Futuristic play pod helps revitalize Amsterdam’s vanishing paddling pools

August 23, 2017 by  
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For years, Amsterdam’s paddling pools have been disappearing as kids abandon them and maintenance costs rise. In order to save them, architecture firm Carve created this futuristic, pebble-shaped object for the famous Oosterpark paddling pool. The structure is dotted with climbing holes and equipped with integrated sprayers for summer fun that helps make the park a kid-magnet once again. Famous Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck designed more than 700 public play zones in Amsterdam in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, including the one in Oosterpark. For decades these additions to the city parks  have functioned as a favorite hangout for kids. Over the last few decades, some of these play zones have disappeared. By 2010, only 90 remained, including the paddling pool in the Oosterpark. In 2012, the municipality commissioned architecture firm Carve to design an addition to the existing pool. Related: World’s First 3D-Printed House is Being Built In Amsterdam The project is part of a wider initiative to revitalize the entire Oosterpark area. The designers kept as much as possible of the existing structure and designed an addition that complements the original design. A large object with climbing holes and integrated sprayers, new seating edges made from natural stone , and play-programmed LED lights were added to the pool area. + Carve Photos by Jasper van der Schaaf

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Futuristic play pod helps revitalize Amsterdam’s vanishing paddling pools

Chile halts $2.5 billion mining project to protect endangered Humboldt Penguins

August 23, 2017 by  
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Good news for environmentalists and the animals they seek to protect – the Chilean government recently halted a $2.5 billion mining project which would have destroyed the habitat of the very rare Humboldt penguins . The Dominga Project was set to begin mining copper and iron in the Coquimbo region of central Chile, and it would have produced 12 million tons of iron ore and 150,000 tons of copper each year. However the project was effectively shut down because the environmental risk was too great. IFLScience reports that high-ranking officials from Chile’s Committee of Ministers rejected plans for the Dominga Project after a prolonged evaluation period. The committee decided that there was insufficient evidence of environmental guarantees. Though the project was rejected, the Chilean mining company Andes Iron is able to appeal the decision. Environmentalists are celebrating the news, as the project would require a new sea port along with other large infrastructure changes to the area. Had it been approved, the Humboldt Penguin Reserve, located just a short distance from mainland Coquimbo, would have suffered. The nature reserve is an important breeding site for the Humboldt penguin, a species that is vulnerable to extinction and is only found in Chile and Peru. Additionally, the reserve is home to bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, sperm whales , humpback whales, sea lions, albatross and many varieties of fish. Said Oceana Chile, a marine conservation NGO who campaigned against the project, “Today we have lived a historic day! The Committee of Ministers decided to reject the mining-Port project Dominga due to a lack of information and shortcomings in mitigating and repairing damage to the environment .” They added, “Let us continue to alert and support the communities in the area. This is a victory for all people!” Related: Off-grid clinic uses renewable energy to support health services in Chile Because Chile is the “the world’s leading producer of copper, accounting for 31.8 percent of world mine production; iodine, 63.2 percent; rhenium, 50.9 percent; and lithium, about 38.6 percent,” (according to a 2013 United States Geological Survey), mining companies will undoubtedly persist to tear into the Earth. For now, activists can celebrate this victory, as the Humboldt penguins are better off as a result of the Chilean government’s decision. Via IFLScience , BBC , Reuters Images via Pixabay

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Chile halts $2.5 billion mining project to protect endangered Humboldt Penguins

Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

August 22, 2017 by  
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Ai Weiwei is returning to New York City – and he’s planning to install fences around 300 sites in one of his largest public art projects to date. According to the artist, “Good Fences Make New Neighbors” is a reaction to “a retreat from the essential attitude of openness” in American politics. The exhibition opens on October 12 and it was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the organization. All in all, the project will comprise 10 major fence-themed installations in addition to scores of smaller works. Said Nicholas Baume, the Public Art Fund’s director and chief curator, “This is the most ambitious that we’ve undertaken since I’ve been here. Certainly, it’s the most distributed throughout the city.” In the past, the Public Art Fund commissioned major artists like Alexander Calder and Sol LeWitt to produce thought-provoking masterpieces. Related: Miami Artist Smashes $1 Million Vase by Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei “In Protest” Ai Weiwei was inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” to build the fences – and they will be located in multiple boroughs, including Manhatten , Queens, and Brooklyn. Some of the sites include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, and the Cooper Union building in Manhattan. + Good Fences Make Good Neighbors + Ai Weiwei Via New York Times Images via Ai Weiwei and Public Art Fund

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Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

August 22, 2017 by  
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Looking for ways to spruce up your yard with some nifty DIY outdoor furniture ? This wooden trellis, built by Notcot ‘s Jean Aw and Shawn Sims, is a head-turning project that combines a vine-supporting exterior structure with a cozy wooden bench on the inside. From one side, its a beautiful yard feature that hosts lush greenery, but from the other side, it is the perfect cozy spot for entertaining and relaxing. The trellis doesn’t function only as support for beautiful passion flowers, but also doubles as a private nook with an L-shaped wooden bench . The couple wanted to create a private space for their back yard that’s comfortable to lounge on. They paired it with smaller coffee tables, transforming it into a multifunctional space where they can relax, dine or work. Related: This pallet-based patio proves that even renters can have stylishly-remodeled spaces Passion flower vines growing up the wooden structure acts as camouflage that hides the seating area, turning it into a lush, private oasis. The structure is sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Head on over to Notcot to see how it was done. Via Notcot

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This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

Why Los Angeles has started to paint its streets white

August 22, 2017 by  
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Though it lacks the humidity of East Coast heat, Los Angeles still burns. The City of Angels is one of the only places in the United States where heat-related deaths occur regularly during winter. This public health hazard is only expected to worsen as climate change gains strength over the next decades. Located in a desert valley and dominated by asphalt roads to facilitate its car culture, LA is extremely vulnerable – and, fortunately, innovative. The sprawling cityscape of nearly 4 million people (over 13 million in the metro area) has begun to paint its streets white, in hopes of using the color’s natural heat-reflecting properties to lower the temperature and make LA a healthier place to live. Los Angeles, and many other cities around the world, suffer from what is called the urban heat island effect, in which the dense infrastructure and activity of the city generates and traps heat beyond what might normally be expected based on the region’s climate . To combat this effect, Los Angeles is covering its streets with CoolSeal, a light-colored paint that has already yielded positive outcomes. “We found that on average the area covered in CoolSeal is 10 degrees cooler than black asphalt on the same parking lot,” said Greg Spotts, the assistant director of the Bureau of Street Services for San Fernando Valley, one of the hottest spots in Greater LA. Related: Restorative Healing Gardens take over a concrete garage rooftop in L.A. LA officials hope that cooler streets will result in cooler homes, which in turn keeps energy costs and health risks low. “Not everyone has the resources to use air conditioning, so there’s concern that some low-income families will suffer” if something is not done to counteract the rising heat, said Alan Barreca, an environmental science professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “The [cool-treated] pavement would provide benefits to everyone.” The coating, which costs $40,000 per mile and lasts for seven years, will be applied to streets in a pilot program before it is applied citywide. Its future looks bright. “We’ve done things over and over again that people said couldn’t be done,” Spotts said, “and this time is no different.” Via Washington Post Images via  Giuseppe Milo/Flickr (1)

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Why Los Angeles has started to paint its streets white

New images show progress on the next world’s tallest building

August 22, 2017 by  
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New images of Santiago Calatrava ‘s Dubai Creek Tower have emerged, showing construction progress on what is expected to become the world’s tallest building. Developer Emaar Properties released site photos and video of the 2.3 square-mile complex, which is designed to eclipse the height of the Burj Khalifa by at least 300 feet. Emaar Properties and Dubai Holdings joined together to build the new complex in Dubai, which will feature a 3,045-foot tower designed by Calatrava as its centerpiece. The tower requires laying record-breaking 236-foot deep foundation piles capped with 1.59 million cubic feet of concrete. Related: The world’s tallest tower just broke ground in Dubai The tower, inspired by the lily flower and mosque minarets, will feature a 68-mile array of supporting cables, a 360-degree observation deck and a Hanging Gardens of Babylon-style floor. It broke ground last year, but the developer still hasn’t confirmed the completion date. According to previous reports, the project is expected to be ready in time for Dubai Expo 2020 . + Santiago Calatrava + Emaar Properties + Dubai Holdings Via Archinect

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Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

August 16, 2017 by  
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Design and engineering firm  Carve  breathed new life into one of Amsterdam’s oldest parks with a playful new blob-like  playground design. The eye-catching structure is a gigantic white and lilac abstract shape that just begs for children to climb aboard its weirdness and explore its many fun features. The firm was charged with creating a new playground area in the park’s existing basketball court, which is surrounded by an abundance of greenery. In addition to creating a fun play area for local children aged 0-6, the new structure also needed to be a vibrant meeting place for park goers. So the designers created an eye-catching “organically shaped sculpture that incorporates various play functions.’’ Related: Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei The unique structure is a large voluminous form whose curious shape invites children to explore the interior where they’ll find plenty of places to run, climb, slide, and swing. The large blob, which is painted a bright lilac on the interior, was designed with plenty of dynamic areas such as a web of climbing nets, a metal slide, and a tube swing hanging from one end. On the exterior, the structure has a mirrored wall on one side, which reflects a distorted view of the surrounding greenery. On the other side, kids will find a soccer goal painted on the wall, begging for a strong penalty shot. A sunken trampoline adjacent to the structure further encourages a fun, energetic environment around the park’s new landmark. + Carve Photography by Marleen Beek via Carve  

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Historic Amsterdam park gets new life with a funky climbing "blob"

Elephants rescue 600 people from floods in Nepal

August 16, 2017 by  
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Heavy rains in India and Nepal have killed 15 people and displaced 2.3 million in just the past few days. Fortunately for approximately 600 foreigners who were visiting Sauraha, no additional lives were lost when the nearby Rapti River overflowed its banks. This is because elephants at the Chitwan National Park transported them to safety. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Elephants to the rescue Elephants helped rescue 600 people after floods in Nepal. Posted by Al Jazeera English on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Said Suman Ghimire, head of a group of Sauraha hotel owners, “Some 300 guests were rescued on elephant backs and tractor trailers to (nearby) Bharatpur yesterday and the rest will be taken to safer places today.” The unconventional mode of transportation was necessary, as the flash floods left hotels and restaurants completely inundated. The Chitwan National Park, which cares for 605 rhinoceros , is in better shape than Assam’s Kaziranga national park, which is home to the world’s largest population of the endangered one-horn rhinoceros. According to Reuters , nearly 90 percent of the Kaziranga park is under water. Fortunately, the animals have moved to higher ground. Nepali relief workers say that 26 of the country’s 75 districts were either submerged or had been hit by landslides as a result of the heavy rains. Information and Communications Minister Mohan Bahadur Basnet added the death toll was expected to increase with at least 50 people reported missing. The loss of infrastructure has also been devastating. Basnet said that more than 60,000 homes were underwater, predominantly in the southern plains bordering India. “The situation is worrying as tens of thousands of people have been hit,” said Basnet. Related: Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold As a result of the natural disaster, regions in India and Nepal now face food shortages due to crop losses. This is exactly what climate change scientists said would happen as a result of increasing carbon emissions, which are fueling global warming. If humans fail to adopt sustainable habits, natural disasters such as this will only become more common. Via Reuters Images via The Kathmandu Post , India Live Today

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Retractable restaurant addition provides flexible space that adapts to any weather

August 10, 2017 by  
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Could this be the end of waiting outside a restaurant in crappy weather? Turkish company Libart  installed an innovative retractable wall system for a restaurant in Istanbul that can help the establishment accommodate plenty of diners year-round. The sliding aluminum and glass structure in the Babylon Beach Club extends outward to provide cozy, covered seating during wintertime or completely retracts into the building to make room for open outdoor space during the summer months. The flexible architectural system gives the restaurant optimal flexibility to increase or decrease capacity as the weather conditions change. The glass paneled structure retracts into the building during the summer months, virtually hidden from site. Alternatively, the structure can be expanded during inclement weather. Thanks to the extra space and additional sitting, the establishment can accommodate their client base year-round without having to turn away customers due to lack of space. Related: Sliding Walls Transform This Tokyo House Into an Office For the Babylon Club, Libart installed a high-walled, 4-piece sectional design called Evolution Freestanding. The glass panels not only provide a sense of openness when extended, but also flood the interior with natural light . The system uses few components, making assembly quick and efficient. Referred to as “modern architecture in motion” by the company, the sliding system can be used in a number of situations such as providing flexible cover for outdoor pools, hotel and commercial spaces, and even industrial warehouses loooking to create healthy working spaces. + Libart

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The Brooklyn Childrens Museums new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city

August 4, 2017 by  
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The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is bringing the wilderness to the middle of the city. This weekend, the museum will unveil a space that includes a forest, trails, interactive exhibits and a winged canopy that takes center stage. Future Green Studio designed the rooftop’s landscaping by dividing the 20,000-square-foot terrace into four quadrants catering to different themes – woodland, play, lounge and dining – giving kids in the city the perfect place to learn about and explore the natural world. Kids will be able to play outdoors in a safe environment in between checking out the kid-centric exhibits throughout the museum. The dynamic space will also be used for cultural events and experiences that compliment the museum’s ongoing mission to educate children in interactive ways. For example, the terrace’s opening on August 5th and 6th will be accompanied by a Senegalese dance festival with choreographer and professional dancer Papa Sy. Papa Sy will tell stories, play Senegalese music and get all ages moving as they welcome this space into the community. “The inspiration for the roof garden was to create a place that epitomized the heart of Brooklyn where kids could feel immersed in nature and free to explore and roam in an unprescribed way,” said David Seiter, Principal and Design Director of Future Green. As a Brooklyn parent himself, Seiter used his experiences of visiting the museum with his children to create a space flexible enough to host playdates, family get-togethers and cultural events “bridging both old and new Brooklyn and bringing people together.” Related: This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets A small woodland trail features a walkway made of sustainable black locust hardwood that meanders through groupings of sweet bay magnolia and sassafras trees. Various types of shrubs and perennials, including high bush blueberry, hayscented fern, butterfly weed, mayapple and blue wood aster, are sprinkled in between while ground covers like bristle-leaf sedge and hayscented fern can be found throughout the nature walk. Tree trunk pavers and sculptures that serve as seating are made from black locust and white oak rounds. Before tackling this project, Seiter and his team visited the Donald & Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area in Prospect Park , a children’s play area where trees damaged by storms and other natural materials take the place of swings and slides. “It was inspiring to hear about the design decisions that go into creating a new type of play space for kids where they might feel more connected to natural elements and have the ability to explore risk and confront fears,” Seiter said. “We tried to achieve a similar sense of wonder and play in our Woodland Walk.” The open lawn play space is also constructed from black locust lumber, chosen because it’s not sourced from tropical rain forests like most other exterior decking. Because of its greater exposure to the sun, different plantings that can handle those conditions were used: smoke trees, cone flower, ornamental onions and wormwood. All the plants used in the landscaping are native and drought tolerant, and a water-efficient irrigation system was installed to keep the environment lush. And at the center of it all is a white canopy designed by Toshiko Mori Architect . The 7,300 square-foot open-air pavilion looks like it’s billowing in the wind and about to take flight. It evokes references Eero Saarinen ’s TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, but much more airy, and while it serves to provide respite from the sun, a lot of light still pours in through the translucent panels. The use of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene cladding allowed for a column-free design, and wooden seats surround the anchor points from which the white steel ribbings arch up and meet overhead. From the side, the tops of the panels reflects the clouds and seems to blend into the sky. From high above, the pavilion resembles a square sheet of paper that has found its way onto the museum’s roof. And from underneath, the pavilion, with the landscaping surrounding it, feel like a breath of fresh air. + Future Green Studio + Toshiko Mori Architect All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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The Brooklyn Childrens Museums new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city

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