Recycled plastic to soon pave Los Angeles roads

October 18, 2019 by  
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To better manage plastic waste , Los Angeles is in talks with Technisoil, an innovative manufacturing company, to viably incorporate plastic into the city’s roads. Typically viewed as an ecological scourge, plastic waste can also be seen as a valuable resource when repurposed. Substituting asphalt road materials with upcycled plastic waste could spell cost savings for both road construction and waste management endeavors. Because plastic does not degrade easily, it has now become a significant environmental threat, often entering our oceans and harming marine life. At the same time, road maintenance can be a costly enterprise. To address the two key global issues of excess plastic waste and sustainable road maintenance, Los Angeles and Technisoil are jointly piloting the use of recycled plastic in road construction plans. Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions The innovative method will be tested at the corner of West First Street and North Grand Avenue. First, plastic waste will be fragmented into pellets. These pellets will next be melted into a type of oil-based material, called bitumen. Bitumen is the petroleum-based binding agent in asphalt. Thus, the “plastic oil” will then be mixed in with other paving materials to create a type of plastic-infused asphalt. What are some advantages to these plastic roads? First, they are a less expensive alternative when compared to bitumen or traditional asphalt. Because plastic-suffused asphalt reduces the amount of petroleum in asphalt, these roads require less time to assemble, making them a more financially feasible choice. Similarly, these roads have a lower carbon footprint because the repurposed plastic produces less emissions. These plastic roads are durable, have a longer lifespan and are seven times stronger than regular asphalt, translating into less need for road maintenance. Environmentalists worry that the plastic will leach into waterways. But both the city of Los Angeles and Technisoil claim they’ve performed tests that prove otherwise. The timing is opportune for Los Angeles to leverage recycled plastic because China has ceased accepting recyclables from the City of Angels. Rather than having plastic accumulate in Southern California landfills, this venture promises to effectively utilize plastic while concurrently alleviating waste management and road construction costs. Should this process prove successful, it will be a model that other cities across the U.S. can implement as well. Doing so will bring the nation closer to mitigating plastic pollution while simultaneously helping to improve the country’s vast network of roads that have yet to be repaired or updated. “This is an exciting technology and a sustainable technology,” said Keith Mozee, assistant director at the Department of Street Services. “And it’s something that we believe going forward could be game-changing if we deploy on a large scale.” Via The Architect’s Newspaper Image via Giuseppe Milo

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Recycled plastic to soon pave Los Angeles roads

Vancouver Food Tour showcases the city’s vegan side

September 30, 2019 by  
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As we sit at MeeT in Gastown eating sweet-chili cauliflower, Hannah Enkerlin tells me she thinks vegetarians are more evolved people than omnivores, more in touch with animals and environmental health. My guide on Vancouver Food Tour co-founded this vegan tour in 2017, after an explosion of new local vegan businesses. She’s excited to show off some of the best vegan food the city has to offer and to share vegan fun facts with tourists. For example, the world has entirely too many methane -producing cows headed for dinner plates and that the term “veganism” was coined in 1944 by a British gent named Donald Watson. Vancouver Food Tour’s most popular offering is the Gastown Tasting Tour. Despite the recent uptick in vegan consciousness, the company gets far fewer bookings and participants on the vegan tour. Enkerlin’s average Gastown Tasting Tour routinely gets up to 30 participants. For the vegan tour, eight’s a crowd. But the company is committed to offering it and will even conduct the tour if only one person signs up. Related: The pros and cons of going vegan Enkerlin, a long-time vegetarian , and company owner Carlos Gomes dreamed up the vegan tour together. They visited all the new vegan restaurants, thoroughly vetting menus to decide which dishes would be best to offer guests. Then, they put together a five-stop tour that adds up to more than enough for a filling lunch. First stop, MeeT in Gastown. “It’s a very, very busy restaurant, no matter what day of the week,” Enkerlin said as we found a table on a rainy September afternoon. MeeT serves burgers, bowls, fries and the ultimate Canadian comfort food, poutine (French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy). If you just wandered in off the street, you might not realize it’s a vegan place, as it looks more like a hip comfort food joint. Vancouver Food Tour pre-orders the food so that it’s ready for tour-goers when they arrive. Enkerlin told me that cauliflower is very trendy right now in Vancouver. In addition to its nutrients, it has a reputation as a cancer -fighter. Plus, when beer-battered, it’s delicious. “But MeeT has something no one else has,” she said. “Tamarind sauce.” On the tour, the appetizer comes with a small glass of beer or wine. For non-drinkers like me, you can substitute something off the menu. I opted for a ginger shrub. After MeeT, we walked about 10 minutes through Chinatown to the vegan pizza parlor called Virtuous Pie. This fast-casual restaurant has modern, industrial decor and specializes in creatively topped, single-serving pizzas. Vancouver Food Tour’s chosen pie is the ultraviolet, which has a thin crust topped with walnut arugula pesto, cashew mozzarella, dried tomatoes, kale, caramelized onions and pine nuts. Virtuous Pie opened in 2016 as the first of a new batch of non-Chinese businesses in Chinatown. Known for its pizza and homemade ice cream, Virtuous Pie has since opened shops in Portland, Victoria and Toronto. By this point in the tour, it feels like lunch is over, but there’s still one more entree before dessert. After another short walk, we arrived at Kokomo , also in Chinatown, which specializes in healthful vegan bowls and smoothies. Options include a coastal macro bowl and hemp Caesar salad. I chose the photogenic Nood Beach Bowl, with noodles tossed in tahini sauce, snap peas, pickled carrot, furikake, mint and green onion and topped with cilantro, sesame seeds and watermelon radish. Owner Katie Ruddell opened Kokomo in 2017. As we waited for my bowl, Enkerlin told me Ruddell built the serene, understated spot out of an old automotive garage. Now, it looks more like an upscale yoga studio. Diners sit on stools around an off-white boomerang table encircling huge indoor plants. Next comes the highlight of the tour, at least for dessert lovers — a visit to Umaluma . This small shop makes dairy-free gelato in everything from familiar flavors, like mint chip and dark chocolate truffle, to exotic options like black sesame, drunken cherry and lemongrass kaffir. The owners use organic ingredients whenever possible. They go the extra mile by making their own nut milks, squeezing oranges or pressing espresso, depending on what the flavor in question requires. How much vegan gelato did I eat on the food tour? I don’t want to talk about it. The tour ends at an all-vegan grocery store called Vegan Supply . Enkerlin gave me five dollars of spending money. I recognized lots of familiar products imported from the U.S., but I also discovered many Canadian brands. I asked a worker which products are local, and he just happened to be in charge of inventory. “I love to show off our stuff,” he said cheerfully, taking me on a full tour of cases and shelves. Many of the plant-based faux meats come from British Columbia , plus some prepared sauces like Golden Glop, a turmeric and cashew blend, are produced by Vancouver-based KAPOW NOW! . The tour is a fun way to get on the inside track of vegan Vancouver, and Enkerlin, vivacious, warm and well-read, makes a fascinating guide. I hope that in the future, Vancouver Food Tour gets more “evolved” visitors who choose the vegan tour over the company’s meatier and craft beer-focused offerings. + Vancouver Food Tour Photography by Hannah Enkerlin and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

August 29, 2019 by  
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The heart of Philadelphia will soon be transformed with Schuylkill Yards, a $3.5 billion masterplanned neighborhood in University City that will include two mixed-use towers, one of which will target LEED Silver certification. Developer Brandywine Realty Trust recently unveiled designs for the pair of towers — dubbed the East and West Towers — designed by global architecture firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) . The glass-enveloped buildings will combine modern design elements with historical references, from color palettes inspired by the traditional materials common in the area to the window typology of the old Pennsylvania Railroad rail cars. Set to transform 14 acres next to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Schuylkill Yards will replace parking lots with a neighborhood comprising nearly 7 million square feet of offices, residences, retail shops, hotels, green space and life science and innovation space. The PAU-designed East and West Towers will also offer a mix of programming. Related: World’s first solar-powered, indoor vertical farm sprouts in Philadelphia Designed “as cousins,” the complementary towers will have distinct personalities — the West Tower will have a more neutral exterior facade with a simple monolithic form, and the LEED Silver -seeking East Tower will have eye-catching massing that splits the building into three staggered tiers with a bold red color palette. Both buildings will be elevated on fluted pedestals to create an engaging pedestrian thoroughfare. Towering at 512 feet tall, the East Tower will offer 34 floors of office space, 7,000 square feet of retail and a dedicated amenity level on the 14th floor. Its dynamic massing is engineered to maximize its building footprint and green space while mitigating wind concerns and improving sight lines of Philadelphia . The smaller and more demure West Tower will stand at around 360 feet and offer 9,000 square feet of retail, 219,000 square feet of residential, 200,000 square feet of office space and covered parking. Its designated luxury amenity floor will be located in the ninth floor. Construction on the East and West Towers is set to begin in 2020. + Practice for Architecture and Urbanism Images via PAU and Brandywine Realty Trust

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This unique eco home was designed to reduce energy use

July 12, 2019 by  
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Located in Toronto, Canada, this eco home by Craig Race Architecture was built entirely with sustainability in mind. The 1,800-square-foot house was a passion project for the architect, who wanted to use the space to test high-performing methods for the outer elements that facilitate climate control within the house. The highlight of the home is its high-quality insulation . Superior insulation in a structure design can maintain a dry, hot or cold temperature inside by creating a barrier between exterior and interior environments. In the Curvy Eco Home’s case, a majority of the insulation was installed as a continuous, unbroken layer on the outside of the building, which greatly reduced the number of localized areas with low thermal resistance. Related: This family-friendly home is a beacon of modern energy-efficient design in Calgary In combination with the insulation, the home is also almost completely airtight. According to the architects’ energy modeling, they were able to reduce the heating energy in the home by 40 percent by using $1,500 worth of tape to ensure exceptional airtightness. Not only will this dramatically reduce the owner’s electricity bill, but the home itself will be much more comfortable no matter the season. A large amount of glass on the south side of the home allows for passive heating. To reduce energy needs, an in-floor radiant system was installed with separate thermostats for either side of the home. This way, when the passive heating is being utilized on the south side, the owner can turn off half the electric heat, maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout. There is an air conditioner in the house for the hottest days of summer; however, it rarely needs to be used thanks to the skylight purposely placed to move air in and out of the house for natural ventilation. The curvature in the exterior design of the home was intended to follow the same pattern as the street and to maximize space. All of the materials used for cladding are either recycled and/or sustainable, including the cedar shingles. The roof, side walls and south wall were made with standing-seam galvalume panels, which are long-lasting and maintenance-free. The panels are also untreated — meaning no toxic paint or coating — and can be recycled in the future. Inside, the eco home features a rather minimalist design. Each room benefits from a bright, airy atmosphere thanks to natural light, white walls and light wood accents. The kitchen boasts marble countertops and backsplash, while the bedrooms earn extra charm from exposed wood ceiling beams. + Craig Race Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography via Robert Watson via Craig Race Architecture

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This unique eco home was designed to reduce energy use

This multigenerational smart home boasts energy savings

July 3, 2019 by  
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When a family approached international design practice ONG&ONG to design a home for accommodating multigenerational needs, the firm responded with a contemporary abode that not only caters to residents of different ages, but also boasts a reduced carbon footprint. Located in Singapore, the 37FC House is carefully laid out to make the most of its long and linear plot and to optimize exposure for its rooftop solar panels. In addition to other energy saving systems such as home automation , the multigenerational home is estimated to save 30 percent on energy costs as compared to similarly sized homes. The strikingly contemporary 37FC House stands out from its neighbors with its boxy form spread out across four levels to maximize living space on a narrow lot. Deep overhangs protect the interior from Singapore’s intense heat, while an abundance of greenery planted around the perimeter and on every floor of the house help cultivate a cooling microclimate and provide a sense of privacy for the residents. Retractable full-height glazing creates a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience, while the generous use of teak throughout the home further emphasizes the connection with nature. Related: Singapore’s energy-efficient green heart center Spanning an area of 5,800 square feet, the 37FC House includes four bedrooms across four floors, including the basement and attic. The main service areas and communal spaces are located on the ground floor that opens up to a lushly planted rear garden, where a Sukabumi-tiled lap pool is located. With approximately 1.5 times more floor space than the ground volume, the second floor cantilevers over the ground floor and contains two junior suites in the rear and the master bedroom that opens up to views of the street and garden. The attic houses a guest bedroom, while the basement includes an additional living room. A sky-lit black steel staircase and an elevator join the home’s four floors.  To reduce energy consumption, the home is powered with solar energy. Home automation that can be remotely controlled with a smartphone — such as the EIB system for controlling lighting — also helps with energy savings. + ONG&ONG Images by Derek Swalwell

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This multigenerational smart home boasts energy savings

This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

June 28, 2019 by  
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A Tampa neighborhood design just became the first in the world to earn a WELL Design & Operations designation from the Delos International WELL Building Institute, a global community standard for wellness. You may have heard of the Delos company from advocates such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Clinton, or you may have heard about it for creating the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a global movement designed to transform communities and buildings in ways that promote health and wellness. The IWBI WELL Community Standard studies how well a community’s public spaces positively impact individuals in their general well-being, sustainability and health. Under those standards, the WELL Design & Operations (“D&O”) certification recognizes implemented design and policy strategies aimed to improve the lives of local residents through the concepts of: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Sound, Mind, Temperature, Materials and Community. Related: LEED Gold eco hotel in the Wine Country was built using reclaimed wood The only neighborhood design to earn a D&O title so far? Water Street Tampa , an aptly-named $3 billion, 53-acre waterfront community project being brought to life entirely with wellness in mind by Strategic Property Partners, Elkus Manfredi Architects and designer Reed Hilderbrand. The vision, which will create 13 acres of parks and public spaces and one million square feet of new retail, cultural, educational and entertainment spaces, is being built from the ground up to promote healthy living. Some of the ways Water Street will achieve these wellness standards is by building sidewalks with a width of 14 to 45 feet (exceeding the city of Tampa’s requirements), creating outdoor community activity programs such as yoga, offering free filtered water bottle filling stations, reducing light pollution through required light dimming times in designated public spaces, offering recycling in every building and implementing tree canopies and light-colored pavement to reduce urban heat. Additionally, Water Street will also have free public WIFI, app-based parking, a community wellness center, consistent farmers markets and a public kitchen with regularly scheduled chef-led classes in healthy cooking techniques. “Phase One” of the project is scheduled to be completed between 2020 and 2021 and will include over one million square feet of new office space, 300,000 square feet of new retail space (including a grocery store and a gym) and 1,300 new residential units that promise to provide a variety of price points and styles. + International WELL Building Institute Images via WELL

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This new community in Tampa is set to be the worlds healthiest neighborhood

An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces

March 28, 2019 by  
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A historic waterfront factory has been given a new lease on life thanks to New York-based architecture firm ODA and Triangle Assets. Located at 10 Jay Street in DUMBO, New York City, the project explores both adaptive reuse and historic preservation in its transformation of the former Arbuckle Brothers sugar refinery into creative office spaces. The sensitive renovation updates the building to modern standards while carefully preserving its history, from the restrained industrial-inspired material palette to a new reflective facade that evokes sugar crystals. Built in 1898, the massive structure first served as the Arbuckle Brothers’ sugar refinery. After the building was converted into a winery , the front structure of the building was torn down, leaving only three of the original facades intact. The building then remained vacant and abandoned for 50 years until real estate agency Triangle Assets purchased the property with aims of renovation. To that end, Triangle Assets tapped ODA to turn the 230,000-square-foot warehouse and its 10 stories into flexible offices that overlook panoramic views of Manhattan and Williamsburg’s waterfront. The interiors are also minimally dressed in exposed brick and steel in a nod to the site’s industrial heritage. Existing historical features, such as the terracotta arches and octagonal columns, were restored and exposed. The building is also embedded in Brooklyn Bridge Park, making it the only privately owned building in the park thanks to the owner’s donation of nearly 15,000 square feet of land to the park. The new crystalline west facade reflects the park and sunsets over the river. Related: Brooklyn’s new Domino Park features relics from the old sugar factory “As the conversation surrounding heritage and preservation grows, 10 Jay Street is a prime example of how cities around the world recover and readapt buildings,” a press release on the project said. “The design dared to challenge the way landmark buildings are seen and, in doing so, created unique threads to link old with new, the industrial age with the digital era, and create a product for the modern age.” + ODA Photography by Pavel Bendov via ODA

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An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces

Valser is using carbon capture technology to carbonate its beverages

December 28, 2018 by  
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Valser, a Coca-Cola-owned brand of sparkling water based in Switzerland, is embracing new climate capture technology. Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland (the bottling plant that makes Valser) has partnered with Climeworks, a pioneering company that captures carbon dioxide, to use the new technology to carbonate its water . Climeworks has already partnered with a greenhouse that uses CO2 to help plants grow faster, and since the beverage industry is one of the only existing markets that uses carbon dioxide , it seemed like the natural next step. But, the technology won’t stop there. Christoph Gebald, co-founder and director of Climeworks, says that other applications are coming, including making carbon-neutral fuel or concrete to make plastic , shoes and fish feed. But, it’s the greenhouse and beverage industries that use carbon dioxide on a large scale, and this is how Climeworks hopes to scale up its technology. At Climeworks plants, the company uses its one-of-a-kind  technology to capture CO2 inside shipping containers by pulling air inside of them and then processing it through filters — working almost like an incredibly powerful tree. When a filter gets full, the team heats the collector and release the gas in a pure form so it can be injected into deep underground storage. Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide The amount of carbon dioxide in the air is higher than it has been for millennia (about 400,000 years to be exact), and this new process from Climeworks will help address this problem. But, putting the CO2 into beverages instead of underground still allows the fizz to come out when you open the bottle. To help impact climate change , the amount of carbon dioxide we need to remove from the air could be around 10 billion tons per year — according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — and the global food and beverage industry produces about 6 million tons annually. So there is still a long way to go. “The beverage industry is really the bridge from today — no existing market — to enabling us to further work down our cost curve and industrialize the technology,” says Gebald. “It’s really the missing bridge between startups and, one day, climate-relevant scale to remove carbon from the air.” Sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is currently a more expensive option than resorting to other sources, but it does make sense for some locations. Once the technology becomes cheaper, it will become a more attractive option for other businesses. Via Fast Company Images via ExplorerBob

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Valser is using carbon capture technology to carbonate its beverages

A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor

December 6, 2018 by  
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In their latest installment of Literature vs Traffic, Spanish design collective luzinterruptus transformed a major street in Ann Arbor , Michigan, into a glowing river of 11,000 books. Carried out to bring attention to the importance of pedestrian-friendly spaces, the large-scale installation turned an area typically marred by the sounds and pollution of cars into a quiet haven. At the end of the night, all the books were quickly “recycled” and taken home by visitors as a keepsake of the temporary event. Luzinterruptus’ most recent installation of Literature vs Traffic—the artwork had previously been displayed in Toronto, Melbourne, Madrid and New York—was briefly brought to life at Ann Arbor on October 23, 2018 thanks to the invitation of the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and its curator, Amanda Krugliak. The design collective felt the Michigan city was a fitting choice due to its reputation as a book loving college town and its proximity to Detroit , the birthplace of the U.S. automobile industry. “We want literature to take over the streets and to become the conqueror of all public places, offering passersby a traffic-free area that will, for a few hours, surrender to the humble might of the written word,” explain the designers. “Thus, a place in the city usually dedicated to speed, pollution , and noise, shall turn, for one night, into a place of peace, quiet, and coexistence, lighted by the soft dim light issued from the book pages.” Related: Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires The university organized a book donation drive to collect the 11,000 books used in the installation and also helped to temporarily close the major intersection of State Street and Liberty Street for 24 hours. A team of 90 volunteers also pitched in to help prepare and embed the books with tiny lights. On October 23, a glowing river of books was laid out for a few hours until nightfall, when visitors were invited to enter the ‘river’ and take the books home. All the books disappeared in less than two hours, leaving the street clean and empty by midnight. + luzinterruptus Images by Melisa Hernández and John Eikost  

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A glowing river of books creates a traffic-free haven in Ann Arbor

A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

October 23, 2018 by  
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Urban farming can be tough, especially when it’s in the middle of the densely packed Belgian city of Mechelen. But thanks to the determination of a client “with green fingers” and the clever design thinking of Belgian architecture firm dmvA , a solution was conceived in House TP, a renovation project with a new greenhouse in the rear. In addition to space for growing greens, the transformed property also enjoys greater access to natural light and views of the outdoors. Located next to a church, the compact, 90-square-meter home is sandwiched between two buildings with a north-oriented rear side. To improve access to sunlight, the architects removed the back of the building save for a single steel beam that inspired the firm to insert extra beams to create a base for a “floating” greenhouse , which allows natural light to pass through to the patio space below. In contrast to the mostly closed front facade, large glazed openings were also added to the back of the building to frame views of the greenhouse from the second and third floors. Since the top floor enjoys the greatest access to natural light , the architects decided to place the primary living areas on the third floor while placing the bedroom downstairs. The ground floor houses an additional living space that can be converted into a bedroom. The removal of walls and an open-plan layout make the compact home feel larger than its footprint lets on. The stairs were also strategically placed to the side of the building to avoid blocking sight lines. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion In contrast to its redbrick neighbors, the building exterior is painted a bright white. Another major exterior change includes the addition of a gate with steel blinds installed at an angle of 45 degrees. “This kind of gate provides sufficient privacy but still gives an open, light impression,” reads the firm’s project statement. “Previously, the dark corner at the gate was a problematic spot in the street, but with the intervention of dmvA, it has become a fresh corner that revives the street. dmvA not only created a house that met the wishes of the owner, but the refurbishment also led to a revival of the street.” + dmvA Via ArchDaily Images by Bart Gosselin

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

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