A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

Paper, plastic or neither? Inside the collaboration to reinvent the shopping bag

September 2, 2020 by  
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Paper, plastic or neither? Inside the collaboration to reinvent the shopping bag Tali Zuckerman Wed, 09/02/2020 – 01:45 Replacing the single-use shopping bag may be one of the most complex sustainability challenges of our time. At GreenBiz’s Circularity 20 virtual conference last week, sustainability leaders from Target, Walmart and CVS came together to discuss how they are planning to do just that, and why working together despite being competitors is critical to achieving success. Their initiative, which launched last month , is called “Beyond the Bag” — a $15 million, three-year commitment to developing, testing and implementing an innovative replacement for single-use retail bags. The project, led in collaboration with managing firm Closed Loop Partners and a few other nonprofit and private members, aims to redesign the way customers get goods from store to home. “It’s great to think of a slightly better bag, but the real excitement is when you are open to a transformative idea and a way that hasn’t been thought of,” said Amanda Nusz, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Target, during the Circularity 20 session. The consortium’s goal is to develop a range of solutions to fit consumer needs, including innovations in materials, delivery options and recovery after use. Having different perspectives, different people with different backgrounds … that’s where you get true innovation. But driving such immense, industry-wide change is no easy task. No company is equipped to do it alone. The panelists stressed that the transformation will require a new approach founded in precompetitive collaboration, one that brings diverse voices to the project, signals new needs to suppliers and spreads the core message to consumers. For that reason, the project plans to involve a broad range of consumers, innovators and stakeholders in the development process. “Having different perspectives, different people with different backgrounds … that’s where you get true innovation,” said Jane Ewing, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart. The panelists noted that any alternatives the consortium creates will need to match the functionality and convenience of current options on the market as well as minimize any unintended consequences along the way. By collectively standing against single-use bags, each company hopes to establish a new normal in retail. “Our collective approach sends an important, unified message of commitment,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy at CVS. “[It] sends a signal to suppliers and innovators of how closely together we are standing to make sure that we see some change.” Any solution will require work in areas of consumer awareness and education, the panelists said. “There is a lot of education that has to happen,” Boone said. “Part of the benefit of this collaborative is that there will be more voices pushing out the same conversation.” Moderating the session, Kate Daly, managing director of Closed Loop Partners, highlighted the unique position of the retail giants to create “ripple effects” for smaller businesses in the retail industry. Addressing the speakers, she noted: “You’re opening up the market for these innovations, you are doing the heavy lift of testing them and de-risking them, and that makes that available to the ecosystem.” For retailers that want to join this initiative or take on a similar one themselves, the panelists offered several key pieces of advice. Primarily, they stressed that companies must clearly identify what problem they are trying to solve, seek allies that have a shared vision and engage a broad set of stakeholders to drive innovation. Daly also encouraged anyone with ideas or innovations for Beyond the Bag to reach out to her directly. Amidst their hopeful tone, the panelists underscored that the road to plastic-free shopping will be long and complex. “These issues aren’t one-time, short-term solutions,” Boone put simply. “They are going to take a lot of time to course correct.” How much time? We will have to wait and see. Based on the conversation, the more that customers and companies collaborate to drive innovation and push for change, the better the chance for collective success. “Now, coming together with others and bringing more people to the table,” Boone said, “the art of possible has grown very, very large.” Pull Quote Having different perspectives, different people with different backgrounds … that’s where you get true innovation. Topics Circular Economy Circularity 20 Plastic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Erik Mclean/Unsplash Close Authorship

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Paper, plastic or neither? Inside the collaboration to reinvent the shopping bag

Cariuma welcomes a new Pantone collection of natural, vegan shoes

August 20, 2020 by  
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Brazilian sustainable sneaker company Cariuma has released its newest collection of completely vegan and natural footwear . All styles in the fall Pantone collection are made of organic cotton canvas and raw natural rubber gathered through ethical tapping. Released on August 12, the new vegan shoes come after a similar Color of the Year collaboration that sold out on pre-order after just one week and gained a waitlist of 5,000 hopeful customers. The collection is inspired by the unique color palettes found in nature from different regions around the world. The Picante color comes from Arizona’s red rocks and desert, while the Bungee Cord green is inspired by free climbers on El Capitan in California. Blueprint blue recalls the last spot on the horizon where the sky blends into the sea, and Snow White is inspired by the snowy white mountain caps on Everest. The black shoes, dubbed Moonless Night, resemble the dark days of Alaskan winter. These naturally occurring tones are chosen for versatility so that each color is easy to match with your style, even as the seasons change. Related: Vegan shoes from Insecta are a stylish option for eco-friendly footwear Cariuma is on a mission to take a stand against fast fashion as well as other wasteful and unsustainable practices in the fashion industry. The brand’s IBI collection, for example, was the first sneaker made from bamboo and RPET, making it 30% to 40% lighter than common sneakers. Perhaps even better, every purchase of a pair of vegan shoes from Cariuma will go toward planting two trees in the Brazilian rainforest, directly aiding in reforestation and preservation of endangered species and natural habitats. These reforestation efforts will focus on native Brazilian species such as the Jacaranda, Pau-brasil-branco, Peroba, Caroba and the Murici-da-mata. Prices in the new Pantone collection range from $89 to $98, depending on style. + Cariuma Images via Cariuma

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Cariuma welcomes a new Pantone collection of natural, vegan shoes

Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

August 18, 2020 by  
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A vertical “secret garden”, green-roofed terraces and mountain-shaped massing define B+H Architects’ winning entry for the new Children’s Hospital and Science & Education Building in Shenzhen. Designed in collaboration with East China Architectural Design & Research Institute (ECADI), the proposed facility celebrates the local landscape by integrating lush plantings around and inside the urban campus. The hospital’s nature-filled interiors, ground-floor “urban living room” and vibrant color palette also aims to inspire awe and wonder in both the building occupants and the surrounding community. Selected as the unanimous first place winner in an international design competition held by the Shenzhen municipal government, the proposal takes inspiration from the mountains in the distance for its terraced massing with upper floors stepped back to form sky gardens. The new facility will be located to the west of the existing Shenzhen Children’s Hospital, which has been a landmark in the city’s Futian area since it was founded in 1998. Coined as a “once-in-a-lifetime” healthcare facility, the new campus will not only provide top-quality care for children but will also house facilities for advanced research and learning in pediatric medicine. Related: Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden “Children live very much in the present and can experience each moment very intensely — sights, sounds, scale, touch, colors and patterns hold delights and surprises that we as adults often overlook,” said Stephanie Costelloe, principal and director of Healthcare, Asia for B+H Architects. “We wanted to instill a sense of wonder in every corner which would celebrate their unique and joyful view of the world — whilst also encouraging adults to interact with the environment in a similarly social, playful and collaborative way.” The extensive use of greenery ties the hospital interiors to the adjacent Lianhuashan Park and is part of the architects’ vision to create a “unique micro-landscape” that helps building occupants engage with the surrounding landscape while providing therapeutic benefits. + B+H Architects Images via B+H Architects

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Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

Carbon accountability: keeping emissions low as the U.S. reopens

July 24, 2020 by  
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As global carbon emissions continue to decrease due to COVID-19, history shows that this drop may not be sustainable. The Great Depression saw a carbon emissions drop of 26% as industrial production in the United States reduced exponentially, but in the years that followed, carbon dioxide spiked to higher levels than before as production raced to catch up. Since March 2020, emissions have again dropped to record lows as cars have stayed off the roads, flights have been cancelled and factory production has reduced or ceased due to the novel coronavirus . Time reported that global carbon emissions are projected to be 7% less in 2020 than in 2019, a level not seen in at least a decade. We’ve proven that we have the power to reduce emissions substantially, but if history has taught us anything, it is that making these changes last will be a much larger environmental obstacle. Related: Coronavirus and its impact on carbon emissions Inhabitat spoke with Ford Seeman, founder and president of nonprofit Forest Founders , to get some insight on carbon accountability and the steps we need to take to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself this time. Inhabitat: Can you help define “carbon accountability”? Ford Seeman: Carbon accountability is the concept of taking ownership for our unique carbon footprints . This includes trying to be mindful of the energy and resources we use, how they are sourced and measures to counteract their impact. [Forest Founders] offers subscription services to help offset what carbon emissions can’t be avoided. Inhabitat: What do you think the environmental and climate improvements we’ve experienced since COVID-19 say about our world? Seeman: We have seen improvements in places where we have been forced to change our behavior, like in the canals of Venice and the air above LA , but we still see disturbing trends such as carbon pollution increasing overall. Industry is the No. 1 contributor to our global carbon crisis and many of the worst industrial polluters didn’t slow down at all during COVID-19. We have still had industrial disasters, like Nornickel’s spill in the Russian permafrost and the continued flaring and leakage of natural gas across the world at almost every well pump and refining site. Even though there were points during quarantine where a huge number of the Earth’s population was locked down, we still only saw an average of 8% decline in carbon emissions. With the entirety of the U.S. on lockdown, we would have expected that number to have been greater considering our outsized carbon footprint compared to the rest of the world, but we didn’t. Andrew Yang stated in his town hall on climate change that the solution has to be at the government level. I am becoming more inclined to agree, even though it disturbs me. There is one caveat, we control who is in charge in the government. We need to demand our politicians stop taking oil money, stop these backwards oil subsidies and stand with us, with the planet’s best interests coming first. Inhabitat: How can we continue reducing carbon emissions, air pollution, etc. as we begin reopening? Seeman: We need to connect our stimulus programs to environmental reform. We need to overhaul how we produce energy and what we consider renewable . We can’t cut down old growth forests to use as fuel and consider it sustainable. Oil subsidies are a backwards tradition that impede our environmental progress. Our economy is supposed to reward the best solutions. Oil subsidies don’t allow this to happen in the energy sector. By making fossil fuel projects more profitable through subsidies, we are standing in the way of progress. Firms like Blackrock divesting from fossil fuels is an indicator that our system is broken. These firms are about making money. If they divested 10 years ago when renewables were more expensive than fossil fuels, it would have been admirable. With renewable energy being at par with fossil fuel energy production, we are just allowing economics to help progress us to a healthier energy production landscape. Subsidizing oil and gas endangers this momentum. Inhabitat: What do you think will be the biggest challenges for carbon accountability as the economy opens? Seeman: Fossil fuel subsidies and the challenges they bring create enormous challenges. We are digging up Earth’s natural carbon sinks and disturbing the natural balance. We are creating dangerous feedback loops that will soon be, if they are not already, out of our control. Inhabitat: What are some of the most important long-term solutions to climate change in your opinion? Seeman: We need to create massive R&D subsidies to create the next generation of renewable and clean technological advancements. We need to work on efficiency ratings as well as our power sources. We need to create renewable energy generators that are more effective using less harmful and evasive resources. Inhabitat: Lastly, can you tell us about your nonprofit , Forest Founders? Seeman: The core values of Forest Founders are innovation, education and empowerment. We want to create unique solutions to allow people to become carbon accountable while teaching them the importance of what the term means. We empower our members through education to help make informed decisions and impart the importance of taking a stand. This could be on a community level or country-wide level. We provide the resources that can help our members feel like they can make an important difference in this overwhelming problem. + Forest Founders Images via Patrick Hendry , David Vig and Jon Tyson

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Carbon accountability: keeping emissions low as the U.S. reopens

Safari Condo’s Alto travel trailer can be pulled by electric cars

July 24, 2020 by  
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Travel in a recreational vehicle is not necessarily an Earth-friendly activity. Big rigs hauling big toys expel large quantities of emissions and guzzle gas at an inefficient average of 4 to 8 miles per gallon. So a Canadian travel trailer manufacturer, Safari Condo, decided to focus on a streamlined design that will allow those who want to go off the beaten path to leave behind a smaller footprint.  The Alto series by Safari Condo is an assortment of lightweight and aerodynamic trailers that reduce drag while towing. Not only does that improve towing efficiency and require less gas, but the ultralight design means they can be pulled with smaller, less polluting vehicles. Hook an Alto series trailer up to a small SUV, Jeep, Subaru or even an electric car , like the Tesla Model X, which was used to test out the towability of this model.  Related: These ultra-cool, vintage-style travel trailers can go off the grid for a week “The newest Safari Condo seems perfect for anyone who wants to bring the comfort of home to the outside world while spewing fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in the process,” the company said. “The wedge-shaped trailer uses 15% less energy while being towed than the company’s earlier models, in spite of being roughly 900 pounds heavier than the latter trailer.” The lighter weight is achieved by both material selection and clever design. The frame is made up of aluminum to offer support without the bulky weight. A honeycomb building structure adds additional strength. Inside, the furniture also consists largely of aluminium and composite materials with rigid and ultralight sandwich panels integrated into the bed cushions and bed structures made of aluminium extrusions. The materials are not only lightweight but, for the most part, are also recyclable. Each travel trailer model varies slightly, with one offering a retractable roof that raises and lowers in order to fit inside the garage. All models sleep three to four people and come complete with a dining area, kitchen, shower, toilet, wardrobe and plenty of storage to ensure your more environmentally friendly adventures don’t require you to sacrifice comfort. + Safari Condo Via Yanko Design Images via Safari Condo

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Safari Condo’s Alto travel trailer can be pulled by electric cars

Work from home in this minimalist, modular 15-sided cabin

July 6, 2020 by  
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As the newest member of the Hello Wood cabin family, the Workstation Cabin offers the perfect tranquil retreat designed specifically to inspire creativity. Described as “the future of meeting rooms,” this unique workspace has a modern interior made of Scots pine wood and complemented by large windows. Prefabricated using state-of-the-art technology, this  modular  cabin was designed on the computer and built using a computer numerical control machine. With 15 sides, the structure looks different from every angle. Insulation  protects the compact structure’s occupants from harsh weather and helps the cabin adapt to the changing seasons. The home also features designated spaces for built-in air conditioning, electrical outlets and wifi capabilities. While the unique cabin primarily functions as an  office space , it can also transform into a meeting area, children’s playroom or even a guest room. Related: Hello Wood unveils a tiny cabin that sleeps up to 8 people While each  minimalist  cabin is delivered turn-key and includes a built-in workbench and electrical outlet, Hello Wood also offers several customizable add-ons and services. Usual features include heating and air conditioning, but customers can also choose to incorporate mood lighting, a sound system or television inside. Outside the cabin, customers can even add landscaping and a terrace. The gross floor area measures about 107 square feet with an interior area of about 86 square feet, and the total height, including legs, measures in at just under 12 feet.  Thanks to the modular  prefab  design, installation only takes a few days. Potential owners need only have about 14.2 x 11.1 x 11.8 feet of space. Even better, any module can be easily replaced if necessary, meaning if one portion gets damaged, repairs can take place without demolition work affecting the rest of the structure. The cabin achieves its low environmental footprint through its small size and low energy consumption, as well as its use of renewable materials. + Hello Wood Photography by Zsuzsa Darab

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Work from home in this minimalist, modular 15-sided cabin

This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo

June 30, 2020 by  
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Adventurous glamping meets the soft sounds of the Indonesian rainforest at Hideout Horizon in East Karangasem, Bali. This entire home is made out of bamboo and completely open, with ladders and ramps connecting floors and bedrooms. A custom, overhanging grass roof helps shelter occupants from the elements. Designed by Studio WNA for Hideout Bali, the property measures over 860 square feet in size. The open design helps guests get up-close-and-personal with the unique natural environment of Bali, with added creature comforts such as options for meal service, a fully functional kitchen and multi-layered mosquito nets. Related: Treehouse hotel in Bali offers maximum views with a minimal footprint Start on the ground floor, where the kitchen opens to a comfortable living area with a hanging hammock. You’ll also find an exposed bathroom with an artfully designed outdoor shower and a sink made of bamboo and stone. Just outside the kitchen, access a serene indoor-outdoor plunge pool surrounded by tropical greenery. The second floor contains a bamboo ramp that leads to the master bedroom and a 240-centimeter-wide round bed. The third floor is dedicated to a small loft area with two single beds in the highest point of the house. Potential renters will want to keep in mind that there are no doors on the property, and the company reminds guests that privacy is hard to come by in the open-air setting (time to get comfortable with your traveling companions!). Climb up via the bamboo shelves or through the master bedroom to access an overhanging net, which elevates guests above the pool and provides treehouse-like views of the property. From here, the active volcano of Mount Agung, the highest point in Bali, is visible in the distance. Because of the natural ventilation achieved by the open layout and the surrounding environment, Hideout Horizon has no need for air conditioning or fans. The bamboo used in construction also helps stabilize the temperature. Hideout Horizon is available to rent on Airbnb through Hideout Bali . + Studio WNA Images via The Freedom Complex via Hideout Bali

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This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo

This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo

June 30, 2020 by  
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Adventurous glamping meets the soft sounds of the Indonesian rainforest at Hideout Horizon in East Karangasem, Bali. This entire home is made out of bamboo and completely open, with ladders and ramps connecting floors and bedrooms. A custom, overhanging grass roof helps shelter occupants from the elements. Designed by Studio WNA for Hideout Bali, the property measures over 860 square feet in size. The open design helps guests get up-close-and-personal with the unique natural environment of Bali, with added creature comforts such as options for meal service, a fully functional kitchen and multi-layered mosquito nets. Related: Treehouse hotel in Bali offers maximum views with a minimal footprint Start on the ground floor, where the kitchen opens to a comfortable living area with a hanging hammock. You’ll also find an exposed bathroom with an artfully designed outdoor shower and a sink made of bamboo and stone. Just outside the kitchen, access a serene indoor-outdoor plunge pool surrounded by tropical greenery. The second floor contains a bamboo ramp that leads to the master bedroom and a 240-centimeter-wide round bed. The third floor is dedicated to a small loft area with two single beds in the highest point of the house. Potential renters will want to keep in mind that there are no doors on the property, and the company reminds guests that privacy is hard to come by in the open-air setting (time to get comfortable with your traveling companions!). Climb up via the bamboo shelves or through the master bedroom to access an overhanging net, which elevates guests above the pool and provides treehouse-like views of the property. From here, the active volcano of Mount Agung, the highest point in Bali, is visible in the distance. Because of the natural ventilation achieved by the open layout and the surrounding environment, Hideout Horizon has no need for air conditioning or fans. The bamboo used in construction also helps stabilize the temperature. Hideout Horizon is available to rent on Airbnb through Hideout Bali . + Studio WNA Images via The Freedom Complex via Hideout Bali

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This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo

Explore eerie wonders at the Museum of Underwater Art

June 16, 2020 by  
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Four years after its initial conception, Australia’s  Museum of Underwater Art  has finally opened to the public, becoming the first-ever underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere. Located off the coast of Townsville North Queensland in the central part of the Great Barrier Reef , the unique museum aims to strengthen the region’s position as a leader in reef conservation, restoration and education. World-famous underwater sculptor and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor conceptualized the first two installations — the Ocean Siren and Coral Greenhouse. As the inaugural sculpture of the Museum of Underwater Art, the Ocean Siren was conceived as an above-water beacon for raising awareness about  ocean conservation . The inspiration for the statue, as reported by CNBC, is 12-year-old Takoda Johnson, a “member of the local Wulgurukaba people, one of two traditional owners of the local land.” The sculpture reacts to live water temperature data from the Davies Reef weather station on the Great Barrier Reef by changing color depending on temperature variations.  Underwater and approximately 80 kilometers from shore, the John Brewer Reef “Coral Greenhouse” welcomes divers to the heart of the Greater Barrier Reef Marine Park with messages of reef conservation and restoration. The installation is the largest MOUA exhibit, weighing over 58 tons and filled with and surrounded by 20 “reef guardian” sculptures. All construction is made from stainless steel and pH-neutral materials to encourage  coral  growth. Related: This stunning underwater art museum is now open in the Maldives “MOUA offers a contemporary platform to share the stories of the reef, and the culture of its  First Nations  people, as well as spark a meaningful conversation and solution to reef conservation,” reads an MOUA press release emphasizing the museum’s many educational opportunities. The Ocean Siren and the Coral Greenhouse were completed as part of MOUA’s first phase; future installations include Palm Island and Magnetic Island. MOUA is estimated to generate over $42.1 million in annual economic output and create 182 jobs through the local tourism and conservation sectors. + Museum of Underwater Art Images via Jason deCaires Taylor

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Explore eerie wonders at the Museum of Underwater Art

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