MAD Architects unveils solar-powered Hyperloop transit system

September 18, 2019 by  
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The avant-garde architecture of Beijing-based MAD Architects has merged with Hyperloop’s futuristic transportation technologies to unveil a new, solar-powered rapid transit system. Designed with an emphasis on sustainability, the elevated, tube-based infrastructure will promote car-free living, incorporate urban farming and harness renewable energy to minimize its environmental footprint. The versatile system is designed for easy integration in a variety of environments, from dense urban centers to remote deserts. MAD Architects’ collaboration with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (Hyperloop TT) is meant to transform the future of travel by showing how the transportation infrastructure can complement the natural environment and bring people closer to nature. The Hyperloop concept, which was popularized by Elon Musk in 2012, is a proposed mode of transportation that uses a pressurized system of large tubes, through which pods carrying people or freight can be pushed at high speed without lag from air resistance. MAD Architects and HyperloopTT’s vision expands on this idea with the integration of sustainable systems and green public space, which can be built along the tops of the tubes as well as underneath them. Related: Hyperloop TT announces plans to build a working line in the UAE “The pylon design minimizes the system’s physical footprint by lifting its functions almost 7 meters above ground,” explained MAD Architects of the versatile pylon design that doubles as structural support. “This eliminates the possibility of collision with road traffic, which in turn decreases the cost of land acquisition. It is composed of a single-mold fiber glass structure, proving its efficiency in both its development and usage.” The base of each pylon is designed to accommodate organic urban farming activities and solar-powered LED grow lights. The Hyperloop TT system would also be powered with solar and wind energies. Flexible solar panel skin modules would be affixed to the system and used to power the Hyperloop, LEDs and interactive information boards. Bladeless wind turbine forests would be installed at certain sections to create an additional source of power and reduce energy costs. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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MAD Architects unveils solar-powered Hyperloop transit system

MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof

March 21, 2019 by  
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Hot on the heels of its bold “ Times Square” proposal for Taiwan’s capital, MVRDV has broken ground on another project — this time for the island’s southern city of Tainan. Created in collaboration with local architectural firm LLJ Architects, the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market is a wholesale, open-air market that will not only serve as an important hub for the city’s food supply chain, but will also serve as a new public destination. The landmark building will be topped with an undulating green roof that will be accessible to the public and used for growing crops. Because of its large size, the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market will be located in a suburban district to the far east of the city center yet strategically placed near Highway 3 and public transportation links for the convenience of traders, buyers and visitors. Spanning an area of nearly 20 acres, the market will include space for auctions, logistics, freezer storage, service facilities, a restaurant, administrative offices and more. “Tainan, in my opinion, is one of those towns which is so beautiful to me because maybe most of its nature, agriculture fields, farms, sea and mountains,” said Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “Tainan Market can become a building that symbolizes this beauty as it compliments both landscape and its surrounding environment. It is completely functional and caters to the needs for auctioning, selling and buying goods, but its terraced roof with its collection of growing products will allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping from bustle below.’’ Related: MVRDV to transform an Amsterdam office complex into a green residential zone The first phase of the development will be an open-air structure topped with an undulating, terraced green roof accessible from the eastern corner. The terraces of the roof will each be dedicated to growing a different crop — such as pineapples, rice, roses and tea — and will be furnished with benches and picnic tables for visitors to enjoy the surrounding views. The market is slated for completion in late 2020. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof

SUPERFARM design envisions an urban vertical farm that is energy self-sufficient

February 19, 2019 by  
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French design practice Studio NAB has proposed a large-scale vertical farm as a sustainable solution to urban population growth in the face of dwindling arable land. Envisioned for urban centers, the conceptual vertical agriculture facility — dubbed the SUPERFARM — aims to produce high-yielding food with high nutrition values, including but not limited to various seaweeds, edible insects and fish raised in aquaponic systems. To minimize the SUPERFARM’s impact on the environment, the designers have also proposed that the futuristic indoor farming concept be powered entirely with renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels. Studio NAB created its SUPERFARM utopian architecture in response to the startling statistics put forth by Dickson Despommier, an emeritus professor of microbiology and public health at Columbia University. Considered a pioneer in vertical farming , Dr. Despommier authored the book The Problem , in which he proposed indoor urban agriculture as a sustainable alternative to traditional farming methods and a potential solution to feeding the world’s growing urban populations. “Vector for ecological transition, the ‘Superfarm’ project is part of a resilient and human-sensitive approach, paying attention to its health and its relations with food,” Studio NAB shares in its project statement. “Far from the traditional urban farm producing salads or other fruits and vegetables, the ‘Superfarm’ project, as its name suggests, focuses its production on the culture of foods with a high nutritional value that can be consumed in addition to a healthy diet, but also on foods likes fishes or honey.” Related: The GCC’s first commercial vertical farm launches in Dubai SUPERFARM is envisioned as a six-story building erected over water rather than land so as not to take away real estate that could otherwise be used for parkland. To fulfill the designers’ goal of reconnecting people to their food, the urban farm would also need to be located close to the consumers so that they can come directly to the farm. Studio NAB believes that because of the highly controlled indoor environment, no pesticides would be used in any of the farming operations. Moreover, water would be saved and recycled for energy efficiency. + Studio NAB Images via Studio NAB

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SUPERFARM design envisions an urban vertical farm that is energy self-sufficient

New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting

January 14, 2019 by  
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While most libraries tend to be filled with nothing more than books, the new VAC library (an abbreviation of the Vietnamese words for Garden, Pond and Cage) in Hanoi is teeming with koi fish and greenery. Vietnamese firm Farming Architects has built the the new open-air library with an impressive aquaponic system to teach the kids about urban farming. Located in a Hanoi neighborhood, the VAC Library is an immense structure comprised of wooden frames with various cubicles filled with books. However, within the almost 600 square feet library is an integrated production system that was designed to teach kids about sustainable food production. Related: URBANANA is Vertical Banana Plantation That Would Bring Tropical Fruit Farming to Paris According to the architects, the library is designed to show children how energy from land, air, water and solar energy can be harvested in order to be completely self-sufficient even within an urban context, “The aim is not only to produce an effective use of natural resources but also favorite experimentation in using different types of plants and animals in the urban environment.” At the heart of its design, the VAC library relies on aquaponic systems to provide a sustainable model. The structure’s fish pond provide nutrients to the plants, which in return purify the water. Built with energy conservation in mind, the system runs on a few pumps powered by solar energy, which also provides the electricity for the lighting system as well. In addition to its impressive sustainable systems , the VAC library is a center of learning. Besides reading the many books on offer, local children enjoy learning about the way that the fish in the ponds are so vital to the vegetable planters and so on. There are also chickens on site whose eggs are used for meals and their waste used as fertilizer for the center’s gardens. + Farming Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An via Farming Architects  

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New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting

Farmscape helps communities embrace urban farming

October 25, 2018 by  
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The majority of the world’s population lives in cities, and thanks to the rising monetary and environmental costs of transporting food to these areas, interest in urban farming has dramatically increased over the past decade. In cities like Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles , it is relatively easy to find food growing in windowsills, on rooftops, in community gardens and even on corporate campuses. Since 2008, Farmscape has helped people, communities and companies across the country embrace sustainable farming practices and local food. Farmscape is the largest urban farming venture in the U.S., and it helps individuals, communities and businesses with their food producing needs by designing, installing and managing raised vegetable beds and gardens in places like residential backyards, building rooftops, multi-acre agrihoods  and commercial properties. Using an organic soil blend and drip irrigation systems, Farmscape has led the urban farm movement by installing more than 700 gardens in California and designing and consulting projects internationally. Related: The LEED Gold-seeking Edible Academy teaches urban farming in NYC Farmscape is a licensed landscape contractor, and according to the company, its setups are 25 percent more cost-effective to run than traditional setups. Another bonus to using Farmscape is that its landscaping can add up to a 28 percent return on investment on property values. Studies also show that homes with lush outdoor areas sell 15 percent faster when they are listed on the real estate market. Corporations like Oracle, North Face, Levi’s Stadium and AT&T Park have famously used Farmscape. Those larger spaces make more produce and fruit easily available to employees, customers and residents. Three small cafes inside of AT&T Park (where the San Francisco Giants play) use the produce grown in a Farmscape garden, which allows the businesses to provide vegan and gluten-free options to people who don’t enjoy “baseball food.” The hydroponic towers near the bullpen sprout berries and greens that different ballpark eateries use for smoothies and salads. The rooftop garden at Levi’s Stadium (where the San Francisco 49ers play) supplies fresh produce to the stadium’s food service vendors. But the Farmscape urban farming venture isn’t just for large corporate clients. It is also perfect for homes, apartment complexes and neighborhoods. Because you don’t have to plant or maintain the farm yourself, you are guaranteed to get a fresh, successful harvest of things like cilantro, arugula, lettuce, parsley and kale each season. Related: 6 urban farms feeding the world Farmscape’s hands-on, local farmers maintain the space each week as part of their contract, but you can also spend some stress-free time outdoors by joining them to do some digging and weeding. People who live in cities are often busy feeding their technology obsession with handheld devices, but Farmscape gives them the opportunity to step outside and work with their neighbors and co-workers to harvest healthy food . However, you don’t have to have any farming or gardening knowledge to find success with Farmscape. Their team takes care of everything from planning to planting to harvest. The setups also include seasonal flowers, herbs and ornamental plants mixed in with the vegetables to give their beds a manicured and attractive look year-round. According to Lara Hermanson, the gardener/farmer who co-founded Farmscape, people love that the gardens look good and also provide fresh, organic food. Being able to harvest your own produce to create a delicious meal — and not having to get your hands dirty (unless you want to, of course) — is an attractive idea for home chefs. Plus, there are mental, emotional and physical benefits to gardening for those who do choose to get involved. Even if it is just a few minutes each day, getting outside can be good for you, and using the food from your garden will lead to a healthier, more plant-based diet. The idea of being able to come home from work and step outside to your garden to pick the ingredients for your salad or picking some fresh fruit for a sweet dessert is an exciting one. Farmscape gives you the option of being surrounded by nature, even if you live in a crowded urban environment. If a Farmscape garden is something that you would like to add to your neighborhood, Hermanson says that is easy to initiate through city councils and homeowners associations. While Farmscape only builds and maintains gardens in California, the team is happy to help design and consult projects around the world. People love the idea of having gardens as landscaping in their neighborhoods, and the benefits of having plenty of healthy food readily available are nearly impossible to turn down. To start Farmscape-ing, visit the website at FarmscapeGardens.com . + Farmscape Images via Farmscape

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

October 23, 2018 by  
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Urban farming can be tough, especially when it’s in the middle of the densely packed Belgian city of Mechelen. But thanks to the determination of a client “with green fingers” and the clever design thinking of Belgian architecture firm dmvA , a solution was conceived in House TP, a renovation project with a new greenhouse in the rear. In addition to space for growing greens, the transformed property also enjoys greater access to natural light and views of the outdoors. Located next to a church, the compact, 90-square-meter home is sandwiched between two buildings with a north-oriented rear side. To improve access to sunlight, the architects removed the back of the building save for a single steel beam that inspired the firm to insert extra beams to create a base for a “floating” greenhouse , which allows natural light to pass through to the patio space below. In contrast to the mostly closed front facade, large glazed openings were also added to the back of the building to frame views of the greenhouse from the second and third floors. Since the top floor enjoys the greatest access to natural light , the architects decided to place the primary living areas on the third floor while placing the bedroom downstairs. The ground floor houses an additional living space that can be converted into a bedroom. The removal of walls and an open-plan layout make the compact home feel larger than its footprint lets on. The stairs were also strategically placed to the side of the building to avoid blocking sight lines. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion In contrast to its redbrick neighbors, the building exterior is painted a bright white. Another major exterior change includes the addition of a gate with steel blinds installed at an angle of 45 degrees. “This kind of gate provides sufficient privacy but still gives an open, light impression,” reads the firm’s project statement. “Previously, the dark corner at the gate was a problematic spot in the street, but with the intervention of dmvA, it has become a fresh corner that revives the street. dmvA not only created a house that met the wishes of the owner, but the refurbishment also led to a revival of the street.” + dmvA Via ArchDaily Images by Bart Gosselin

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

Peek inside the BIG-designed garden village for one of the world’s best restaurants

September 24, 2018 by  
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After over three years of planning, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has completed the new home for Noma, an award-winning, Michelin-star restaurant that was named four times as the best in the world by the ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ rankings. Opened February 2018, Noma’s new restaurant location is just outside of Copenhagen’s city center on a lakefront site near the Christiania neighborhood. The 14,000-square-foot building is modeled after a garden village that consists of 11 single-story pavilions, each specially designed to realize chef René Redzepi’s vision for seasonal and local New Nordic cuisine. Last year, chef René Redzepi closed his original two-Michelin-starred Noma after 14 years of operation in a 16th century harborside warehouse. During the one-year closure of his restaurant, Redzepi worked together with architect Bjarke Ingels to sensitively reimagine a new property and an existing ex-military warehouse into “an intimate garden village” made up of a series of interconnected, agrarian-inspired structures centered around the restaurant’s heart: the 600-square-foot kitchen. “The new noma dissolves the traditional idea of a restaurant into its constituent parts and reassembles them in a way that puts the chefs at the heart of it all,” Bjarke Ingels explained. “Every part of the restaurant experience — the arrival, the lounge, the barbecue, the wine selection and the private company — is all clustered around the chefs. From their central position, they have a perfect overview to every corner of the restaurant while allowing every single guest to follow what would traditionally happen behind-the-scenes. Each ‘building within the building’ is connected by glass-covered paths that allow chefs and guests to follow the changes in weather, daylight and seasons — making the natural environment an integral part of the culinary experience.” Related: “The world’s best restaurant,” Noma, to close and reopen as an urban farm The historic, 100-meter-long concrete warehouse was renovated to house all of the restaurant’s back-of-house functions, including the prep kitchen, fermentation labs, fish tanks, terrarium, ant farm and breakout areas for staff. Three of the new structures are built of glass, with one serving as a greenhouse, another as a bakery and the last as the test kitchen. The dining spaces are located in other buildings constructed from a minimalist and natural materials palette that includes oak and brick. + BIG + Noma Images © Rasmus Hjortshoj

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Peek inside the BIG-designed garden village for one of the world’s best restaurants

An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrechts circular pavilion

July 27, 2018 by  
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A new restaurant celebrating sustainability has opened in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Designed by Dutch architecture firm cezeped , The Green House is a “circular” pavilion that houses a restaurant, urban farm and meeting center. Created as part of an initiative by Strukton Ballast Nedam and Albron, the experimental and temporary venue follows eco-friendly principles and features modular components so that it can be dismantled and moved to a new location in the future. The Green House was born from a larger project that saw cepezed transform the former Knoopkazerne barracks on Croeselaan into a modern government office. Next to the office building was a vacant space that wouldn’t see development for the next 15 years; the developers asked the architects to create a temporary design that could reactivate that leftover lot. With the project’s relatively short lifespan in mind, the architects crafted a design based on the “principles of circularity ” to ensure that the building could be rebuilt elsewhere in 15 years. Related: Sustainable ‘circular economy’ principles inform Amsterdam’s flexible Circl pavilion Modularity and reusability are at the heart of The Green House, a two-story pavilion with a removable steel frame. “The dimensions are derived from those of the smoke glass facade panels of the former Knoopkazerne; these have been re-used for the second skin and the greenhouse of the pavilion,” the architects explained. “The circularity of the building also lies in the choice of the right floor in the right place. Street clinkers from an old quay in Tiel replace the classic ground floor that has been poured. They are located on a compacted sand bed with underfloor heating.” Related: Vertical Gardening 101 The first floor was constructed from prefabricated and recyclable timber elements, while the roof is sheathed in a lightweight and perforated steel sheet filled with insulation and topped with solar panels. The glass curtain wall lets in plenty of natural light so that artificial lighting is minimized. The restaurant occupies the ground floor, while the meeting rooms and the 80-square-meter vertical farming greenhouse are located upstairs. Restaurant patrons can see glimpses of the greenhouse from below and also enjoy views of an indoor green wall. + cezeped Images by Lucas van der Wee/cepezed

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An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrechts circular pavilion

A striking modernist home in Joshua Tree can be yours for $498K

July 27, 2018 by  
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If you’re a fan of multidisciplinary American artist Fritz Haeg , here’s your chance to own and live inside one of his unique works. Located in Joshua Tree , this eye-catching, Haeg-designed home has hit the market for $498,000. Sandwiched between two large five-acre Bureau of Land Management (BLM) parcels, this Joshua Tree home offers spectacular views in every direction. Located on a 45-acre lot at 2373 Arizona Road , this Fritz Haeg Joshua Tree home is a one-of-a-kind design spanning 721 square feet with one bedroom and one bathroom. Given its desert surroundings, the residence was built with high-efficiency heating and cooling as well and insulated glass to lower the energy footprint. The custom-build house sits on a concrete slab foundation. Concrete has also been used for the flooring throughout the interior and on the outdoor patio. The glazed entrance to the home is recessed behind an arched overhang, and transom windows and sidelights let in additional natural light. Instead of a foyer, the interior immediately opens up to the dining room with a compact kitchen area behind it. A low dividing wall separates the eat-in kitchen from the living area bathed in daylight. Large windows frame panoramic views of the outdoors. Related: These tiny steel cabins in Joshua Tree epitomize off-grid design Located on the opposite side of the home from the dining area, the bedroom is similarly cocooned in an arched room with curved timber walls that extend seamlessly to form a barrel ceiling. This bedroom is also separated from the central living area by a top-mounted patterned sliding door. The custom bathroom is tucked into the rear of the house in a cylindrical volume made of corrugated metal . The house also opens up to a covered back patio, where residents can truly embrace the desert landscape. + 2373 Arizona Road Images via Paul Karr

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A striking modernist home in Joshua Tree can be yours for $498K

How are millennials preferences changing the food industry?

June 1, 2018 by  
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Millennials are dramatically disrupting the way food is produced, packaged, marketed and served. As a highly vocal group, millennials have given food producers little option but to listen to their demands, resulting in changes to not only food choices, but farming techniques and restaurant services as well. These changes have reverberated throughout the food industry, creating a food landscape vastly different from the one experienced by millennials’ parents. Healthy Has a New Look Millennials have altered what it means for food to be healthy. While older generations may have contented themselves with vague “low-fat” or “healthy” labels, millennials have higher expectations, especially when it comes to GMOs. While it’s estimated that 70 percent of processed foods contain GMOs, more than  60 percent of millennials want non-GMO food options, and 68 percent pay more for organic products. It’s likely that demand for these products will only increase, and the food industry is becoming more transparent in order to meet this demand. Localized Food Production Increases Millennials don’t just want to avoid GMOs; they want to know exactly which ingredients are included and where those ingredients come from. This desire for increased transparency has led to a preference for local food brands over national ones, both at the level of production and consumption. Whether buying food at the grocery store or eating out, millennials seek out locally sourced food. Some millennials have taken this trend a step further and started to grow their own food in urban and rooftop farms. Take, for example, the farm on top of the Method Products manufacturing plant in Chicago . One of the world’s largest, this rooftop farm can produce up to 10 million crops each year. And it doesn’t stop there—all the vegetables and herbs on the farm are pesticide-free and grown sustainably. Using rooftops in place of traditional farms helps make better use of available land and provides urban dwellers with access to the locally grown produce that millennials seek out on a regular basis. Eating out Is More Popular Another major change to the food industry includes the increased popularity of eating out. In 1970, only 25.9 percent of consumers ate out , as opposed to 43.5 percent today. Though millennials don’t account for the entirety of this increase, they have contributed significantly to it. According to a recent USDA report , millennials consumed 2.3 percent of their meals in restaurants, which equates to eating out about twice a month. Technology also plays a major role in making restaurants more popular with younger generations. With apps like the Humane Eating project that combine millennials’ love of technology with sustainable eating, it’s no wonder that more people are exploring new places to eat. And apps aren’t the only thing that appeals to millennials—restaurants with guest WiFi and tablet point-of-sale systems tend to draw in younger crowds as well, which suggests these methods may become standard restaurant practice within the next decade. Despite their youth, millennials have already had a strong influence on the food industry. From its focus on healthy eating to its interest in locally sourced and sustainably grown food, this group is poised to turn food production and service around, which could have positive consequences for a world fighting obesity and other health concerns. However, only time will tell if the impact millennials have on the food industry will have long-lasting effects on other facets of life, from the economy to government policy and public health. + Food Industry Executive + Forbes + Organic Trade Association + QSR Magazine + USDA Images via Pexels (1) (2) , Pxhere , and Pixabay

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How are millennials preferences changing the food industry?

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