In the business of buildings, net zero becomes a towering target

November 1, 2021 by  
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Commercial real estate developers, owners and operators are embracing net zero for a competitive edge. Leaders from CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield and Transwestern weigh in.

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In the business of buildings, net zero becomes a towering target

Going back to the drawing board can help demystify circularity

November 1, 2021 by  
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Sponsored: Success in circularity requires thinking systemically. These four key steps will help you succeed.

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Going back to the drawing board can help demystify circularity

Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

July 29, 2021 by  
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Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton Heather Clancy Thu, 07/29/2021 – 00:01 Green construction startup Nexii first caught my attention back in the spring when the Canadian company announced a partnership with actor and Pennsylvania native Michael Keaton. The initiative — the creation of a manufacturing plant for Nexii’s “sustainable concrete” alternative Nexiite — will bring at least 300 new jobs to a redeveloped brownfield site in the “Steel City” of Pittsburgh that thrived in the era of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. “I’ve always been interested in design and construction, but I only recently learned the game-changing impact the construction industry can have in improving the environment by adoption of innovative, lower-carbon techniques,” Keaton said when the relationship was announced in April. “For me, the opportunity to marry job creation with an environmentally sustainable business is incredibly exciting.” Keaton’s involvement isn’t just money; he’s participating in a venture called Trinity Sustainable Solutions, which also includes Nexii and commercial real estate developer Trinity Commercial Development, a specialist in redeveloping brownfield sites that has done work for companies including Walmart, Rite Aid, Goodwill and CSX Transportation. The new factory will be constructed using Nexii’s composite, a material manufactured off-site into lightweight panels and then assembled where it’s needed. The building components are modeled using 3D design software; it’s like creating pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that can be pieced together. The approach reduces construction waste and speeds development times, according to Nexii’s marketing materials. If star power doesn’t impress you as a sustainability practitioner or climate-tech evangelist, the flurry of deals and alliances that Nexii has forged since that time will definitely get your attention. In June, the company announced a pact with JLL Philadelphia that is intended to help increase the ranks of Nexii certified partners from among real estate companies, developers and other companies in the building sector. More recently, Nexii created a strategic alliance with building automation technologies company Honeywell. The deal sets up Honeywell as the exclusive tech supplier for new buildings constructed by Nexii. What’s particularly notable about this arrangement is that it’s intended to encourage the use of building management software in smaller structures: Close to 90 percent of the commercial buildings in the U.S. are less than 50,000 square feet in size and lack any sort of management system, according to Energy Star data.  Nexii has also engaged a well-respected adviser from the regenerative and net-zero buildings movement as its “impact architect”: Jason McLennan , co-author of the Living Building Challenge and a Buckminster Fuller Prize winner. Nexii is living proof that entrepreneurship is alive and well and thriving outside of Silicon Valley. Founded in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, by two brothers with deep roots in the construction industry, the Vancouver company so far has raised more than $52 million in venture backing. Three-time former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson (who made substantial updates to the city’s building codes during his tenure) is its executive vice president for strategy and partnerships, and Nexii’s board includes William McNabb, former chair and CEO of Vanguard, and Ronald Sugar, former CEO of Northrop Grumman who is also a board member at Apple and chair of Uber Technologies.  When I spoke with Robertson earlier this week, he told me that Nexii has a twofold mission: To dramatically reduce the embedded carbon associated with buildings — the sector is estimated to account for 39 percent of global emissions — while simultaneously bringing new employment opportunities to Rust Belt and Canadian industrial communities where there is a long history of manufacturing.  We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. The Pittsburgh plant is an example of that, along with a sister facility in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and another in Louisville, Kentucky, that Nexii is planning in collaboration with Buffalo Construction, a company that has a presence in 49 states. Its specialty is restaurants, hospitality and multi-family residential structures, among other things. Nexii’s process isn’t just hypothetical. The material was used in the construction of a Starbucks drive-thru cafe in Vancouver; designed to help reduce carbon emissions by about 30 percent. Nexiite is used in the store’s wall and roof panels and assembled in just six days. More recently, the material was used to help build a Popeyes restaurant in British Columbia in less than two weeks. And it’s working with Marriott on its biggest project yet, a 172-room, 10-story Courtyard property. “We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction,” Robertson said.  Nexii isn’t the only startup espousing some element of prefabrication: Two other startups to watch are Factory OS , beneficiary of strategic investments by the likes of Autodesk and Citi; and Plant Prefab , which counts Amazon and Obvious Ventures among its backers.  Want more great insight on technologies and trends accelerating the clean economy? Subscribe to our free VERGE Weekly newsletter.  Pull Quote We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. Topics Infrastructure Climate Tech Buildings Startups Carbon Removal Decarbonization Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A panel made of Nexiite is hoisted for transportation to a construction site. Courtesy of Nexii Close Authorship

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Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

July 16, 2021 by  
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The story of la Poste du Louvre is both historic and modern. Originally built as a post office (la Poste) on du Louvre street in a central area of Paris , France, the building is now undergoing a transformation into a multipurpose space that has earned several environmental certifications.  It’s an example of honoring a classic building, constructed from 1888 to 1898 following the design by Julien Guadet. La Poste du Louvre has long served as a post office in a changing industry that has resulted in endless renovations over the century-and-a-half of its history. Updates took place during the 1960s through the 1980s, with intensive reconstruction following a fire in 1975. But the building, under the ownership of la Poste du Louvre’s real estate subsidiary Poste Immo, is receiving a comprehensive and modern conversion guided by architect Dominique Perrault, whose vision includes a hotel, restaurant , shops, offices and social housing. Plus, the post office remains intact. Related: Ranch Dressing house sets example for modernization with minimal impact Perrault placed a special focus on going beyond the outlined criteria required to earn certifications related to sustainable architecture. As a result, the building achieves triple certification from NF HQE Rénovation (Excellent level), LEED Core & Shell Gold and BREEAM (Very Good level).  While working to keep the framework of the original building, secondary structures were built inside for additional support. In this way, the new design kept the building’s original stone and metal as well as original decorative elements like painted ceilings and heritage clocks. Even in keeping with the existing architecture, the space received extensive upgrades in regards to thermal insulation. Updates to air treatment systems and controllable facades keep interior temperatures at a comfortable level with high energy-efficiency . Long-term living spaces feature strategically placed windows to maximize views and natural lighting. Furthermore, the roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement energy usage. The roof doubles as a garden with a selection of plants. The building is equipped to recover rainwater , which will be reused for cleaning and watering the plants. Even the basement is upgraded, with the bottom two levels of the building equipped for parking, including charging ports for electric or hybrid vehicles. La Poste du Louvre is expected to open to the public in 2022. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Photography by Michel Denance via Dominique Perrault Architecture

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La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

July 16, 2021 by  
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The story of la Poste du Louvre is both historic and modern. Originally built as a post office (la Poste) on du Louvre street in a central area of Paris , France, the building is now undergoing a transformation into a multipurpose space that has earned several environmental certifications.  It’s an example of honoring a classic building, constructed from 1888 to 1898 following the design by Julien Guadet. La Poste du Louvre has long served as a post office in a changing industry that has resulted in endless renovations over the century-and-a-half of its history. Updates took place during the 1960s through the 1980s, with intensive reconstruction following a fire in 1975. But the building, under the ownership of la Poste du Louvre’s real estate subsidiary Poste Immo, is receiving a comprehensive and modern conversion guided by architect Dominique Perrault, whose vision includes a hotel, restaurant , shops, offices and social housing. Plus, the post office remains intact. Related: Ranch Dressing house sets example for modernization with minimal impact Perrault placed a special focus on going beyond the outlined criteria required to earn certifications related to sustainable architecture. As a result, the building achieves triple certification from NF HQE Rénovation (Excellent level), LEED Core & Shell Gold and BREEAM (Very Good level).  While working to keep the framework of the original building, secondary structures were built inside for additional support. In this way, the new design kept the building’s original stone and metal as well as original decorative elements like painted ceilings and heritage clocks. Even in keeping with the existing architecture, the space received extensive upgrades in regards to thermal insulation. Updates to air treatment systems and controllable facades keep interior temperatures at a comfortable level with high energy-efficiency . Long-term living spaces feature strategically placed windows to maximize views and natural lighting. Furthermore, the roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement energy usage. The roof doubles as a garden with a selection of plants. The building is equipped to recover rainwater , which will be reused for cleaning and watering the plants. Even the basement is upgraded, with the bottom two levels of the building equipped for parking, including charging ports for electric or hybrid vehicles. La Poste du Louvre is expected to open to the public in 2022. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Photography by Michel Denance via Dominique Perrault Architecture

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La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

KADA’s sustainable clothing line is designed to empower women

July 15, 2021 by  
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“Sustainability is our north star,” said KADA, a clothing company leading the charge in corporate responsibility and change within the notoriously wasteful fashion industry. The company’s products are designed by women, for women with a commitment to conservation . KADA is a Boston-based company, and every decision it makes revolves around waste reduction. The manufacturing process starts, in part, by collecting other manufacturers’ waste in the form of salvaged fabrics. From there, fabric selection relies mainly on Cupro, a silk-like material made from recycled cotton manufacturing waste. Cupro is biodegradable and made in a closed-loop factory that continuously recycles water and required chemicals. Related: Luxury vegan silk startup sets high bar for sustainable fashion KADA also strives to work with mills and factories that honor the sustainable mindset. One such factory is well-known for its innovative production of organic materials while recycling 100% of textile waste and using a greenhouse gas-capturing system. During the design process, owner Kassia Davis and the team work to minimize the number of seams in each piece, which in turn minimizes waste offcuts. They then develop prototypes that are tested (with real women) to ensure proper fit, feel and function. This is to avoid mass-production of product lines that may be ill-received and discarded.  The final clothing designs are intended to be multifunctional capsule pieces that cater to both casual and dressy occasions. The debut collection from KADA includes the Cami Bralette, Classic Cami, Cami Midi Dress, Classic Tee, Tee Maxi Dress, Tee Mini Dress and the Pant. The goal is to focus on high-quality production with durable fabrics to keep consumers loving and wearing the items in their wardrobe rather than discarding and replacing them. The staple pieces are designed for all body types in alignment with one of the company’s goals to empower women. “My mission with KADA is to make clothing that is inclusive and can be worn by all women. We’re celebrating the concept of evolution — inward, outward, and systemic — and setting a new standard for sustainable production along the way,” Davis said. “Behind the KADA brand is a team of incredibly talented women who all want to build pieces that every one of us can feel comfortable and confident wearing. These inspiring, empowering pieces are designed to help you meet the moment — no matter where life takes you.” KADA is partnering with GreenPrint to become the first sustainably made clothing brand in Massachusetts. + KADA Images via KADA

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KADA’s sustainable clothing line is designed to empower women

KADA’s sustainable clothing line is designed to empower women

July 15, 2021 by  
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“Sustainability is our north star,” said KADA, a clothing company leading the charge in corporate responsibility and change within the notoriously wasteful fashion industry. The company’s products are designed by women, for women with a commitment to conservation . KADA is a Boston-based company, and every decision it makes revolves around waste reduction. The manufacturing process starts, in part, by collecting other manufacturers’ waste in the form of salvaged fabrics. From there, fabric selection relies mainly on Cupro, a silk-like material made from recycled cotton manufacturing waste. Cupro is biodegradable and made in a closed-loop factory that continuously recycles water and required chemicals. Related: Luxury vegan silk startup sets high bar for sustainable fashion KADA also strives to work with mills and factories that honor the sustainable mindset. One such factory is well-known for its innovative production of organic materials while recycling 100% of textile waste and using a greenhouse gas-capturing system. During the design process, owner Kassia Davis and the team work to minimize the number of seams in each piece, which in turn minimizes waste offcuts. They then develop prototypes that are tested (with real women) to ensure proper fit, feel and function. This is to avoid mass-production of product lines that may be ill-received and discarded.  The final clothing designs are intended to be multifunctional capsule pieces that cater to both casual and dressy occasions. The debut collection from KADA includes the Cami Bralette, Classic Cami, Cami Midi Dress, Classic Tee, Tee Maxi Dress, Tee Mini Dress and the Pant. The goal is to focus on high-quality production with durable fabrics to keep consumers loving and wearing the items in their wardrobe rather than discarding and replacing them. The staple pieces are designed for all body types in alignment with one of the company’s goals to empower women. “My mission with KADA is to make clothing that is inclusive and can be worn by all women. We’re celebrating the concept of evolution — inward, outward, and systemic — and setting a new standard for sustainable production along the way,” Davis said. “Behind the KADA brand is a team of incredibly talented women who all want to build pieces that every one of us can feel comfortable and confident wearing. These inspiring, empowering pieces are designed to help you meet the moment — no matter where life takes you.” KADA is partnering with GreenPrint to become the first sustainably made clothing brand in Massachusetts. + KADA Images via KADA

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KADA’s sustainable clothing line is designed to empower women

The Amazon rainforest now emits more carbon than it absorbs

July 15, 2021 by  
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A recent  study  in Nature shows that the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs. For the first time, scientists have confirmed that despite once being the largest carbon sink in the world, the rainforest has turned into a pollutant due to high rates of deforestation. According to the study, approximately a billion tonnes of carbon are emitted by the forest each year. The study has identified forest fires as one of the major causes of emissions . Most of the fires are deliberately started to clear forest land for beef and soy farming. With most of the world’s soy supply produced in Brazil, conservationists are calling for a global conversation over the status of the Amazon. Related: Facebook Marketplace fuels illegal sales of land in the Amazon rainforest Researchers used small planes to measure the levels of CO2 over the Amazon, up to 4,500 meters above the canopy. The study started in 2010 and ran until 2018. Previous studies were conducted via satellite images, which were less accurate.  The research was lead and co-authored by Luciana Gatti of the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil . While commenting on the findings, Gatti said that deforestation alone is turning the forest into a carbon emitter. Even in regions with no forest fires, researchers found that carbon emissions were higher than carbon absorption in areas where deforestation was severe. “The first very bad news is that forest burning produces around three times more CO2 than the forest absorbs. The second bad news is that the places where deforestation is 30% or more show carbon emissions 10 times higher than where deforestation is lower than 20%,” said Gatti. Researchers were involved in checking over 600 verticle profiles of CO2 and carbon monoxide. The study found that fires alone produced 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 a year, while forest growth only removes approximately half a billion tonnes of CO2 per year. As The Guardian reports, “the 1bn tonnes left in the atmosphere is equivalent to the annual emissions of Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest polluter.” Professor Simon Lewis of University College London has praised the study, saying, “Flying every two weeks and keeping consistent laboratory measurements for nine years is an amazing feat.” In light of this news, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been scrutinized for driving deforestation by supporting farmers to take land in the forest. If this continues, some countries in Europe are threatening to block an EU trade deal with Brazil. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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The Amazon rainforest now emits more carbon than it absorbs

ACPV designs Building D, an office focused on employee health

July 14, 2021 by  
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A previously industrial area in the southern part of Milan has a long-term plan for renewed development. Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel (ACPV) is putting the finishing touches on a building in the area that not only honors sustainable practices but aims to create a uniquely healthy environment for employees, too. Dubbed Building D, the office building is the second to be completed in the Symbiosis business district in Milan , Italy. Investment real estate firm Covivio is the client behind the project and works under the mission to “Build sustainable relationships and wellbeing.” With this in mind, the design team at ACPV has redefined what the company’s workspaces look like. Related: A LEED Gold-targeted office will enhance worker wellbeing Encompassing 20,000 square meters, Building D features a four-story section with a roof garden and cantilevered design along with a nine-story volume that includes a rooftop outdoor space for employees to stroll or exercise. Inside, the building features flexible workspaces to accommodate the changing and varied needs of employees, including areas to collaborate and easily connect with remote workers. It also includes a kitchenette, gym and resting spaces that emphasize healthy lifestyles for employees. “As business increasingly moves online and a growing number of people choose to work remotely, the culture of work is changing fast and in various ways,” said architect Patricia Viel. “Building D addresses this shift by transforming the traditional office into an attractive and welcoming meeting place where people want to work precisely because they can find spaces and services they may need throughout the day.” Building D is being built to WELL core (Bronze minimum) certification and LEED core and shell Platinum certifications. This means it not only caters to high energy-efficiency standards but also places attention on air and water quality, water management, ergonomic design and even cleaning products used in the space. The project is part of a larger urban development plan with several structural elements that mirror the completed Fastweb Headquarters next door. Public pathways invite visitors into and between the buildings, both designed by ACPV. + ACPV Images via ACPV 

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10 Trumpkins that are making Halloween great again

October 16, 2017 by  
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As Halloween draws near, it’s time once again to revisit our new favorite Halloween past time – Trumpkins. People all over the country are decorating their jack-o-lanterns to look like President Donald Trump , and it’s easy to understand why. On a superficial level, Trump’s orange-hued complexion makes him a perfect model for pumpkin-based creativity. On a deeper level, for those of us who care about the environment or basic human decency, the Trump presidency is a disaster. But there’s something to be said for facing your fears through artistic expression. With over 6,000 spooky photos on Instagram, it’s clear the “Trumpkin” has become a trend. Here are a few of the Inhabitat team’s favorites from around the web. The first Trumpkin on our list, and possibly the most terrifying entry, is painted on the face of the pumpkin rather than carved. A tuft of real hair finishes off the eerie image. It was posted on Instagram by user @ktmod with the tasteful caption, “Grab ’em by the pumpkin.” #Trumpkin lol 🎃🍁Happy Hump Day!!!🕸🍂🍁 A photo posted by lucymorey3 (@lucymorey3) on Oct 26, 2016 at 9:45am PDT This Trumpkin by @lucymorey3 really encapsulates The Donald’s natural speaking style: shouting hatefully.   Last night, there was a note attached that read "our president is a pumpkin #impeach #trumpkin" My neighbors know what's up ? A post shared by Ally Nickert (@ally.likes.cats) on Oct 15, 2017 at 12:58pm PDT This Trumpkin – also shouting – captures the Cheeto-in-Chief’s essence in all its orange glory. Family pumpkin carving night… Everyone agreed Chris's #trumpkin won the prize #orangecheeto #colorofhomedepot A post shared by Christina Cain (Nunes) (@cainname) on Oct 15, 2017 at 4:34pm PDT Instagrammer cainname’s  is a hopeful expression of the future: Is this a jack-o'-lantern of a 'human' equivalent of cargo pants that zip away into shorts, a sentient orange mop, a man-sized sebaceous cyst, a Neo-fascist real estate golem, a turd, or all of the above? Asking for a friend. #trumpkin A post shared by Amela (@msamelak) on Oct 15, 2017 at 8:13pm PDT We’ll just let msamelak’s Trumpkin speak for itself: “Is this a jack-o’-lantern of a ‘human’ equivalent of cargo pants that zip away into shorts, a sentient orange mop, a man-sized sebaceous cyst, a Neo-fascist real estate golem, a turd, or all of the above? Asking for a friend.” This next Trumpkin by Instagram user @petermartindk takes a more classic approach, transforming the presidential candidate into a glowing jack-o-lantern. We dig the minimalist approach here. Spotted this on the way home tonight #trumpkin A photo posted by @bubbeemonkey on Oct 26, 2016 at 12:29pm PDT Instagram user @bubeemonkey may not be responsible for carving this smug-looking Trumpkin, but we’d like to thank them for sharing it with the world. Reddit user Shazkitten decided to take a more photorealistic approach – a surprisingly detailed portrait, considering the medium. Good effort @sainsburys. 🎃😂 #Trumpkin #Hilary #PresidentialDebate #Halloween A photo posted by Divya 🌺🔮? (@divyadancer) on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:52am PDT These Sainsbury’s pumpkins have an almost sculptural quality — they’re definitely not your average pumpkin carving. They both look a bit too happy, though, given how the election last year went. This painted masterpiece is the work of John Kettman of LaSalle, Illinois. Kettman has been painting portraits on pumpkins for about 6 years, but this autumn he took a political turn with his gourd art. In addition to his Trumpkin, he’s also created Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders pumpkins. Happy National Pumpkin Day! #nationalpumpkinday #NYCpumpkin #nychalloween #trump #clinton #trumpkin #election2016 #election2016🇺🇸 A photo posted by PaulsdaBurgerJoint (@paulsdaburgerjoint) on Oct 26, 2016 at 8:05am PDT Another pair of matching Hillary and Donald pumpkins courtesy of @PaulsdaBurgerJoint . These two look like they just stepped onto the floor of the debates. Ohio pumpkin artist Jennette Paras chooses someone in the news as her source of inspiration in a personal tradition dating back 25 years. Last Halloween, she transformed a massive, 374-pound pumpkin into a likeness of Donald Trump – an effort that took six separate blond wigs attached to the gourd. Nearby, she’s placed a sign suggesting visitors “make pumpkins great again.” #trumpkin is done. My sissy is going to dab some yellowish…crap on its head to make the hair look like his head. #acrylicpainting #smashthetrumpkin #fuckofftrump #anyonebuttrump #artsy A photo posted by Cassie Tucker (@tangledinreverie) on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:57pm PDT This Trumpkin by @tangledinreverie really captures Trump’s luxurious, windswept locks. David Jones’ Trumpkin takes a minimalist, pop-art approach that captures Trump perfectly. Unlike some of the others on this list, he’s avoided using a wig to depict Trump’s famous hair, instead repurposing the inside of the pumpkin to form some kind of squash toupee. #trump #pumpkin #fall #diy #justbecause #funny #hilarious #lol #Trumpkin #trumppumpkin #trending #potd #picoftheday #photoofday #halloween #October #autumn A photo posted by Tiffany Marz 🌟🎙🎬🕆? (@tiffany_marz) on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:03pm PDT This Trumpkin by @tiffany_marz takes an interesting new approach, with the outside of the pumpkin modified with what appears to be sculpted clay, rather than painted or carved. Imgur user Fizzgig posted a more somber approach with this contemplative Trumpkin created by their mother. Still dying from one of our winning pumpkins today! 😂😂😂😂 #haha #pumpkin #ThatHairTho #trumpkin #worklife A photo posted by Jacqui🔵YouTuber/Blogger (@jduran1313) on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:39pm PDT Another creative new approach to the art of pumpkin decorating by @jduran1313 — collaged instead of painted, this time. This superb Trumpkin is the work of master pumpkin carver Hugh McMahon . If you’d like to learn how to create your own pumpkin-based masterpiece, he walked HuffPost through his process in this fantastic tutorial . Hard days work at the lab #trumpkin #surgeonsmakegoodcarvers #drumpf thanks @twiskle for capturing the glory A photo posted by Erika WS (@erika_whartonshumthing) on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:42pm PDT This defensive Trumpkin by @erika_whartonshumthing looks like it’s had better days. If you’d like to revisit your favorite moments from last year’s debates, look no further than Valerie Miller’s Trumpkin. We can almost hear this pumpkin shouting “Wrong!” at approaching trick-or-treaters. Images via The Daily Beast (1, 2), Reddit (3), NBC News Chicago (4), NBC San Diego (5), Dangerous Minds (6), Yahoo! News (7,9), Huffington Post (8), and Instagram  (embedded)

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10 Trumpkins that are making Halloween great again

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