Ariake Gymnastics Centre resembles a floating ship

September 2, 2021 by  
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The Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo Japan was designed for dual uses to provide for both a significant short-term competition and ongoing events. The architectural design, presented by Nikken Sekkei and Shimizu Corporation, relies heavily on  natural materials  for both a sustainable finish and a reflection of the area’s history.  Dubbed, “A Wooden Vessel Floating in the Bay Area,” the Ariake Gymnastics Centre was equipped with a layout meant to house a temporary international sports competition in response to a request by the client, The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. After the event, the spectator stands were made removable for easy conversion into a permanent exhibition hall. Related: ZHA designs sustainable expansion to China’s largest international exhibition center Nearly every surface is constructed from  wood  — a nod to the district that previously housed a log pond. Timber is used extensively throughout the building, including the roof frame structure, facade, spectator seats and exterior walls. Lightweight, durable and fireproof steel was used for the framing. The finished building looks like a floating wooden vessel from across the waterway.  The wood also caters to the acoustic and thermal needs of the arena and serves to achieve a light overall site impact in an area that may have poor soil conditions. Glued laminate timber has a high capacity for heat, making it fire resistant. The overall simple design honors the essence of traditional Japanese architecture.  The Ariake Gymnastics Centre is located along a canal, allowing for an expansive public space. Although surrounded by nearby residential condominiums , the arena puts a focus on a low design rather than competing with the height of other buildings in the vicinity.  Developers also emphasized taking advantage of outdoor space, with expansive boardwalks along the  water’s  edge. The entryway is kept outside the building instead of being included in the interior space. This allows for a smaller footprint from building materials as well as physical space.  + Nikken Sekkei Ltd. Via ArchDaily Images via Nikken Sekkei Ltd. 

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Ariake Gymnastics Centre resembles a floating ship

Those Olympic anti-sex beds? Theyre actually for recycling.

July 21, 2021 by  
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Among all the news about the Tokyo Olympics, you might have heard one particularly wild story about the beds in the Olympic Village. These beds got an unforeseen amount of press coverage when American runner Paul Chelimo joked that the cardboard material was used to discourage “intimacy among athletes.” While the idea of an ‘anti-sex’ bed design captured peoples’ interest, this story is merely a joke gone wild. But there’s still a good reason to talk about these cardboard beds — they’re recyclable .  Many outlets, from the New York Post to Sports Illustrated , have covered the Olympic ‘anti-sex’ beds. Beyond this myth, the truth behind the design raises poignant concerns about the Olympics and the environment. Designed for easy recycling, the beds represent an attempt to make the notoriously eco-unfriendly Olympics more sustainable. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones From displacing communities to using immense amounts of resources to construct facilities that will rarely be used outside of the games, the Olympics aren’t known for being sustainable — no matter how hard the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tries to prove itself . While recyclable cardboard beds and green buildings seem like strong, eco-conscious efforts, it can be difficult to judge how useful these attempts are in minimizing the Olympics’ environmental impact. To address this issue, a 2021 publication in Nature detailed a nine-indicator model researchers developed to determine how sustainable past Olympic Games were and to make predictions for the Tokyo Olympics. As the study explained, “The Olympic Games claim to be exemplars of sustainability, aiming to inspire sustainable futures around the world. Yet no systematic evaluation of their sustainability exists.” The nine indicators fall into three categories: ecological , economic and social. A few key measures within these categories include new construction, visitor footprint, event size and long-term viability. According to this model, the study found “that the overall sustainability of the Olympic Games is medium and that it has declined over time.” While the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics ranked as most sustainable, both Sochi 2014 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 earned low scores. Even more troubling is that no Olympic Games scored in the model’s top category. These results seem to suggest that despite the IOC’s efforts, cardboard beds included, Olympic sustainability efforts simply aren’t winning the gold. Via Sports Illustrated Lead image via Pixabay

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Those Olympic anti-sex beds? Theyre actually for recycling.

The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business

July 2, 2021 by  
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The Toranomon-Azabudai Project, a collaboration between several design firms, is a modern urban village built with nature and humans at its core and business on the perimeter. This multipurpose development in the heart of Tokyo is filled with lush green spaces and gathering areas. With an open outdoor floor plan, the design includes offices, residences, a hotel , an international school, retail shops, restaurants and cultural facilities. It will provide space for work, learning, recreation, interaction and relaxation. Related: Winning designs unveiled for the sustainable redesign of Saratov The Toranomon-Azabudai Project is a revamp of a long, narrow area that previously was broken up by deteriorating houses and buildings. Overall, the city infrastructure was in need of an upgrade. The goal of the developers and local residents was to update the area and provide all the amenities of a big city while keeping a small village feel. Toranomon-Azabudai District Urban Redevelopment Association, in collaboration with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Heatherwick Studio, Sou Fujimoto Architects and developer Mori Building Co, among others, acknowledge a common vision of placing the landscaping and central square first, then working the three high-rise buildings in afterward. This is in direct contrast to most developments, where buildings take precedence. The philosophy honors the two pillars of green and wellness at every stage. Some buildings will feature green roofs , and the central square will be enrobed in trees, flowers and waterscapes. The entire neighborhood will be powered by 100% renewable energy sources, which will meet the targets stipulated in the RE100 international environmental initiative led by the U.K.’s Climate Group. Developers also plan to meet the criteria to earn WELL and LEED-ND certification . The project is working to set an example for solutions to modern concerns around carbon emissions, loss of biodiversity and lack of accessible healthcare.  Construction began on August 5, 2019 and has an anticipated completion date in March 2023. Once complete, it is expected to support 20,000 employees and 3,500 residents, plus welcome 25-35 million visitors per year. + Mori Building Co. Images via Mori Building Co.

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The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business

The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business

July 2, 2021 by  
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The Toranomon-Azabudai Project, a collaboration between several design firms, is a modern urban village built with nature and humans at its core and business on the perimeter. This multipurpose development in the heart of Tokyo is filled with lush green spaces and gathering areas. With an open outdoor floor plan, the design includes offices, residences, a hotel , an international school, retail shops, restaurants and cultural facilities. It will provide space for work, learning, recreation, interaction and relaxation. Related: Winning designs unveiled for the sustainable redesign of Saratov The Toranomon-Azabudai Project is a revamp of a long, narrow area that previously was broken up by deteriorating houses and buildings. Overall, the city infrastructure was in need of an upgrade. The goal of the developers and local residents was to update the area and provide all the amenities of a big city while keeping a small village feel. Toranomon-Azabudai District Urban Redevelopment Association, in collaboration with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Heatherwick Studio, Sou Fujimoto Architects and developer Mori Building Co, among others, acknowledge a common vision of placing the landscaping and central square first, then working the three high-rise buildings in afterward. This is in direct contrast to most developments, where buildings take precedence. The philosophy honors the two pillars of green and wellness at every stage. Some buildings will feature green roofs , and the central square will be enrobed in trees, flowers and waterscapes. The entire neighborhood will be powered by 100% renewable energy sources, which will meet the targets stipulated in the RE100 international environmental initiative led by the U.K.’s Climate Group. Developers also plan to meet the criteria to earn WELL and LEED-ND certification . The project is working to set an example for solutions to modern concerns around carbon emissions, loss of biodiversity and lack of accessible healthcare.  Construction began on August 5, 2019 and has an anticipated completion date in March 2023. Once complete, it is expected to support 20,000 employees and 3,500 residents, plus welcome 25-35 million visitors per year. + Mori Building Co. Images via Mori Building Co.

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The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business

World’s longest wildlife bridge could become reality across the Mississippi River

July 2, 2021 by  
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A proposal to repurpose the bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois across the Mississippi River into a national park and wildlife crossing has gained traction. Headed by the Bison Bridge Foundation, the proposal seeks to turn the commuter bridge into a wildlife-crossing pathway, allowing the animals to roam freely between Iowa and Illinois. The proposal, which was officially unveiled to the public on March 18, 2021, has already attracted over 27,000 signatures out of the 50,000 signatures needed. Supporters are lobbying locals to back the project in a bid to stop the demolition of the bridge , instead repurposing it into the longest human-made wildlife bridge in the world. Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions The Fred Schwengel Memorial Bridge on I-80 has served the residents of the Quad Cities for over 55 years now. It currently serves thousands of vehicles each day, connecting five cities adjacent to the river. Quad Cities is a 380,000-person metropolitan area that spans over the states of Iowa and Illinois on either side of the Mississippi River . The five cities that make up the area include Bettendorf, Davenport, Moline, East Moline and Rock Island. Besides saving the state of Illinois millions of dollars in demolition costs, repurposing it could draw tourists to the region. The resulting national park would be the first in both states. The Bison Bridge, as the proposal is known, was first suggested by a local conservationist and the president and founder of Living Lands & Waters, Chad Pregracke. Pregracke is recognized for his efforts in conserving the Mississippi River. He spends months every year living on barges and cleaning up the river . Pregracke first proposed the idea four years ago, and it was immediately loved by the locals and is now being considered by the Illinois government. “It’s a fantastic idea, a heck of a vision,” said Kevin Marchek, who worked for over 39 years at the Illinois Department of Transportation. “We’ve just got to keep pushing this until it comes to fruition.” According to the proposal, the bridge would be turned into a multipurpose crossing way, serving pedestrians, cyclists and motorists while at the same time providing a safe pathway for wildlife . An enclosed bison paddock would allow herds of large wildlife to roam across the park between Iowa and Illinois. Jason Baldes, member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and Tribal Partnerships – Tribal Bison Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, said that the project would help restore forgotten American history. “The bison was known as the life commissary for my grandmas and grandpas,” Baldes said. “It was food, clothing, shelter, and was also central to our cultural and spiritual belief systems. … It’s not only important to Native American tribes, but it’s important to the American people to at least have an opportunity to learn about this history.” + Bison Bridge Foundation Via Good News Network Image via Bison Bridge Foundation

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World’s longest wildlife bridge could become reality across the Mississippi River

World’s longest wildlife bridge could become reality across the Mississippi River

July 2, 2021 by  
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A proposal to repurpose the bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois across the Mississippi River into a national park and wildlife crossing has gained traction. Headed by the Bison Bridge Foundation, the proposal seeks to turn the commuter bridge into a wildlife-crossing pathway, allowing the animals to roam freely between Iowa and Illinois. The proposal, which was officially unveiled to the public on March 18, 2021, has already attracted over 27,000 signatures out of the 50,000 signatures needed. Supporters are lobbying locals to back the project in a bid to stop the demolition of the bridge , instead repurposing it into the longest human-made wildlife bridge in the world. Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions The Fred Schwengel Memorial Bridge on I-80 has served the residents of the Quad Cities for over 55 years now. It currently serves thousands of vehicles each day, connecting five cities adjacent to the river. Quad Cities is a 380,000-person metropolitan area that spans over the states of Iowa and Illinois on either side of the Mississippi River . The five cities that make up the area include Bettendorf, Davenport, Moline, East Moline and Rock Island. Besides saving the state of Illinois millions of dollars in demolition costs, repurposing it could draw tourists to the region. The resulting national park would be the first in both states. The Bison Bridge, as the proposal is known, was first suggested by a local conservationist and the president and founder of Living Lands & Waters, Chad Pregracke. Pregracke is recognized for his efforts in conserving the Mississippi River. He spends months every year living on barges and cleaning up the river . Pregracke first proposed the idea four years ago, and it was immediately loved by the locals and is now being considered by the Illinois government. “It’s a fantastic idea, a heck of a vision,” said Kevin Marchek, who worked for over 39 years at the Illinois Department of Transportation. “We’ve just got to keep pushing this until it comes to fruition.” According to the proposal, the bridge would be turned into a multipurpose crossing way, serving pedestrians, cyclists and motorists while at the same time providing a safe pathway for wildlife . An enclosed bison paddock would allow herds of large wildlife to roam across the park between Iowa and Illinois. Jason Baldes, member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and Tribal Partnerships – Tribal Bison Coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, said that the project would help restore forgotten American history. “The bison was known as the life commissary for my grandmas and grandpas,” Baldes said. “It was food, clothing, shelter, and was also central to our cultural and spiritual belief systems. … It’s not only important to Native American tribes, but it’s important to the American people to at least have an opportunity to learn about this history.” + Bison Bridge Foundation Via Good News Network Image via Bison Bridge Foundation

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World’s longest wildlife bridge could become reality across the Mississippi River

Drones eradicate rat invaders from Galapagos

July 2, 2021 by  
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Visitors to the  Galapagos  Islands learn about the island’s fragile ecosystem and the need to protect the lives of its endemic animals. But not every animal life is sacrosanct on these islands just 600 miles off Ecuador’s west coast. Certain rodents that start with pointy snouts and end with skinny, sparsely-haired tails are not welcome. Now, thanks to drone technology, rats have been eradicated from the Galapagos. Rats first hitched a ride to the Galapagos on ships visiting in the 19th and 20th centuries. Winding up in a place where they faced no natural predators was like winning the rat lottery. The rodents quickly got busy eating eggs and nestlings and gnawing on and eating the seeds of rare plants. According to  Island Conservation , rats contributed to the  extinction  of 86% of the Galapagos’ wildlife. Related: As temperatures increase, so do rat populations The recent drone activity isn’t the first time people have tried to wipe rats off the face of the islands. But this is the first time it seems to have worked. Starting in 2019, the Galapagos National Park began dropping rat bait made by Bell Laboratories from  drones  equipped with dispersal buckets. Now, Seymour Norte Island and Mosquera Islet are rat-free. More bait was left in stations along the coastline, in case a rat army rallies and attempts to recapture the island. “After two years of waiting, we can declare these islands are free of rodents,” Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park, said in a statement. “This project has given the expected results, according to the planning and according to the highest protocols for these cases. Galapagos, once again, is a benchmark in terms of the protection of this globally important  ecosystem .” While inventors started fooling around with the great-great-grandmothers of drones in the early 1900s, modern drones careened into public awareness in the 1990s. Now, drones are used to monitor ecosystems and  wildlife  in many ways, including detecting illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and checking on dolphin health by collecting spray from their blowholes. “Almost every  conservation  organization I work with is using drones now, in one way or another,” said biologist and drone expert Serge Wich, as reported by  Nature . Via EcoWatch , Island Conservation Images via Island Conservation, credit Andrew Wright

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Drones eradicate rat invaders from Galapagos

Technicolor greenhouse in Tokyo converts into pulsating light show when plants are touched

October 25, 2017 by  
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Although dancing in most greenhouses might be inappropriate in most cases, the fun Digital Vegetables installation in Tokyo is enticing visitors to bust a groove among the greenery. Created by Tokyo design company, Party , the installation is a digitally-equipped greenhouse filled with plants that set off a disco-like light and sound show when touched. Located in Tokyo’s Midtown’s garden space, the installation is part of the Design Touch event, whose 2017 theme is unsurprisingly “touch”. The Digital Vegetable (“Digi Vege” as its known locally) is a fun greenhouse pavilion filled with seven different kinds of veggies. The tags on the veggies invite visitors to gently touch the plant, which is connected digitally to a programmed system that immediately triggers a series of vibrant lights and ambient sounds that run though the pavilion. Related: NASA unveils inflatable greenhouse for sustainable farming on Mars The idea behind the interactive installation is to encourage people to consider the shapes and sounds that make up the hidden ecosystem of plants . “Start off by touching the 7 types of lives now growing strong in the soil,” says Naoki Ito, the design’s project leader. “Then, bathe in the design of vegetables, enhanced by videos and sounds.” As for the accompanying soundtrack, sound designer Ray Kunimoto created a melody by mixing orchestra instrumentals with actual recordings of rubbing seeds, touching leaves, and eating fruits. He explains: “Tomatoes are violin, carrots are trumpet, cabbages are oboe, mini radishes are flute, sweet potatoes are piano, eggplants are harp, pumpkins are clarinet”. + Digital Vegetable + Party Via This is Colossal Images via Digital Vegetables

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Technicolor greenhouse in Tokyo converts into pulsating light show when plants are touched

Entering this mind-blowing mirrored room is like walking inside a diamond

October 25, 2017 by  
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Inspired by the path of light traveling through a diamond, Artist Chris Cheung and his art group XEX created a trippy, LED-lit room clad with tessellated mirrored panels. Prismverse invites visitors to enter and get lost in its dizzying vortex of shimmer and color. Cheung (also known as honhim) installed LED bulbs in the flooring to reflect light off of the mirrored geometric panels that line the walls. The interactive installation simulates the experience of walking through a brilliantly-cut diamond. Related: Dazzling crystal canopy showers passersby with 5,000 rainbows in London The installation was designed for skincare brand Dr.Jart+. Visitors are invited to touch the products located on a pedestal in the middle of the room. At this moment, the room erupts in a shimmery light show accompanied by ambient music by sonihouse . Images of star formations, gemstones, and flowing water represent the brightening and moisturizing effects of the product line. + Chris Cheung / Honhim + XEX Via Design Milk Images via XEX

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Entering this mind-blowing mirrored room is like walking inside a diamond

Rocks in Canada hold oldest evidence of life we’ve found

September 29, 2017 by  
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3.95 billion-year-old rocks could offer the oldest evidence we’ve found for life on Earth . A team led by the University of Tokyo found graphite in Labrador, Canada that they think is biogenic, or produced by living organisms. They contend this is the oldest evidence of life, as opposed to microfossils found earlier in Quebec , saying the dating process used in the latter was highly controversial. In March, the journal Nature published the findings of an international team of researchers who’d found fossils in Quebec that they said could be between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years old. Now, nine scientists at institutions in Japan say they’ve actually found the oldest evidence of life on this planet, and it’s in 3.95 billion-year-old rocks. Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion years old These researchers found graphite in sedimentary rocks. Tsuyoshi Komiya of the University of Tokyo said, “Our samples are also the oldest supracrustal rocks preserved on Earth.” Phys.org pointed out the Quebec fossils were found in a similar formation. The Japan team measured the isotope composition of the graphite to find it was biogenic, although the identity of the organisms that produced the graphite or their appearance are mysteries. Komiya said the team could work to identify the organisms by scrutinizing “other isotopes such as nitrogen, sulphur, and iron of the organic matter and accompanied materials.” They can also analyze the rock’s chemical composition to try and figure out the organisms’ environment . Other researchers, like geochemist Daniele Pinti of the University of Quebec at Montreal, seem impressed by the new team’s findings and process. He told CBC News, “For the moment, it looks very convincing.” Phys.org said that should the discovery be accurate, it would mean life sprung up on Earth a geological second after the planet formed around 4.5 billion years ago. Nature published the new study this week. Via Phys.org and CBC News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Tashiro, Takayuki, et al.

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