Off-grid home threads through a South African riverine forest

July 23, 2020 by  
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When a nature-loving elderly couple tapped South African architecture firm  Frankie Pappas  to design their new home, they requested a residence with minimal site impact. The architects responded with a site-specific house that operates completely off-grid and weaves between trees to preserve the natural scenery. Built largely of natural materials , the home — named the House of the Big Arch — seems to disappear into the landscape.  Located within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve between a riverine forest and a sandstone cliff, the House of the Big Arch comprises two main skinny linear volumes joined together at an angle with small additions to the sides. The unusual shape directly responds to the sloped site and the location and size of the surrounding trees. To ensure the preservation of all existing trees, the architects laser-scanned the entire site to create a digital  3D model  that informed critical design decisions.  To “bridge the landscape between the riverine forest and sandstone cliff,” the architects constructed the building with rough stock brick matching the color of the site’s weathered sandstone. The “bridge” portions of the home use sustainably grown timber, and the non-structural walls use glass and aluminum. In addition to blending in with the surroundings, the home operates entirely off-grid and follows passive principles for a reduced energy footprint. Water collected from the roof gets filtered and stored for reuse.  Greywater , stored separately, also gets processed for reuse. A 16-square-meter solar array provides for all the home’s energy needs.  Related: South Africa’s first interior 6 star Green Star awarded to Formfunc The House of the Big Arch spreads across three floors, with an underground cellar for storing food supplies, curing meats and aging wines. The ground floor opens up to  courtyards  and houses a study, library and a small swing beneath the arch at the front of the site. On the first floor, open-plan communal areas connect to a tree-shaded deck and a pool.  + Frankie Pappas Images via Frankie Pappas

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Off-grid home threads through a South African riverine forest

Summer gardening tips for a great harvest

June 19, 2020 by  
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When the much-anticipated summer season finally arrives, make the most of your garden time with a checklist of ongoing tasks that will keep your plants healthy year-round. Clean up Much of your clean up might have taken place in the spring. However, if winter rolls straight into summer in your part of the country, or you haven’t had the time or motivation to tackle the task, get busy pulling weeds, mowing the lawn and cleaning the patio furniture. Avoid harsh chemicals and instead borrow a pressure washer to blast the deck, fencing, porch and paver stones. Also, tidy up any concrete blocks along your raised beds. Related: Where to order vegetable seeds online Continue to plant Again, your garden is probably well underway from your spring plantings. But in addition to monitoring the growth of your current plants, continue planting for late summer and fall crops. Plan to keep your garden producing by planting fall crops such as pumpkins and squash. Create a calendar for planting based on where you live and how long crops need until harvest. Use mulch Summer heat zaps moisture out of the soil, and many plants suffer without mulch to help them retain much-needed water. Check your trees, shrubs and flowering bulbs a few times each month and supplement the mulch as needed.  Plant bulbs Although spring and summer steal the show for flowering bulbs, the fall months can dazzle too if you think ahead. Use the warm days of late summer to plant bulbs such as autumn crocus, winter daffodil and Guernsey lily that will burst to life in the fall. Be sure to mark where you placed them, so you don’t plant over them. Install a timer Using water efficiently not only benefits your pocketbook and the planet’s resources, but it also results in better plant production. The best way to water where you need when you need is to use timers that automatically turn the system on and off. Timers can be used for complex underground sprinkler systems with several zones and also for simple drip systems for hanging baskets or berry patches.  Water  in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are cool and evaporation is less likely. Make sure to turn the timers off when rain is in the forecast. Prune and deadhead As plants continue to thrive throughout the season, they’ll benefit from a trim here and there. Identify plants that bloom early winter to late spring and prune them back during the summer. Deadhead current blooming plants as blossoms die off; this diverts the energy away from spent blooms and towards active ones.  Support your plants Early in the season, get cages around your brambling plants, such as raspberries and tomatoes . Other plants also need support as they grow, including bush beans, snap peas and flowers like delphinium. Check on your plants at least every other day to keep them in line.  Train them to climb Summer is also a productive season for your climbers, and without training, they may grow to undesirable places within or even outside your yard. Keep up with your hops, grapes, clematis and wisteria, guiding them up trellises or along wires as they reach new heights. Close the buffet for animals Your garden full of flowers or fruits is a tempting invitation for the neighborhood  animals . Summer is the time to protect your plants against critters large and small. Put up fencing around your food garden and make sure it is tall enough that deer can’t jump over it. Inside your garden, further protect plants from smaller animals that may squeeze in, such as rabbits and chipmunks. To protect against the smallest of hungry animals, keep ladybugs around to feed on aphids, move old plants to another area of the yard, use natural insecticides and place short, open cans or cups of beer nearby to draw in slugs. You can also use netting over the top of your crops to keep birds from having a free meal at the plant buffet. Feed your plants Even after your plants are well established, most need a little boost now and then to keep up energy for production. Around midseason, provide your plants with some fertilizer to help them out.  Turn your harvest into a meal plan Growing a garden can take a lot of work and money, so you don’t want your resulting harvest to go to waste. The best way to use up fresh vegetables is to plan for their arrival. You can add the tops of radishes, beets and carrots to pesto, which can be eaten fresh or frozen/canned for later. Plan to use your lettuce promptly after harvest with myriad salad options that can incorporate your carrots, beets, snow peas, broccoli, strawberries and more. The point is, as your garden produces various foods , create an upcoming meal plan to match.  Protect wood products Summer is also the time to restain fencing and decking. Apply a fresh coat of paint or stain to furniture and the garden bench. Invite pollinators to the party Pollinators such as  bees, butterflies, birds  and bats can really benefit your yard, so as summer progresses, cater to their needs. Build and install bat, butterfly, bird and bee houses. Keep the bird feeders and baths clean and supplied. Finally, plan your seasonal garden flowers around those that attract your feathered and winged friends to the party.  Start a compost pile Anytime is a great time to start a compost pile. Still, the heat of summer can help the stratified material break down faster than it would during other seasons.  Set up rain barrels Even if you have rare summer rains, getting rain barrels set up now will give you ample water when the rains return. You can then use this to water plants, the lawn or even the animals. Check your state’s rainwater harvesting laws before getting started, though. Preserve your harvest Finally, preserving food is a quintessential part of summer. Rows of canning jars, a freezer full of fresh crops and the dehydrator working overtime all represent the fruits of your labor. Images via Pexels and Pixabay

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Summer gardening tips for a great harvest

Seed preservation is vital for a sustainable food system

January 27, 2020 by  
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“Our seeds are more than just food for us. Yes, they are nutrition. But they’re also… spirituality,” says Electa Hare-RedCorn, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and a Yankton descendant. “Each seed has a story and each seed has a prayer.”With a background in social work, Hare-RedCorn was brought on to the Pawnee Seed Preservation Project in 2012 as a seed-keeper, to carry the conversation forward with youth and families. The project, she says, has become a movement.

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Seed preservation is vital for a sustainable food system

Restricting trade in endangered species can backfire, triggering market booms

January 27, 2020 by  
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Consumer purchases no longer trigger market booms. Speculative investments do.

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Restricting trade in endangered species can backfire, triggering market booms

Brazil meets a major emissions goal two years ahead of schedule

August 13, 2018 by  
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Brazil has just announced that it has cut 2017 greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation to levels far below its 2020 goal. The country originally aimed to reduce emissions from this source by 564 million tons in the Amazon and by 170 million tons in the Cerrado savanna by 2020, in keeping with the 2009 Copenhagen Accord . However, this past Thursday, Brazil’s Environment Ministry reported that CO2 emissions from deforestation in these areas have already been reduced by 780 million tons, in a major win for Brazil and, of course, the Earth. Related: 73 million trees to be planted in largest reforestation project ever Brazil has even higher goals for emissions reduction under the 2015 Paris Agreement . According to Thiago Mendes, the Environment Ministry’s secretary of climate change, “The policy message is that we can and should remain in the Paris Agreement (because) it is possible to effectively implement the commitments that have been made.” The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest on the planet, and Brazil’s Cerrado is the biggest savanna in South America. As such, both absorb high amounts of CO2, making their preservation  paramount in the battle against climate change. Thankfully, Brazil is already exceeding expectations in this battle, and one can only hope it continues to do so as it strives to meet its Paris Agreement goals. Via Reuters

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Brazil meets a major emissions goal two years ahead of schedule

1800-Year-Old Chedworth Roman Villa Wins 2013 RIBA Architecture Award

June 20, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of 1800-Year-Old Chedworth Roman Villa Wins 2013 RIBA Architecture Award Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Chedworth , Chedworth Roman Villa , England , English Hertage and Cotswold District Council , National Trust , preservation , RIBA , roman , ruins        

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1800-Year-Old Chedworth Roman Villa Wins 2013 RIBA Architecture Award

19th Century London Water Tower Transformed into a Unique, High-Flying Home

February 7, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of 19th Century London Water Tower Transformed into a Unique, High-Flying Home Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , building reuse , converted water tower , Graham Voce , green renovation , Leigh Osborne , London , London Water Tower , Penarth , Penarth water tower , preservation , water tower , water tower home , water tower house

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19th Century London Water Tower Transformed into a Unique, High-Flying Home

Recycled “Gecekondoo” Emergency Shelters Could Provide Relief to Displaced Residents of Istanbul

February 6, 2013 by  
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The Turkish Government recently voted on a ‘’disaster risk’’ law that will demolish and rebuild roughly 7,000,000 dwellings in Turkey over the next 20 years. Although the object of this law is to provide earthquake-proof buildings, the operational approach is different and leads to wild gentrification in socially fragile urban areas. These recent urban renewal operations resulted in lower income classes being ejected to the outskirts of the cities with poor indemnities for their expropriations, cutting them off from easy access to the city and increasing their difficulties. Drawing upon the design of Turkish Gecekondus (informal settlements), Sinan Logie has conceived of an emergency shelter that can be built with materials harvested by urban recyclers working in the streets of Istanbul. The resulting “Gecekondoos” seeks to offer quick and low-cost shelter for the victims of urban renewal operations by allowing them to plug into existing urban infrastructure while staying located within their neighborhoods. + Gecekondoo The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Recycled “Gecekondoo” Emergency Shelters Could Provide Relief to Displaced Residents of Istanbul

Former Cold Storage Warehouse in Chicago To Be Transformed into a Glass-Clad Office Building

July 6, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Former Cold Storage Warehouse in Chicago To Be Transformed into a Glass-Clad Office Building Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , building reuse , chicago , Cold Storage , Fulton Market , preservation , Preservation Green Lab , warehouse , West Loop

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Former Cold Storage Warehouse in Chicago To Be Transformed into a Glass-Clad Office Building

OMA and Artist Marina Abramovi? Team Up to Create the World’s First Performance Art Institute

May 9, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of OMA and Artist Marina Abramovi? Team Up to Create the World’s First Performance Art Institute Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , eco design , green design , Hudson , Marina Abramovic , Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art , museum of modern art , OMA Architects , sustainable design

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OMA and Artist Marina Abramovi? Team Up to Create the World’s First Performance Art Institute

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