Man buries 42 school buses to build North America’s largest nuclear fallout shelter

November 29, 2017 by  
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When doomsday arrives, Bruce and Jean Beach have no intention of elbowing their neighbors for space. The retired couple, who reside on 12.5 acres in the rural town of Horning’s Mills just outside of Toronto, Canada, have built themselves a massive, 10,000-square-foot underground bunker. Beyond being the largest private nuclear fallout shelter in North America (as far as we know, at least), the post-apocalyptic den has also been craftily built using 42 decommissioned school buses entombed in concrete. Dubbed “The Ark Two,” the creation, spearheaded by 83-year-old Bruce Beach, sits 15 feet beneath the earth and can accommodate 500 people for several months. The bunker has in fact been designed to support a community, equipped with everything from months worth of food supplies to plumbing, a well, kitchen, laundry, library, dentist, nursery, daycare, ER/surgery room, and even a morgue. And why buses? He says they were cheap (just $300 a pop) and have reinforced steel roofs, which make for ideal bomb shelter molds. Related: Reclaimed Bunker Offers Doomsday Luxury Accommodations Beach built the shelter 35 years ago he says “not for survival, but rather for the reconstruction of society” after an atomic catastrophe. He told the  National Post,  “People think, ‘What a nut,’ and I know that, but I don’t mind, I understand the world looks upon me that way.” Indeed, Beach’s endeavor has not been free of conflict. Because he built the shelter without a permit, he’s been in and out of court over 30 times with the Canadian government. Officials want the bunker welded shut, citing public safety issues. However, Beach argues that “it’s the very opposite of something that is hazardous,” rather “something that is protective in hazardous situations.” To try to win public support, Beach has built relationships with the media to drum up positive publicity—and it’s worked. For the time being, officials have backed off. Beach now even holds volunteer opportunities and “work weekends” at the site. Visitors who are willing to put in a little elbow grease are guaranteed admission into the Ark—that is, “so long as they do so before the catastrophe occurs,” Beach writes on his site . “I used to always say the end of the world was going to be two years from now,” said Beach to the National Post. “But now I say it is going to be two weeks from now—and if I am wrong, I will revise my date.” Via Oddity Central All images via Bruce Beach’s website

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Man buries 42 school buses to build North America’s largest nuclear fallout shelter

Lookout Loop bird observatory in Latvia doubles as a temporary shelter

November 23, 2017 by  
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Ulf Mejergren Architects just unveiled plans for a beautiful bird observatory in Latvia that doubles as a temporary shelter. The Lookout Loop has a sinuous, sculptural form that allows visitors to enjoy expansive views of the wetlands and rest before continuing on one of the paths through Pape Nature Park. The observatory rises from the ground like a dock, with three pairs of curved stair sections joining in a loop, leaving a void in the center. The stairs gets wider closer to the top and the upper landing serves as an observation deck on each pair of stairs. Covered spaces for shelter are located on both sides of the entrance. Related: X-Studio’s Lightweave Palm Observatory is Made Entirely From Palm Leaves The entire structure is made of rot-resistant Siberian larch heartwood. Small gaps between the planks were left in order to allow the wood to dry properly. This also creates a nice visual effect– light filters through the gaps and create the impression of permeability. The main structure is composed of poles interlocked with a treated wood truss-system. + Ulf Mejergren Architects

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Lookout Loop bird observatory in Latvia doubles as a temporary shelter

This man has saved over 700 stray dogs in China over the last 8 years

September 18, 2017 by  
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Zhou Yusong is a dog’s best friend. Over the last eight years, Yusong has rescued over 700 stray dogs and given them homes at his animal protection center China’s Henan Province. Though he didn’t intend on becoming the “Guardian of Dogs,” this is what he is called in his home city of Zhengzhou. It all started in 2008, when Zhou Yusong was walking down a road in Zhengzhou and noticed a stray dog that had clearly been hit by a car. It was fighting for its life, yet was ignored by those who passed by. Yusong was unable to ignore the frightened animal, so he picked it up and took it to a nearby dog shelter as he could never care for it in his tiny apartment. When the man reached the shelter, he was overwhelmed by the large number of stray dogs that had already been collected. To ease the shelter’s burden, he began donating 200 yuan ($30) every month to support the dogs’ food and medical treatments. Inspired to do more, Yusong later convinced his friend to invest 800,000 yuan ($122,000 USD) in a new animal shelter . It would be located on the banks of the Yellow River and care for the abundance of stray dogs. His friend agreed and allowed Yusong to be in charge of the facility. Within a short period of time, the animal lover quit his job and began managing the rescue center full-time. Related: South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade To date, Yusong has rescued over 700 stray dogs, as well as a number of other small and medium-sized animals. Over the past eight years, he hasn’t taken a single vacation, as he is dedicated to ensuring all of the dogs are well taken care of. To reduce the shelter’s costs, Yusong also manages maintenance work, which includes fixing fences and trimming the bushes. He spends the remainder of his time feeding the dogs, cleaning up their kennels, and administering various medical treatments . Though Yusong wasn’t seeking recognition for his work, the world couldn’t help but give it to him after photographs of him and hundreds of dogs went viral on social media. Via Oddity Central ,  Xwtuotiao Images via  Xwtuotiao

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This man has saved over 700 stray dogs in China over the last 8 years

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

First designed for Burning Man, foldable Shiftpods now shelter refugees around the world

August 22, 2017 by  
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The 70,000 people that venture each year to Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada need shelter that will protect them from the elements – and refugees around the world need them even more. Christian Weber, who has been going to the desert festival for over 20 years, decided there had to be a better way than the fragile old hexayurts that were hard to assemble. So he designed foldable Shiftpods that now provide warmth and safety for displaced people all over the world. Weber started by making his shelters for friends headed to Burning Man , not thinking he’d just started what would turn into a multimillion-dollar business. He ended up with 300 orders. So he launched his own company, Advanced Shelter Systems Inc (ASSI), in California, and from the beginning decided to donate one Shiftpod for every 20 sold. Related: Self-shaping shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing Weber designed a shelter that can fold up into one piece. Shiftpods are insulated and tall enough for most people to stand up inside. It also stands up to wind – in a recent test at John Brown University the shelter didn’t blow away until winds from a giant fan placed by the Shiftpod reached 109 miles per hour. ASSI recently started offering their Shiftpod 2.0, which weighs 64 pounds. When it’s popped open, it offers 12.5 feet by 12.5 feet by six feet and ten inches of space. Folded up, it’s 76 by 13 by 13 inches. It costs $1,499.99, but is currently on sale for $1,299. But Weber didn’t stop with festival shelters. He told Fast Company, “There’s 53.4 million forcibly displaced in the world right now because of wars and politics. A lot of them are living in shanty shacks with blue tarps, so we’re trying to create a low-cost, easy-to-ship, easy-to-set-up unit that people can live in for up to five years.” Now Shiftpods have popped up in Nepal, Japan, Ecuador, Haiti, and North Dakota, to name a few countries. ASSI now offers Shelterpods and Responsepods, both targeted for disaster relief . ASSI eventually aims to offer kits that offer more than just shelter. Every year at Burning Man, Weber’s group of campers transport their Shiftpods in a shipping container that then serves as an air-conditioned kitchen with fold-down tables. Weber’s goal “…is to set up kits for individuals to take with them that have a shelter, water filtration, and everything you need for a family of four to survive for 30 days. And to build systems for up to 1,600 people [that can be stored] in one container.” + Advanced Shelter Systems Inc. Via Fast Company Images via ASSI and Shiftpod Facebook

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First designed for Burning Man, foldable Shiftpods now shelter refugees around the world

How long US residents have to wait until the next solar eclipse

August 22, 2017 by  
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If you find yourself wanting more after yesterday’s highly-anticipated total solar eclipse , don’t fret. In just 2,422 days, or approximately seven years, another “once in a lifetime” event will occur in the United States. The total solar eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024, and its path will include cities like Dallas and Indianapolis. Technically, the next solar eclipse will occur outside of the U.S. on July 2, 2019. Only those in South American countries such as Chile and Argentina will be able to view it, however. For this reason, U.S. citizens should mark their 2024 calendars. On April 8, 2024, according to NASA , the solar eclipse will travel from Mexico to Texas, proceed through Illinois and New York, glance Maine, and then leave land in Newfoundland. Related: Trump plans to strip NASA’s earth science division, promote mission to Mars Though seven years is not a long stretch of time, a lot is expected to change by 2024. Not only will self-driving cars become more widespread, sophisticated innovations to make viewing eclipses safer and more enjoyable will likely be invented. For now, aspiring astronomers can look forward to July 31, 2018, when Mars makes its closest pass to the Earth in its orbit. NASA reports, “This is very close to Mars ‘opposition’ where the sun, Earth, and Mars line up. This happens once every 26 months and is important because Mars is relatively small and its distance from Earth varies greatly.” On that date, Mars will be 57,590,630 km from Earth. As a result, most backyard telescopes should be able to pick up its southern polar cap and a few surface features. Via NASA , Recode Images via Pixabay, NASA

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How long US residents have to wait until the next solar eclipse

Free off-grid shelter pops up for urban explorers in Bordeaux

July 5, 2017 by  
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Exploring the fringes of France’s famed wine-growing region is now easier and better than ever. After a long day’s hike—and enjoyment of some Bordeaux wine and cheese—urban explorers can take refuge in Le Haut Perché, an elevated shelter designed by London-based Studio Weave . Crafted as part of the Refuges Périurbains project, this unique shelter is one of eleven free overnight shelters on the edge of the city that encourage the exploration of Bordeaux’s fringe sites. Refuges Périurbains founder Bruit du Frigo and Zebra 3 commissioned Studio Weave to develop the Le Haut Perché hiking shelter, which sits along a pedestrian route connected by a series of site-specific overnight shelters. “The fringes of Bordeaux remain relatively unknown,” Studio Weave wrote. “As is common to this periphery in most cities, these areas are often overlooked, experienced from afar by car rather than as destinations in their own right. Bridging city and wilderness, peripheral urban sites also offer their own magic and potential.” The Refuges Périurbains shelters encourage exploration by providing free accommodation that sleeps up to nine people. Studio Weave’s contribution to the project is an organic shelter in the peaceful heart of Le Parc des Jalles and surrounded by watermills Le Moulin du Moulina. Elevated next to one of Bordeaux’s main water sources, Le Haut Perché takes inspiration from traditional water towers with its material palette and form. The raised shelter is built of timber and weathering steel to blend into the rural landscape. Related: Tiny off-grid Le Tronc Creux shelters blend into Bordeaux’s forests like old tree trunks “The arching platform captures focused sounds and vistas of water and woodland,” said the studio. “Each opening is composed to frame a particular moment, some to be experienced lying down, others stood or sat-up.” The arched roof extends over the sides of the shelter for solar shading . The Le Haut Perché can be booked in advance on the Refuges Périurbains website . + Studio Weave Images by Bruit du frigo

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Free off-grid shelter pops up for urban explorers in Bordeaux

Greenery-covered ziggurat symbolizes Burkina Fasos new era of democracy

July 5, 2017 by  
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African architect Francis Kéré is making headlines for this year’s Serpentine Pavilion , but London’s not the only place where he’s making a splash. The Berlin-based architect was commissioned to redesign his home country’s National Assembly, the Burkina Faso parliament building that had been set ablaze during the country’s revolution in 2014. Covered in green terraces, the striking ziggurat structure draws on traditional African principles and will be complemented with a memorial park. After 31 years of dictatorial rule, the people of Burkina Faso revolted against their government in a series of demonstrations and riots known as the 2014 Burkinabé uprising. In protest of the old regime, the former National Assembly was set ablaze and destroyed. As part of the country’s new start into democracy, architect Kéré was commissioned to design a new parliament building that would not only symbolize the country’s ideals for transparency, openness, and equality, but also catalyze development for Ouagadougou. The proposed National Assembly is a giant ziggurat structure that rises to a height of six stories. “The stepped pyramidal structure becomes a monument that citizens can climb and have an elevated view of Ouagadougou,” wrote the Kéré Architecture. “In an area where the highest altitude does not exceed more than 400 meters, this unexpected but accessible height in the middle of the flat urban fabric offers a new perspective both literally and metaphorically.” A tree occupies the heart of the building in reference to “arbre à palabres” (tree of discussion) under which Burkinabé leaders make decisions in the countryside. Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof The 25,000-square-meter 127-seat public assembly also pays homage to subsistence farming since 90% of the country’s labor force is dedicated to agriculture. The pyramidal building’s facade provides solar shading and also includes publicly accessible green terraces that serve as educational tools to pioneer new urban farming methods. Strategically placed openings allows for crosswinds and natural cooling. The ruins of the old assembly are transformed into a shaded depression for the collection of rainwater that will be reused for on-site irrigation. A Memorial Park with a reflection pool and landscaping complements the building and offer a space for reflection on those who lost their lives in the revolts. + Kéré Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Kéré Architecture

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Greenery-covered ziggurat symbolizes Burkina Fasos new era of democracy

Casa Quebrada is a tiny treehouse-like haven immersed in the Chilean forest

December 9, 2016 by  
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When design studio UNarquitectura was commissioned to design a house by a creek in Curacaví, they also received one more request: to make the home emulate a treehouse . The architects responded with the design of a simple modern shelter elevated over a creek and high into the canopy so to completely immerses the homeowners among the trees. Full-height windows installed in the compact home blur the line between indoor and outdoor living, and fill the interior with natural light and lush forest views. Casa Quebrada is a tiny home due to site restrictions that limited the build to no more than 40 square meters. The tiny cabin successfully fits all the living needs into one compact space but avoids the feeling of claustrophobia due to a fully glazed wall that visually extends the living room to the outdoors. The house is clad in pine wood painted black to help the home blend into the forest, topped with a tin roof, and raised on stilts so as not to interrupt the flow of water in winter. In contrast with its dark facade, the interior is painted bright white. Related: Tucked-away Norwegian island house on stilts is only accessible by boat Instead of a symmetrical gabled roof, the architects introduced a break in the roofline to install a clerestory window . The floor plan also steps up at that point, creating a level change between the living area in the front and the bedroom in the rear. The tiny home is accessed via a timber boardwalk that also connects the shelter with an older existing house. “I think the achievement of this project lies mainly in having conjugate client requests with good adaptation to the environment where it is located,” said Alejandro Urruitia of UNarquitectura. + UNarquitectura Via ArchDaily Images via UNarquitectura

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Casa Quebrada is a tiny treehouse-like haven immersed in the Chilean forest

Net-zero Arc House shows how arches make tiny spaces feel bigger

July 22, 2016 by  
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The Arc House comes in different sizes-from 400 to 500 square feet-and targets the next generation of home buyers who place great value on flexibility and affordability. It complies with California’s factory modular codes and features all the amenities of standard-sized homes. Self-sufficient and compact, the house integrates several sustainable design elements into a single package. Related: Tiny House Nation’s Zack Giffin will teach veterans to build their own homes An off-grid, solar-powered home with superior insulation and energy storage capability, the Arc House comes with a fully-functional kitchen and a bedroom with a walk-in closet. “With The Arc House, we’re demonstrating more efficient ways to build, but we’re also demonstrating that there is a market for smaller, sustainable and more functional housing,” said Jim Gregory, founder of Shelter Dynamics. They certainly have our attention. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JViso1CbPQk + Green Builder Media + Shelter Dynamics + Kitcheneering + Align3D Photos via Shelter Dynamics

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Net-zero Arc House shows how arches make tiny spaces feel bigger

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