Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

October 12, 2017 by  
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Taipei’s lush jungle landscape has crept indoors in the form of a “green dreamscape.” MVRDV and Argentinian textile artist Alexandra Kehayoglou transformed a 180-person lecture hall into an incredible sight with wall-to-wall carpets woven out of recycled threads that mimic natural textures like moss, water, trees, and pastures. Located at JUT Group’s head office, this public wall-covering artwork references Taiwan’s sub-tropical environment while providing acoustic control and an unforgettable lecture backdrop. Sprawled out across a 240-square-meter lecture hall, the massive installation looks surprisingly lifelike from afar. The variety of textures, shapes, and patterns evoke a diverse plants palette ranging from delicate flowers on the carpet floor to thick mosses clinging on the far back wall. Alexandra Kehayoglou created the site-specific textile work using discarded threads from her family’s carpet factory in Buenos Aires. The unique artwork was made with a laborious hand-tufting technique and took over a year to complete. Related: Amazing landscape carpets transform your living room into a lush, grassy meadow “The interior is literally a green dream,” says Winy Maas , MVRDV co-founder. “Together with the artwork, it represents the natural landscape of Taiwan and at the same time, acts as an acoustic intervention. In the midst of the hyper-urban condition of Taipei, audiences will be surrounded by this green dreamscape.” The interior design builds on the research of MVRDV and their think tank, The Why Factory , into the potential of future transformable elements. + MVRDV + Alexandra Kehayoglou Images via MVRDV

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Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel design with minimal impact

October 12, 2017 by  
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Reconnection with nature doesn’t always mean roughing it on a campsite. Environmental consulting firm EoA Inc created Living the Till, a unique treetop hotel resort concept that rescues guests from the stresses of everyday life by elevating them into the tree canopy. Conceived as a nomadic resort, the Till can be easily assembled in a variety of environments and then disassembled and moved without impacting the environment. Described by the team as a camping on a “hovering, transparent magic carpet,” Living the Till comprises a series of conical tents suspended on ropes tied to nearby trees. A large net stretched taut and secured to trees is placed beneath the tents. Bridges between the trees provide access between campsites. “Living the Till allows for seasonal inhabitation in remote areas, such as the stunning and perfectly preserved forests of Ecuador, Malaysia, Borneo, the Amazon, California, Australia, or Japan,” wrote the designers. “The concept was inspired by the air plant Tillandsia, which lives in harmony with a host tree. Conceived as a temporary nomadic structure, the Till can be assembled and taken down in pristine, coveted areas by a small team of climbers with simple tools without impacting the environment during the process or duration of a guest’s stay.” Related: Gorgeous Robin’s Nest Treehouse Hotel immerses you in nature Living the Till was recently honored as this year’s Radical Innovation Award winner. The design team was awarded a $10,000 reward at the New Museum last week. Founder of Radical Innovation John Hardy commended the project as “the perfect antidote to city dwelling.” Play Design Hotel , located in Taipei, received the second place prize of $5,000. + Radical Innovation Award Images via EoA Inc

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Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel design with minimal impact

Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials

October 4, 2017 by  
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Affordable and sustainable housing is possible—and Studio 804’s many projects are proof. Working together with University of Kansas architecture students, Studio 804 produced their latest design/build project, called 1330 Brook Street, in a working-class neighborhood in the city of Lawrence. As with their previous projects, the energy-efficient home is designed with LEED standards in mind and makes use of passive solar strategies to save on energy. The three-bedroom, two-bath home is located on an undesirable urban infill site in the East Lawrence community. Although the 1,300-square-foot home is decidedly contemporary , the architects were careful to integrate the dwelling into the existing neighborhood fabric. The handsome yet understated home is clad in insulated metal panels salvaged from a scrapped tennis center project in town. The cedar boards used for the roof overhangs were reclaimed from railroad bridge trestles. “As we design toward LEED Platinum standards, we are integrating passive strategies for lighting and sun shading,” wrote Studio 804. “With an exterior screening system and concrete floor for thermal mass, the southwest glazing allows optimal temperatures year round. We are also selecting materials based on a desire for longevity and ease of maintenance, including the re-purposed metal panel cladding system and insulated glass units for the southwest glazing.” Related: Kansas University students build net-zero home with LEED Platinum and Passive House certification The ADA-compliant home features a flexible open-plan interior—save for the fixed kitchen—with plenty of built-in storage space to give the homeowner control over the use and layout of the space. The light-filled home also opens out to a small “outdoor room” on the south side, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. A rooftop array of 16 solar panels provide up to 4.8 kilowatt-hours of power—expected to meet the home’s energy demands—while low-flow fixtures and LEDs help reduce energy needs as well. + Studio 804 Via Dezeen

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Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials

The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

September 28, 2017 by  
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The mobile recycling factory of the future just landed in the 19th century courtyard of the historic Somerset House in Central London. Trashpresso is a giant solar-powered recycling plant that transforms discarded plastic bottles into architectural tiles. The machine is the brainchild of Pentatonic , a furniture and design company based in Berlin and London committed to using only post-consumer waste in their products – from chairs made from “felted” plastic to glassware made from smartphone screens. Trashpresso is the world’s first off-grid, industrial grade recycling solution designed to be mobile and functional in isolated locations where traditional recycling plants aren’t a feasible option. “Our non-negotiable commitment to the consumer is that we make our products using single materials. That means no toxic additives and no hybridized materials which are prohibitive of recyclability,” explains co-founder Johann Bodecker. Trashpresso made its global debut this week at the Design Frontiers exhibition during the London Design Festival . Visitors to Design Frontiers were invited to contribute their trash and watch the Trashpresso process from start to finish – from the sorting of plastic bottles to the compression of shredded PET into solid hexagonal tiles. Enormous black spheres made of recycled plastic were also installed in the courtyard, lending an imposing presence to the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Throughout the week, the black spheres were gradually covered in the architectural tiles created by Trashpresso, with the public taking part in the installation. Large spheres made of metal mesh contained more plastic bottles, calling attention to the ongoing problem of tons of plastic a year entering our oceans. Starbucks UK recently announced a partnership with Pentatonic to turn their coffee shop waste into furniture, with their Starbucks Bean Chair reinterpreted with upcycled textiles and a frame made from plastic bottles and plastic cups. The Trashpresso machine debuting at Design Frontiers boasts upgraded engineering designed for global transportation. An earlier version of Trashpresso was previewed in Shanghai for World Earth Day by Pentatonic collaborator and investor Miniwiz , which is based in Taiwan and specializes in upcycling. Trashpresso was the featured installation at Design Frontiers, a new exhibition featuring more than 30 designers showcasing projects and products pushing the frontiers of innovation and material use. + Pentatonic + Design Frontiers + London Design Festival Coverage

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The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

Klaas Kuiken turns common green bottles into incredible vases with this clever trick

September 27, 2017 by  
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Dutch designer Klaas Kuiken has found a way to transform everyday glass bottles into incredible vases. He begins by wrapping wire around the bottles, and then he heats them up and uses an air compressor to inflate them into fantastic sculptural shapes. Kuiken was inspired to create his Bottles Collection , after being captivated by the small distinct details found in the mass-produced green bottles. He began to cut into the bottles and found that the thickness was different in most of the bottles. These little irregularities prompted the designer to turn the “flaws” into something uniquely beautiful. Related: Birdhouse Roof Tile: Cozy Nesting Site For Birds Brings Wildlife to Your Home To breathe new life into the products, Kuiken created a unique glass blowing system using a modified oven and a compressor. He begins the process by wrapping each bottle tightly with wire before placing them in his homemade oven. As the compressor gently blows air into the bottles, the glass begins to warp, bulging more on the thinner spots and less where it’s thicker. After countless experiments (some of which resulted in explosions and cracked glass), the designer finally achieved the right balance, resulting in beautiful, one-of-a-kind glass vases . The Bottles Collection has 17 different models – which were recently on display at the London Design Festival – and they can be purchased online . + Klaas Kuiken Photography by Masha Bakker

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Klaas Kuiken turns common green bottles into incredible vases with this clever trick

Ancient papyrus scroll offers insight into Great Pyramid of Giza mystery

September 27, 2017 by  
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Ancient Egyptians moved more than 170,000 tons of limestone to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Archaeologists have long puzzled over just how they accomplished that feat, but papyrus rolls found by a French-Egyptian team offers some insight. In 2013 , researcher Pierre Tallet came across papyrus written by men who helped with the Great Pyramid of Giza’s construction. The papyrus was found in a set of caves used for boat storage in Wadi-al-Jarf, in a remote desert area. Tallet said in the Channel 4 documentary Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence , aired this month, “Since the very day of the discovery it was quite evident that we have the oldest papyrus ever found in the world.” Related: Newly discovered Kazakhstan pyramid may be older than certain Egyptian pyramids Among the documents was the journal of an official never heard of before, named Merer. Tallet has spent the past four years deciphering Merer’s words, including his claim that stone was brought to the pyramids via boat – which adds up, since archaeologists found boat remains near the pyramids. Boats transported limestone to the building site via canals dug for that purpose along the Nile River. Then, according to IFLScience, the stone blocks were rolled on special tracks to arrive at the site. The limestone came from Tora, around eight miles away from Giza, and granite used in the great pyramid came from even farther: more than 500 miles south in Aswan. According to IFLScience, the same kind of boats that brought the limestone to the site could have been used to bring granite from Aswan. The Great Pyramid, Pharaoh Khufu’s tomb, was constructed more than 4,000 years ago, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that remains intact. Via The Independent , IFLScience , and Smithsonian.com Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

September 20, 2017 by  
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International import barriers and trust issues can create barriers — or opportunities — for increasing the use of recycled materials.

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5 challenges to scaling the circular economy

New forest resilience bond blazes a trail

September 20, 2017 by  
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A public-private partnership can address this burning problem.

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New Orleans golf course transformed into citys biggest urban farm with an Eco-Campus

September 18, 2017 by  
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A former golf course in New Orleans’ City Park has been transformed into the city’s biggest urban farm— Grow Dat Youth Farm . The seven-acre sustainable farming nonprofit features a low-energy Eco-Campus built with seven recycled shipping containers and designed by Tulane University architecture students. The urban farming and leadership program teaches local youth how to sustainably grow fruits and veggies that are then sold to CSAs, local restaurants, and markets, as well as donated to neighborhoods lacking access to healthy, fresh food. Founded in 2012, Grow Dat Youth Farm wants to do much more than grow delicious chemical-free food. The nonprofit farm’s central mission is to bring local youth and adults from different backgrounds together in a safe collaborative environment where they can learn how to grow their own food and develop personal, social, and environmental change. Most of the educational workshops take place within the Eco-Campus, a simple low-energy structure with an open-air classroom, two climate-controlled offices, kitchen, bathroom with composting toilets , and storage. A bioswale under the front timber walkway prevents flooding and manages water sustainably. The City Park birding corridor runs along the side of farm and provides a more wild contrast to the farmed environment. Grow Dat Youth Farm has a long-term lease for seven acres of land in New Orlean’s City Park and is currently growing on two acres with plans for expansion. Formerly a golf course that had been uninhabited before Katrina, the site comprised very sandy or mostly clay soils—poor conditions for farming. The team remediated the soil with lots of organic matter—mainly a mixture of coffee grounds, processed dried sugar cane, and chicken manure—and use crop rotations to add minerals back into the earth. Today, the diversified farm grows over 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables, from avocados and satsuma to beets and kale. “Food justice is a big part of who we are,” said Michael Kantor, Interim Director at Grow Dat Youth Farm, who stressed the program’s primary purpose to develop youth leadership skills. “Black farmers in particular have historically been marginalized so we create opportunities here to give young people of different races the chance to take control of food production, either here or in their neighborhoods, and increase access to fresh healthy produce—something many New Orleans neighborhoods do not have.” Grow Dat Youth Farm partners with nine local schools to recruit around 60 high school students annually. Starting January, these youth Crew Members participate in a paid, five-month leadership program held after school and on Saturday that prioritizes diversity and inclusion. The program time is evenly split between lessons on sustainable food , cooking, and farming, and team-building and leadership exercises. Graduates of the program are invited to enroll in the next tiered leadership position as Assistant Crew Leaders; a fellowship program brings in extra help around the year. Related: Inspiring urban farm teaches kids how to grow their own organic food “Our farm is pretty active from September to June,” said Michael. “That’s when we’re harvesting crops for the CSA , our main distribution channel that starts in October, or for the Crescent City Farmers Market or farm stand. We’ve also sold to restaurants and have been in Whole Foods too. We donate 30% of our food to households without access through our Shared Harvest program.” Grow Dat Youth Farm has donated over 26,000 pounds of food. In addition to funding from grants, donors, and market sales, Grow Dat Youth Farm raises funds through their seasonal farm dinners , where they invite celebrated local chefs to cook up locally focused, family-style meals on the farm. This year’s first farm dinner, on September 28, features chefs from Cochon and Peche, while the October 8th dinner features a chef from Shaya. Tickets are still available for these farm dinners. Learn more information about Grow Dat Youth Farm by following the link below. + Grow Dat Youth Farm Images © Lucy Wang

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New Orleans golf course transformed into citys biggest urban farm with an Eco-Campus

Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

September 14, 2017 by  
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Australia’s first carbon positive and zero waste home to achieve a “10 Star” energy rating has popped up in Cape Paterson, Victoria. Designed in collaboration with Clare Cousin Architects , this impressive dwelling is one of the latest projects produced by The Sociable Weaver , an innovative design and build company that creates affordable, beautiful, and sustainable architect-designed homes for the masses. The coastal home, called the ’10 Star Home’ after its energy rating, is naturally heated and cooled thanks to passive solar strategies and maintains comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, even in mid-winter. Built in the green coastal development The Cape, the 10 Star Home is permanently open to the public as a display home to educate architects, builders, and students on sustainable architecture . The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousin Architects considered all aspects of the home, from the building materials to the bedsheets, to achieve their stringent requirements for sustainability, affordability, and social responsibility. The architects even worked with suppliers to reduce packaging delivered to the construction site, and recycled and reused material wherever possible, such as composting plasterboard off-cuts in the garden. A five-kilowatt rooftop solar panel powers the home, which experiences minimal energy loss thanks to superior under-slab insulation, industrial concrete floors that improve thermal mass, and double-glazed windows. The hardwood used is FSC-certified . Non-toxic materials line the interiors, from natural sealants and paints for the floors, walls, and ceilings, to organic and sustainable furnishings like the organic cotton bedding. The display home is fully furnished and decorated with hand-selected products that are stylish and beautiful, yet meet high environmental standards. Related: A Tiny Timber Box in a Tiny Urban Flat Makes Room for a Couple’s First Child In addition to environmentally conscious building practices, the 10 Star Home is designed to inspire a more sustainable lifestyle. The architects followed Building Biology principles to create an edible garden where occupants are encouraged to compost and grow their own food. To keep the home healthy and non-toxic, the 10 Star Home is also equipped with a “green switch” that turns off all power to the home, except for the fridge, so that occupants can reduce the impact of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) at night. “Through Life Cycle Analysis by eTool, modelling shows that over the lifetime of the home, the 10 Star Home will not only negate its carbon footprint but will positively exceed it,” said The Sociable Weaver, according to Dezeen . “This equates to 203 kilograms of carbon emissions saved per year per occupant, equivalent to planting 9.55 million trees or removing 48 million balloons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” + The Sociable Weaver + Clare Cousin Architects Via Dezeen Images via The Sociable Weaver

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Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

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