The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

May 1, 2017 by  
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House 24 makes the most of a challenging plot by opening up to its idyllic surroundings in Singapore . Park + Associates Pte Ltd designed the multi-generational home to embrace the tropical climate using rhythmic timber screens. A courtyard provides privacy, and a peaceful pool helps to passively cool the home. The house sits on a triangular plot in Singapore, near a lushly landscaped state-owned park. The architects saw the shape of the site as the main design driver and envisioned a courtyard residence that offers privacy while providing expansive views of the surroundings. Related: This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises The project features timber craftsmanship in the form of wooden screens that create patterns of light and shadow that reflect the project’s tropical locality. A row of full height sliding doors along the first-floor corridor opens up to the swimming pool , which helps to passively cool down the air flowing into the home. A series of timber screens line the west-facing walkway on the second floor to protect it from the direct and harsh tropical sunlight. Related: A tropical paradise grows inside this lush Singapore home The team redefined the conventional entry sequence and transformed it by forming a more layered and sequential experience through the use of courtyard screens fronting the street. This space marks the transition between the public and private space and offers a serene atmosphere. The project has won the A’ Design Award in the Architecture , building and structure design category. + Park + Associates Pte Ltd Via A’ Design Award and Competition

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The breeze blows straight through this stunning tropical home in Singapore

Apple self-driving car spotted in California

May 1, 2017 by  
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Apple is full of surprises. Just last fall sources told Bloomberg the technology giant wasn’t going to build a self-driving car anymore. They may have scrapped plans to construct their own car, but it appears they didn’t abandon autonomous vehicles altogether. People in California recently spotted a white Lexus RX450h SUV with self-driving apparatus drive out of an Apple Silicon Valley facility. Bloomberg obtained images of the sneaky self-driving car, glimpsed around two weeks after the company got a permit to test autonomous cars. The Lexus SUV was reportedly decked out with Velodyne Lidar Inc’s 64-channel lidar, as well as an array of other sensors. An industry expert said the equipment looked like it was purchased off the shelf, not custom-built. An Apple spokesperson would not give Bloomberg a comment on that. Related: Apple announces goal to make products from 100% recycled materials Here's the vehicle Apple's using to test autonomous driving https://t.co/prbKCuJBq6 pic.twitter.com/8oUvrXv7qC — Bloomberg (@business) April 28, 2017 Apple is known for building their own software and hardware, as opposed to companies like Microsoft that focus on software usable on other companies’ hardware. But it appears they may be going a different direction with their self-driving cars, pursued under the name Project Titan . Last fall Bloomberg said the tech company would focus on software to be used in existing cars, which could help them get their product to market faster. They’re already up against tough competition: big players like Tesla , Uber , and Waymo, which began as Google’s self-driving project, have all made strides on their technology. Project Titan has gone through its ups and downs. When Apple decided to zero in on software, they reassigned or laid off hundreds of engineers. Leadership changed around a year ago, with veteran executive Bob Mansfield taking over, and he’s scaled back ambitions. So far California has given out permits to test self-driving vehicles to 30 companies, including startups, tech companies, and automakers. According to California’s DMV, Waymo and startup Zoox Inc. are also testing their technology with Lexus RX450 models. Via Inc. and Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and Paul Miller on Flickr

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Apple self-driving car spotted in California

Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

May 1, 2017 by  
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Although Airbnb is chock full of luxury beach condos, it’s rare to find an eco-friendly retreat tucked into a secluded beach. Ría Luz is a wind-powered sustainable home carefully designed to coexist with its pristine surroundings – and it’s one of the only structures located in the Yucatan’s Ria Lagartos biosphere. Ria Luz is the perfect spot for a secluded getaway. Visitors to this beautiful beach retreat will have access to spectacular wildlife found along the shoreline, which is almost completely devoid of tourists. The home is made up of two white blocks connected by a wooden viewing platform with multiple points of beach access. The main building houses the kitchen, living room and master bedroom, while the second building has additional bedrooms and an outdoor shower with a deck. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Sliding glass doors and multiple windows provide the interior with optimal natural light and incredible views. Guests can also enjoy a rooftop terrace with a comfy open-air bed for sleeping under the stars. As one of the only buildings located in the protected biosphere, the beach cottage was built to be ecologically friendly and it operates solely on wind-generated electricity . Wildlife tours are provided by local experts, and those who visit in summertime can see the hundreds of turtles who come to nest in an adjacent beach. + Ria Luz Airbnb Images via Ria Luz

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Escape to this dreamy Airbnb eco retreat in a pristine Yucatan reserve

The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

April 18, 2017 by  
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Shortly after announcing that Tesla plans to cut its relatively more affordable Model S 60 and 60D from its lineup, the company revealed that it will also reduce the price of its new entry-level models, the 75 and 75D, by $5,000 to make up the price difference. It’s still $1,500 more than the previous model, but given that it retails for almost $70,000, that might not be a major issue for potential buyers. Those aren’t the only Model S variants to receive a price cut. The 90D’s base price is being cut from $89,500 to $87,500. If you want a car packed with more features, however, there’s bad news: the 100D and P100D are seeing a several thousand dollar price hike, as are Model X variants. There are also certain upgrades which are no longer available for the “entry level” cars, including smart air suspension on the 75 and 75D. And anyone interested in a high-amperage charger will have to shell out for the 100 or 100D. Related: Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving It may seem strange for the company to make such dramatic changes to its lineup, but it makes sense when you consider the launch of the $35,000 Model 3 later this year. The company is cutting out the products that will overlap with the Model 3’s functionality – the new car’s battery capacity stops at 75kWh, so anyone who wants a more powerful vehicle will have an incentive to upgrade. The higher prices at the top of Tesla’s range will help make up for the low cost of the Model 3, allowing the company’s average prices to remain the same. While this might be a bit frustrating for anyone interested in a 100D, overall it will help make electric cars more affordable for the average consumer. Hopefully this will result in more Tesla vehicles on the street overall. Via Engadget Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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The Tesla Model S just got a tiny bit more affordable

Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

March 21, 2017 by  
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A company based in Toronto is bringing New York City its first community solar project. UGE International , one of the world’s leading renewable-energy contractors, will be partnering with Gotham Community Solar to develop a new array at a multi-tenant commercial facility between the Park Slope and Boerum Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in early summer, will have a rated peak capacity of roughly 100 kilowatts, according to UGE. The building abuts another UGE project: the Whole Foods Market at 214 3rd Street, colloquially known as “3rd and 3rd” by locals. “It’s been a privilege to work with ConEd , the Department of Buildings, and the project’s ownership group on developing this landmark project” Tim Woodcock, UGE’s Regional Director, said in a statement. Related: UGE is building a massive rooftop solar array atop this popular Brooklyn church Woodcock anticipates selling any surplus power to nearby residents at rates lower than those offered by their utility companies. The benefits would be twofold: cheaper electricity that also comes from a sustainable source. “The solar power generated by the project will be credited to numerous residential accounts, offering access to the benefits and low cost of solar energy to those previously excluded due to their housing situation,” he added. + UGE International

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Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

London breaks legal limits on air pollution in just five days in 2017

January 9, 2017 by  
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London isn’t the best place to take a deep breath right now. Lambeth’s Brixton Road broke annual air pollution limits in only five days in 2017, with other areas likely to follow. Campaigners and even a spokesperson for Mayor Sadiq Khan are calling for action to curb dangerous pollution in the city. The law in London is that hourly levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) must not pass 200 micrograms per cubic meter more than 18 times in one year, but Brixton Road already broke those limits. The Lambeth location won’t be the last; Oxford Street, the Strand, and Kings Road in Chelsea are three other pollution hotbeds, and The Guardian said Putney High Street exceeded the hourly levels in 2016 more than a staggering 1,200 times. Related: New Delhi has the worst air pollution of any city on earth Diesel vehicles are the “single biggest source” of London’s air pollution, according to Greenpeace . The activist organization recently flew a masked Mary Poppins over Parliament to call attention to the dire issue that puts children and adults’ health at risk. They noted air pollution isn’t just concentrated in London: “Last year, people in 169 different places in the UK – from Calderdale to Caerphilly – breathed illegal levels of pollution.” ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews, who resides in Brixton, told The Guardian , “This is another shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution and shows why the mayor has rightly made tackling it a top priority. It is absolutely essential that he now delivers on his promises and that the national government back him to the hilt.” It’s time for London to clean up its air, and Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he’ll double funding, spending £875 million – or over $1 billion – over five years to combat the issue. Let’s hope that money’s well spent. Via The Guardian Images via DAVID HOLT on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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London breaks legal limits on air pollution in just five days in 2017

Worlds first flexible bridge in Seattle keeps its shape after a big earthquake

November 16, 2016 by  
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Although Seattle is not a city plagued by earthquakes, its position on the waterfront of the Pacific Northwest makes it vulnerable to a big quake, especially given its population. City planners taking this into consideration are building a new ‘flexible’ bridge along the city’s shoreline that could help keep key roadways open for traffic in the event of a major quake. When it opens next spring, the bridge could be the first earthquake-proof roadway of its kind in the entire world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1klORMqXNL0 The fate of the Alaskan Way Viaduct has been a topic of many a heated debate in Seattle for years. Currently, a project is underway to replace part of the aging elevated road with a tunnel. The above-ground portion of the road, though, will be comprised of an exit ramp that utilizes new technology to protect it from collapsing during even a very strong earthquake . Memory-retaining metal rods (called “Shape Memory Alloy” rebar) and a bendable concrete composite will help the bridge sustain quakes and then return to its original shape, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Related: Earthquake-proof wood house survives magnitude 7.5 quake The department says this bridge will be the first in the world to employ the new building technology . While it’s impossible to guarantee that any man-made structure can be earthquake-proof, especially since the magnitude of Seattle’s next big earthquake is unpredictable, builders are aiming for the next best thing: a flexible bridge that can absorb earthquake forces, rather than be destroyed by them. Seattle’s new flexible exit ramp bridge will be the first real-world application of materials that the Earthquake Engineering Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno has been researching for 15 years. In testing, bridge columns using the new building technology have withstood magnitude 7.5 earthquakes and then returned to their original shape. The exit under construction will guide drivers from northbound State Route 99 onto South Dearborn Street, which leads into the heart of the downtown district. The ramp sits immediately west of the city’s sports stadiums, a spot seismologists have predicted would be particularly vulnerable in the event of a large earthquake. Construction on the flexible bridge began in September 2016 and the new exit ramp is expected to be open next spring. Via Geekwire Images via WSDOT/Flickr

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Worlds first flexible bridge in Seattle keeps its shape after a big earthquake

Solar-powered Embassy of Australia designs unveiled for Washington, D.C.

November 16, 2016 by  
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Designed by Bates Smart’s Sir Osbourne McCutcheon in 1964, the existing Embassy of Australia is an austere monolith located at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue with views of the White House. The new replacement eschews the stiff and boxy form in favor of a multifaceted structure that engages the public realm through a mostly glazed envelope promoting transparency and natural light . “The environmentally sensitive design embodies the spirit of Australia through direct references to the distinctive Australian landscape: its bright and clear natural light and open skies, its warm materiality and its vast scale,” said the architects in a press release. “The use of these associations will create a civic building and symbol of Australia that is both enduring and welcoming.” Related: National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington, DC In addition to the full-height glazing on all floors, a large glass atrium also funnels natural light deep into the building. Public spaces, including an exhibition gallery and event spaces, occupy the ground floor, while offices are placed on the upper levels. The embassy will minimize its energy footprint with the installation of a thermally efficient facade system. A green roof and photovoltaic array will top the building. + Bates Smart Via ArchDaily

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Solar-powered Embassy of Australia designs unveiled for Washington, D.C.

Japanese fix massive city sinkhole within 48 hours

November 15, 2016 by  
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Within two days of swallowing a five-lane city street, a sinkhole in Fukuoka, Japan has been repaired – though, as the Guardian reports , the street’s re-opening was delayed several days for safety reasons. The sinkhole opened up on 8 November, and one week later, the street officially reopened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic with an apology from the city’s mayor. The 98-foot-long sinkhole in Fukoaka affected a sewage pipe, traffic lights, as well as utility pipes, all of which have been restored with fresh gas and power lines, the Guardian reports. Local press claim Fukuoka workers filled the urban cavity with 6,200 cubic meters of sand and cement, working around the clock to restore the busy thoroughfare. Related: Terrifying sinkhole swallows five-lane street in Japan Mayor Soichiro Takashima said the street is now 30 times stronger than it was before, adding that the city has assembled a panel of experts to determine what caused the sinkhole. Earlier reports placed blame on construction of new subway lines. “We’re very sorry for causing great trouble,” the mayor said, according to the Telegraph . “Sinkholes are common where the rock below the land surface is limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks that can naturally be dissolved by groundwater circulating through them,” according to the USGS. Evaporite rocks, where sinkholes are commonly found, underlie up to 40 percent of US territory. Via The Guardian Images via Hideyuki Hongo, USGS

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Japanese fix massive city sinkhole within 48 hours

Mesmerizing photos show faces of indigenous Brazilians projected onto the Amazon rainforest

November 8, 2016 by  
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In spring 2016, Surui Chief Almir Surui Narayamoga invited Echaroux to his village, where the street artist photographed the natives for “The Crying Forest” project. The faces are enlarged and carefully projected over the trees to create a seamless and striking composition. The installation was created to help the Surui people raise awareness of the dangers of massive deforestation and the impact it has on the ecosystem and their lives. Related: Gigantic Leafy Faces Light Up a Forest in Wisconsin Chief Narayamoga was appointed by the Brazilian government to help replant and protect his tribe’s section of the rainforest. Over 300 truckloads worth of illegally logged trees are estimated to leave the Surui area everyday. “Victims of massive deforestation and gold washers who did not hesitate to violate the Surui’s territory to seize deposits of precious stones, the Surui people want to raise awareness of this horrible and greedy slaughter that endangers a territory and its people,” Echaroux says. “The Crying Forest” photographs will be on display at the Taglialatella gallery in Paris from November 10th through December 15th, 2016. + Philippe Echaroux Via Colossal

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