Elon Musk’s tiny house is a Boxabl casita

July 22, 2021 by  
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What do Elon Musk and tiny homes have in common? For now at least, a tiny house called Boxabl is Musk’s abode, which, rumor has it, he lives in near SpaceX ground zero in Boca Chica, Texas after selling off nearly all of his real estate holdings. The 20×20 model might be commonly known as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or perhaps a guest house, but in the Boxabl world, it’s referred to as Casita. Unlike other tiny houses , Boxabls have a unique, flat-pack design that allows them to break down to 8.5 feet in width and be delivered onsite via truck, train, air or ship. Related: These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant The main materials in the casita are steel, concrete and EPS foam, specifically chosen for their durability. They don’t degrade like other building materials, so the structures are built to last a lifetime. Not only are Boxabls rated for hurricane-strength winds, but because there isn’t any wood or sheetrock that could be damaged by water, the homes won’t grow mold or deteriorate due to moisture from floods . In addition, the company said, “Nothing is fireproof. But Boxabl was engineered with fire resistance in mind. The interior and exterior of the structure is clad with non-combustible materials. We think this means flying embers that spread forest fires won’t ignite your Boxabl.” There are several costs involved in getting a Boxabl set up, including the Casita itself, starting around $50,000. From there, you’ll need land, a foundation and utilities to plug into. You’ll also pay a delivery fee, but the company can hook you up with certified builders to unfold the Boxable for you in your desired location, which takes less than a day. However, the building will save you money in the long run, because it is extremely energy-efficient . Each tiny home relies on a small air conditioning system as needed and has high R value insulation, a tight building envelope and limited thermal bridging to keep the space fairly temperature controlled. The unit comes wired and plumbed, so it’s ready to accept solar power or any other energy source the buyer chooses. The prefabricated design, complete with nearly everything you need to open the door and move in (including a full-size refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and washer/dryer) is also seen as an option for temporary shelters that can be preloaded with supplies and delivered quickly for emergency response. Currently, there are no customization options, and the company is only taking orders while it completes a manufacturing plant. + Boxabl Via Curbed Images via Boxabl ?

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Elon Musk’s tiny house is a Boxabl casita

You can rent the world’s first 3D-printed Airbnb tiny home

July 20, 2021 by  
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With 3D printing, a small blob of material can turn into something amazing. Fibonacci House realizes this potential, as the world’s first fully 3D-printed concrete  tiny home  to be listed on Airbnb, now available to rent .  Located in a rapidly-growing and widely popular area in the Kootenay Lake Village (KLV) project at Procter Point in Nelson, BC, the home was printed over the course of 11 days. It includes space for two adults and two children, with a tiny  footprint of just 35 square meters. The home features a sitting area, loft bedroom, fully-functional kitchen and bathroom. Related: World’s first 3D-printed neighborhood planned for Rancho Mirage, California  As Canada’s first 3D-printed home, the Fibonacci House is an example of how far 3D printing has come. Its curved walls make an architectural statement. In fact, the rounded design is the result of a challenge to develop an outline with the fewest possible straight lines. But the curvature is more than just aesthetic, with the concrete offering a solid, climate-proof,  energy-efficient  and easy-to-maintain surface.  The printer used for the project is a product from leading construction technology company Twente Additive Manufacturing, which has offices in Canada, Germany and soon, Dubai. Twente Additive Manufacturing Inc. explains, “The Design of the House was inspired by the Fibonacci Sequence, a well-known pattern that is often referred to as “the golden ratio” which can be found in nature in numerous variations: in shells, flower petals, leaf formations, etc.”  Perhaps the most unique aspect of the project is that all proceeds from rentals will go to World Housing, an organization that has built homes for thousands of families in developing nations around the world. The organization is now bringing its work to its own backyard to develop a 3D-printed community for single mothers and their children in Canada. The project, named Sakura Place, will be a cluster of five three-bedroom homes that combine to form the petals of a cherry blossom.  World Housing is using the example of the Fibonacci House to recognize a possible solution for the labor shortage within the construction industry. This project also addresses the problem of construction  waste  and affordable housing shortages.  In addition to the efficiency and  minimal site impact  of the printed material, non-concrete surfaces in the home are made up of sustainably harvested cedar and fir from KLV’s next-door neighbors, the Harrop Procter Community Forest.  + Twente Additive Manufacturing Inc. Images via Twente Additive Manufacturing Inc.

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You can rent the world’s first 3D-printed Airbnb tiny home

A mini rainforest thrives in the Nanbo Bay Reception Center

July 19, 2021 by  
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In Yinchuan Shi, China , Nanbo Bay Reception Center by Sunson Design is an example of striking architecture that intertwines nature with comfort and eye-catching appeal. The center sits adjacent to China Yinchuan Cultural Park, which is backed by wetlands that appear to have inspired much of the feng shui flow inside the building. The experience begins at the entrance, dubbed the “hall of time.” Here, visitors their first impression of the natural yet mysterious space, which is bathed in  plants . In fact, the Reception Hall is a mini ecological rainforest with bamboo, banyan trees, plantains and other fresh green plants and low shrubs. This environment invites guests to slow down and look around, enjoying the natural elements while gradually progressing through the space. Related: Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center is a hidden art hall in China Copious natural light streams in from innovative sky windows overhead, ranging from a spectacularly engaging grilled design to extraordinary skylight effects. The marriage between the outdoors and indoors leaves visitors questioning if they are actually in a building at all.  Moving into the adjacent sand table display area, visitors meet more  natural materials  in the form of floor-to-ceiling stone walls and copious wood accents. Also off the reception hall is an expansive library and sitting area with tables spaced throughout a tiered stairway. On the opposite side of a built-in bookshelf wall sits a bar. The bookshelf itself is filled with discussion-worthy pieces paying homage to ancient Yinchuan. Throughout the dining area,  wood  tables and chairs, wallpaper printed in food designs, and bamboo screens continue the ecological theme.  Nanbo Bay Reception Center also features a landscaped courtyard, awe-inspiring sculptures, and a glass-walled swimming pool area that creates the visual illusion of “zero gravity” for a floating effect. These spaces work together to join the elements of  water , stone, light, music and plants. + Sunson Design Photography by Kanghui Zeng

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A mini rainforest thrives in the Nanbo Bay Reception Center

Killer heatwaves threaten US farmworkers

July 19, 2021 by  
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People are suffering from heat waves around the U.S., but many can find relief indoors with air conditioning. Not so for farmworkers who, according to  CDC  data, are 20 times more likely than other workers to die from heat-related causes. Now, some advocacy groups are trying to get federal protection from workplace heat exposure. “It would be really good to have a broad rule so when farm owners see that temperatures are way too high they need to stop and allow people to rest,” said farmworker Tere Cruz, as reported by The Guardian. “Things as they are right now, you can see when it’s really hot that by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, people just can’t  work  any more. But there’s this real pressure to keep working and keep working.” Too often, bosses don’t take no for an answer and continue to push workers. Related: A billion intertidal animals roasted in BC heat wave Last month, 38-year-old Sebastián Francisco Pérez collapsed and died at an Oregon tree farm during a heatwave. The Guatemalan man’s heat exposure death spurred the state of Washington to announce new emergency rules protecting farm and other outdoor workers with some heat protection. The only other two U.S. states with heat-related worker protections are California and Minnesota. Colorado has made some limited moves in this direction. “It’s extremely hot out there and it’s getting worse every year,” said Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli, general coordinator of the Farmworker Association of  Florida , as reported by The Guardian. “One of the biggest problems is the way that farm workers are paid. When they’re paid by the piece rate, that encourages workers to exert themselves even more. When they’re part of a crew, the person who slows down because he has to take a water break or use the restroom, then they become the guy who slows down the crew.” And it’s only getting worse. June 2021 was the U.S.’s hottest June on record. Last year, University of Washington researchers predicted that the number of days U.S. farmworkers will labor in unsafe temperatures will nearly triple by 2100, from an average of 21 days per harvest season to 62 days. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Killer heatwaves threaten US farmworkers

Jiangyin urban development by BAU honors humans, history and the planet

July 19, 2021 by  
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Throughout history, rivers have held a crucial role in industry as well as recreation, sometimes at the cost of one or the other. In the case of the Yangtze River, modern developers are dedicated to creating a balance that includes both. Located in Jiangyin City, Jiangsu Province, China, this particular district was pinned for regeneration, and a design competition awarded BAU (Brearley Architects + Urbanists) the winning design plan. The resulting multistage plan will see the Jiangyin industrial docklands converted into a multipurpose live/work area that softens the edges of the often overbuilt river’s edge. Related: The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business Stage one of this major project is the creation of a 4 km public realm along the river edge, and it brings with it goals to re-establish indigenous ecosystem corridors while preserving the industrial character of the area. To achieve this goal, the urban design team started by working with the natural tidal microhabitats. They provided habitats for animals as well as support to minimize degradation. Designers implemented a corridor of indigenous trees and plants in order to outline the pathway that connects the Ebizui mountain ecological node to the east with the canal eco-corridor toward the west, which was a primary goal of the project. This serves to provide biking and pedestrian pathways along the water and between districts within the development and surrounding area. To further engage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, the plan includes sports courts, a skate park , several children’s play areas, including one in the shape of a ship, and an area for exercise. There are also gathering areas within the large pavilions and dance plazas, along with more intimate areas for relaxation, games and picnics. Honoring the deep history of the region, ship slipways, gantry cranes and rails, ship-building factory structures, jetties and numerous other artifacts will be retained. Even the pavement weaves in historical elements, imprinted with interpretive mapping of the Yangtze River. A fish restaurant also stands as a reflection on the historical industry in the region. Information stands throughout the Docklands Park reiterate the relevance of the area for visitors. + BAU Photography by Zeng Jianghe and Xiazhi via BAU

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Jiangyin urban development by BAU honors humans, history and the planet

Least developed countries tell rich nations to cut emissions

July 16, 2021 by  
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A coalition of 100 Least Developed Countries (LDC) is raising concerns over the slow rate at which developed countries are implementing their promises to reverse the climate crisis . The LDC group wants richer countries to commit to more concrete climate mitigation measures at the Cop26 Summit later this year. Cop26 will be the most important climate meeting after the Paris Agreement of 2015. Hosted by the U.K. , the meeting is expected to bring world leaders together to discuss key climate matters that could determine the world’s future. Leaders from Cop26’s LDC group are already discussing their concern over developed nations’ lack of commitment to climate action. Related: G7 leaders commit to curb climate change, but fall short on coal Chair of the LDC group for Cop26, Sonam P. Wangdi of Bhutan said: “Despite Covid understandably taking the headlines, climate change has been getting worse over the past year as emissions continue to rise and the lives and livelihoods on the frontline suffer.” Wangdi added, “We vulnerable countries are not asking for much – just that richer countries, who have caused this problem, take responsibility by cutting their emissions and keeping their promise to help those their emissions have harmed.” The LDC group has already published five demands, among them a call for richer governments to strengthen national plans to cut emissions, provide $100 billion per year in “climate finance” to developing countries, and bring the Paris Agreement to full effect. One of the major talking points at Cop26 will be the failure by developed countries to live up to their 2009 promise of providing $100 billion per year in funding to poor countries by 2020. “Developed countries are currently not pulling their weight or keeping their promises on their obligations to provide climate finance. Like any negotiation, you need to have faith that pledges and commitments will be met,” said chair of the Africa group of negotiators Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale of Gabon. Some developed countries, such as the U.K., have even cut their support to poor countries. This week, MPs voted to cut the U.K.’s foreign aid by a third, from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5%. LDC leaders say that these actions demonstrate a lack of responsibility. They demand the world’s richest nations be held accountable for the adverse effects of pollution since they are responsible for the majority of emissions worldwide. Via The Guardian Lead image via Topu Saha

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Moon wobble could lead to massive flooding

July 16, 2021 by  
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Considering retiring on the coast one day? Better rethink your plans. A new NASA study explains that a cute-sounding phenomenon called a “ moon wobble” could lead to devastating coastal floods in the next decade. “In the mid-2030s, every U.S. coast will experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by climate change ,” the report warned. Related: Severe coastal floods could affect 287 million people by 2100 But don’t expect to look up and catch a glimpse of a jumpy moon. The wobble refers to an 18.6-year cycle that sharp-eyed astronomers first noted in 1728. During the cycle, the moon wobbles a little in one direction, then the other. One way means lower tides, the other, higher. As you can imagine, higher tides coupled with rising seas will mean some very wet and ruined  coastal  cities that could put humans at risk. “We’re going to have sort of a double-whammy,” William Sweet,  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA) oceanographer and one of the study’s authors, told The Washington Post. “It means that coastal communities — unless they adapt and fortify — are likely to expect even greater flooding than they might otherwise.” In 2019 alone, NOAA tracked 600  floods  caused by high tides on the Gulf and East Coasts. Once the moon wobbles, this number could shoot up. NASA said some clusters of floods could last over a month. Not only could we have flooding, but also public health disasters like stinking cesspools. The moon is now amping up for the flood-prone half of its cycle. And if the human race survives for another 18.6-year cycle, the next one will be worse, thanks to rising  oceans . In the 2030s, Hawaii and Guam will be in trouble, along with just about every piece of U.S. coastline, except perhaps Alaska. For the study,  researchers  examined 89 coastal locations in U.S. states and territories. They studied astronomical cycles and predicted the likelihood of how the moon will affect tides and flooding up to the year 2080. NASA’s  Sea Level Portal  helps citizens better understand what might be in store. Via HuffPost , AlJazeera Lead image via Pixabay

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These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant

July 16, 2021 by  
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What began as a mission to provide a stable housing option in Papua New Guinea turned into a business model that now sees plug-and-live housing being shipped everywhere in the world. The founders of what became Nestron were met with many obstacles in completing that initial commitment following their visit to Papua New Guinea in 2013. Learning from the process, they launched the Nestron company in 2017. Four years later, they are setting a standard for tiny houses of the future. Nestron’s tiny homes have been called futuristic with their otherworldly look contoured out of a steel frame. Thee company currently offers four models of tiny homes , each of which is 100% prefabricated and equipped with smart features and green technology. The designers found it was most efficient to prefabricate the homes to avoid issues with contractors and supplies on the receiving end. While the pipeline production maximizes accuracy in manufacturing, it also minimizes material waste. Related: Tiny Topanga builds steel-framed tiny homes with artisan touches The houses are customizable with a variety of color and style options. Customers can even select their favorite furniture, because each tiny house arrives fully furnished and ready to live in. Once on location, the tiny house leaves a minimal site impact thanks to its ability to sit directly on flat land without a foundation. The compact designs require little installation with the exception of plugging into electrical and plumbing systems. As part of the customization process, customers can add on green features such as solar panels and a composting toilet. “We take our efforts in caring for the environment seriously because we believe that everything starts at home, hence we equip our houses to make a living in them clearly environmentally friendly and enable people to live a sustainable lifestyle without additional effort,” Nestron said.  Along with the home’s steel frame, 90% of the materials used in the construction process are recyclable and produce very low emissions . The exterior coating and interior insulation offer a high level of soundproofing, but the houses are also rated to endure level-7 earthquakes and level-10 typhoons. The exterior wall material is fire-resistant for two hours or more, and the interior walls are fire-resistant for at least one hour. In addition to the 14.5-square-meter Cube One, and 26-square-meter Cube Two, the company offers more traditional models with the Legend One and Legend Two. All models come with a 50-year material and construction guarantee. The company ships anywhere in the world. + Nestron Images via Nestron

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These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant

La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

July 16, 2021 by  
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The story of la Poste du Louvre is both historic and modern. Originally built as a post office (la Poste) on du Louvre street in a central area of Paris , France, the building is now undergoing a transformation into a multipurpose space that has earned several environmental certifications.  It’s an example of honoring a classic building, constructed from 1888 to 1898 following the design by Julien Guadet. La Poste du Louvre has long served as a post office in a changing industry that has resulted in endless renovations over the century-and-a-half of its history. Updates took place during the 1960s through the 1980s, with intensive reconstruction following a fire in 1975. But the building, under the ownership of la Poste du Louvre’s real estate subsidiary Poste Immo, is receiving a comprehensive and modern conversion guided by architect Dominique Perrault, whose vision includes a hotel, restaurant , shops, offices and social housing. Plus, the post office remains intact. Related: Ranch Dressing house sets example for modernization with minimal impact Perrault placed a special focus on going beyond the outlined criteria required to earn certifications related to sustainable architecture. As a result, the building achieves triple certification from NF HQE Rénovation (Excellent level), LEED Core & Shell Gold and BREEAM (Very Good level).  While working to keep the framework of the original building, secondary structures were built inside for additional support. In this way, the new design kept the building’s original stone and metal as well as original decorative elements like painted ceilings and heritage clocks. Even in keeping with the existing architecture, the space received extensive upgrades in regards to thermal insulation. Updates to air treatment systems and controllable facades keep interior temperatures at a comfortable level with high energy-efficiency . Long-term living spaces feature strategically placed windows to maximize views and natural lighting. Furthermore, the roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement energy usage. The roof doubles as a garden with a selection of plants. The building is equipped to recover rainwater , which will be reused for cleaning and watering the plants. Even the basement is upgraded, with the bottom two levels of the building equipped for parking, including charging ports for electric or hybrid vehicles. La Poste du Louvre is expected to open to the public in 2022. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Photography by Michel Denance via Dominique Perrault Architecture

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La Poste du Louvre turns the page from 1888 to 2022

KADA’s sustainable clothing line is designed to empower women

July 15, 2021 by  
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“Sustainability is our north star,” said KADA, a clothing company leading the charge in corporate responsibility and change within the notoriously wasteful fashion industry. The company’s products are designed by women, for women with a commitment to conservation . KADA is a Boston-based company, and every decision it makes revolves around waste reduction. The manufacturing process starts, in part, by collecting other manufacturers’ waste in the form of salvaged fabrics. From there, fabric selection relies mainly on Cupro, a silk-like material made from recycled cotton manufacturing waste. Cupro is biodegradable and made in a closed-loop factory that continuously recycles water and required chemicals. Related: Luxury vegan silk startup sets high bar for sustainable fashion KADA also strives to work with mills and factories that honor the sustainable mindset. One such factory is well-known for its innovative production of organic materials while recycling 100% of textile waste and using a greenhouse gas-capturing system. During the design process, owner Kassia Davis and the team work to minimize the number of seams in each piece, which in turn minimizes waste offcuts. They then develop prototypes that are tested (with real women) to ensure proper fit, feel and function. This is to avoid mass-production of product lines that may be ill-received and discarded.  The final clothing designs are intended to be multifunctional capsule pieces that cater to both casual and dressy occasions. The debut collection from KADA includes the Cami Bralette, Classic Cami, Cami Midi Dress, Classic Tee, Tee Maxi Dress, Tee Mini Dress and the Pant. The goal is to focus on high-quality production with durable fabrics to keep consumers loving and wearing the items in their wardrobe rather than discarding and replacing them. The staple pieces are designed for all body types in alignment with one of the company’s goals to empower women. “My mission with KADA is to make clothing that is inclusive and can be worn by all women. We’re celebrating the concept of evolution — inward, outward, and systemic — and setting a new standard for sustainable production along the way,” Davis said. “Behind the KADA brand is a team of incredibly talented women who all want to build pieces that every one of us can feel comfortable and confident wearing. These inspiring, empowering pieces are designed to help you meet the moment — no matter where life takes you.” KADA is partnering with GreenPrint to become the first sustainably made clothing brand in Massachusetts. + KADA Images via KADA

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