Spectacular origami pavilion made of recycled plastic pops up in Columbus, Indiana

October 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

This gorgeous origami-inspired building in Columbus, Indiana is made entirely from recycled plastic – and it lights up at night with a beautiful LED display. Students at the IU School of Art, Architecture + Design in Bloomington , led by Professor Jiangmei Wu , designed the Synergia pavilion as an experiment in building complex structures inspired by biological forms, soap bubbles, and crystal patterns. The temporary pavilion sits on the site of Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church in Columbus, and it references the famous architect’s mid-century modernist architecture. Its design stems from a single element– a bisymmetric polyhedron tessellated into interlocking layers. Over 500 polyhedrons, measuring about two to three feet each, work together to form the elongated hexagonal shape. Related: The Folkets House is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs Translucent corrugated plastic sheets made from recycled plastic were laser cut at Noblitt Fabricating in Columbus Indiana and then hand folded like origami to form each of the structural units. The plastic corrugated boards are extremely lightweight and can be easily bent along the flutes. When connected together, the folded hinges produce an interlocking self-supporting lattice that is light and yet structurally efficient. This eliminates the need for additional framing and assemblage and reduces waste. + IU School of Art, Architectuare + Design Photos by Tony Vasquez

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Spectacular origami pavilion made of recycled plastic pops up in Columbus, Indiana

New super concrete makes buildings strong enough to withstand magnitude 9 earthquakes

October 12, 2017 by  
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Recent natural disasters such as hurricanes in the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico have laid bare the need for more resilient buildings. Fortunately, researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have developed a sprayable, eco-friendly concrete that makes the exterior of buildings as strong as steel and able to withstand unforeseen disasters . The material is called Eco-friendly Ductile Cementitious Composite, or EDCC – and it’s is predominantly comprised of an industrial by-product called fly ash. Said UBC Professor Nemy Banthia, “The cement industry produces close to seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. By replacing nearly 70 percent of cement with fly ash, we can reduce the amount of cement used. This is quite an urgent requirement, as one tonne of cement production releases almost a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” The final product is very similar to steel. It is durable, malleable and much more ductile than ordinary concrete. To test the invention, researchers sprayed EDCC on concrete block walls about 10 mm (one-half inch) thick. They then simulated a magnitude 9 earthquake — the same strength of the earthquake that rocked Tohoku, Japan, in 2011. “The results of these tests have been amazing,” said UBC engineering Ph.D. candidate Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki. “We can shake the wall extensively without it failing.” The video above shows that the unreinforced wall collapsed at about 65 percent intensity. In contrast, the reinforced wall withstood full intensity shaking and flexing. “A 10 millimeter-thick layer of EDCC … is sufficient to reinforce most interior walls against seismic shocks ,” said Soleimani-Dashtaki. EDCC is already on the market – in British Columbia, Canada , the product has been designated as “an official retrofit option.” The product is growing in popularity, as it is more cost-effective than major structural renovations or the steel bracings often required for earthquake protection. Plans are already in motion to reinforce the walls of an elementary school in Vancouver, B.C., and to upgrade a school in the seismically active area of northern India . With this technology, the costs of retrofitting buildings is cut in half. Said Banthia, “This can be very easily scaled to other projects. It costs about half of what other retrofit strategies would cost.” Via Metro News Canada , Engadget Images via UBC Civil Engineering Department, Pixabay, YouTube

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Airstream unveils new off-grid ready Globetrotter trailer

October 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

One of our favorite travel trailer companies, Airstream , just debuted a new product: the Globetrotter. Almost 70 years ago the company’s founder Wally Byam set out on a European trip in an Airstream , and adorned the side with the words ‘Globe Trotters.’ Now, Airstream is bringing back the storied name with their new trailer, designed with United Kingdom-based design firm Astheimer Limited . Hit the jump to hear more from Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler, who spoke to Inhabitat about the inspiration for the design -forward Globetrotter. Airstream’s Globetrotter puts a sleek spin on the iconic aluminum travel trailer, with a European-inspired interior aimed at people who “like comfort but don’t like clutter,” according to Wheeler, who told Inhabitat, “This product is designed specifically for people that have a sophisticated taste in design; they like clean, uncluttered modern design , but without the hard edge.” Related: Iconic Airstream gets a magnificent revamp to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial The Globetrotter is a 27-foot long trailer that can sleep as many as six people comfortably. A small kitchen features a three-burner stove, pantry, and 6.7 cubic foot fridge. There’s a bathroom with built-in nightstands, a shower, bathroom, and dinette space that doubles as a lounge bed. There are two choices for interior decor: natural elm and dark walnut. “A very holistic approach really sets this design apart,” Wheeler told Inhabitat. “Every fixture, every handle, every light and the flooring, the design of the furniture: everything in there works together in a very high degree of harmony. There are more curves in this design, whether it’s the corner of the cabinets, or the design of the bed or the seating that wraps around you, even the edges of the cushions. There are no sharp edges, no sharp corners. It draws you in and looks like something you would want to spend some time in.” The trailer can also go off-grid with an optional solar package that includes two 80-watt solar panels , two batteries , and an inverter. “We try to set everything up so you can spend several days comfortably off-grid, and get away from the crowds and the campsites,” said Wheeler. Solar power isn’t the last of the Globetrotter’s sustainable features. It’s equipped with low flow water fixtures, and LED lighting – both inside and out. Airstream utilized low volatile organic compound materials, and Wheeler estimates around 90 percent of the materials in the trailer are recyclable . “We want to inspire people to travel ,” he told Inhabitat. “That’s really the magic of the Airstream brand: it inspires people to get out of their La-Z-Boys, and get out of their comfort zones and go have an adventure.” The 27-foot Globetrotter costs $99,900. Wheeler said the initial reaction to the trailer has been “one of the most positive responses we can remember to the launch of a new product.” He said in the future, Airstream aims to create a whole line of products with different lengths and layouts with the same interior design aesthetic. + Airstream + Astheimer Limited Images courtesy of Airstream

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Airstream unveils new off-grid ready Globetrotter trailer

Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

October 10, 2017 by  
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This palm-shaped temporary pavilion recently popped up at the Enskifteshagen Park in Malmö, Sweden , as an inclusive space where refugees and longtime residents of Sweden can learn new skills, find jobs and make connections. The pavilion, named Folkets House (“People’s House), was designed for the Opportunity Space Festival in Malmö, as the winning proposal for the design competition organized by the Van Alen Institute , the City of Malmö, White Arkitekter , Skanska , Individuell Människohjälp , and Architects Sweden. Architects and designers Rik Ekströmof ARExA,  Gustav Fagerström of Walter P Moore,  Milad Barosen of the Milou Group and Nathan King of the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design teamed up to design the structure, which was influenced by Swedish 19th-century labor union buildings. Related: Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami The pop-up structure is shaped by curved wooden beams that radiate from its center and shelter a large space under a thin skin. It is meant to host a range of programs, workshops, and other activities organized by Van Alen Institute. At night, the building is transformed into a beautifully lit gathering space where refugees and immigrants can mingle with locals. “We believe that Folkets House will signal the beginning of new opportunities and inspiration for working people of all nations who come together in Malmö — Sweden’s cultural melting pot,” said Rik Ekström of the Folkets House team. + ARExA + Walter P Moore + Milou Group + VT a+d + Van Alen Institute Lead photo by Nazim Benli

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Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

New York City is now offering free lunch at all public schools

September 8, 2017 by  
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Good riddance “lunch shaming” — the practice of holding children accountable for school lunch bills. Starting this school year in New York City, all 1.1 million students who attend public schools will receive their lunches for free. The move has been long sought after by food policy advocates, as 75 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches. Now an additional 200,000 kids will benefit, saving their families approximately $300 per year. According to city officials, the program will not cost the city additional money since New York state changed how it tracks families that are eligible for benefits and matched them with schools their children attend. The city was then able to identify more students whose families receive those benefits. It made officials realize the whole city qualifies for a federal program that dishes out free lunches at schools. According to Carmen Fariña, the school’s chancellor, “This is about equity. All communities matter.” Fariña is one of many who thinks the practice of lunch shaming needs to stop. When a student’s account is in overdraft, oftentimes their food is thrown away in front of them and they are given a simple sandwich on white bread as a replacement. The practice is so embarrassing, many kids choose to go hungry rather than subject themselves to the humiliation. Related: 8 Organic School Lunches That Can Be Prepared The Night Before New York isn’t the first city to offer free lunch to all students. Other major cities that do the same include Boston , Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas. However, New York has far more children to feed than any of those cities, which is why this initiative is particularly applaudable. While breakfasts were already free to students at the city’s public schools, this latest development will ensure all students receive most of their daily recommended food intake. This is vital, considering 13 million children in the United States live in food insecure households. Via New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons , Pixnio

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

September 8, 2017 by  
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What3Words is a revolutionary addressing system that pinpoints locations more precisely than conventional street addresses. The tool divides the world into 57 trillion 3 meter x 3 meter squares and assigns a unique combination of three words to each square. This enables more efficient aid and delivery services around the world – and it could actually save lives in disaster zones and informal settlements without street names. Roughly 75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems, meaning that 4 billion people are unable to report crime, receive deliveries or request aid . They also are unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live. Even in the developed world, people get lost and mail goes delivered. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award London-based What3Words offers an efficient, precise solution that is currently being integrated into businesses, apps and services across the globe. Each of the 57 trillion 3mx3m squares in the world has been allocated a fixed & unique 3-word address. The What3words geocoder turns geographic coordinates into these 3 word addresses & vice-versa. The system works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition. Related: Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing Nigeria ‘s postal service has just started using What3Words to tackle its snail-mail problem and the poor addressing system. By adopting this state-of-the-art technology , NIPOST hopes to increase home delivery to 70 percent over the next two years. The firm has also signed a deal with Mongolia’s national delivery service and drone company Altavian, which designs and manufactures high quality drones for commercial enterprises. They teamed up with Indian moped taxi firm Bikxie, which is utilizing What3Words’ award-winning addressing system to help women travel more safely. What3words has been selected as the winner of the world’s biggest design prize – the INDEX: Award – which recognizes sustainable designs that generate positive impact in the world. + What3words + INDEX: Award

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

August 22, 2017 by  
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You’ve heard of self-healing concrete and even the potential of a self-healing starship , but what about rubber that repairs itself? The invention now exists, thanks to researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). In a new study published in Advanced Materials , the research team reveals how they developed a hybrid rubber with both covalent and reversible bonds that is capable of repairing itself. While self-healing materials aren’t new (researchers at SEAS created self-healing hydrogens which rely on water to incorporate reversible bonds that promote self-healing), this is the first time engineers have created a self-healing rubber. The task was difficult, as rubber is made of polymers often connected by permanent, covalent bonds. Because the bonds are strong, they never reconnect once broken. The researchers overcame this by making the bonds connecting the polymers reversible, so the material could break and reform. Related: This rubber-jointed LED table lamp can bend in any direction like Gumby To mix covalent and reversible bonds, the researchers developed a molecular rope (called randomly branched polymers) which tied the two types of bonds together. This rope allowed two previously unmixable bonds (“like oil and water,” according to Li-Heng Cai, a corresponding author) to be mixed homogeneously on a molecular scale. It was this step that produced the self-healing rubber. Unlike typical rubber, the self-healing variety redistributes stress so there is no localized point of trauma that results in cracking. When the stress is released, the material “snaps back” to its original form and the cracks repair themselves. Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has already filed a patent for the technology and is seeking commercialization opportunities. This means that in the very near future, objects that utilize rubber are likely to become more durable. Cai, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS, Jinrong Wu, a visiting professor from Sichuan University, China , and author David A. Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, developed the hybrid rubber as a team. Their research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “There is still a lot more to do. For materials science , it is not fully understood why this hybrid rubber exhibits crazes when stretched,” Weitz said. “For engineering, the applications of the hybrid rubber that take advantage of its exceptional combination of optical transparency, toughness , and self-healing ability remain to be explored. Moreover, the concept of using molecular design to mix covalent and reversible bonds to create a homogenous hybrid elastomer is quite general and should enable development of tough, self-healing polymers of practical usage.” + Advanced Materials Via GreenCarCongress Images via Pixabay ,  Peter and Ryan Allen/Harvard SEAS

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Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint

August 9, 2017 by  
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Thailand’s eco-friendly Panyaden International School has added a stunning new sports hall to its campus that’s built entirely of bamboo and stays naturally cool year-round in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Designed by Chiangmai Life Construction , the Bamboo Sports Hall features a modern organic design that draws inspiration from the lotus flower. The large multipurpose facility was built to withstand local natural forces including high-speed winds and earthquakes, and boasts a zero-carbon footprint. Completed this year, the Bamboo Sports Hall features a lotus-like organic shape in a nod to Panyaden International School’s use of Buddhist values in its academic curriculum. Its undulating shape also reflects the surrounding hilly topography. The 782-square-meter open-air building is supported with a series of arches and topped with three petal-like round roofs lifted up at the edges to let in natural ventilation and indirect light. The multipurpose facility can accommodate 300 students and includes futsal, basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts, as well as a stage that can be lifted automatically, and storage room for sports and drama equipment. Viewing balconies flank the sporting area and stage. Related: Chiangmai Life Construction creates homes using rammed earth, bamboo and recycled wood Bamboo was selected as the primary building material to maintain Panyaden’s “Green School” mission of a low carbon footprint and to blend in with the school’s existing earth-and-bamboo buildings. “Panyaden’s Sports Hall’s carbon footprint is zero,” write the architects. “The bamboo used absorbed carbon to a much higher extent than the carbon emitted during treatment, transport and construction.” The large openings for natural ventilation, insulation, and use of bamboo help create a comfortable indoor climate year-round. No toxic chemicals were used to treat the bamboo, which has an expected lifespan of at least 50 years. The exposed prefabricated bamboo trusses span over 17 meters. “Here we show how bamboo can create a space that is 15 meters wide and high without any steel reinforcements,” wrote the architects. “From the outside it looks like it has grown there or transformed from one of the rolling hills in the background to become a human artifice. As in fact the Panyaden International School Sports Hall is a combination of careful artistic design, beautiful detailed handicraft and major construction.” + Chiangmai Life Construction Via ArchDaily Images © Alberto Cosi, Markus Roselieb, Chiangmai Life Construction

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Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint

BIG unveils Cactus Towers next to a car-free IKEA in Copenhagen

August 9, 2017 by  
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Enormous “Cacti” will soon pop up in the heart of Copenhagen . Architecture firm BIG has unveiled renderings for an eye-catching pair of buildings with a spiny appearance in the city’s Vesterbro district. Created in collaboration with Danish practice Dorte Mandrup Architects , the aptly named Cactus Towers are high-rise residential buildings that will be built next to a new sustainably minded IKEA store. Located next to the waterfront area of Kalvebod Brygge, the 74,000-square-meter site will comprise a new IKEA store, budget hotel, and green space in addition to the two planned Cactus Towers. The pair of buildings gets its name from the striking spiky-looking facade created by rotated floor plates. The corners of those floor plates create overhangs that provide shade. The buildings will rise to 60 and 80 meters tall and feature 500 “youth rooms.” Related: How Copenhagen handles bike jams The new IKEA next door to the towers will not have any parking on cars and will encourage shoppers to take away their smaller purchases on bicycle . The 1,250-room hotel also on site will be spread across two volumes and is expected to be the largest hotel in the Nordic region. The project is set to open in 2019. + BIG + Dorte Mandrup Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Dorte Mandrup Architects , BIG

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BIG unveils Cactus Towers next to a car-free IKEA in Copenhagen

C.F. Mller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design

July 6, 2017 by  
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The built environment has a huge impact on shaping on lives, especially when it comes to learning. With that principle in mind, C.F. Møller Architects designed and recently completed the Herningsholm Vocational School, a Danish school that focuses on the creation of optimal learning and study environments. Green space, designed by C.F. Møller Landscape, is woven throughout the school to provide opportunities for outdoor work and learning. Winner of a 2014 architectural competition , the design for the 4,700-square-meter Herningsholm Vocational School is an independent building placed within an existing campus cluster of educational buildings . The school comprises three building volumes of varying scales under one roof arranged in an angular layout. Diverse and flexible learning spaces were created to match opportunities for alternative learning styles and unconventional uses. Mobile furnishings allow teachers and students to mold their learning space to their needs. Related: C.F. Møller unveils eco-conscious highrise in Sweden Outdoor urban and learning spaces tie the buildings together and include the Plaza, a quiet green study garden, and a semi-public front garden. A variety of common study spaces dot the school and range from more open environments for workshop uses to quieter nooks for individual study. Natural light fills the school through carefully oriented glazed facades optimized for energy efficiency. In a nod to environmental sustainability, two depressed pockets of greenery in the Plaza offer seating in the dry weather but double as natural infiltration and retention basins to relieve the sewers during rainfall. + C.F. Møller Architects Images by Martin Schubert

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