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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Delightful treehouse residence weaves through a forest in Thailand

July 26, 2017 by  
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A family in Thailand planted a small forest in their backyard and built their home to adapt to the trees without disturbing them. Studio Miti designed the Forest House as a cluster of four structures interconnected with wooden terraces and walkways , for the ultimate fantasy treetop dream home. Architect’s measured the space between the trees to determine how large the home could be. In order to provide enough living spaces, the home had to be divided into multiple volumes. The house brings together architecture and nature by creating a balance between the two. The main idea was to build around existing trees and offer different views of the lush surroundings. Related: Thai eco-resort delights guests with woven pods and other sublime dwellings The new structures were placed on a cross-shaped layout and include a terrace , hallway, living area, bedroom and bathroom. All were made using l ocal building techniques to have the least impact possible on the environment. + Studio Miti Via Archdaily Photos by art4d magazine / Ketsiree Wongwan

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New subway-style map shows how US rivers connect cities and national parks

July 26, 2017 by  
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When we think of transportation in the United States, we don’t always think of rivers . But according to designer Theo Rindos , the country’s waterways once were and still worthy of travel. He designed a subway-style map of America’s major rivers inspired by Harry Beck’s 1933 London Underground Tube Map . The new map reveals how rivers connect cities and national parks in the country. Rindos, a Yonkers-based illustrator, grew up in Montana near the Yellowstone River , where he spent his childhood rafting, tubing, and fly fishing. He translated his love for the water into a crisp subway map, Major Rivers of the United States, featuring the country’s major rivers like the Mississippi River , the Rio Grande, and, of course, the Yellowstone River. Related: Sierra Club Draws a Subway Map of America’s National Parks Data from the United States Geological Survey , Wikipedia, and Google Maps helped Rindos draw up the map, with the the iconic 1930’s map influencing his design . Rindos told CityLab, “London is a very old city and the streets are not laid out in a grid, but Harry found a way to transform something chaotic into something clean, readable, and beautiful. I wanted to take something completely natural and structure it as a transit system, because technically these rivers once were and still are a form of transportation.” He prioritized rivers key today in shipping and transportation, although left some, like the Potomac River, off the map for aesthetic purposes. The ends of each line generally indicate river sources. Stops on the map are towns and cities along the waterways. Smaller rivers, like the Pecos River or the Sacramento River, are drawn on as bus routes. Rindos also divided the country up into 18 Watershed Hydraulic Unit Code zones, like New England or the Great Lakes. Rindos’ subway map is available for purchase online here . + Theo Rindos Via CityLab Images © Theo Rindos

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Google enters nuclear fusion clean-energy race

July 26, 2017 by  
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Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of sustainable energy — a potentially unlimited source of pollution-free energy that can power the world. No greenhouse gas emissions. Only helium and a neutron are produced. Now Google has jumped into the race to commercialize nuclear fusion technology, teaming up with California-based fusion company Tri Alpha Energy to develop a new computer algorithim that optimises plasma — an ionized gas that conducts electricity. “Google is always interested in solving complex engineering problems, and few are more complex than fusion,” wrote Ted Baltz, senior staff software engineer, Google Accelerated Science Team, on Google’s research blog . “Physicists have been trying since the 1950s to control the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium, which is the same process that powers the Sun. The key to harnessing this power is to confine hydrogen plasmas for long enough to get more energy out from fusion reactions than was put in. This point is called ‘breakeven.’ If it works, it would represent a technological breakthrough, and could provide an abundant source of zero-carbon energy.” Related: These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030 The research was published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports . The Optometrist Algorithm achieved a 50 percent reduction in the energy loss rate and an increase in ion temperature and total plasma energy. Other private and public entities are racing to become the first to bring nuclear fusion to scale. Experimental testing includes the Iter project in France, the Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) stellarator in Germany and the Tokamak ST40 reactor in the UK. General Fusion , a Canadian company, is also working to develop nuclear fusion technology. + Tri Alpha Energy + Achievement of Sustained Net Plasma Heating in a Fusion Experiment with the Optometrist Algorithm Via The Guardian Images via Tri Alpha Energy , Google Research Blog

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8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list

May 11, 2017 by  
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Need an escape but don’t want to harm the environment in the process? There are hotels throughout the world centered around sustainability – from a seaside resort in Thailand that grows 100% of its produce to a self-sustaining vacation spot in Mexico. Featuring beautiful design and eco-friendly accommodations, these hotels allow you to satisfy your wanderlust in a conscious way. Hit the jump to check out the eight green hotels we’ve rounded up, and get your adventure started. Blue Lagoon hotel connects with Icelandic landscape When you think of Iceland , you probably think of the famous Blue Lagoon , colored via minerals in waste – but safe! – seawater from a nearby geothermal plant. But you may not know there’s a new resort, the Moss Hotel, under construction there, perched near the pools. The resort design is meant to connect seamlessly with the landscape. Visitors can explore lava corridors and waterfalls in a subterranean spa , and a new restaurant will feature seasonal and local ingredients. The 62-room hotel will open this fall. Related: Solar-powered cylindrical treehouse in Mexico is made with sustainable bamboo Thailand resort grows 100 percent of its produce Traveling to Thailand ? Look no further than The Tongsai Bay Hotel . The hotel was constructed with the environment in mind; not even one tree was cut down to make room for the family-owned resort. 66 species of birds and wildlife reside within the hotel’s 28 and a half acres. The resort also grows 100 percent of its produce , with food waste getting a second life as fertilizer. They practice radical reuse; a few examples include reusing old bathtubs as planters and old sheets as napkins. 121-year-old warehouse on Singapore River given new life as chic hotel An old Singapore warehouse – that once acted as an opium den – got a second chance as the classy Warehouse Hotel . The waterfront warehouse is 121 years old, but Zarch Collaboratives gave it new life with a design inspired by its industrial past in 37 rooms and a double-height lobby. The hotel kept some original elements of the warehouse like its peaked roofs and renovated others like the louvre windows. Self-sustaining Mexico resort incorporates permaculture principles Near Tulum, Mexico rests a self-sustaining, eco-luxe villa that’s the stuff of travel daydreams. The resort designed by Specht Architects is cooled in part by large cutouts in the walls and insulated with native plants adorning the roof. Solar-powered , the villa collects and filters rainwater for use. It even utilizes constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment. Not only does the hotel boast impressive sustainability but stunning bay views and gorgeous modern design as well. Switzerland visitors enjoy connection to nature in open-air hotel Brothers and artists Frank and Patrik Riklin took sleeping under the stars to a whole new level with their one-room, open-air hotel in Switzerland – with no walls or roof. Visitors to the second reincarnation of Null Stern (the first being a nuclear bunker turned luxury hotel) may not have access to a bathroom but do have a butler for the night who will bring breakfast in bed. The minimalist experience provides stunning views of the Swiss Alps . Sweden’s famed Treehotel welcomes Snøhetta-designed 7th room amidst the pines Treehotel , a collection of designer treehouses in Sweden , recently welcomed their 7th room designed by Snøhetta . The cabin is lifted over 30 feet above ground and immerses guests among the enveloping pine trees – Snøhetta said their goal was to bring nature and people closer together. Massive windows and skylights afford opportunities to gaze at the Northern Lights, and a pine tree print across the bottom of the cabin makes it appear invisible from underneath. Locally sourced, natural materials comprise spruce-clad Swedish hotel As you might guess, there’s more than one eco hotel in Sweden. Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture designed Öijared Hotel with a similar aim of blending the buildings into surrounding nature . Locally sourced and natural materials were used in the hotel’s 34 prefabricated rooms. Natural wood materials inside add to the earthy aesthetic. Whimsical hotel in Romania built with sand and clay In Romania , a storybook hotel built of clay and sand, hearkens back to both ancient stories and ancient building techniques. The Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor , designed by owners Razvan and Gabriela Vasile along with eco architect Ileana Mavrodin , includes 10 rooms and was constructed without drawing on any modern building techniques. Natural materials , shaped by local craftsmen, give the hotel a fairytale feel. Images via Blue Lagoon , Laura Mordas-Schenkein for Inhabitat, Warehouse Hotel , © Taggart Sorensen, Null Stern , © Johan Jansson, Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture , and Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor

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"Piggy Bank," a turtle that swallowed 915 coins, has died

March 23, 2017 by  
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A venerated sea turtle who was fed hundreds of coins by supplicants seeking good fortune is dead . The 25-year-old animal was living in a pond in a town near the Gulf of Thailand in late February when rescuers found her close to drowning from the weight of her cache—about 11 pounds worth. After naming her Omsin, which is Thai for “piggy bank,” a team of veterinary surgeons operated on the turtle for seven hours. By the time they were finished, they had filled a bucket with 915 coins, in currencies both foreign and domestic. Omsin was expected to survive, if not thrive. By all accounts, her rehabilitation at Bangkok’s Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animals Research Center went smoothly. She received laser therapy on her belly incision. A large kiddie pool, coupled with physical therapy for a wonky flipper, helped her ease back into water. Following a liquid diet, Omsin returned to eating solid food. “She is getting stronger,” Nantarika Chansue, a veterinary scientist who tracked Omsin’s progress on Facebook, wrote on March 9. Just as her doctors began planning her release to the wild, Omsin’s condition suddenly deteriorated. They found her intestines in a tangle in the space where the coins once filled. An infection had developed, causing her abdomen to swell up with gas and fluid. Related: Sea turtle is rescued after being dragged onto a beach and beaten for selfies Despite rushing the turtle into intensive care on Sunday night, then emergency surgery on Monday, Omsin lapsed into a comma. On Tuesday, she died, a victim of ignorance and superstition. “At 10:10 a.m., she went with peace,” Nantarika said during a news conference. Visibly weeping, she called Omsin her “friend, teacher and patient.” Nantarika was comforted by just one thought. “She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed,” she said. Via the Washington Post Photos by Unsplash

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"Piggy Bank," a turtle that swallowed 915 coins, has died

First cases of Zika-related microcephaly confirmed in Thailand

October 3, 2016 by  
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Health officials just confirmed the first two cases of microcephaly linked to the Zika virus in Southeast Asia . The cases were both in Thailand , although officials haven’t said exactly where in the country. Zika outbreaks across Southeast Asia prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to warn people, especially pregnant women, against traveling to the area. Out of three cases tested, laboratory tests linked two to the Zika virus in Thailand. Statistics collected by health officials reveal that since the start of 2016, there have been 349 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the nation; 33 of those cases were pregnant women. Some experts have said Thailand has not been forthcoming about the presence of the Zika virus in the country to protect tourism, but Department of Disease Control adviser Prasert Thongcharoen said “Thailand is not hiding anything and is ready to disclose everything.” Related: Zika outbreak declared in Miami Beach The World Health Organization said governments and locals should work to control mosquitoes , said to transmit the Zika virus as well as other illnesses Thailand faces such as dengue , chikungunya, and malaria. Other health officials in the region said they would be monitoring, but they think the number of people who have the Zika virus is likely higher than they know. Philippines health secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubia told Reuters, “We do not test everybody, we test only those who are symptomatic. Yes, we are positive that the number is higher because we are not testing everyone.” Around 80 percent of infected people don’t have any symptoms of the Zika virus. In Singapore , there have been 393 cases of Zika, including 16 pregnant women. The CDC said tourists should think about postponing trips to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Maldives, Laos, Philippines, Brunei, Timor-Leste, and Myanmar. There is already an Alert Level 2 travel notice in place for Singapore. Via The Los Angeles Times and Reuters Images via Pixabay and screenshot

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First cases of Zika-related microcephaly confirmed in Thailand

Thailand’s tallest building opens with new green spaces for Bangkok

September 1, 2016 by  
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Ole Scheeren designed the tower while working at Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and completed the project with his own studio Büro Ole Scheeren. Located in the Central Business District in Bangkok , the new tower might not stay the tallest building in Thailand – the Rama IX Super Tower slated for completion in 2019 is expected to be almost twice as high as MahaNakhon. The solid facade of the tower is broken up by a pixelated effect meant to reveal parts of the inner life of the building. The carved volume forms green areas and balconies that offer great views of Bangkok. In addition to various residential and commercial spaces, the tower includes a large public space with public gardens and a transportation hub. + Büro Ole Scheeren Via Archdaily

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Scientists discovered the world’s oldest fossils – and they date back 3.7 billion years

September 1, 2016 by  
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A new study shows evidence that life on Earth may have begun even earlier than previously thought. Researchers from the University of Wollongong have found fossilized evidence of ancient microbial life in Greenland dating back 3.7 billion years. The new discovery predates the previous earliest signs of life by about 220 million years. Ironically enough, the discovery was only possible due to global warming . The ongoing melting of Greenland ’s perennial snow and ice gave geologists a look into some of the oldest rocks on Earth, preserved throughout the ages by the cold. Generally, these types of metamorphic rocks are simply too weathered by the elements to reveal any clues about their geologic past. These particular rocks contain formations known as stromatolites – a sedimentary formation created by the layered growth of microorganisms . In other words: these rocks are the fossils of millions of years of bacteria-like organisms living, growing, and dying. By analyzing the rocks, scientists have been able to piece together knowledge about the environment in which these ancient organisms lived: it was likely warm, in shallow water – a surprisingly hospitable environment considering that the Earth was bombarded with asteroids and the eruptions of super-volcanos at the time. Related: Scientists discover microorganism that hasn’t evolved for over 2 billion years This new research strengthens the evidence that life on our planet emerged over 4 billion years ago, perhaps only 540 millions years after the Earth itself was formed. The study has been published in the journal Nature . + Nature Via Gizmodo Images via University of Wollongong

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Scientists discovered the world’s oldest fossils – and they date back 3.7 billion years

Steve Axford captures the hidden world of rare and undocumented fungi

August 11, 2016 by  
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The unusual diversity of shapes, colors and textures of these fungi is a visual reminder of just how beautiful life on this planet really is. Each specimen, photographed in its natural environment, is a testament that nothing exists in isolation, and everything is interconnected.  All of the fungi is left untouched and unaltered, documented by Axford so that people around the world can enjoy the ethereal beauty. Related: Surprising Photos Reveal the Enchanting World of Fungi Some months ago Axford left his beloved Australia to wander around with his camera throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of Xishuangbanna, in China and Chiang Mai, in Thailand . What he found was a handful of species that may be unknown to science and documented for the first time. The new images include a types like the Amanita hemibapha eggs and Cookeina Tricholoma , a bizarre-looking cup-shaped, hairy fungi we can now admire thanks to the photograph’s lens. + Steve Axford Via This is Colossal Photos by Steve Axford

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