A rooftop urban oasis springs to life in a polluted NYC neighborhood

August 24, 2017 by  
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Parks and public plazas are typically urban escapes you’d expect to find at street level, but when your neighborhood hosts a league of industrial warehouses, wastewater treatment plants, and sits along one of the most polluted estuaries in the country, it’s time to look up. While environmental groups toil to clean up the Newton Creek river, community leaders decided to create the Newton Creek Wildflower Roof as a luscious green space that helps support local wildlife and brings nature back to the area. Newtown Creek hardly flows, but rather rests between New York City’s boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens with a toxic combo of spilled oil, city sewage and other sludge. Thankfully, community groups are fighting to clean up the mess below and others are beautifying the spaces above. The seeds for the Newtown Creek Wildflower Roof were first planted in 2015 when Marni Majorelle and her landscape design company Alive Structures , the Newtown Creek Alliance , and the New York City Audubon applied for funding from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund. Their goal: to cultivate native flora that will support birds and insects in the neighborhood. “I have lived and worked in Greenpoint since 2002 and have been involved in local environmental issues while also running Alive Structures with my husband,” Majorelle said. “We had often imagined one day working on a landscaping project in Greenpoint that would help reduce the pollution in this industrial neighborhood, and create open green space for people and pollinators to use.” The group’s funding request was approved for a 22,000-square-foot green roof atop Broadway Stage’s building on 520 Kingsland Avenue along Newtown Creek and in 2016, the first 10,000 square feet of green roof were installed. Today, the wildflower roof is covered with Prairie Dropseed grass and over twenty different native flowers species, including Orange Butterfly Weed, Tall Tickseed, Purple Coneflower, and Bee Balm. Busy bees can be seen pollinating the garden, buzzing from one bloom to the next while the massive silver “digester eggs” of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant loom in the distance. A spherical water fountain sculpture, the Aqualens by British artist Allison Armour , was installed this spring and serves as the center piece for the wildflower roof. Related: The Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city “I saw her work in a British garden design magazine and thought it would be perfect on our roof,” Majorelle said. “One of the main environmental benefits of green roofs is reducing water pollution. So I thought that Ms. Armour’s piece was a simple but powerful statement, which would help visitors reflect on the importance of water and our local environment.” Alive Structures is also working with Broadway Stages to introduce green roofs on its other buildings and using its funding to host workshops, festivals and educational lectures that get community members involved in the neighborhood’s revitalization. The upcoming Kingsland Wildflowers Sensorium (August 19 1pm–7pm) will be a celebration of the Greenpoint community and expose residents to ecology preservation through sensory stimulation, crafts and more. The 2nd Annual Kingsland Wildflowers Festival (September 23 12pm–4pm) invites all to explore the green roof and hopefully spark environmental activism in North Brooklyn. The Newtown Creek Wildflower Roof is still a project in progress with another 10,000 square feet currently being installed, but what currently exists is already a mini neighborhood oasis in a neglected pocket of industrial sites and gritty corners. + Alive Structures All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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A rooftop urban oasis springs to life in a polluted NYC neighborhood

Worlds largest book store opens in Tehran, Iran

August 24, 2017 by  
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Book lovers, we’ve found your dream destination – the world’s largest bookstore just opened in Tehran, Iran . The Book Garden is a gigantic green-roofed building measuring 154,000 square feet that has 12 miles of shelves packed with millions of books . The project is part of a larger 700,000 square foot complex that features several movie theaters, science halls, classrooms, a prayer room and a restaurant. The Book Garden aims to encourage Iranian children to be “active and creative through modern methods and equipment,” said Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. “The opening of the Book Garden is a big cultural event in the country, so that our children can make better use of this cultural and academic opportunity,” added Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. Mehr News reports that the Book Garden was first pitched in 2004 to cater to fans of the city’s annual International Book Fair. After construction was completed last spring, organizers spent the past few months stocking the facility it with books. According to RealIran , there are more than 400,000 titles available for kids alone. One of the centers even has shorter shelves to ensure younger kids can reach the educational resources. Related: Chinese watermelon plant yields 131 fruit for Guinness World Record The Book Garden is now the biggest bookstore in the world, according to the Guinness World Records . Until now, Barnes & Noble along Fifth Avenue in New York City held the record. + Kayson Inc Via Mehr News , RealIran Photos via RealIran , Pixabay

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Worlds largest book store opens in Tehran, Iran

NASA unveils plan to make oxygen on Mars

August 24, 2017 by  
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Future Mars colonists are going to need oxygen , and NASA has a plan to make it. Their Mars 2020 Rover will be equipped with a Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment device, nicknamed MOXIE, which will attempt to make oxygen via electrolysis . The oxygen could be used not only for breathing, but also for rocket fuel. NASA Acting Chief Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Jr. told Futurism , “The next lander that is going to Mars, Mars 2020, has an experiment where we are going to try and actually generate oxygen out of the atmosphere on Mars, clearly that’s for human capability down the road.” Michael Hecht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been the principal investigator for MOXIE. Oxygen is only present in trace amounts in the red planet’s atmosphere, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is pretty abundant; 95.32 percent of Mars’ atmosphere is comprised of CO2. A laser could ‘slice off’ the carbon atom in CO2 to leave O2 behind. But NASA’s going with another method: electrolysis, or using a fuel cell to split up the oxygen and carbon atoms. Related: NASA unveils inflatable greenhouse for sustainable farming on Mars It should take MOXIE around two hours to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere. It operates at a temperature of 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit, and its production rate is around 0.022 pounds an hour. The device is 9.4 by 9.4 by 12.2 inches big, and will hitch a ride to the fourth planet from the sun aboard the 2020 Rover. If the experiment is successful, NASA might one day send an instrument that is 100 times larger than MOXIE, so astronauts can breathe when they get to Mars. Via IFLScience and Futurism Images via NASA

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NASA unveils plan to make oxygen on Mars

Audi’s new solar-roofed car expected by the end of 2017

August 24, 2017 by  
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The idea of a solar-powered car has been floating around for years, with many little-known companies promising to bring the concept to life. But now it may finally happen. Audi recently announced that it’s working on a solar-powered vehicle prototype that they expect to complete by the end of 2017. Audi has teamed up with Alta Devices, a division of the Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, to develop thin-film solar cells that can be integrated into a panoramic glass roof. The solar cells would then power the vehicle’s electrical systems, like the air-conditioning system or seat heaters, which would improve the range of an electric vehicle . The idea of solar-powered accessories isn’t entirely new: both Toyota and Nissan have also used the technology. Related: Sono Motors unveils the $18,000 SION solar-powered car The bigger news is that the two companies hope to improve the technology, so that the solar energy could directly charge an electric car’s battery. Audi hasn’t given a timetable for that capability, but the new solar cells have an efficiency of more than 25 percent. Audi also says the solar cells, which will be produced in California by Alta Devices , perform well in low light and high temperature conditions. “The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable,” stated Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement Dr. Bernd Martens. + Audi Images @Audi

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Audi’s new solar-roofed car expected by the end of 2017

MVRDV transforms an abandoned highway into a "plant village" in the sky

May 23, 2017 by  
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Architectural superstars MVRDV have transformed an abandoned highway in Seoul into a 983-meter-long elevated Skygarden. The “plant village” is located high above traffic, and it welcomes visitors to stroll through 24,000 indigenous trees and shrubs. Dutch firm MVRDV  was tasked with turning a 1970s-era highway into a space that would not only add greenery to the city, but would make the area more pedestrian friendly. The design is called Seoullo 7017 is Korea, which means “Seoul Street,” combined with 1970 and 2017, the years the highway was built and the year it was renovated. The park contains more than just the garden walkway itself. Along the way are tea houses, shopes, galleries, a theater and restaurants. Former on and off-ramps were converted into stairs, elevators and ramps to get on and off the garden superhighway. Plants are organized on the Skygarden in different families. These families are grouped by the Korean alphabet. This naturally led to splitting the Skygarden into different groupings of fragrance and color, providing visitors with a different experience depending on the season and area of the garden . At night, the Skygarden is illuminated with blue light, which is healthier for the plants. Related: Philadelphia Unveils Their Own Elevated Rail Park for the Abandoned Reading Viaduct “Our design offers a living dictionary of plants which are part of the natural heritage of South Korea and now, existing in the city center,” said Winy Maas of MVRDV. “The idea here is to connect city dwellers with nature, while at the same time also offering the opportunity of experiencing these amazing views to the Historical Seoul Station and Namdaemun Gate.” + MVRDV via ArchDaily and Dezeen images via Ossip van Duivenbode

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MVRDV transforms an abandoned highway into a "plant village" in the sky

Tessellated Tree-Like Transportation Shelters Offer Unique Shade for Local College Students

February 25, 2014 by  
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When architects from Public: Architecture + Communication visited the University of British Columbia, they noticed a slight flaw in the campus’ urban design plan. Although the main university avenue was lined with beautiful trees, the bus stops were left as cold, barren concrete zones. They felt that these public spaces deserved to be equipped with functional nature-influenced transit shelters in order to give the campus a cohesively green urban aesthetic . Read the rest of Tessellated Tree-Like Transportation Shelters Offer Unique Shade for Local College Students Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bus shelter canopies , bus stop design , educational design , GLULAM Canopy , Public Architecture and Communication , transport design , Tree-Like Transit Shelters for UBC , University of British Columbia , Urban design , urban green space        

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NBBJ Unveils Striking Biosphere Greenhouses for Amazon’s Seattle HQ

May 22, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of NBBJ Unveils Striking Biosphere Greenhouses for Amazon’s Seattle HQ Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Amazon , amazon biospheres , amazon headquarters , biosphere , conservatory , eco design , eco office , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green office , greenhouse , Landscape Architecture , NBBJ , open space , park , plant-filled office , public open space , public park , Seattle , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , urban green space , urban park        

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NBBJ Unveils Striking Biosphere Greenhouses for Amazon’s Seattle HQ

MVRDV & Space Group Propose Plan for Green & Sustainable Growth in Norway

May 9, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of MVRDV & Space Group Propose Plan for Green & Sustainable Growth in Norway Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , “sustainable development” , eco design , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green masterplan , madla-revheim masterplan , MVRDV , norway , parks , public park , Space Group , stavenger , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , sustainable growth , Urban design , urban green space , urban masterplan        

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MVRDV & Space Group Propose Plan for Green & Sustainable Growth in Norway

Jardin Serge Gainsbourg: Paris’ New Urban Park Bridges a Highway to Unite Two Communities

October 5, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Jardin Serge Gainsbourg: Paris’ New Urban Park Bridges a Highway to Unite Two Communities Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , eco design , green architecture , green design , green space , jardin serge gainsbourg , jardin serge gainsbourge , Landscape Architecture , landscape design , Paris , park , rainwater collection , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , sustainable landscape , Territoires , Urban design , urban garden , urban green space , urban park

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Jardin Serge Gainsbourg: Paris’ New Urban Park Bridges a Highway to Unite Two Communities

Construction To Begin on Chicago’s Elevated Bloomingdale Trail Next Summer

October 1, 2012 by  
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(aerial photo courtesy of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and David Schalliol) Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates presented the team’s latest renderings and plans for the Bloomingdale Trail and park to the public last week. This was the last chance for public comment before final plans are released in December. Both A|N Blog and Steven Vance recapped the meeting and shared about the updates to the nearly 3-mile long park. The elevated trail and park will be 2.7 miles long and will feature bike and pedestrian paths, native plant landscaping, play areas and new parks at the 8 access points along the trail. The new renderings show a more complete picture of how the park will be landscaped and which specific amenities will go where. The design team answered more questions regarding privacy for homes within close proximity to the park and they helped explain how design features will keep bicyclists from riding too fast. Public art, new wildlife habitats and improving environmental quality are all important aspects of the project as well. To see plans in even greater detail, check out the presentation pdf over at A|N Blog . + Bloomingdale Trail + Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Images Courtesy of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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