Various Architects turn an industrial Oslo building into contemporary offices

August 17, 2017 by  
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A historic building in Oslo’s locomotive industrial zone has been transformed into contemporary offices filled with natural light. This adaptive reuse project, called Lokomotivstallen, has been praised as a positive example of recycling and historical restoration in the city. Designed by Various Architects , the modern offices house the rail-based intermodal company CargoNet. The 3,000-square-foot building has a peculiar rectangular footprint that’s much longer than it is wide with a 205-meter-long facade and seven-meter width. To break the structure’s narrow monotony and to widen the footprint of the floors, the architects inserted timber boxes into the facade. Meeting rooms are located in the wooden boxes. The timber additions are of varying sizes and heights, and each are faced with a south-facing floor-to-ceiling glazed wall to let in maximum daylight. The largest wooden box houses the cafeteria that serves as the building’s central meeting area. Related: Various Architect’s Stunning Collapsible Stadium The original brick facade was preserved although the interior was largely gutted to make way for the modern office spaces . A new elevator tower that connects all the floors is also clad in brick and topped with a trademark railway clock. The office building comprises eighty desks distributed between five open landscape areas and can be rearranged to fit different needs. Micro spaces are interspersed throughout the office and provide quieter private working spaces. + Various Architects Images by Ibrahim Elhayawan, Dawid Nowak

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Various Architects turn an industrial Oslo building into contemporary offices

Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

August 3, 2017 by  
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Artist Dan Rawling s likes to give old metal scraps a new lease on life by carving them into forest-themed art works. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, is a massive forest landscape carved into the entire body of an old delivery truck. Rawlings uses an arsenal of tools to create his detailed pieces such as a hand held plasma torch, files, grinders, scalpels, welders, etching chemicals, etc. The results are intricate, hand-crafted scenes that are spectacular on their own, however, the works take on a life of their own when illuminated, where viewers can really appreciate the amazing details of the metal sculptures . Related: Artist transforms scrap metal into incredible lifelike sculptures The artist works on everything from old signs, rusty tools, and even empty water tanks . In 2014, the artist carved an 18-foot-high grain silo into a beautiful illuminated piece that was on display in London’s Battersea Park. His most recent work, Nature Delivers, saw the artist painstakingly cut an entire forest backdrop into of the body of an old delivery van. The work was commissioned for the Lost Eden festival, but unfortunately, was set on fire earlier this year. According to the artist, his work is meant to take people back to a simpler time in life, “I try to create images that remind people of the moments when everything seems possible and free,” says Rawlings, “times when climbing a tree, or sitting admiring the way its branches twist and curl means nothing, but means everything.” + Dan Rawlings Via This is Colossal Images via Dan Rawlings Facebook

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Artist carves an intricate forest into an old delivery van

Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa

July 25, 2017 by  
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A million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute, with annual consumption set to top half a trillion by 2021 . In a bid to bring awareness to the problem of plastic bottle use and pollution, artist r1 led a project to transform over 7,000 plastic bottles into an incredible sight to behold: a 20-meter-tall permanent art sculpture. Created in collaboration with the local community, the environmental art piece, called the iThemba Tower, symbolizes hope and inspiration in Troyeville, Johannesburg. Artist r1 used a redundant communications tower as the base of the iThemba Tower, which derives its name from the isiZulu word that means trust or hope. The diverse local community was involved in all aspects of the design process, from plastic bottle collection to construction. Locals were also invited to fill each bottle with a “message of hope,” thus creating a symbolic communications tower that “broadcasts” the community’s diverse hopes and dreams. Related: 1,000 recycled CDs transform an abandoned farmhouse into a shimmering work of art “It is estimated that in South Africa alone, nearly over 250,000 plastic bottles are dumped into our environment every hour,” says the narrator in a video about the iThemba Tower. “One plastic bottle will take up to 700 years to completely break down in a landfill. The iThemba Tower project raised awareness the importance of recycling through workshops and various community activities.” LEDs were also inserted inside the bottles to turn them into “lights of hope.” The lights bring the tower alive at night and create a magical twinkling effect. The iThemba Tower is a permanent art piece at the Spaza Art Garden, a safe haven for creatives in Johannesburg. + r1

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Thousands of plastic bottles transformed into an inspiring tower of hope in South Africa

Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials

July 21, 2017 by  
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Architecture studio tenfiftyfive paired modern luxury with sustainable and nature-centric design in their design of this gorgeous house extension in Melbourne. Named the Park House, this Instagram-worthy dwelling is built around two mature gumtrees and clad in timber to blend into the surroundings. More than just a pretty picture, this stylish abode also boasts energy-efficient principles as well as a natural-materials palette largely foraged from recycled and salvaged items. Completed as an extension to an old heritage house, the Park House sports a sleek modern facade with simple, clean lines and a strong attention to detail. The boxy, top-heavy structure features a cantilevered first floor punctuated by protruding black steel windows that contrast beautifully with the timber facade. Full-height glazing wraps around the ground floor to let in an abundance of natural light and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Fencing along the lot provides privacy. Related: Breezy addition keeps cool in Melbourne’s summers with smart passive design A large open-plan living room with a kitchen and dining area dominates the ground floor, while bedrooms are placed in the more closed-off upper floor. The use of timber is continued inside the home, where it can be seen in an exposed recycled wood ceiling in the living space as well as in the furnishings, stairway, and feature wall support built from old Oregon rafter. Some of the red brick used on the kitchen wall was recycled from garden paving and is complemented by a Statuario marble countertop. A green wall above the windows in the dining area adds a splash of nature indoors. Concrete floors with in-built hydronic heating provide thermal comfort as well as a noise barrier between floors. + tenfiftyfive Via Architecture and Design Images via tenfiftyfive

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Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials

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

Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

July 14, 2017 by  
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The Bluebonnet Studios social housing development in Austin supports a healthy lifestyle through the design. The property, designed by Forge Craft Architecture + Design , provides housing for the homeless, low-income veterans and local musicians. It features forward-thinking sustainable elements such as recycled and locally-sourced materials, a well insulated envelope, optimal orientation, low-flow fixtures and occupancy sensors. The architects worked with a difficult site and a very tight budget, which required a close collaboration between the design, construction, and ownership teams, as well as help of sustainability experts like Pliny Fisk and Jason McLennan . An important aspect of the design was access to natural light , which the team provided by creating a light well that runs through the center of the building. This emphasis on daylight also allows for most of the building to be functional without artificial light in the event of a power outage – including all circulation. Heating and cooling are provided by centralized LG VRF units tied to individual apartment thermostats. Each thermostat is coupled to both window sensors and door-triggered occupancy sensors . All the interior finishes and products were regionally sourced, recycled and healthy. On top of the building, a green space allows for outdoor activities. Related: Top 6 Green Supportive and Low-Income Housing Projects Of the 107 single-occupancy units, 22 are reserved for the area’s homeless and low-income veterans, while five are dedicated to local musicians. Each resident received a small package of tools, including a recycling bin, recycling magnet, green cleaning recipes, and recommendations for conservative thermostat settings to help residents keep their homes green. Additionally, a green housekeeping program provides a dispensing station with Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals for maintenance staff and janitorial contractors. + Forge Craft Architecture + Design Photos by Paul Bardagjy

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Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

July 14, 2017 by  
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In the event that Earth is struck by an asteroid , the sun goes supernova or the planet is soaked in gamma ray bursts in an extreme energetic explosion, the last surviving creatures won’t be cockroaches – they will be tardigrades. Oxford University researchers recently discovered this after exposing the microscopic water bears to the only astrophysical phenomena likely to eradicate life on Earth . Not only did the team learn that the tardigrade can endure temperature extremes of up to 150°C (302°F), they discovered that the eight-legged animals can resist radiation levels of 5000 to 6200 Gy (around the dose used in some forms of chemotherapy), making them the most indestructible creatures on this rock. Dr. Rafael Alves Batista, a researcher at the department of physics at Oxford University, told the Daily Mail that the goal was to “study what is necessary to kill all life, not just humans. Batista added that the scientists were pleasantly surprised to learn that the water bear is incredibly resilient to most threats. Co-author of the study, Dr. David Sloan, wrote: “To our surprise, we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. Therefore it seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely.” Related: Water bear brought back to life after being frozen for 30 years Unlike humans, the tardigrade is extremely durable. As previously mentioned, the animals are resistant to high levels of radiation and can endure astronomically high temperatures. Additionally, the water bears were once frozen for thirty years, thawed out and were found to still be alive . Said Batista, “Without our technology protecting us, humans are a very sensitive species. Life on this planet can continue long after humans are gone.” As a result of the findings, the researchers concluded that the water bears could live on Earth for at least ten billion years and would only be wiped out when the sun exploded. “Huge numbers of species, or even entire genera may become extinct, but life as a whole will go on,” said Sloan. Some are unsurprised by the water bear’s hardiness, considering Russia found the species clinging to the International Space Station — alive — even while exposed to the vacuum of space. Regardless, the finding is exciting for scientists who desire to find life on other planets. Said Batista, “Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth, but it is possible that there are other resilient species examples elsewhere in the universe . If Tardigrades are Earth’s most resilient species, who knows what else is out there. There might exist other creatures similar to tardigrade in other places. We have to keep searching.” Sloan added, “Our work suggests that the search for life in such places is justified even if the planet doesn’t seem hospitable.” The study will be published soon in the journal Nature . Via Daily Mail , Engadget Images via Depositphotos 1 , 2 , YouTube , Wikimedia

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Tardigrades will be the last surviving creatures on earth after the sun dies

This shipping container hotel is so cool you’ll forget its a shipping container

July 14, 2017 by  
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Although building with shipping containers isn’t as avant-garde as it used to be, there are still some stunning designs that make us weep with joy. Built by Australian firm, Contained , this 20-foot shipping container has been converted into an ultra-sophisticated hotel room that can be easily folded up and shipped virtually anywhere in the world. Contained specializes in repurposing old shipping containers into sophisticated lodgings that, on top of being breathtakingly gorgeous, are also portable. Designed with transportation in mind, the structures are strategically outfitted to easily set up and unfold. The individual structures can be shipped virtually anywhere in the world. Related: This amazing shipping container hotel can pop up anywhere in the world Each unit is equipped with a queen-sized bed, a living room with a sink and bar area, and a bathroom. For outdoor space, guests can enjoy a spacious deck shaded by a fold-out awning. Large glass doors and an abundance of windows soak up daylight and the surrounding scenery. Although portability is a key concept in the renovation of the containers, the design of each individual unit is simply astonishing. The sophisticated and modern interiors give no clue to each building’s former utilitarian background. According to Contained directors Anatoly Mezhov and Irene Polo, their business goal is to create an option for people who’d like to travel in a more sustainable way , but without sacrificing comfort. “There are so many beautiful places to go visit. That’s how this idea was born. Let’s create a portable hotel room that’s beautiful, sustainable, and comfortable for short-term accommodation and activate some of these spaces.” Mezhov says. The company has installed their structures in numerous locations including a Victoria winery, Sydney Harbor, and a wilderness retreat in Queensland. + Contained Via Dwell Photography by Daniel John Bilsborough

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This shipping container hotel is so cool you’ll forget its a shipping container

Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

July 14, 2017 by  
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We’re so excited to announce that the Hungarian startup Platio , which designed a modular energy-harvesting paving system made with recycled plastic , has now installed their first three systems. Within a span of just two months, they developed projects in Hungary, Sweden, and Kazakhstan. And it’s not just sidewalks that now boast the solar pavers, but pontoons providing energy for ships, and benches where passerby can charge their smartphones. Platio is helping to shape the future of cities with their solar paving systems. One creative use of their technology can be found in Budapest , Hungary, at Városháza Park, where their solar system stretches across a wooden bench. The smart bench allows park-goers to power their phones or tablets with clean energy , using either a USB cord or QI wireless charging. Local design studio Hello Wood installed the park’s wavy wooden benches. Related: New recycled plastic sidewalk harvests energy from the sun Platio’s very first permanent installation was indeed constructed on a sidewalk, in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in front of a mall in the new Green Quarter. Near the shopping entrance, around 861 square feet of the sidewalk is covered with Platio paving, offering a total peak output of 11.7 watts. The electricity will help power the mall. Strong, anti-slip glass tiles top the recycled plastic solar paving system. Two specialists were able to put together the mall installation in just a few days thanks to the modular design and a built-in electrical network. And it’s not just urban infrastructure that can benefit from Platio’s technology. The company partnered with engineering firm SF Marina to install the solar pavers on around 86 square feet of pontoons at SF Marina’s Swedish factory. The solar energy generated by the Platio systems will help power port facilities and ships. According to Platio, as recently as last year they only had a prototype of their technology, but they’ve now successfully installed it in the real word. The three Hungarian engineers who started Platio want to help make future cities sustainable and energy-independent . + Platio Images courtesy of Platio

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Recycled plastic paving company Platio installs first 3 solar systems

Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials

July 4, 2017 by  
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This amazing home by Lifehaus blends low-cost off-grid appeal with with holistic living and luxurious details. The Lebanon -based company started by Nizar Haddad is pioneering energy neutral dwellings made from locally sourced and recycled materials . People living in the green homes will be able to generate their own electricity and grow their own food. Lifehaus homes include a greenhouse for growing food and solar panels for generating renewable energy . It promotes sustainable water use through rainwater collection and grey water reuse. And all this comes with a price tag of around half the average cost of an unfurnished Lebanese home, which is around $800 per square meter. Related: The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year Lifehaus addresses many societal issues in their sustainable dwellings that offer a way of life more in touch with the Earth. “Lebanon’s construction industry is one of the leading factors behind desertification in the country,” Media Representative Nadine Mazloum told Inhabitat. “Entire hills and mountains are being turned into wastelands as demand for conventional buildings continues to rise. Also, with Lebanon being a post-war country, successive governments, since 1990, and up until now have been and continue to be unable to provide many of the country’s citizens with round-the-clock water and electricity – so this got us thinking of going off the grid.” Lebanon has been suffering from a trash epidemic , and the crisis propelled the team into action in 2015, according to Mazloum. She said, “As garbage was left on the streets for months at a time, we felt that we could no longer wait and so dedicated ourselves fully to Lifehaus.” Lifehaus treats that waste as treasure by incorporating recycled materials in the dwellings. They also allow for composting organic trash for use in the garden as fertilizer. Passive design keeps a Lifehaus cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The homes can be partially buried, with the roofs offering additional food-growing space. This helps them be more earthquake-resistant and minimizes heat loss. The homes’ low cost design could work for housing in developing countries , or for refugees . Lifehaus counts Earthship among their sources of inspiration, and creator Michael Reynolds has endorsed the project. Lifehaus is drawing on ancestral building techniques, such as using mud and clay as opposed to concrete, and treating those materials with linseed oil and lime. Construction on the first 1,722 square foot prototype will begin next month in Baskinta, Lebanon, and Lifehaus hopes to get the community involved. “Now is the time for the human species to reconcile with nature . Our collective lifestyles are no longer sustainable,” Mazloum told Inhabitat. “The Lifehaus is not just about building a house, it’s about community and communication. We hope to reinforce the feeling of being in a community and communicating a strong message that yes, we can all make a change no matter how dark the world seems.” + Lifehaus + NH-Architectes Images courtesy of Lifehaus

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Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials

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