Studio Gang’s Solar Carve is a faceted jewel of a building in NYC’s Meatpacking District

February 27, 2017 by  
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The curtain is set to rise on Solar Carve , a glistening jewel of a building set to soar above New York City’s 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. Jeanne Gang’s Studio Gang architecture has given the tower a chiseled, gem-like exterior that almost appears to be sculpted by the rays of the sun. Caught between the High Line and the Hudson River, the 139,000-square-foot structure will have light, fresh air, and spectacular views in abundance. “All of our floors have unparalleled views of the Hudson River,” said Jared Epstein of Aurora Capital , which is developing the space in tandem with William Gottlieb Real Estate . Cushman & Wakefield will handle the leasing of Solar Carve, which is poised to open in the first quarter of 2019. The building is targeting LEED Gold certification, and according to the Post amenities will include a 10,000-square-foot planted rooftop and an 8,000-square-foot terrace on the second floor “at High Line height.” All office floors, save the seventh, will have private terraces. For two-wheeled commuters, there will also be a bike room, plus a locker room with showers. Rooms, which will feature 16-foot-tall wall-to-ceiling windows, will range in size from 13,700 to 14,200 square feet. “Each floor is slightly different because of the carve of the building,” added Epstein. The 17,000-square-foot ground floor will likely be devoted to retail. Future occupants will luxuriate in a heightened environment characterized by 17.5-foot-tall ceilings and 300 feet of glass frontage. Related: Studio Gang creates a new kind of energy as it transforms a Wisconsin power plant into an arts college facility “There is nothing like this building,” said Bruce Mosler of Cushman & Wakefield. “It will be unique to the Meatpacking [District], which is exploding with excitement.” + Solar Carve Tower + Studio Gang Via Curbed

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Studio Gang’s Solar Carve is a faceted jewel of a building in NYC’s Meatpacking District

Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

February 23, 2017 by  
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London-based architecture firm Tonkin Liu recently revealed their competition-winning designs for the Cradle Towers in Zhengzhou , China. Centered on a large green space, this collection of five mixed-use towers is designed with a swooping sculptural form to mimic the nearby Songshan mountains. This urban “mountainscape” will be partly covered in greenery and feature a responsive skin to control solar shading and maximize energy efficiency. Located in a city regarded as China’s cradle of civilization, the 434,000-square-meter Cradle Towers pay homage to the city’s ancient past with its nature-inspired form and simultaneously looks to the future with its contemporary design. The five tapered towers will be built at different heights atop a podium . The towers surround a central park with a large man-made lake that will double as an ice skating rink in the winter. Related: 5+design stacks a dramatic mountain-inspired mixed-use project atop a transit hub in Shenyang The mixed-use buildings will comprise offices, apartments, and a hotel. The podium base will contain retail and leisure open to the public. The fritted glass facade will feature a responsive skin that changes to minimize solar heat gain . The facade has a subtle color gradation and transitions from dark at the podium base to light at the tops of the building, “establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky,” write the architects. Each building will be topped by a landscaped rooftop. + Tonkin Liu Via ArchDaily

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Mountain-inspired skyscrapers unveiled for Zhengzhou

China plans its first "Forest City" to fight air pollution

February 22, 2017 by  
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Just weeks after Stefano Boeri announced plans for China’s first vertical forest, the Italian architect unveiled an even more ambitious vision: Forest Cities. Scaling up from his tree-clad Bosco Verticale skyscraper, Boeri created a blueprint for new cities in China that will be blanketed in greenery to fight air pollution. The first implementation of the nature-filled city will start in the city of Liuzhou, with construction expected to begin later this year. Stefano Boeri’s Forest City masterplans are envisioned as models of sustainable growth in China , a country choked with smog and undergoing rapid urbanization as millions of farmers migrate to cities every year. “We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades,” Boeri told the Guardian . “We are working very seriously on designing all the different buildings. I think they will start to build at the end of this year. By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China.” The Forest City was created as a scalable development following a petal formation. Each petal, which caters to a population of 20,000, can be scaled to include five petals in a single region, forming a flower-like formation centered on communal green space . All buildings would be covered in trees and greenery to help suck tons of carbon out of the atmosphere, pump oxygen into the air, and provide soothing habitat to both humans and native fauna. Related: China’s first vertical forest is rising in Nanjing The first Forest City settlement is planned for Liuzhou, home to around 1.5 million residents in the southern province of Guangxi. Boeri has high hopes to build the second Forest City in Shijiazhuang, a northern city in Hebei province that ranks among China’s worst for air quality . + Stefano Boeri Via The Guardian Images via Stefano Boeri

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China plans its first "Forest City" to fight air pollution

Moscows Urban Farm teaches kids how to grow their own food

January 23, 2017 by  
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City living often removes people from nature and from where their food comes from, but an initiative in Moscow proves that doesn’t need to be the norm. Russian architecture firm Wowhaus recently completed Urban Farm, a development in Moscow’s VDNKh park that reconnects children with nature by teaching them how to grow their own food and how to cook meals. The farm in the city is the first of its kind in Moscow and covers a variety of agricultural activities from raising livestock to tending vegetable gardens. Located next to the Kamenskiye Ponds, the three-hectare Urban Farm comprises a series of open-air and covered areas built mainly of timber based on wooden house archetypes such as double-pitched roofs. The development is made up of three main educational areas: the livestock zone that includes a barn with chicken coops and pasture for the nearly 60 animals on site including goats, sheep, cows, and more; the workshops zone; and the crop zone that includes greenhouses , orchard, and vegetable garden. The Urban Farm is also home to a restaurant that includes a small cooking school for kids, a kiosk and picnic area, a library, children’s play area, and children’s fishing zone. Children are not only allowed to interact with animals, but are also encouraged to take care of them by preparing their food or directly feeding them. Staff teach children how to further care for the livestock and the economics and management of farming such as balancing a farm budget and making financial decisions. An on-site veterinarian makes sure all animals are well taken care of. Workshops housed in the beautiful arched buildings offer classes on pottery, woodworking, and other artistic pursuits. The greenhouses, clad in a pineapple-like facade, include hydroponic farming for herbs and vegetables, soil-based farming for flowers, and a nursery for more exotic plants. Related: Studio Gang’s Chicago farm school will teach kids how to grow their own organic food “The main objective of the project is to educate,” says a statement on VDNHk’s website . “Live exhibition is aimed primarily at children, but, as the experience shows not only kids, but also adults are happy to come here. All year round there will be held master classes, lectures, thematic presentations of plants and animals, as well as different recreational activities.” + Wowhaus Images via Wowhaus , VDNH

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Moscows Urban Farm teaches kids how to grow their own food

Minimalist Urban Nomad Kit lets travelers carry traces of home in a small wooden basket

January 17, 2017 by  
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Living a nomadic lifestyle just got a little more Zen thanks to the Japanese-inspired Nomad Life Kit. Mexican designer Geraldo Osio has created a minimalist wooden basket that carries a handful of basic necessities inside so travelers can have a sense of a home anywhere they go. All of the items in the kit are all manufactured by Japanese craftsmen and made of natural materials. Although the tiny wooden box may seem like a simple picnic basket, the idea behind the design is much more sentimental. Osio wanted to provide wanderers with a true sense of belonging while on the road. As the designer explains on his website , “This kind of lifestyle creates a tendency of losing a sense of belonging to a place.” Related: Tiny Helix Shelter made of laster-cut recycled cardboard is a temporary habitat for one Inside the box, nomads will find items that age as they use them. The leather straps on the box will soften and darken over time and the copper tableware set found on the inside will patina. The stone candle and incense holder are included in the set to offer the owner a familiar sense of smell and light wherever they may go. And if they ever find themselves without a place to rest or sleep, a simple straw mat and cushion will provide comfort for a quick rest or overnight stay . + Gerardo Osio Via Fast Codesign Images via Gerardo Osio

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INTERVIEW: Dorothy Neagle of the Good Food Jobs "gastro-job" search tool

January 12, 2017 by  
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In 2004, friends Dorothy Neagle and Taylor Cocalis Suazez created Good Food Jobs , an innovative “gastro-job” search tool, with the compelling tagline “satisfying the hunger for meaningful work.” The site offers a highly personalized support system to both employers and job seekers in every aspect of the food industry – from agriculture to education. We spoke to Dorothy Neagle, one half of Good Food Jobs, about taking a stand against unpaid internships, the vulnerability associated with job-hunting, and revolution in the food industry . Good Food Jobs is a two-woman show. The co-founders are not only good friends but also ice-cream aficionados. INHABITAT: At first glance, Good Food Jobs is a job site where people can post and find work opportunities involving food (whether it be service, production or other) in some way. Yet it is also much more than that. Can you describe the mission behind the endeavor? DOROTHY: When we started Good Food Jobs, we were creating something that we ourselves had a need for: a one-stop-shop for job opportunities that were not just related to food but were also personally fulfilling. One of our fundamental goals was to expand awareness around what a good food job was, and how working in the food industry went beyond the kitchen – that’s why we created eight categories for the jobs (Agriculture, Business, Culinary, Education, Media, Nonprofit, Production, and Other). INHABITAT: What is each of your own career trajectories? How did food, design, and values-driven initiatives intersect in each of your own paths? DOROTHY: My background is in Interior Design, and I spent my early years out of university working for an architecture firm in New York City. But I had a secondary goal in life that began to creep forward over time, a strong desire to merge environmental activism with my daily work. I quickly became unsatisfied with the client-driven goals of working in design and architecture, and I turned to food because agriculture and food culture are inherently planet-driven. Having met Taylor while studying at Cornell, we ultimately put our heads together and took the leap to start GFJ. INHABITAT: We are in an era where both the traditional workplace and the expectations of workers are changing (seeking meaningfulness in what they do, flexibility, user-friendly and collaborative, open workspaces, for example). How is Good Food Jobs disrupting the traditional job listings site and offering members (who sign up for free) more? DOROTHY: Good Food Jobs is a community space. When people find us through word-of-mouth or Google searching, they often remark that they feel as if they’ve been welcomed by something they had always yearned for but didn’t know existed. We personally answer every email in our business inbox, and we frequently catch typos and errors in job postings because we’re personally reviewing each one before we publish. We also took a stand against unpaid internships in 2014 (we no longer post them) and this year we’ve required that all employers be more transparent about the wages offered in their jobs. We make these changes incrementally as a result of feedback from our users. INHABITAT: GFJ primarily serves not only job-seekers, but also companies, institutions, restaurants and farms – to name a few. When it comes to the website design, imagery, newsletters and social media channels of GFJ, how do you reach and engage your target demographic? DOROTHY: I’m not sure what our target demographic is…human beings? Since we’ve never conducted a formal PR campaign, or placed more than an occasional advertisement, we rely on human connection to help us spread the word organically. Our daily work is basically customer service, and we take it very seriously (but not too seriously). When GFJ resonates with people, it’s because we’re identifying and opening up real conversation about some of our most vulnerable human experiences – and what makes you feel more vulnerable than looking for a job? INHABITAT: There is the perception that a GFJ job applicant likely exhibits a certain set of qualities and values. Can you speak more about your mission and your definition of a “good food job” – “a pursuit involving the efforts to nourish one’s own life, and the lives of others?” DOROTHY: Our tag line really says it all: satisfying the hunger for meaningful work. When you feel compelled to align your daily life with your deepest need for connection and fulfillment, it’s either because you are personally craving that change, or you experienced an event or situation or interaction outside of yourself that prompted the craving. Either way, doing work that is helpful to your own mind and body and spirit is inherently helpful to the mind and body and spirit of others, and vice versa. GFJ recognizes and acknowledges that need, and hopefully provides some possible avenues for meeting it. Good Food Jobs features weekly “Words of Wisdom” in its newsletters, which are downloadable via the Good Food Jobs site. INHABITAT: GFJ posts jobs from around the country and even international postings. How do you work with employers that are looking to find, via GFJ, talent with not only specific skills but maybe also a certain mindset or approach? DOROTHY: Our job posting form has built-in advice for crafting a job description that will help you to reach the kind of folks that are truly passionate and love – or want to love – what they do for a living. We offer free trials and discounted job packages, as well as standard discounts for nonprofits, small farms, and other budget-challenged businesses. We’re constantly striving to bridge the employer/employee divide by offering honest, supportive advice. INHABITAT: In recent years, in the United States there has been a huge interest in how things are made, by who, where, and by what standards-whether it be what we eat, or the textiles that we wear against our skin. Magazines like Kinfolk, Good Food Jobs, “artisanal” shops, the campaign Small Business Saturday-all seem to speak to this growing nationwide interest. What is your take on this, and how do you see this evolving, not only in places like Brooklyn, but in small towns and cities across the country? DOROTHY: I think it’s fantastic. It comes from a real place. Many businesses will jump on the marketing bandwagon, and try to ‘identify the trends’ and adjust their ‘branding’, and that can feel false at times. But regardless of the motive for increasing the sustainability of the products that affect our daily lives, the end result is positive change. I don’t have a crystal ball, but it’s my hope that establishing these kinds of practices will become habitual, and create a new standard of quality that we all strive for and come to expect. INHABITAT: What are some recent trends you see in the fields of agriculture and the service industry? DOROTHY: There’s an increasing need that we continue to encounter, and that is for respect and courtesy on all sides of the hiring process, in spite of the shortcuts that technology affords. I also see a tremendous opportunity to create healthier, more supportive work environments, especially with service-oriented positions that have traditionally been viewed as entry level or low/no-skill. Educating our employees through their daily work, and recognizing that we can learn from them, as well, is the key to continued growth. Agricultural work continues to be a growing field, and there are now so many more ways to get involved in fresh, local food – from urban farms to grocery delivery services to creating links between farms and restaurants, it hasn’t even begun to answer the demand that exists. INHABITAT: At a time of rapid change in the country, how do you think this will impact how we grow, market and enjoy our food? DOROTHY: It’s really hard to say, but I can tell you that in spite of the change swirling around us, our focus at GFJ remains the same: bringing people together around the shared hunger for meaningful work. I think that what we all hold constant in uncertain times is what will ultimately make the biggest personal and professional impact. + Dorothy Neagle + Good Food Jobs Photos courtesy of Good Food Jobs This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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INTERVIEW: Dorothy Neagle of the Good Food Jobs "gastro-job" search tool

Striking new footbridge rehabilitates formerly derelict area of French city

January 11, 2017 by  
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A modern pedestrian bridge in Vitré, France not only provides a convenient walkway from a new carpark to the adjacent train station, it has also transformed the previously derelict area into a vibrant green space . The disjointed design and concrete aesthetic of the walkway, designed by TETRARC Architectes, contrasts nicely with the stepped green lawn and various garden pockets tucked into the concrete structure itself. The elongated concrete footbridge stretches over the rail lines of the Vitré Station, providing easy access from the carpark to the station. A timber footpath continues from the carpark to the local “Place de la Victoire” (Victory Square), creating a continual path from the square to the station. Related: Beautiful Esch-sur-Alzette Footbridge Leads Pedestrians from Chaotic Traffic to a Peaceful Green Park In addition to the convenience of a large parking lot next to to the train station, the new bridge serves as a public space that spruces up a previously abandoned area. The architects also thought to leave little pockets of individual space such as a look outarea that juts out over the greenery, a perfect spot for personal reflection. + TETRARC Architectes Via Archdaily Photography by Stéphane Chalmeau

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Striking new footbridge rehabilitates formerly derelict area of French city

How to choose a living tree to replant after Christmas

December 8, 2016 by  
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It takes about 10 years for a Christmas tree to reach maturity, and it’s a shame to kill a tree just so it can prop up ornaments and lights for a couple of weeks. Even though many cities do an admirable job of recycling trees (or ‘treecycling’) after the holidays are over, it’s always a bit depressing to see hundreds of dried-up, tinsel-covered trees out on the curb in early January. So instead of heading out to a tree farm, you might consider bringing a live, potted tree into your home this winter. After the holidays are over, you can plant the tree in the ground again (or you can get someone else to plant it), so it can get back to sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere. Purchase a Tree from a Nursery Nurseries in most parts of the country sell young pines and fir trees, and the best way to find a tree is to call around to local nurseries and ask what’s in stock. Living trees are much heavier than cut trees (a typical 5-foot tree is about 150 pounds), so you’ll probably want to choose a slightly smaller tree than normal. Transporting a living tree is a bit trickier than a cut tree, because you’ll need to treat it more delicately. The Original Living Christmas Tree Company in Portland suggests standing it up in the trunk of a car, so that the crown is sticking out behind. Locate a Tree Rental Service If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a home for your tree after the holidays are over, a tree rental service might be a better option. Although tree rental services have been around for a few years in several cities, they aren’t available everywhere. Currently most of the live tree rental services in the country are located in California, Oregon and Washington. The Original Living Christmas Tree Company, which has been renting potted trees since 1992, is one of the oldest rental services in the country, and it offers eight different varieties for rent. In San Diego, dancing, singing elves from the Adopt A Christmas Tree company will deliver a potted tree to your front door. In most places, potted tree rentals will run from $75 to $100, but the prices vary widely. The Adopt-a-Stream Foundation in Everett, Washington, for example, offers tree rentals for just $20. In Los Angeles, prices at the Living Christmas Co. range from $25 for a tiny 2-foot allepo pine tree to more than $250 for a stately 9-foot Turkish fir. Choose a Tree that Grows Naturally in Your Region It’s important when choosing a Christmas tree to select one that grows naturally in your region so that once it’s replanted it will survive — hopefully — for many years to come. In the Pacific Northwest, Douglas fir is a good option. If you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, you might consider Virginia pine or Eastern red cedar. And in the Northeast, a variety of pines and firs like Balsam fir, Fraser fir and white pine grow naturally. But who says all Christmas trees need to be conifers? In San Francisco, Friends of the Urban Forest and SF Environment offer non-traditional Christmas trees, like southern magnolia and small leaf tristania, which are planted on city streets after the Holidays. How To Care for a Live Tree Live trees should be treated with a bit more tenderness than a typical cut tree, because you want to make sure that it survives when it’s replanted. But you don’t need to have a green thumb to keep it alive. Just make sure it gets enough water (but not too much), and don’t leave it indoors too long. The longer you leave a tree inside the more acclimated it will become to the warm temperature. If you keep it indoors too long, it might not be hearty enough to plant outside. It’s best to keep the room that the tree is in as cool as possible, and if possible, use small LED lights and minimal ornaments so that you don’t put too much added stress on the tree. What To Do When Christmas is Over Once Christmas is over, rental services come to retrieve their trees. Some services rent the same trees every year, so in theory, if you like the tree you had last year, you could get it again this year (though it’ll be slightly taller). Others plant them after one use. If you purchase a tree from a nursery, you’ll have to deal with it yourself. There are a few options for live tree owners: you can donate the tree to a local parks department, church or school, or you can keep it an plant it yourself. If you live in a very cold climate, you’ll probably have to keep the tree in a pot until the ground thaws a bit  — just be sure to keep it outside and properly watered! Lead image (modified) © Louisa de Miranda and Flickr user Wonderlane

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How to choose a living tree to replant after Christmas

UPS rolls out first e-bike delivery in the United States

December 8, 2016 by  
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The United Parcel Service (UPS) recently announced their first e-bike delivery program in the United States. Continuing wide-ranging sustainability efforts, the company chose Portland , Oregon to host their environmentally-conscious program. 109 years ago, UPS got its start delivering messages and packages via bicycle . Although the company eventually steered towards delivery by automobiles and airplanes, bikes may now be making a comeback, according to UPS Senior Vice President for Global Engineering and Sustainability Mark Wallace. On November 21, UPS’s special electronically-powered tricycle started making deliveries in Portland, a city the company chose because they already deliver via bicycle there seasonally. Related: This solar-powered e-bike has a top speed of 30 mph Portland mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement, “Portland, like all cities, is looking for ways to fight urban congestion and pollution. It’s great when a company like UPS brings us a unique solution that will help us combat climate change and protect the environment.” UPS’ e-bike could allow the company to ramp up sustainable delivery, as they can carry more, travel further, and navigate hills easier than traditional bikes. Deliverers can either pedal the bike or allow the electric motor powered by a battery to do the work. According to UPS, the e-bike is most energy-efficient when a human is pedaling and relying on battery power at the same time. UPS tested e-bike delivery service in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, where they evaluated both bicycle and on-foot delivery methods. The successful experiment saw emissions reduced and traffic eased, according to UPS, and in 2015 it was announced the program would continue for two more years. UPS will now assess the e-bike’s design and reliability, and how well the bike fits into Portland. Should the pioneering pilot project work, the company hopes to deploy more e-bikes, possibly as soon as 2017. + United Parcel Service Images courtesy of United Parcel Service

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UPS rolls out first e-bike delivery in the United States

Green Places Community Clubhouse in Tainan invites nature indoors

November 24, 2016 by  
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The Green Places Community Clubhouse design follows the firm’s philosophy of viewing buildings as “living beings.” Taking cues from nature, the building features an organic-inspired curvaceous facade and interior decor, where timber and natural gray stone is used prominently and sculpted in rounded forms. Tall vertical indoor elements evoke the feeling of a forest, while timber surfaces and full-height continuous glazing wraps around the building to invite landscape views and natural light indoors. The outdoor landscape features multiple water features, including a swimming pool and reflecting pool. The multistory building provides spaces for dining, reading, exercising, learning, sharing, and communication. To minimize the clubhouse’s energy footprint, the architects installed a solid wall to the west of the building to protect against intense sun exposure. To the east, a grove of trees protects the swimming pool from cold winter mornings, while an overhang provides shade on sunny days. Waterproof nano silane ketone resin is used on the facade to control mold. Gaps between the anodized aluminum panels and RC walls promote natural cooling . Related: Solar-powered home in Tainan puts a modern twist on the traditional courtyard house “The design emphasizes not only a comfortable indoor environment, but a natural outdoor environment,” write the architects. “In addition to fulfilling residents’ needs, it provides a comfortable environment where residents enjoy socializing with their neighbours. The aim is to give the community’s residents a sense of belonging and happiness.” + Chain 10 Urban Space Design Via v2com Images by Kuo-Min Lee

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