This foldable, solar-powered skyscraper provides instant shelter in disaster zones

May 1, 2018 by  
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Skyshelter.zip is a mobile skyscraper that can be folded and transported to natural disaster zones . Polish designers Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa and Piotr Pa?czyk envisioned the design as a compact multi-purpose shelter that provides food, energy, and water and can be deployed using minimal manpower in the shortest possible amount of time. The project won first place at this year’s eVolo Skyscraper Competition . Its versatility and pragmatic design make it a great solution for crisis management in regions struck by earthquakes , floods or hurricanes. Damaged infrastructure can make it extremely difficult to respond efficiently to emergencies. The designers tried to address this issue by proposing a compact structure with a large floor surface that can quickly and easily be transported anywhere. Skyshelter.zip has a much smaller footprint compared to tents and containers, which are typically used during emergencies. This means that less site preparation is needed prior to setting up camp, which is extremely significant in densely populated areas. Related: This futuristic vertical factory feeds off a city’s waste to produce energy The skyscraper is designed to stand even on unstable soil. Light-weight 3D-printed slabs and structural steel wires function as load-bearers. Pieces of fabric attached to the main structure constitute the internal and external walls. The building envelope would be made with a nanomaterial based on ETFE foil and small, connected perovskite solar cells. This way, the building can produce clean energy even during times of disaster. The structure is also topped with a balloon that can collect and clean rainwater . The skyscraper can also provide first aid, temporary housing or storage, and it’s designed to host a vertical farm made from excavated soil. + eVolo

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This foldable, solar-powered skyscraper provides instant shelter in disaster zones

Russia just launched a 70 MW floating nuclear power plant to the Arctic Ocean

May 1, 2018 by  
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Russia recently launched a floating nuclear power station on the Baltic Sea. The 70-megawatt Akademik Lomonosov plant will journey north around Norway to the Arctic town Pevek, and it could ultimately provide power for around 100,000 people . However some fear its environmental impact — Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe nuclear expert Jan Haverkamp referred to the plant as a “nuclear Titanic”. “Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment which is already under enormous pressure from climate change ,” Haverkamp said in a statement . State-owned company Rosatom built the Akademik Lomonosov, which has been in the works for years. The floating nuclear plant has two reactors and is towed by two boats. Akademik Lomonosov will replace the Bilibino nuclear power plant, constructed in 1974, and the 70-year-old Chaunskaya Thermal Power Plant. Ars Technica said Bilibino was once the world’s northernmost nuclear power station, and the Akademik Lomonosov will claim that title when it starts operating. Related: NASA just unveiled a tiny nuclear reactor for future Mars residents In Pevek, construction of onshore infrastructure is underway. The pier, hydraulic engineering structures and other buildings important for mooring will be ready to go when Akademik Lomonosov arrives. The plant will provide electricity for remote industrial plants, port cities and offshore oil and gas platforms. Rosatom said the nuclear processes at the floating plant “meet all requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency and do not pose any threat to the environment .” But environmental groups aren’t happy. Haverkamp said, “Contrary to claims regarding safety, the flat-bottomed hull and the floating nuclear power plant’s lack of self-propulsion makes it particularly vulnerable to tsunamis and cyclones .” This isn’t the world’s first floating nuclear power station. The United States had a floating nuclear plant between 1968 and 1975 in Panama that powered nearby communities and the military during the Vietnam War. + Rosatom + Greenpeace Via Ars Technica and Engadget Images © Nicolai Gontar/Greenpeace ( 1 , 2 )

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Russia just launched a 70 MW floating nuclear power plant to the Arctic Ocean

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

Tiny meditation shelters are the perfect place for hikers to connect with the forest

February 20, 2017 by  
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These tiny  meditation shelters offer protection and a place to rest for hikers exploring the Lithuanian forests. The shelters are a place where people can find solitude to reconnect with nature and find harmony with the environment. A slithering stone pathway that weaves throughout the forest garden was inspired by a Lithuanian fairy tale about serpents. The project, named Gapahuk, is part of a larger Meditation Garden designed by Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio which won the American Architecture Prize 2016. Used for individual meditation and as a place where hikers can rest and get warm, this cluster of shelters was built during the Human Birdhouse Workshop in Lithuania last August. The team cleared a forest clearing and shaped pathways that naturally weave in and around the garden. Two fireplaces installed in front of the shelters are surrounded with sitting areas. Holy stones added to the site look like totems of masculine and feminine origin, while a symbolic stone pathway represents a Lithuanian fairy tale about serpents. Related: FORÊT II is a Meditation Pavilion Made from 810 Reclaimed Shipping Pallets The workshop took place on the property of famous Lithuanian children books author, poet and film/theatre director Vytautas V. Landsbergis. The idea was to design and build architecture in the style of Constructive Shamanism, which brings together architects, builders and spiritual practitioners to strengthen and reveal the connection between humans and nature. References to Lithuanian mythology dominate the project, with visitors participating in spiritual ceremonies and singing mantras around a bonfire. + Bjørnådal Arkitektsudio Via v2com Lead photo by Lidija Kaleinikovaite

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Architects use earthen berms to tuck a central reservoir inside tiered office space

February 20, 2017 by  
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Mumbai-based Sanjay Puri Architects have designed an office space concept with a beautiful reservoir as the heart of the design. Inspired by the traditional stepped wells that provide water for India’s severely parched communities, the design incorporates a natural recess found in the landscape to optimize the Reservoir’s natural water collection  abilities. As part of a 95-acre planned community development, the Reservoir is designed to connect a residential and commercial area in India’s arid Rajasthan state. Like most of India, water is a precious resource, and more so in this region where temperatures reach an excess of 100 ° F for eight months of the year. Related: Ghostly ruins of a 400-year-old church rise from the waters of a Mexican reservoir Using the natural topography of the landscape, the architects planned the design around an existing cavity in the ground. This was strategic to let the reservoir naturally fill with water almost year round, eliminating the need for additional water source. Any runoff  water is collected and supports the water supply for the entire complex. The structure itself is supported into green-covered earthen berms, which create the perimeter of the design. Solar panels are installed on these berms, which have cutouts that lead to underground parking. Six floors of office space follow the site’s natural rising topography surrounding the pool, creating a natural open-air terrace for each office. The recessed water design actively lowers the temperature of the immediate microclimate, creating a pleasant work environment while minimalizing energy use. On the interior, large floor-to-ceiling windows allow for optimal natural light, which also reduces the need for artificial lighting. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via Architect Magazine Images via Sanjay Puri Architects

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Architects use earthen berms to tuck a central reservoir inside tiered office space

High school students are building tiny homes to give to flood survivors

February 20, 2017 by  
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In West Virginia, students that would normally be constructing birdhouses or bookshelves are instead contributing their labor and newly acquired skills to help give those who lost everything a new start. Last year, historic floods devastated the state, destroying over 5000 homes and killing over 20 people. So students from across the state have gathered together to build compact, energy efficient tiny homes for victims of the flooding. West Virginia has struggled to provide adequate housing for those thousands made homeless by the storm. So high school students attending 12 vocational schools throughout the state are demonstrating that they may have a promising solution. The participating vocational schools, such as Carver Career and Technical Education Center in Charleston, traditionally teach practices such as carpentry and plumbing.  A new, first of-its-kind partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education and the Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment initiative enables students to access hands-on learning to design and build homes for local flood survivors from concept to completion. Each unique  tiny house i s just 500 square feet. Related: Studio H launches Kickstarter Campaign to Build a Shipping Container Classroom at Berkeley’s REALM Charter school 15 homes have been built so far, thanks to funding from the state’s Board of Education and regional community supporters. All of the homes are unique and some are designed to be portable.  Unlike trailers that are supplied by FEMA in post-disaster zones , each of the tiny homes will have individual design accents. Each home includes a bathroom, kitchen, living room and laundry room.  The ground-breaking program has potential to be scaled to serve communities in other post-disaster zones. + WV Public Broadcasting Via NPR Photos Courtesy of West Virginia Department of Education  

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Taliesin West students built protective desert shelters using mostly local materials

June 14, 2016 by  
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The project was initially conceived as individual exercises where Daniel Chapman, Mark-Thomas Cordova, Jaime Inostroza, Dylan Kessler, Pablo Moncayo, Natasha Vemulkonda, and Pierre Verbruggen were to design and build their own temporary shelters . The plan changed due to harsh desert conditions, and the students, guided by their instructor David Tapias, ended up designing a collective shelter. Related: Stunning Prefab by the School of Frank Lloyd Wright The students took only 12 weeks to build their designs, which comprise two shelters and a gathering space, using materials found on-site as well as inexpensive materials sourced from warehouses. Future students will use the shelters during their time at Taliesin West  and transform and document them on the little maps website. + Taliesin – Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture + Little Shelters Via Archdaily Photos by Nathan Rist

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Taliesin West students built protective desert shelters using mostly local materials

Scotland reaches gutsy emissions reduction goal six years early

June 14, 2016 by  
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Scotland has made great strides towards meeting its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. Their goal was to reduce emissions by 42 percent by 2020. This week, the Scottish government announced in a press release that the country passed the goal in 2014, when they achieved “a reduction of 45.8 percent.” Climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham said between 1990 and 2014, emissions fell by close to 46 percent. Emissions in the rest of the UK since 1990 only fell by 33 percent. Cunningham suggested that individuals turning down the heat may have contributed to the reduction. Related: 57% of Scotland’s energy came from renewables in 2015 Others said the government still needs to step up their commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland spokesperson Jim Densham told The Guardian while it was good the goal has already been reached, showing people don’t have to sacrifice comfort drastically to combat climate change, the government still needs to “lead with the big policies for major emission reductions.” According to Densham, emissions from the transportation sector remain at the same levels as 1990, and in the housing sector, emissions have only been reduced by 1 percent. He said Scotland was able to reach the 42 percent target due to a warmer 2014 winter, heavy industry loss, a “changing share of European emissions credits,” and policies. Green Party Parliament member Mark Ruskell said if the government hopes to set greater targets for 2020, they need to address “home energy efficiency” and fuel poverty. They also need “far more ambitious” transportation policies. Ruskell said to The Guardian, “The real test of action on climate change isn’t how figures get fudged from year to year; it’s whether people across Scotland have real choices to live in warm, efficient homes or a transport system fit for the 21st century. That requires funding and action from the Scottish government.” According to the Scottish government, the target for 2050 is an 80 percent reduction in emissions. Cunningham said since the country has already met its 2020 goal, it will likely pursue more ambitious goals in legislation . Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Scotland reaches gutsy emissions reduction goal six years early

OBBA’s Oasis temporary pavilion in Seoul dances in the wind like willow leaves

November 10, 2015 by  
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Otherworldly Yaroof installation by Aljoud Lootah celebrates Dubai’s fishing heritage

November 2, 2015 by  
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Traditional Yaroof shore fishermen use beach seine netting made of strong mesh, mainly to catch small fish. Fishermen wade into the sea from the shore, holding the edge of the net. Inspired by this process, Aljoud Lootah designed his installation using four octagon frames, each with patterns of nylon ropes that reference the structure of a fishing net . Arabesque motifs were also used as inspiration for the patterns, which create curves using straight lines. Related: Aljoud Lootah’s Oru origami furniture is made from teak, felt and copper The installation was placed on the beach as a kind of shelter, providing shade for beach goers and promoting this year’s Dubai Design Week, which aims to diversify and develop the design industry in the city. + Aljoud Lootah + Dubai Design Week Via Cool Hunting Photos via Aljoud Lootah

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Otherworldly Yaroof installation by Aljoud Lootah celebrates Dubai’s fishing heritage

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