Man buries 42 school buses to build North America’s largest nuclear fallout shelter

November 29, 2017 by  
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When doomsday arrives, Bruce and Jean Beach have no intention of elbowing their neighbors for space. The retired couple, who reside on 12.5 acres in the rural town of Horning’s Mills just outside of Toronto, Canada, have built themselves a massive, 10,000-square-foot underground bunker. Beyond being the largest private nuclear fallout shelter in North America (as far as we know, at least), the post-apocalyptic den has also been craftily built using 42 decommissioned school buses entombed in concrete. Dubbed “The Ark Two,” the creation, spearheaded by 83-year-old Bruce Beach, sits 15 feet beneath the earth and can accommodate 500 people for several months. The bunker has in fact been designed to support a community, equipped with everything from months worth of food supplies to plumbing, a well, kitchen, laundry, library, dentist, nursery, daycare, ER/surgery room, and even a morgue. And why buses? He says they were cheap (just $300 a pop) and have reinforced steel roofs, which make for ideal bomb shelter molds. Related: Reclaimed Bunker Offers Doomsday Luxury Accommodations Beach built the shelter 35 years ago he says “not for survival, but rather for the reconstruction of society” after an atomic catastrophe. He told the  National Post,  “People think, ‘What a nut,’ and I know that, but I don’t mind, I understand the world looks upon me that way.” Indeed, Beach’s endeavor has not been free of conflict. Because he built the shelter without a permit, he’s been in and out of court over 30 times with the Canadian government. Officials want the bunker welded shut, citing public safety issues. However, Beach argues that “it’s the very opposite of something that is hazardous,” rather “something that is protective in hazardous situations.” To try to win public support, Beach has built relationships with the media to drum up positive publicity—and it’s worked. For the time being, officials have backed off. Beach now even holds volunteer opportunities and “work weekends” at the site. Visitors who are willing to put in a little elbow grease are guaranteed admission into the Ark—that is, “so long as they do so before the catastrophe occurs,” Beach writes on his site . “I used to always say the end of the world was going to be two years from now,” said Beach to the National Post. “But now I say it is going to be two weeks from now—and if I am wrong, I will revise my date.” Via Oddity Central All images via Bruce Beach’s website

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Man buries 42 school buses to build North America’s largest nuclear fallout shelter

Toronto’s waterfront to undergo major futuristic redesign thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs

October 18, 2017 by  
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In collaboration with Sidewalk Labs, a start-up created by Google to “accelerate innovation in cities around the world,” the city of Toronto will embark on a futuristic redesign of its waterfront that will incorporate cutting edge technology and sleek modern design to build an urban gathering place for businesses, locals and visitors. Innovations on the Toronto waterfront may include free public Wi-Fi, automated trash systems, robust renewable energy sources, and self-driving cars . “This project will become a model for others not only in Canada, but around the world,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It is estimated that the innovations by Sidewalk Labs could reduce typical greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, save the average commuter an hour of travel time and put residents of the neighborhood, which has been dubbed “Quayside,” within a very short walking distance from green space. “Over time, “we believe Sidewalk Toronto can demonstrate to the world how to make living in cities cheaper, more convenient, healthier, greener, fairer, and even maybe more exciting,” said former New York City  deputy mayor and current Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff. Sidewalk Labs, acknowledging that “that great neighborhoods aren’t planned from the top down,” has announced a town hall meeting for November 1, 2017 in which citizens can discuss their ideas and concerns regarding the new project. Related: Trees to grow on the balconies of Penda’s timber high-rise in Toronto Founded in 2015 as a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, Sidewalk Labs has been deciding between several locations for a comprehensive feasibility study to test ideas and systems that could be applied in the design of the cities of the future. The announcement by Sidewalk Labs and Toronto follows several months of speculation about the company’s plans, which were rumored to include a “Google Island” city built from the ground up to Sidewalk Labs’ specifications. In its work to redesign Toronto’s waterfront, Sidewalk Labs will use tools like Flow, which the company conceived to identify problems in traffic flow or lack of transportation access. Via Inc. and The Verge Images via Depositphotos

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Toronto’s waterfront to undergo major futuristic redesign thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs

Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

August 3, 2017 by  
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A new kind of “vertical forest” has been envisioned for Toronto where trees would grow on every balcony. Architecture firm Penda teamed up with Canadian company Timber to design the Toronto Tree Tower, an 18-story mixed-use tower covered in greenery and built of cross-laminated timber. The large and modular balconies are staggered to look like branches of a tree and to optimize views for every resident. Designed to appear as a giant tree in the city, the Toronto Tree Tower is covered in plants and greenery and clad in wooden facade panels. The tower’s modular cross-laminated timber units would be prefabricated and assembled off-site, and then transported and stacked around the building’s trunk-like central core. The building would comprise 4,500 square meters of apartments as well as a cafe, children’s daycare center, and community workshops. Related: China’s first vertical forest is rising in Nanjing “Our cities are a assembly of steel, concrete and glass,” said Penda partner Chris Precht, according to Dezeen . “If you walk through the city and suddenly see a tower made of wood and plants, it will create an interesting contrast. The warm, natural appearance of wood and the plants growing on its facade bring the building to life and that could be a model for environmental friendly developments and sustainable extensions of our urban landscape.” + Penda Via Dezeen

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Trees to grow on the balconies of Pendas timber high-rise in Toronto

Modern aluminum addition blends seamlessly in with 19th century rowhouses

July 17, 2017 by  
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It’s never easy to blend new buildings into traditional neighborhoods, but Toronto-based Aleph-Bau , has skillfully managed to fit a wonderfully modern aluminum-clad home – called Twelve Tacoma – into a section of 19th century rowhouses in Toronto without encroaching on the historic neighborhood’s charming character. From the outside, Twelve Tacoma’s sophisticated white paint and corrugated aluminum cladding certainly stands out from the colorful brick rowhouses, but its subtle design and neutral tones manage to quietly blend into it surroundings. Additionally, certain details such as the simple front railing and plexiglass door awning – although more contemporary – mimic its neighbors in a respectful nod to the area’s vernacular. Related: Swedish architect surprises mum with dazzling corrugated aluminum home The upper floor of the home is the only section visible from the front of the rowhouses , but the home’s beautiful design is best seen from the back. To squeeze the contemporary addition into the established architecture, the architects used a steel structure to create the frame of the house in between the existing wooden parameters. The finished product is a series of stacked volumes that create a very modern and open home. According to Delnaz Yekrangian, Aleph-Bau’s director, the home design relied on a number of elements to blend it into its natural and manmade surroundings, “Architectural elements disappear in favor of the atmosphere – one that is an amplified reflection of the outside; light, the sky, the clouds, the neighbors’ tree, the sound of rainfall and the shabby structures in the laneway are inside now.” On the inside, the home is open and airy, with a minimalist interior design scheme. Modular sliding storage units are found throughout the home in order to avoid clutter.  Numerous floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors on every level allow for optimal natural light, also adding a sense of transparency to the home. Further connecting the home to its surroundings is the large rooftop terrace , which, thanks to its many asymmetrical shapes, provides a fun and private space for the homeowners. + Aleph Bau Photography by Tom Arban  

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Modern aluminum addition blends seamlessly in with 19th century rowhouses

Torontos 8 Winter Station winners to revive citys frozen beaches

February 3, 2017 by  
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Toronto’s freezing beaches will soon be a hotspot of activity. The third annual Winter Stations design competition recently unveiled this year’s eight winners, a series of temporary art installations that will take over the city’s east end beaches beginning February 20. These interactive pieces will be built atop ordinary lifeguard stands and offer designs ranging from a Japanese onsen-inspired installation to a modern lighthouse. The Toronto Winter Stations competition selected five professional and three student teams to create temporary sculptures for the Toronto beachfront created under the theme of “Catalyst.” The competition seeks visionary designs that reinvent the waterfront landscape into an inviting and memorable place during a time of year when the frozen beaches are normally deserted. “Winter Stations 2017 delivered, once again, gutsy and lyrical transformations of ordinary lifeguard stands,” said Lisa Rochon, Winter Stations Design Jury Chair. “Visitors will be able to touch and feel their way along the beach, experiencing luminous shelter from the wind, warming waters for their feet, and designs that celebrate the Canadian nation of immigrants.” Related: 7 Burning Man-style winter stations unveiled for Toronto’s snowy shores The winning entries in the professionals category include: Asuka Kono and Rachel Salmela’s I See You Ashiyu, an installation where visitors can dip their feet into a Japanese hot spring-inspired basin; studio PERCH’s North, a suspended forest of 41 trees hung upside down; Mario García and Andrea Govi’s Collective Memory built from recycled bottles in reference to a statistic that says nearly one-half of the Canadian population over the age of 15 will be foreign born or a child of a migrant parent by 2031; Dionisios Vriniotis, Rob Shostak, Dakota Wares-Tani and Julie Forand’s BuoyBuoyBuoy, a reflective sculpture mimicking the motion of multiple buoys; and Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva’s modern interpretation of a lighthouse in The Beacon, which will also double as a drop-off location for non-perishable items like canned food or clothes. The selected student works include University of Waterloo’s Flotsam and Jetsam that speaks to the ills of plastic consumption; Humber College School of Media Studies & IT, School of Applied Technology’s the Illusory that uses mirrors to distort perspectives; and Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto’s Midwinter Fire, which immerses visitors in a miniature version of a Southern Ontario winter forest. + Winter Stations Via ArchDaily Images via Winter Stations

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Torontos 8 Winter Station winners to revive citys frozen beaches

Renovated Victorian House in Toronto combines the best of rural and urban living

September 13, 2016 by  
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The renovation and addition to the old Victorian house created a bright, modern space inspired by rural living. Industrial materials give the structure a more contemporary feel, but applied in a way that doesn’t compete with the predominant architecture of the neighborhood. Large skylights run through three floors and bring natural light into the main living area located on the ground floor. Related: Modern Renovation Brings Victorian Ranelagh House Back from the Brink in Dublin “I really embrace the slot between the two floors. It turns the 2nd floor hallway into a bridge that connects all of the floors. This is key to bringing light down to the first floor,” said John Tong, principal of +tongtong. Related: Old Brick Factory Transformed Into the Sustainable Evergreen Headquarters in Toronto The existing window at the side of the house was widened to create a horizontal opening that connects the kitchen and the dining room, the latter of which features a countertop vent-free ethanol fireplace . Additional privacy was achieved by incorporating a landscaped berm and retaining wall into the design of the house, creating a small oasis in front where kids can play. + +tongtong Via v2com Photos by Lisa Petrole

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Renovated Victorian House in Toronto combines the best of rural and urban living

Sweden’s legendary ICEHOTEL taps solar power to stay open year-round

September 13, 2016 by  
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The sparkling, chilly beauty of northern Sweden’s ICEHOTEL brings in thousands of visitors each year, only to melt away each spring. That will all change with a new addition projected to open this December, which will stay open into the sunny summer months thanks to a rooftop solar panel addition. Guests will be able to enjoy both the fire of the midnight sun and their icy accommodations at the same time. The ICEHOTEL has been operational for 26 years, with the same routine of preparing the destination each winter and shutting down each spring. The new hotel wing will be open 365 days a year in response to customer demand for a cool place to stay after a late night hike or dogsled adventure in the sun. Related: ICEHOTEL unveils breathtaking rooms carved from solid ice During the summer months, the addition will generate power from the sun day and night via photovoltaic rooftop panels provided by partner Solkompaniet. When the seasonal sun sets, the collection of 20 suites, ice bar, and gallery will join the rest of the ICEHOTEL, which is three times its size, for the winter rush. “We’ve created many temporary ice experiences in the past, and we’ve seen an increasing interest for visiting ICEHOTEL not just in winter,” stated founder Yngve Bergqvist. “Every summer we have international visitors who arrive in Jukkasjärvi and ask us where they can see ICEHOTEL – I look forward to being able to point it out to them!” + ICEHOTEL Via Design Curial Images via Asaf Kliger

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Sweden’s legendary ICEHOTEL taps solar power to stay open year-round

Newly discovered ‘ghost galaxy’ full of dark matter is as big as the Milky Way

August 26, 2016 by  
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Astronomers have discovered, with the aid of some powerful telescopes, a galaxy made up mostly of dark matter . Dragonfly 44, as it has been named, is roughly the same size as our Milky Way but with far fewer stars. Rather, the galaxy appears to be composed largely of dark matter, which does not emit light or interact with electromagnetic radiation. Although there is much more to learn about the mysterious dark galaxy, scientists’ initial findings have surprised astronomy experts more than once. Studies of Dragonfly 44 began with curiosity, as many deep space explorations do, after it was identified last year as little more than a smudge-like spot on an image of the Coma Cluster of galaxies captured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (above left). Right away, astronomers knew they had to investigate, and time-lapse images captured by the Gemini North telescope (above right) show the galaxy’s diffuse nature. “Very soon after its discovery, we realized this galaxy had to be more than meets the eye. It has so few stars that it would quickly be ripped apart unless something was holding it together,” Yale University astronomer Pieter van Dokkum, lead author of the study, told Phys.org. Related: Newly discovered dwarf galaxy may be falling into the Milky Way More powerful equipment was needed to get a better look, so the team turned to the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini North telescope , in Hawaii, for help. Van Dokkum’s team was able to measure the velocity of stars in Dragonfly 44 by comparing images taken over six nights. Star velocity is a key element in gaining an understanding of the composition of a far-away galaxy, because it can help convey the galaxy’s mass. A higher velocity suggests a galaxy of higher mass. Knowing that the galaxy had very few stars (and thus not much light) but a mass closer to that of the Milky Way, researchers concluded that the newly discovered galaxy must be comprised mostly of dark matter . “Amazingly, the stars move at velocities that are far greater than expected for such a dim galaxy. It means that Dragonfly 44 has a huge amount of unseen mass,” said co-author Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto. Further studies of Dragonfly 44 may help scientists finally come to an understanding of what dark matter actually is, which has eluded researchers since its existence was first suggested nearly a century ago. A paper on the initial study of Dragonfly 44 was recently published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Via Phys.org Lead image via Dean Rowe ; additional image via Pieter van Dokkum, Roberto Abraham, Gemini, Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

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Newly discovered ‘ghost galaxy’ full of dark matter is as big as the Milky Way

Naturally-cooled Toronto home boasts a beautiful multi-level indoor garden

August 16, 2016 by  
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The house, designed as an infill residential project, occupies a corner lot in Toronto’s North York neighborhood. It seems to grow upwards with the development of the indoor garden that starts at the basement level. Strategically placed narrow windows protect the residents from outside views, while harvesting natural light throughout the day. By placing spaces that require a high level of privacy on the street level, and defining the courtyard on the lower level, the architects created a structure that protects its inhabitants from the city noise. Related: Gorgeous Green House is Wrapped in a Lush Vertical Garden in Belgium The house boosts several passive sustainable features. The architects ensured that the interior gets enough natural light, while retaining a sense of privacy. Any excessive heat is avoided by offsetting the large skylight on the top floor with a combination of openings that facilitate natural ventilation . + Alva Roy Architects Via v2com Photos by Tom Arban and Navid Aali

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Naturally-cooled Toronto home boasts a beautiful multi-level indoor garden

Shipping container is converted into a chic portable boutique shop in Toronto

August 16, 2016 by  
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Needs & Wants Studio sourced the container from the Canadian supplier Storstac and, following designs they created last fall, painted the facade white and lined the interior with light-colored wood. To give the small 160-square-foot shipping container a sense of spaciousness, the mobile boutique created entrances on both ends that are kept open to expand the showroom’s footprint to the outdoors. Mirrored, one-way glazing was also inserted into two large square cutouts on the long walls. Related: Australia’s Largest Cargotecture House is a Modern Masterpiece Built from 31 Shipping Containers The interior is minimally decorated and a large mirror propped against one wall helps with the illusion of spaciousness. Needs & Wants Studio’s clothing line, which focuses on upscale mens outerwear, is elegantly displayed on metal racks. The herringbone -patterned floor and uneven timber paneling on the walls and ceiling give the space texture to keep it from looking dull. In addition to the mobile boutique’s scheduled tour, the Toronto brand has plans to create a second portable showroom that will be “designed for water.” + Needs & Wants Studio Via Dezeen Images via Needs & Wants Studio

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