These crazy CarTubes could move city traffic underground

December 6, 2016 by  
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Imagine how peaceful our cities would be we took honking, idling cars off the road and put them underground. PLP Architecture is proposing we do just that – their CarTube project proposes a network of underground tubes with massive conveyor belts that move vehicles from one place to another. They’re proposing we do away with above-ground roads altogether, freeing up space for parks and recreation. Check out the cool simulation video below. https://vimeo.com/193911357 According to The Architects’ Journal , PLP has called their CarTube the “next best thing since teleportation,” by integrating the existing roadways in large cities into a network of small underground tunnels. Once there, the automatic cars would be moved along by what’s called a “platoon system,” which basically means they travel in groups that are controlled using artificial intelligence. This means the cars can travel closer quarters since the distance required for a human reaction isn’t needed. Thus, the tunnels can accommodate a higher capacity. With that in mind, PLP claims such a tube system would double a city’s transport capacity for about the same investment as your average public transit system – while also cutting down travel time by as much as 75 percent. According to The Architects’ Journal, PLP director of research, Lars Hesselgren said the CarTube concept is a “direct response” to mass transit and traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities. “CarTube has the potential to be the next best thing to teleportation,’ he said. ‘It will revolutionize existing cities and allow for unprecedented urban forms.” Related: PLP Architecture unveils the design for London’s first timber tower The system already has at least one critic, Francesca Perry of the Guardian, who, according to Tree Hugger , says such a system is expensive, and would have a hard time finding a home amongst the sewers pipes, building foundations and other underground infrastructure. She also notes that such a system is a massive technical challenge, and questions whether a not a system based on car-based city transport is the way to go. Via TreeHugger and Architects’ Journal Image and video via PLP Architecture Vimeo

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These crazy CarTubes could move city traffic underground

Plans for a new underground hotel have been approved in London

December 1, 2016 by  
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London tourists may soon get a chance to spend sleep underground at the upcoming subterranean LDN Hotel, the first of its kind in the city. Ian Chalk Architects is working on the sustainable hotel , which will reportedly feature a plethora of plants , and air that’s cleaner than outside. The underground hotel, slated for construction in London’s West End under St Giles Hotel, will house up to 166 guests at affordable prices. The LDN Hotel would sprawl across what is currently an underground parking lot on the fourth and fifth floors below ground. The LDN Hotel design will be similar to Japanese pod hotels, according to Design Curial, except with a toilet and shower in the room. Related: Incredible eco-friendly mansion is hidden entirely underground While critics raised concern about air quality in an underground hotel, the hotel design features a mechanical ventilation system for air purification that is said to ensure the air will be even fresher than outdoors. Sustainability was also said to be an important consideration, though it is yet unclear what features would make it so, apart from comprising a better use of space than the disused parking lot. Wood paneling, flourishing plants that improve air quality, and bright rooms are among the planned hotel’s interior features. While some may balk at the idea of staying in a room without a window, the hotel will be near to tourist attractions, according to planning inspector David Prentis, and offer unique budget accommodations. The initial proposal for the underground hotel was rejected, but planning officers have since granted permission for its construction. Via Design Curial and Evening Standard Images via Ian Chalk Architects

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Plans for a new underground hotel have been approved in London

Germany’s Merkel latest world leader to reach out to Trump on climate change

December 1, 2016 by  
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The US election of the only world leader to deny climate change  sent shock waves throughout the international community that only days earlier was celebrating the Paris climate agreement entering into force. With the reality of President Donald J. Trump starting to set in, world leaders concerned about climate change are weighing in. German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserted on Wednesday that she will attempt to work with Trump on climate change, saying that they spoke by phone after the November 8 election and agreed “that we’ll try to cooperate.” Merkel told members of her Christian Democratic Union in the western German city of Muenster that she would bring up man-made global warming with Trump. “Of course I’ll say that I believe that climate change is certainly caused by humans –- and we’ll want to see if the position there develops,” said Merkel. “One always has to try to find compromise through mutual respect and a clear position. That’s politics — always to find compromise.” Related: Majority of Americans support Paris climate deal as Trump reconsiders pulling out With the US ceding its leadership role on climate post-Obama, Germany is expected to play a stronger role on environmental action . At the recent global climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco, the world’s fourth-largest economy announced plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The country intends to go 100 percent renewable energy and completely phase out coal power — joining the UK, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland in committing to end coal production. Trump has promised to bring back coal in the US. Pope Francis on Monday, speaking indirectly to Trump, warned world leaders not to abandon the Paris climate agreement. Trump has threatened to exit the Paris pact, although he recently told New York Times reporters that he would keep an “open mind” about pulling out of the climate accord. Addressing the Vatican’s academy of sciences, the pope said that “never before has there been such a clear need for science to be at the service of a new global ecological equilibrium.” Via Reuters Lead image via Wikimedia , other image via Wikimedia

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Former subterranean crypt in France transformed into a soothing spa

November 23, 2016 by  
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Italian designer Alberto Apostoli was eager to take on the challenge of converting the basement space into a stylish spa setting. The upper level, where one can receive hair, hand, and face spa treatments, is conventional but chic. Once you descend the staircase to the lower level, you are greeted by a soft, soothing atmosphere, thanks to indirect LED strip lighting. All unsightly elements needed to run the facility are strategically hidden away behind a curtain. Related: 8 abandoned buildings transformed into absolute dream spaces The underground spa’s 270 square meters fit a Finnish sauna , steam bath made almost entirely out of glass, and a space for a hydro massage. Two single rooms and a double room downstairs each feature custom Italian furniture. Throughout the rooms, a black and white color palette is used to accompany the natural stone walls, with a few splashes of gold. “What is especially satisfying in the result is the mix of pre-existing stone and contemporary materials, managed through a thoughtful creative process,” said Apostoli. “The owners trusted us entirely in our thinking and this led to a major achievement from the point of view of consistency in both style and technology.” The spa is near Saint Pierre’s Church and is thought to have served as a crypt hundreds of years ago. With the current transformation, one would never know. + Alberto Apostoli + Atrium Spa & Beauté Images via Alberto Apostoli

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Former subterranean crypt in France transformed into a soothing spa

Global warming is uncovering toxic pollutants from an abandoned Arctic military base

August 8, 2016 by  
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A decommissioned U.S. military base encased in the Greenland Ice Sheet since the 1960s is slowly being unearthed by Earth’s rising temperatures, along with the toxic waste stored inside. Snowfall is not able to keep up with melting ice on top of the Cold War-era base, which could mean the underground pollutants could enter marine ecosystems by the end of the century. Camp Century was built in 1959 to study construction methods in harsh, wintry conditions, but also with the intent of being a within-reach nuclear launch site against the Soviet Union. Even though the latter never panned out, the “city under the ice” was still powered by a nuclear reactor and currently houses thousands of liters of toxic waste. Related: Greenland’s ice is melting faster than previously thought A study published in Geophysical Research Letters determined that the snowfall covering the area may not be able to keep up with the rate of melting ice . By 2090 the rates could reverse, meaning, “it’s only a matter of time before the wastes melt out; it becomes irreversible,” stated study author and climate scientist at Toronto’s York University William Colgan. Even though the nuclear reaction chamber was removed when Camp Century was decommissioned in 1967, an estimated 53,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 63,400 gallons of waste water (including radioactive coolant), and an infrastructure containing toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) remains. Unfortunately, a clean-up initiative would be too costly to undergo until a significant amount of the ice melts. This gives the U.S. and Greenland time to figure out who is responsible for the job. Via New Atlas Images via  Flickr , Wikimedia

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Global warming is uncovering toxic pollutants from an abandoned Arctic military base

Petey Ulatans cubic landscapes reimagine the world full of sharp angles

August 8, 2016 by  
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Ulatan’s artistic interpretation of the world as a cube is not the same treatment as taking other round objects and making them cubic, such as the cube-shaped watermelons grown in Japan. Rather, his vision reflects something closer to science fiction, where Earth’s corners face inward to create exceptionally geometric valleys that defy gravity. Ulatan, who unveiled his cubist world in a series of curious images on Instagram , bends a number of familiar scenes at 90-degree angles, making for some very interesting—and head turning—possibilities. Related: Artist uses spider webs to create spellbinding cubes of eerie art The squared-off world of Ulatan’s creations takes everything we know about the Earth’s physical attributes and turns them, well, sideways. A sailboat can now not only glide along the water’s surface, but can also take a 90-degree turn up or down. Smoke flowing up from a factory’s stacks might spew from two different planes, intersecting at a sharp angle. A relaxing day by the lake may require folks to crane their neck in order to get a view across the water, as the vantage point reaches straight down from a drop-off. Ulatan’s cubic world doesn’t need to explain its bizarre physics or impossible gravity . It doesn’t require an explanation of how its shape came to be. Rather, his series of manipulated images serves a more esoteric purpose, which is to inspire people to look at the world in a different way. + Petey Ulatan’s website + Petey Ulatan on Instagram Via Architectural Digest Images via Petey Ulatan

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Petey Ulatans cubic landscapes reimagine the world full of sharp angles

Giants of Japanese architecture design prototypes for houses of the future

August 8, 2016 by  
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Shigeru Ban ‘s Open House with Condensed Core proposes that plumbing water and waste could be funneled through the ceiling instead of floors to provide more organizational flexibility. Floor-to-ceiling windows open outwards at a right angle as a space-saving solution. Sou Fujimoto conceived a housing model named Rental Space Tower, which provides shared living spaces. The “pixelated” structure was built in collaboration with real estate company Daito Trust Construction. Related: Amazing Green-Walled Japanese Bathroom Answers Nature’s Call Atelier Bow Wow teamed up with Japanese design brand Muji to build Tanada Terrace Office. The building is a prototype for paddy field housing and references traditional structural solutions such as stilted timber construction. This solution would function as a workspace for digital nomads. Another model addressing the trend of nomadic living is the temporary Nomad House, designed by Suppose Design Office founders Makoto Tanijiri and Ai Yoshida. Kengo Kuma designed the venue and came up with a series of solar-powered tents named Grand Third Living Room. Latticed timber walkways connect all the exhibits, including the Checkerboard Water Garden designed by Kuma himself. One of the houses- Go Hasegawa ‘s Yoshino-Sugi Cedar House-will be transported to the town of Yoshino after the exhibition closes and listed on Airbnb. Inside-Out/Furniture-Room, designed by architect Jun Igarashi and furniture designer Taiji Fujimori for toilet manufacturer Toto and window company YKK AP, has built-in furniture placed in volumes that radially branch out from a central core. Visitors of the One Family Under a Wireless Roof can use VR headsets to experience how families living apart communicate and stay in touch, while Hiragana-no Spiral House, designed by Yuko Nagayama for Panasonic, features a spiraling screen for watching films. Several other projects address different aspects of modern living and housing trends, often using the latest technology to educate visitors and allow them to experience space. + House Vision 2 Via Dezeen

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Giants of Japanese architecture design prototypes for houses of the future

A giant reservoir of water has been discovered under drought-stricken California

July 1, 2016 by  
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Stanford University researchers have just found a potential new source of water deep underneath California’s Central Valley . While the thought of accessing 713 trillion gallons of fresh, untapped water might be tempting, the reality isn’t that simple and probably won’t save the state from either itself or the effects of climate change . A paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirmed that the underground reservoir in question contains almost three times as much water as previous estimates . New light was shed on just how much is down there, thanks to technology that allowed researchers to dig deeper. The underground water reservoir lies between 1,000 and 3,000 feet underground. Related: Trump denies California drought Before anyone gets too excited, the water may not be entirely usable – even if it can be accessed. The same Stanford researchers found that 30 percent of the water has a chance of being contaminated by nearby oil and natural gas drilling sites. Digging that deeply could also cause the ground to sink, which is already happening in the surrounding area. Rob Jackson, lead author of the study, told Gizmodo , “We need to be careful about using [the water]. California’s groundwater pumping has been in overdraft for years, especially during the drought . Finding more water than expected doesn’t mean we should waste it.” The temptation is strong in a land where 63 trillion gallons of water were lost in just the last 18 months. However, finding more H2O to replace what we’ve used is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. Combatting the effects of climate change and significantly changing the way humans use water resources should come first. Via  Gizmodo Images via  Wikimedia , Flickr

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A giant reservoir of water has been discovered under drought-stricken California

Lava Mae’s big blue bus brings mobile showers to San Francisco’s homeless population

July 1, 2016 by  
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®LavaMae.org Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval, who has a background in marketing, community relations, and the arts, was eager to do something about the homelessness she saw every day in San Francisco. She began to research shower resources for them in the city and discovered there were only slightly more than a dozen available for an estimate homeless population of over 7,000 people. Her research led her to re-imagine the mobile food truck craze and explore the possibility of creating a mobile hygiene station. Going mobile would also help circumvent rapidly rising rents in San Francisco, as well as provide a way to reach homeless people all across the city. ®LavaMae.org RELATED: Sheltersuit is a transforming suit that that becomes a sleeping bag to provide shelter for the homeless With the help of architect Brett  Terpeluk , the Lava Mae team successfully reached out to San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency to arrange the donation of a de-commissioned city MUNI bus and launched their crowdfunding campaign. A MUNI bus was not only an iconic local symbol, but also allowed the team to use a locally available resource and give a decommissioned bus a new life. The bus was retrofitted inside and out to hold the shower and toilet facilities in partnership with AIRCO of Sacramento. The Lava Mae project has harnessed the power of cooperation to successfully launch and operate the project. On a day-to-day basis, the project is supported by essential partnership from local nonprofits, who schedule and sign up clients for the showers, from the City of San Francisco, which assists with water hook-up and disposal, and from private companies, who donate toiletries and linens. Lava Mae sets up a regular weekly schedule with stops at drop-in centers, health clinics, and public libraries, where potential users can add their name to a sign-up list. ®LavaMae.org Sandoval calls the service Lava Mae provides “radical hospitality”, and users of the bus showers are referred to as “guests”. It’s all part of the concept that helping people access shower facilities and get clean provides an element of basic human dignity . ®LavaMae.org Since their initial launch, Lava Mae has secured funding from a variety of nonprofits and private donors, including a grant from the Google Impact Challenge. The project has generated interest from communities around the globe that have been inspired to start dreaming up similar solutions. Lava Mae is currently exploring ways to share their experience and provide guidance to other communities who would like to start a similar model. You can donate toiletries for use on Lava Mae’s buses, and you can follow their progress on their blog . + Lava Mae

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Lava Mae’s big blue bus brings mobile showers to San Francisco’s homeless population

Climate scientists: Jet stream crossing equator not unprecedented

July 1, 2016 by  
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A story picked up by Inhabitat and other media outlets that the Northern Hemisphere jet stream crossing the equator and mixing with the Southern Hemisphere jet stream is “unprecedented” and signifies a “global climate emergency,” in the words of  Paul Beckwith, a geography professor at the University of Ottawa, has received some pushback. Interviewed by The Washington Post , Jennifer Francis, a professor of meteorology at Rutgers University who specializes in the relationship between global warming and jet stream patterns, said that “cross-equator flow cannot be unprecedented, maybe not even all that unusual.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nzwJg4Ebzo Beckwith was alerted to the development from a blog post by environmental writer Robert Scribbler, who updated his article following the Washington Post column. Scribbler’s statement said that his post had since been vetted to remove inaccuracies and that he wanted to make it clear that “we are not saying here with all certainty that a global climate emergency due to loss of seasonality is currently upon us. More that the situation appears to be worsening and that this particular global climate emergency may be something that we will have to deal with over the coming years and decades.” Related: Yes, the Polar Vortex May Be a Result of Global Warming It should be noted that Beckwith modified the word “unprecedented” in his blog post and YouTube video titles by adding a question mark. On early Friday morning, Beckwith wrote his first response to The Washington Post piece in the comments section of his YouTube video page, saying that “in good time I will mercilessly tear this article apart limb by limb.” So while there appears to be nothing unusual about air flow between the hemispheres, Francis has found evidence linking Arctic warming to jet stream movement. In a study published last year in the science journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society  and titled “Evidence Linking Rapid Arctic Warming to Mid-latitude Weather Patterns,” Francis and her colleague Natasa Skific concluded that wavy jet stream patterns are becoming more frequent, leading to extreme weather events. “As emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated,” the paper said, “the continued amplification of Arctic warming should favor an increased occurrence of extreme events caused by prolonged weather conditions.” Via Washington Post  Lead image via YouTube

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