Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffees first Kyoto location

June 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese architecture firm Schemata Architects has unveiled Blue Bottle Coffee’s first outpost in Kyoto  – and it’s housed in a century-old building. Following the aesthetic of the previous Schemata-designed Blue Bottle cafes in Tokyo, the newest location features a minimalist and modern design that takes inspiration from the surrounding urban fabric. The two-story structure was carefully overhauled to allow for new functionality while preserving and exposing historic elements. Completed in March this year, the Blue Bottle Coffee Kyoto Cafe is located near the base of Kyoto’s forested Higashiyama mountains and along the approach to Nanzen-ji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple and one of the historic city’s top tourist attractions. The cafe was built inside a traditional Japanese townhouse (known as ‘machiya’) consisting of two separate buildings. Schemata Architects renovated the buildings into a ‘Merchandise building’ and a ‘Cafe building’ with a total floor area of nearly 3,500 square feet. As was typical of traditional Japanese architecture at the turn of the 20th century, the original floors of the machiya were raised nearly 20 inches off the ground. To create a seamless appearance and to accommodate patrons with special mobility needs, the Blue Bottle Cafe’s architects demolished the raised wooden floors and made them level with the ground. The new floors feature terrazzo containing the same type of pebbles used outside. The same terrazzo material was also used in the counters and benches. Related: Tokyo capsule hotel gets a Finnish-inspired refresh and sauna “The floor inside the counter is also level with the customer area to maintain the same eye level between customers and staff following the same concept as the other shops, while integrating Japanese and American cultures at the same time,” said the architects. “The continuous white floor is stripped of all unnecessary things and the structure is stripped of existing finishes to expose the original roof structure and clay walls, and one can see traces of its 100-year old history throughout the large, medium and small spaces in the structure originally composed of two separate buildings.” The second floor has been converted into an open-plan office with glass frontage. + Schemata Architects Images by Takumi Ota

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Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffees first Kyoto location

MIT engineers just unveiled living, glowing plants

December 13, 2017 by  
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Glowing plants might sound like the stuff of science fiction – but a team of MIT researchers just grew a crop of watercress that emits emit dim light for almost four hours. Postdoctoral researcher Seon-Yeong Kwak led a team of engineers and scientists to instill the plants with the same enzyme that makes fireflies sparkle. MIT chemical engineering professor Michael Strano said, “The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp – a lamp that you don’t have to plug in. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself.” Plant lamps or even tree street lights could brighten our world in the future thanks to recent research on glowing plants. The plants are illuminated by luciferase – the same enzyme that helps fireflies shine. Luciferase acts on the molecule luciferin to give off light. The team put these three components into nanoparticle carriers to get them to the correct part of a plant. The scientists showed they can also turn off the light by adding nanoparticles with a luciferase inhibitor, so they think they could eventually create plants that stop emitting light in response to conditions like sunlight. Related: 5 Bioluminescent Species that Light Up the World Past experiments to create light-emitting plants attempted to genetically engineer plants to express the gene for luciferase, according to MIT . But it’s a process that takes a lot of work for very dim light – and it’s often limited to just one plant type. The new MIT process can work on any kind of plant; so far the scientists have demonstrated it with watercress, kale, arugula, and spinach. They hope to be able to spray or paint the nanoparticles on leaves with future iterations, so trees or large plants could serve as light sources. The journal Nano Letters published the research online in November. Scientists from the University of California, Riverside and the University of California, Berkeley contributed to the work. + Nano Letters + MIT News Images via Seon-Yeong Kwak

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MIT engineers just unveiled living, glowing plants

How transportation infrastructure keeps sustainability on the move

October 5, 2017 by  
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The basic experience of transportation infrastructure has remained the same for the past 50 years. That’s all about to change.

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How transportation infrastructure keeps sustainability on the move

What the rise of solar in China says about the future of EVs

July 19, 2017 by  
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In just one decade, the country used policy to help prop up the rise of solar manufacturing. Now, it’s putting the same energy behind electric vehicles.

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What the rise of solar in China says about the future of EVs

Transgenic fish are ready for us — are we ready for them?

July 19, 2017 by  
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After decades of regulatory and legal challenges, AquaBounty aims to bring genetically engineered salmon to U.S. and Canadian markets next year.

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Transgenic fish are ready for us — are we ready for them?

Tradition, culture guide Hawaii’s 100 percent renewables quest

June 27, 2017 by  
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Three perspectives on “keeping everyone in the same canoe.”

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Tradition, culture guide Hawaii’s 100 percent renewables quest

Exit Interview: Peter Seligmann, Conservation International

June 27, 2017 by  
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The co-founder of the global environmental nonprofit reflects on 30 years of growth and change as he prepares to step down.

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Exit Interview: Peter Seligmann, Conservation International

The science of preparing cities for natural disasters

May 23, 2017 by  
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Why not audit expected casualties and expected financial loss in a city in the same way you audit the finances or the creditworthiness of sovereign states?

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The science of preparing cities for natural disasters

The business bulwark behind California’s climate progress

May 22, 2017 by  
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The unlikely story of how businesses backed the state’s emissions reduction policies. Will they follow the same playbook for U.S. and global policies?

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The business bulwark behind California’s climate progress

Brand advocacy vs. activism: Swinging the pendulum on climate policy

May 22, 2017 by  
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Even seemingly mundane environmental rules on the chopping block under the Trump administration require more businesses to speak out.

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Brand advocacy vs. activism: Swinging the pendulum on climate policy

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