images via Ritsert Mans

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Dutch designer creates a wooden motorcycle powered by algae

This boy accidentally found a 1.2 million-year-old fossil by tripping over it

July 21, 2017 by  
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Sometimes, there are benefits to being clumsy – so discovered 9-year-old Jude Sparks on a recent hike in New Mexico’s Orange Mountains. On a trip with his family, Sparks tripped over an object which he first thought was “just a big fat rotten cow.” Instead, it turned out to be a Stegomastodon fossil from 1.2 million years ago. The young boy told KVIA TV, “I didn’t know what it was. I just knew it wasn’t usual.” His family agreed, which is why they contacted Peter Houde, a professor at New Mexico State University, and returned to the site the next day. Sure enough, what Sparks had tripped over was a fossilized tusk belonging to an ancient Stegomastodon . According to The New York Times , the ancient mammal was a cousin to the wooly mammoth and modern-day elephants. Not only are the remains large, they are quite rare, considering prehistoric bones tend to disintegrate quickly after being exposed to the elements. “This is really very unusual to find,” said Houde. Elated to have made the find, the family set up a fundraiser for a formal dig. It took months to organize a team and secure a permit, but earlier this May, an entire skull made of delicate “egg-shell thin” pieces was discovered. Houde hopes to display the remains at the university. “We’re really, really grateful that they contacted us, because if they had not done that, if they had tried to do it themselves, it could have just destroyed the specimen,” he said. “It really has to be done with great care and know-how. Jude — now 10-years-old — says he isn’t as interested in fossils as he used to be but likes the attention that comes with discovering the fossilized remains of a mammal which is slightly smaller than the average African elephant . Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old Believe it or not, this isn’t the first Stegomastadon that’s been “accidentally” discovered. A hiking bachelor party found a 3-million-year-old skull in 2010 while hiking in New Mexico’s Butte Lake State Park. Via The New York Times , All That Is Interesting Images via Peter Houde

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This boy accidentally found a 1.2 million-year-old fossil by tripping over it

Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos

July 21, 2017 by  
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Indoor vertical farming is on the rise, if a recent funding round for San Francisco startup Plenty is any indication. The company just scored what they say is the largest agriculture technology investment in history. Plenty has attracted attention – and quite a lot of money – from well-known tech greats like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Plenty is utilizing technology to improve agriculture. The startup draws on big data processing, micro-sensor technology, and LED lighting in an effort to make affordable, local food available for people around the world. Their system uses less water and space than conventional farms, and grows food more efficiently. Plenty says they can yield as much as 350 times more crops per square foot than a typical farm. Their recent Series B funding round, led by Japanese media corporation SoftBank ‘s Vision Fund, turned out to be quite fruitful at $200 million. Related: 40-foot shipping container farm can grow 5 acres of food with 97% less water SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement, “By combining technology with optimal agriculture methods, Plenty is working to make ultra-fresh, nutrient-rich food accessible to everyone in an always-local way that minimizes wastage from transport. We believe that Plenty’s team will remake the current food system to improve people’s quality of life.” Plenty will use the $200 million to start expanding, and plan to bring their first produce to market later this year. They plan to grow two to five acre indoor farms, which the BBC said is around the size of a Walmart or Home Depot. The company already employs 100 people working in three facilities in Wyoming and San Francisco. Initially, Plenty will provide mainly leafy greens and herbs for distributors that have already signed on, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Barnard. He said in a statement, “The world is out of land in the places it’s most economical to grow these crops. After a decade of development driven by one of our founders, our technology is uniquely capable of growing super clean food with no pesticides nor GMOs while cutting water consumption by 99 percent…We’re now ready to build out our farm network and serve communities around the globe.” + Plenty Via Plenty and the BBC Images via Plenty Facebook

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Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos

Crowdfunded Company Launches Site to Help Eco Nonprofits

May 8, 2017 by  
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In 2010, Peter Dering found himself doing what many young 20-somethings do, taking a four-month-long backpacking trip around Asia. He practiced his love of photography by capturing the exotic sights he encountered in each country, but he found his…

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Crowdfunded Company Launches Site to Help Eco Nonprofits

Modern and traditional design comes together in a renovated house in Mexico

June 29, 2016 by  
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Set on a quiet road close to the beach, the renovated home features two floors intersected by three atria that flood the interior with natural light . A double-height ceiling at the front of the building also helps funnel natural light into the building and creates an airy and spacious feel. The larger ground floor comprises the living room, kitchen, and dining room located at the front of the home, while the two guest bedrooms and bathrooms are tucked in the rear. The upper level houses two bedrooms, including the master bedroom, two bathrooms, and opens up to a large terrace that overlooks views of the ocean. Related: A contemporary Mexican residence built around a ‘forest of red oaks’ The house in Mexico is set back from the road by a small courtyard and white gates covered in leafy foliage that partially shield the beautifully patterned house from view. The custom handmade tiles that clad the home are dark blue and white with a floral and geometric motif. To mitigate against solar heat gain and for added privacy, the large glazed openings on the home’s west side can be closed with white aluminum shutters. + Peter Pichler Architecture Images by Oscar Hernandez

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Modern and traditional design comes together in a renovated house in Mexico

Where should we stash carbon? Look down

February 24, 2016 by  
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At GreenBiz 16, filmmaker Peter Byck and author Paul Hawken explore novel ways to keep carbon out of the air.

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Where should we stash carbon? Look down

After $500M Lyft bet, GM chases sustainable self-driving cars

January 15, 2016 by  
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General Motors Executive Director of Urban Mobility Peter Kosak weighs in on the automaker’s future in transportation tech.

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After $500M Lyft bet, GM chases sustainable self-driving cars

INTERVIEW: Becky Northey and Peter “Pook” Cook on the Tree Shaping Art of Pooktre

March 6, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of INTERVIEW: Becky Northey and Peter “Pook” Cook on the Tree Shaping Art of Pooktre Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green furniture” , Becky Northey , Knowledge to Grow Shaped Trees , living furniture , Peter Cook , Pook , Pooktre , tree chair , tree furniture , Tree Shaping

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INTERVIEW: Becky Northey and Peter “Pook” Cook on the Tree Shaping Art of Pooktre

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