Tiny homes made of concrete pipes could be the next big thing in micro housing

January 10, 2018 by  
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The micro-housing trend has really taken off over the last decade, and a new age of tiny urban homes is now upon us. Created by James Law Cybertecture , the Opod Tube House is made from a repurposed concrete pipe and designed as an affordable home for young people who struggle with housing costs in the world’s major cities. Unveiled recently in Hong Kong, the tiny tube houses are created out of repurposed concrete water pipes that measure a little over eight feet in diameter. The tubes are designed to accommodate one or two people and come with approximately 1000 square feet of living space. The interiors are equipped with the standard amenities, including a living room with a bench that converts into a bed, a mini-fridge, a bathroom, a shower and plenty of storage space for clothes and personal items. Related: Totally Tubular TubeHotel In Mexico Offers Up Accommodations In Recycled Concrete Pipes According to the architect behind the design, James Law, the inspiration behind the tiny tube homes is practical, both for young people looking for homes as well as city governments trying to provide affordable options. Although the structures are far from being lightweight at 22 tons apiece, they require little in terms of installation and can be easily secured to one another, which reduces installation costs. The tubes are easily stacked and can be installed in any small unused spaces commonly found in cities. The architect envisions entire tube communities installed in alleyways, under bridges, etc. Law explained in an interview with Curbed , that the concept is feasible for any urban environment , “Sometimes there’s some land left over between buildings which are rather narrow so it’s not easy to build a new building. We could put some OPods in there and utilize that land.” + Opod Tube Housing + James Law Cybertecture Via Apartment Therapy Images via Opod Tube Housing Facebook

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Tiny homes made of concrete pipes could be the next big thing in micro housing

Someone stole a chunk of China’s new solar roadway

January 10, 2018 by  
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When detractors were howling about solar roadways’ flaws , concerns about theft wasn’t among them. Apparently it should have been, because a few days ago, thieves cut out and ran away with a chunk of China’s recently unveiled solar highway — a move nobody predicted. Thieves cut out a nearly 6″ by 73″ portion of the solar roadway on January 2, just days after it was debuted on December 28. Officials aren’t sure why someone would steal a small section of road, because while the roadway itself was a costly endeavor, the solar panels aren’t worth that much money. Related: Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017 One idea is that the thieves wanted to understand how the technology worked, so rather than ask an engineer, they took a slice of road. Since the theft took place, the roadway has been repaired. Via Engadget Images via QTDG

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Someone stole a chunk of China’s new solar roadway

Architects squeeze an ethereal art gallery into a narrow Shanghai alleyway

January 3, 2018 by  
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Chinese studio Wutopia Lab converted a dim, dark alleyway between two buildings into a beautiful, light-filled gallery in Shanghai. Located in a terraced courtyard sheltered from the city’s chaotic streets, One Person’s Gallery is a compact space topped with a pitched roof and furnished with repurposed items found during the site cleanup. The original site of the gallery was an old storage area that had been filled with junk over the years. As the cleanup process began, YU Ting from Wutopia Lab was inspired by the raw quality of the space. He decided to use the existing arch as a motif for the gallery space, creating an open, almost chapel-like atmosphere . Related: Renzo Piano embeds modern art gallery with ‘winged’ roof into French vineyard As the space was being cleaned out, the architect was also inspired to put the “junk” to good use as well. The project turned into a kind of archaeological dig, with almost everything in decent condition put aside for use in the gallery. Old furniture that had been abandoned for years was given new life as furnishings or decorations in the library and courtyard. Some of the old doors were repurposed , while others were used in the ceiling. The finished gallery is a beautiful, open space that offers a retreat from the chaotic hustle and bustle of city life. According to the architect, the gallery will be open to artists who want to showcase any works focusing on urban design and architecture. + Wutopia Lab Images via Wutopia Lab

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Architects squeeze an ethereal art gallery into a narrow Shanghai alleyway

Iceland makes it illegal to pay women less than men in world first

January 3, 2018 by  
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Iceland has been making headlines lately – first by electing a 41-year-old environmentalist as prime minister , and now by becoming the world’s first country to legalize equal pay for men and women. Al Jazeera reports the tiny Nordic nation first introduced legislation last March to help close an existing wage gap, but the law did not come into effect until the first day of 2018. “The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations … evaluate every job that’s being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally,” Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association, told Al Jazeera. “It’s a mechanism to ensure women and men are being paid equally”. She adds that existing legislation designed to close the wage gap had failed to do the job, although the World Economic Forum (WEF) has consistently rated Iceland as one of the world’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender equality. Related: Iceland elects 41-year-old environmentalist as prime minister This new law will require companies that have at least 25 employees to obtain certification proving that men and women receive the same pay for their jobs. Failure to comply will result in fines. “Women have been talking about this for decades, Aradottir Pind told Al Jazeera, “and I really feel that we have managed to raise awareness, and we have managed to get to the point that people realise that the legislation we have had in place is not working, and we need to do something more”. In a WEF post , Magnea Marinósdóttir and Rósa Erlingsdóttir with the Equality Unit of Iceland’s Ministry of Welfare says their fight for gender parity did not happen by accident: “What is the secret to Iceland’s success? What are the lessons learned? In short, it is that gender equality does not come about of its own accord. It requires the collective action and solidarity of women human rights defenders, political will, and tools such as legislation, gender budgeting and quotas.” The United States failed to make it into the top 10 of WEF’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Index , which includes Nicaragua in 6th place and the Philippines, led by “The Punisher” President Rodrigo Duterte, in 10th. Via Al Jazeera Images via DepositPhotos ( 1 , 2 )

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Iceland makes it illegal to pay women less than men in world first

This low-cost forest house on stilts is a minimalist dream in Vietnam

January 3, 2018 by  
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This charming forest house on stilts allows two people to experience the beauty and simplicity of living in a remote mountain setting. Architect Chu V?n ?ông designed the structure as a low-cost dwelling that is easy to build and that places focus on the surrounding environment, rather than on interior luxuries. The house is nestled in the lush wooded landscape of Northern Vietnam . As a simple, temporary residence, the Forest House offers a minimalist space that draws the eye toward the surrounding greenery. Large glass surfaces blur the line between the interior and the exterior and allow natural light to bathe the living area. Related: Incredible daylit house in Vietnam is filled with living trees The building can accommodate two people. Its interior is stripped down to the essentials and includes a wood-burning stove , a bed that doubles as a bay window bench, and a wooden table top that can be used for dining and work. The designer hopes that the project, which was built on a small budget, will inspire other temporary housing projects in the area. + Chu V?n ?ông Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Handyman

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This low-cost forest house on stilts is a minimalist dream in Vietnam

Shanghai’s sponge districts fight flooding with green space

January 2, 2018 by  
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Shanghai ‘s Lingang District has installed major green spaces in an effort to improve the city’s drainage and environment. As China has rapidly urbanized, impervious, ubiquitous concrete has blocked the natural flow of water, causing cities to be increasingly vulnerable to flooding. Known as “sponge cities,” the green space development projects in Lingang have incorporated wetlands, gardens, and rooftop plants to more effectively channel excess rainfall. In addition to these green spaces, the streets in Lingang are paved with a permeable pavement, which enables the soil below to absorb water. Lingang’s experiment in green flood prevention may serve as a model for other urban areas dealing with the impact of extreme weather and rapid development. “In the natural environment, most precipitation infiltrates the ground or is received by surface water, but this is disrupted when there are large-scale hard pavements,” said Wen Mei Dubbelaar, director of water management China at Arcadis, according to the Guardian . “Now, only about 20-30 percent of rainwater infiltrates the ground in urban areas , so it breaks the natural water circulation and causes waterlogging and surface water pollution.” Related: Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest Lingang, also known as Nanhui New City, is fortunate in that it still maintains significant open space of land and water with which to implement these innovative ideas. Older areas of Shanghai have proven more challenging to retrofit. Green roofs seem to be the most effective solution for Shanghai’s more fully developed districts, though even older spaces like the former industrial West Bund Riverside have been transformed to capture excess water. By 2030, 80 percent of the surface area of each sponge city district will be required to incorporate some form of green flooding prevention. Due to challenges, including currently inadequate funding from the central government, it seems unlikely that these sponge cities will be able to meet that goal. Nevertheless, Lingang’s solution to a global problem comprises an inspiring step towards a better urban environment. “Sponge city infrastructure is beneficial because it is also changing the living environment, helping with pollution and creating a better quality of life in these areas,” said Dubbelaar. “The initial driver for sponge cities was the extreme flooding of urban areas, but the change in mindset, that development should have a more holistic, sustainable approach, is an extra benefit that is evolving during this project.” Via the Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Turenscape

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Shanghai’s sponge districts fight flooding with green space

Gorgeous green-roofed studio features a rainwater reflecting pool

December 21, 2017 by  
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There are some designs that just make your jaw drop – and the Sun Rain Room is definitely one of those. Designed by London-based Tonkin Liu Architects , the spectacular curved studio is clad in glass panels and topped with a green roof . It’s is also equipped with one awesome feature – a grey water system that showers collected rainwater over the patio at the push of a button, transforming it into a beautiful reflecting pool. The studio, which is just over 800 square feet, is a two-story home addition used as a studio and guest cottage. According to the architects, the design was created to provide a calming, nature-infused space would be “a good place to be on a bad day.” Related: Rural Italian home clad in lush greenery blends into its idyllic surroundings The elongated curved shape mimics the curvature of the sun and allows optimal light to pass through into the interior. Covered in stunning greenery , the roof acts as an extension of the surrounding landscape, which culminates in a vibrant, multi-layered urban garden . On the interior, the ceiling is spotted with round coffered skylights that “echo” a pattern of raindrops on water. Clad in floor-to-ceiling windows, natural light floods the interior spaces, which include a studio, a bedroom, and two bathrooms, as well as a garden room that opens up to the outdoor patio. The beautiful design implements a unique rainwater system which includes filtering rainwater into a large storage tank. At the touch of a button, this water is used to “rain” over the sunken patio, converting it into a reflecting pool. + Tonkin Liu Architects Via Archdaily Images via Tonkin Liu Architects

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Gorgeous green-roofed studio features a rainwater reflecting pool

Why thousands of snakes are invading Bangkok homes

December 5, 2017 by  
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A plunger won’t help you here—unless you have one hell of a swing. As the Times reports, Bangkok officials received 31,801 calls this year alone from frightened residents seeking help in removing snakes from their homes. The jump in calls is said to be in part due to an extra wet rainy season, but at the heart of the issue is something greater: urban sprawl . Indeed, as the city’s population has grown along the Chao Phraya River Delta, snakes have been forced from their natural habitats into the cozy, dry quarters of humans. Worst still, some (including the eight-foot-long variety)  are using the toilet as their primary point of ingress. Bangkok hosts more than 8.2 million inhabitants. The city is also built on more than 600 square miles of delta. The presence of snakes has always been significant, but as humans claim more land for new development, the snakes have no other choice than to try to take some of it back. In fact, most of the 31,801 calls have come from areas with new construction. “When people build houses in their habitat, of course they will seek a dry spot in people’s houses because they can’t go anywhere else,” Prayul Krongyos, the city’s fire department’s deputy director told the Times. Related: This modular orphanage in Thailand was built using local and recycled materials Indeed, calls have jumped from 29,919 in 2016, and 10,492 in 2012. The paper also points out that these figures don’t even include the brave residents who battle snakes on their own, which they says is likely in the thousands. “There’s no way we could survive if there were more fires than snakes,” said Krongyos. That day, his department fielded 173 calls about snakes and just five for fires. As for what happens to the snakes once caught, the punishment is far more humane than one might venture. Snakes captured by firefighters are brought to a wildlife center and later released in the wild. Other individuals have created snake-saving initiatives, including Nonn Panitvong, a leading expert in biodiversity. He set up “Snake at Home,” a message group that seeks to prevent snakes from being killed when discovered. Snake at Home allows those who find a snake in their home to snap a photo and send it to one of the group’s volunteers who can tell them if the snake they’ve found is venomous. The group has more than 29,000 followers. As the Times shares, “Thailand has more than 200 snake species , including about three dozen that are venomous. But most do not pose a threat to people…The reality, though, is that humans cause snakes much more harm than the other way around.” Snakes also keep rat and other vermin populations in check in the bustling city, and many folks consider crossing paths with one a sign of good luck. Via NYT Images via Pixbay and Wiki Commons

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Why thousands of snakes are invading Bangkok homes

BMW reveals bike ‘Hyperloop’ with elevated climate-controlled tubes

November 27, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever tried to commute via bike, you know it can be fraught with danger: doors opening into the bike lane, pedestrians that jump out of nowhere, smog in your face and rain-slick streets. Now picture an elevated tube that lets cyclists move around the city in a safe, climate-controlled, enclosed bicycle superhighway . BMW wants to make it happen. Called the Vision E3 Way and designed in collaboration with Shanghai’s Tongji University , the idea is to create elevated tubes that connect to traffic hubs, shopping areas and underground stations, accessed by a ramp with barriers to control the amount of traffic in the tubes. Any zero-emissions, two-wheeled vehicle is welcome, and the climate would be controlled so you could comfortably commute all year-round. Related: Berlin plans at least 12 new bike superhighways Lighting and climate control would be powered by a rooftop array of solar panels . To encourage car owners to bike, rental stations would be placed throughout the network. The system could not only improve travel for cyclists, but the reduction in traffic congestion and air pollution could make life better for everyone. ‘It’s our Hyperloop ,’ said Markus Seidel, head of the BMW Technology Office China. Via Digital Trends

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BMW reveals bike ‘Hyperloop’ with elevated climate-controlled tubes

This brilliant project turns plastic waste into 3D-printed benches for Amsterdam

November 21, 2017 by  
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Rotterdam-based studio The New Raw is rallying citizens to turn their household plastic waste into stylish public furniture. Their “Print Your City!” initiative combines 3D printing with recycling to re-design urban space. The first prototype to come out of this call to action is the XXX bench, designed for the Municipality of Amsterdam. According to recent reports, Amsterdam residents generate 23 kg of plastic waste per person annually. Rotterdam-based studio The New Raw has worked out that this amounts to enough plastic to build one bench for every two Amsterdammers every year. The team collaborated with Aectual to 3D-print their first piece of 100% recycled furniture, the XXX bench. Related: World’s First Wrench 3D-Printed with Recycled Ocean Plastic Wins Innovation Award The XXX bench seats two to four people and takes the form of a double-sided rocking chair. The balance required for it to function makes a statement on working together to close the cycle for plastic. Print Your City! was kick-started in 2016 as part of the AMS Institute’s Circular City Program and it’s supported by TU Delft and AEB Amsterdam. + The New Raw + Aectual

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This brilliant project turns plastic waste into 3D-printed benches for Amsterdam

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