Buhais Geology Park opens in UAE’s Sharjah Desert

January 31, 2020 by  
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British architectural firm  Hopkins Architects has completed the Buhais Geology Park Interpretative Centre, a new research and education facility highlighting the “prehistoric and geological significance” of the former seabed known as al-Madam Plain. Located southeast of the UAE city of Sharjah, the Geology Park was created as part of a series of learning and conservation centers operated by Sharjah’s Environmental Protected Areas Authority. The design of the site-sensitive complex comprises five interconnected pods inspired by prehistoric sea urchin fossils. The Buhais Geology Park Interpretative Center is located within the Jebel Buhais, an archaeological site that’s most notable for its extensive necropolis spanning the Stone, Bronze, Iron, and Hellenistic ages, as well as for its abundance of marine  fossils  from over 65 million years ago. To highlight the archeological importance of Jebel Buhais, the Park was conceived as an important educational resource and destination for tourism.  Taking cues from the region’s well-preserved prehistoric fossils, the architects crafted the Interpretive Center into five interconnected pods that house a series of exhibition spaces with model-based interactive displays as well as an immersive theater, a cafe with panoramic views of the dramatic Jebel Buhais range, a gift shop, and other visitor facilities. An outdoor trail accessible from the main exhibition area links the pods and includes viewing areas of the mountains, a  classroom  shaded by a high-tensile canopy, and raised walkways across select geological sites of note such as ancient burial grounds.  Related: Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert “Our first sight of Jebel Buhais was in the late afternoon sun, exploring the area after the midday heat,” Simon Fraser, Principal at Hopkins Architects, said. “It is an amazingly beautiful, barren setting, with the Jebel providing a powerful backdrop. We have ensured that our design  touches lightly  on this fragile landscape, so rich in remarkable fossils and prehistoric burial sites. This exciting new facility will allow thousands of people from all over the world to understand the way in which landscapes are formed by tectonic activities and how the Earth has changed over time.” + Hopkins Architects Images © Marc Goodwin

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Buhais Geology Park opens in UAE’s Sharjah Desert

3D-printed concrete forest pavilion proposed for Dubais Expo 2020

December 31, 2019 by  
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United Arab Emirates-based design practice MEAN* (Middle East Architecture Network) has proposed a sculptural 3D-printed pavilion for a prominent traffic roundabout to welcome visitors to the upcoming 2020 Expo in Dubai. Designed as a “spatial forest,” the interactive installation comprises a series of palm tree-like concrete elements and branching LEDs. The “Expo 2020 Landmark” proposal is also powered with solar energy and can be programmed to light up at night with a variety of lighting modes.  Towering at a height of over 26 feet, the domed Expo 2020 Landmark was inspired by the Expo 2020 logo and UAE’s iconic palm trees. As a symbol for innovative construction, the installation would be built from 3D-printed shell components that can be cast on-site with Ultra High Performance Concrete, a material selected for its durability and resilience to Dubai’s harsh desert climate. Related: Energy-producing pavilion proposal for Expo 2020 mimics Brazil’s biomes “Robotically 3D-printed concrete construction has been lauded for saving on material waste by reducing the amount of formwork involved in the process of casting, as well as providing a cleaner construction site, all while allowing for a higher degree of complexity in design,” the architects said in a project statement. “We believe that Expo 2020 would be a fantastic platform to showcase the possibilities of this emerging construction technology to the world.” The Expo 2020 Landmark can be enjoyed by motorists traveling in the roundabout as well as pedestrians, who would be invited to enter the pavilion and explore the spaces between the 3D-printed , palm tree-inspired elements. Solar panels installed on the structure would be strategically tilted for maximum solar exposure and to deter sand buildup. + MEAN* Images via MEAN*

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The best eco tourism spots in Montreal

December 31, 2019 by  
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Montreal is a lively city where there’s always something going on. Perhaps you’ll arrive in the middle of an enormous Pride celebration, with pink balloon-festooned streets blocked off for a huge party. Or maybe you’ll play on 21 Balancoires, a set of musical swings — notes play as people swing — that appears downtown every springtime. Montreal has long been a major port city. It’s located at one end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which stretches from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of two million, Montreal is Canada’s second-largest city. It’s a bilingual city with a European feel. While more than half of Montreal’s residents are bilingual in French and English, quite a few only speak one language or the other, depending on their family’s native tongue and their education. Americans, especially those from the west coast, may love being in a place with Euro-style buildings dating back as far as the 1600s. It’s the mix of picturesque old and totally modern that makes Montreal so beautiful and fun. Outdoors Montreal For a more urban outdoors experience, check out one of Montreal’s many street fairs. May through June are the top months for closing off streets to traffic and turning them into party zones. Unless you’re extremely hardy, summer is the best time to partake in Montreal’s outdoors activities. Winter is long and cold here. You’ll need serious gear to have a good time outside. Mount Royal is a small mountain that overlooks the city and serves as a 692-acre city park that has it all. You can hike , rent a paddleboat, get your cardio workout by climbing the 550-step staircase on the south side, picnic or participate in a drum circle. During winter, people tube, toboggan, ski, snowshoe, or skate on a manmade lake. The Mount Royal Chalet rents winter equipment. Whatever you’re doing on Mount Royal, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city. The Montreal Botanical Garden is lovely in every season. Check out cultural gardens within the larger garden — Chinese, Japanese and First Nations are all represented here. In autumn you can stroll beneath golden leaves, and in winter you can cross country ski inside the garden . Don’t miss the Insectarium to get a close-up look at bug life. Did you know that 91% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Quebec? If you visit Montreal between late February and late April, get out to the countryside to experience a sugar shack. Many offer games, tastings and maple-themed meals as part of the fun. At La Cabane À Tuque , maple producers harvest maple sap the old-fashioned way, with buckets. Visitors can join in. They run an eco operation with a hempcrete -insulated house, a wall made with recycled bottles, and they even serve vegan meals. Montreal wellness scene Montreal is a secular city, but you’ll quickly notice the gorgeous churches and French Catholic influence. Nuns opened and ran the first hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, in 1645. For a historical look at the local wellness scene, at least from a European perspective, the Musee de Hospitallers chronicles Montreal’s early medical efforts. For one of the best modern spa experiences anywhere, pack your swimsuit and flip flops and head for Bota Bota , an old river ferry turned floating spa. It’s docked in the old port on Saint Lawrence River, where you can soak in a water circuit, fill your lungs with clouds of eucalyptus in the steam room, eat spa cuisine and relax in hanging chairs, all while gazing at river traffic. Bota Bota lets you choose between a quiet zone and a large area where you can visit with friends. Wanderlust Montreal , known for its Wanderlust Festival, is based in Montreal. Check out their website for current studio classes, concerts and yoga events. Eating out in Montreal When I asked local vegan activist Élise Desaulniers why Montreal has so many vegan restaurants, she said, “We hate debates in Canada . We like to find the middle ground. So, the conclusion is you should eat less meat. But being vegan 100% of the time is considered too extreme.” So that means Montreal’s omnivores support the vegan restaurants, making the city full of choices for veg visitors. Montreal has a vegan festival every fall, which Desaulniers co-founded. For some of the most interesting vegan sushi anywhere, Sushi Momo’s creations range from simple eggplant and avocado rolls to complicated concoctions full of exotic ingredients beyond my comprehension in French or English. I let the server choose for me. If you’re with a group, order the 2-foot-long wooden boat filled with assorted sushi. Lola Rosa draws people from all walks of life to its four locations for hemp burgers and international-inspired comfort food. Panthere Verte stays open late and is known for its falafel and organic vegan cocktails. Café Chat L’Heureux features a vegetarian menu of soups, sandwiches and salads, plus eight friendly kitty hosts. This is the place to get your feline fix when traveling through Montreal. Public transit Montreal’s subway system is relatively easy to figure out. Best of all, trains run every eight minutes on average, and every three minutes during rush hour. A robust bus system rounds out the public transportation network and will get you to all major landmarks. An express bus called the 747 Shuttle runs 24 hours a day between the airport and downtown, and only costs ten dollars. Ride-share services also operate in Montreal. The BIXI bike share system runs during fairer weather months, from April 15 through November 15. Since bike shares are aimed at shorter rides, consider renting a bike from Montreal on Wheels if you want one for a whole day or the duration of your stay. The bike rental shop also offers guided group bike tours. Eco-hotels For an upscale eco-hotel, stay at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth . Its impressively long list of sustainability initiatives includes employing three beekeepers , no using palm oil in its menus and turning old sheets and curtains into cleaning rags. On the more affordable, communal end of the spectrum, the Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal offers dorm or private rooms with shared bathrooms and an airy, plant-filled space with a full kitchen. The Hôtel de l’ITHQ , run by the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, is a clean, modern hotel run largely by tourism students. As a member of Canada’s Green Key eco-hotel program, it also follows many sustainability practices. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat and Bota Bota

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The best eco tourism spots in Montreal

UAE unveils plans for massive city simulating human settlement on Mars

September 27, 2017 by  
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced plans to build a 1.9-million-square-foot city that will simulate conditions for humans living on Mars . Mars Scientific City comprises the Emirate’s first step towards their ultimate goal of building a city on the red planet itself by 2117. The UAE Government unveiled plans for the Mars Scientific City at the first annual review of their plans for the future, according to The National. The project will cost 500 million United Arab Emirates Dirham, which is around $136.1 million. Inside the city, research laboratories will be set aside to investigate how future Mars colonists will produce everything from food and water to energy . Related: The UAE joins race to build first city on Mars Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, said the Mars Scientific City is an extraordinary national project and released some images on his Twitter page. From these pictures, it appears scientists could carry out research in the desert in large bio domes. In addition to research on Earth, the Emirates Mars Mission is working towards launching the Hope spacecraft in 2020. The spacecraft is set to arrive and begin orbiting Mars in 2021, in time for the UAE’s 50th anniversary. According to The National, the probe would be the first sent to Mars by a Muslim country. Earlier this year, the UAE unveiled their Mars 2117 plan and their goal of building the red planet’s first city within 100 years. They plan to conduct research for the Martian city with the help of an international scientific consortium. According to The National, the Mars Scientific City, as a specialist research city, could offer a first step towards Mars 2117 as scientists delve into how humans might survive in Mars’ harsh environment . Via The National Images via Dubai Media Office on Twitter

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Future of hyper-fast pod travel unveiled in BIGs Hyperloop One

November 9, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fze5spdN3nU First proposed by Elon Musk , the revolutionary Hyperloop transport system is envisioned as the future of affordable, high-tech, and hyper-fast travel. “Together with BIG, we have worked on a seamless experience that starts the moment you think about being somewhere – not going somewhere,” said Josh Giegel, President of Engineering, Hyperloop One. “We don’t sell cars, boats, trains, or planes. We sell time.” Related: BIG releases video sneak peek of Hyperloop designed to connect Abu Dhabi & Dubai The futuristic system doesn’t just aim to dramatically shorten commutes, but also “vastly simplifies the experience of getting from front-door to final destination.” To eliminate waiting from the passenger experience, travelers will be able to refer to a smartphone app that identifies the closest Hyperportal (Hyperloop’s name for their circular stations) and departure gate for on-demand travel. At the gate, passengers board a six-seater cuboid Hyperpod (each designed with different seating arrangements) that can move autonomously onto roads to pick up or drop off passengers. Four cuboid pods are loaded onto a ‘transporter,’ a pressurized vessel attached to a chassis for levitation and propulsion, which can accelerate to 1,100 kilometers per hour and “hyperjump” through a tube track to another portal, where the individual pods are discharged and move onto the street to drop passengers off at their final destination. Hyperloop One just signed an agreement with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority to further explore the futuristic transit system with more details to follow. + BIG + Hyperloop One Images via BIG

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Dubai debuts world’s first fully 3D-printed building

May 24, 2016 by  
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Not surprisingly, the actual build looks exactly like the early renderings. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the 3D-printed office building in a ceremony on Monday attended by a number of UAE dignitaries. Named the “Office of the Future,” the 3D-printed building is located on the Emirates Towers premises and will be the temporary home of the Dubai Future Foundation. Related: Dubai to build world’s first 3D-printed…

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Foster & Partners wins bid to design an incubator of creative talent for the Dubai Design District

May 5, 2015 by  
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Foster & Partners  released design renders for the second phase of the Dubai Design District (d3), their latest in a series of competitive wins in the United Arab Emirates. Inhabitat readers may recall that Foster & Partners first made a name for themselves with Masdar City’s iconic curved terracotta facades, an exceptional design partially inspired by traditional villages throughout the Middle East. They then emulated this approach for the UAE’s pavilion currently at the Milan Expo . But in Dubai, they are moving in a more edgy, industrial direction with a different material palette, flexible offices and shared workspace to incubate a new generation of creative talent. Read the rest of Foster & Partners wins bid to design an incubator of creative talent for the Dubai Design District Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arts district , climate control , communal spaces , coworking spaces , d3 , design district dubai , design incubator , dubai , Dubai Design District , Foster + Partners , passive design , sustainable design , uae , united arab emirates , Urban design

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Award-winning biomason grows bricks from sand and bacteria to reduce CO2 emissions

March 1, 2015 by  
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It takes an enormous amount of energy and resources to produce simple building materials such as concrete, bricks, and asphalt – however Ginger Krieg Dosier has developed a low-impact way to simply grow building blocks instead! Her award-winning company Biomason recently received 500,000 EUR (about $560,000 USD) from the 2013 Postcode Lottery Green Challenge to continue the groundbreaking work of producing bricks from sand and bacteria. Read the rest of Award-winning biomason grows bricks from sand and bacteria to reduce CO2 emissions Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2013 postcode lottery green challenge , bacteria , biobrick , biomason , brick , building infrastructure , carbon dioxide , climate war room , CO2 emissions , ginger krieg dosier , greenhouse gas emissions , Metropolis Magazine , sand , uae , US

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Award-winning biomason grows bricks from sand and bacteria to reduce CO2 emissions

Masdar Helps Oman Prepare for the Post-Oil Era With the Gulf’s First Wind Farm

October 22, 2014 by  
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The Sultanate of Oman is building the largest wind farm in the Gulf States region. The $125 million, 50-megawatt project is a joint development between Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, Masdar , and Oman’s Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO). Estimated to generate enough clean electricity to power 16,000 homes and mitigate 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the project is also remarkable for the language used to promote it: the Gulf States are looking to a low-carbon, post-oil future . Read the rest of Masdar Helps Oman Prepare for the Post-Oil Era With the Gulf’s First Wind Farm Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind power” , “wind turbine” , Masdar , oman , post-oil future , renewable energy , uae , united arab emirates , wind farm

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Masdar Helps Oman Prepare for the Post-Oil Era With the Gulf’s First Wind Farm

Dubai to Build World’s Largest Shopping Mall for Expo 2020

July 8, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Dubai to Build World’s Largest Shopping Mall for Expo 2020 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: dubai , Dubai Holdings , dubious dubai , Mall of the World , medical tourism , mega development , shopping mall , uae , united arab emirates , unsustainable development , world expo 2020 , world’s largest , world’s largest indoor theme park , world’s largest pedestrian city , world’s largest shopping mall

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