Community hub built of recycled materials spotlights exploitation of nature in Vietnam

December 6, 2018 by  
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In their latest eco-friendly project, Vietnamese design studio H&P Architects completed an inspiring community hub built mainly from recycled waste materials. Located near a large and polluted industrial park in Dong Van town in Ha Nam province, the project aims to draw attention to the exploitation of natural resources in Vietnam  — specifically illegal rock mining — while celebrating the beauty of the nation’s landscapes. Built with thick recycled stone walls, scaffolding and bamboo, the structure has been dubbed S Space (S = Save the Stone & Scaffolding) in reference to the materials used. Open to the community, S Space offers a flexible gathering space for cultural and artistic events and even functions as a daily coffee meeting space. H&P Architects want to shine the light on illegal rock mining  and the environmental problems it has created for Vietnam’s beautiful landscapes, including the area of Kem Trong between the provinces of Ha Nam and Ninh Binh. “From this perspective, the design concept is to make use of waste ( reusing scaffolding steel pipes, collecting rock debris from Kem Trong, discarded rocks from trade villages and construction sites) to express the treasure, nostalgia / regret of local people at the bygones of the landscape,” explain the architects. “The project helps raise alert at unplanned exploitation of natural resources in Vietnam today, which have wiped out many rocks with historical and cultural values, resulting in a serious imbalance between the natural ecosystem and the human one. In this sense, the message S Space conveys is: ‘Architecture bears responsibility for the natural and social-cultural environment.” Related: Eco-friendly AgriNesture buildings promote agriculture and job growth in Vietnam Constructed in the image of two rocky mountains with a river running in between, S Space comprises a series of zigzagging 16-inch-thick stone walls representative of a mountain landscape. The forests and river are symbolized with an abundance of greenery and the outdoor pool, which help create a cooling microclimate . The upper level, dubbed the “Big Cloud”, is built of steel pipe scaffolding combined with bamboo flooring and topped with a roof constructed from thatched bamboo and polycarbonate panels. A sprinkler system mounted on the roof sprays a cooling mist on hot summer days. + H&P Architects Photography by Nguyen Tien Thanh via H&P Architects

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Community hub built of recycled materials spotlights exploitation of nature in Vietnam

Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

November 12, 2018 by  
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The ReNew outerwear line, launched in late October by Everlane , has yanked three million water bottles out of the waste stream and turned them into fibers for the venture. The new collection offers cleaner fashion in an industry known for heavy pollution and resource consumption. This first round of renewed clothing includes four fleece pullover options, six puffer jackets and three parkas. While other companies have edged toward the trend of incorporating recycled materials into their production, Everlane is taking it a step further. Everlane has vowed to eliminate all virgin plastic from its manufacturing processes by 2021 and instead will rely 100 percent on recycled materials . Furthermore, the company will eliminate all single-use plastics from corporate offices and retail store locations. It has also committed to the use of recycled bags when shipping merchandise. The commitment is a firm one, as evidenced by the process involved to turn plastic into usable fibers. First, the facility receives large bales of compressed plastic bottles that are sorted using a combination of human and machine efforts. After sorting, the bottles are ground down into tiny flakes and subsequently melted into molten plastic. Next, that plastic is sent through a machine that turns it into long strands and then dices the strands into crystals. Once they arrive at the spinning facility, those crystals are melted down once again, turned into thread and spun into yarn for fabrics. Related: Clothing made from recycled water bottles highlights the ongoing crisis in Flint In addition to the ReNew line aimed at conscientious material sourcing, Everlane offers sustainability with the goal for its products to last for decades. This is in steep contrast to many textile industry business plans that market trendy and disposable clothing to encourage consumers to constantly purchase the newest, flash-in-the-pan item. In addition, the company demands fair trade practices from the factories it works with and believes in ethical treatment of employees. In fact, all Black Friday profits are returned to the employees in some fashion. As a case in point, the 2018 profits are earmarked to build an organic farm on the campus of a facility in Vietnam, a country with otherwise excessive pesticide use that pollutes the food supply. + Everlane Via Treehugger Images via Everlane

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Everlane introduces long-lasting outerwear made from recycled water bottles

Freedom for 5 moon bears held captive for 21 years on a bile farm

August 31, 2018 by  
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This Monday, non-profit group Animals Asia saved five moon bears that had been captive for more than two decades on a farm in Vietnam . The animals were held for 21 years, receiving regular bile extractions until their rescue from the southern town of My Tho, according to the group. The NGO transported the “freedom five” 1,050 miles by truck over the course of the week to Vietnam’s Tam Dao National Park. They were eagerly awaited at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre , an expansive and lush sanctuary dedicated to the animals’ conservation since 2006. The #FiveAlive bears have been given names for the very first time in their lives. LeBON, Kim, Mai, Star and Mekong were treated for injuries such as abdominal penetrations as well as dental decay from malnutrition and biting the cages in attempts to free themselves. Related: Montana judge to rule on first grizzly bear hunt in 40 years “We know that in more than 20 years of cruel incarceration, LeBON, Star, Mai, Mekong and Kim have never had proper nutrition or medical care,” Animals Asia Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said. “They have known only rusty cages and a life of suffering. They were viewed as commodities and not treated as individuals. At the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, they will finally experience freedom, play in grassy enclosures, forage for food and have the chance to behave like real bears.” The moon bear, also referred to as the Asiatic Black Bear, as well as sun bears and brown bears are often captured by bile farms who sell the compounds in the practice of traditional medicine. The bears are listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List and endangered by the  CITES list . The global nonprofit Animals Asia was founded by Jill Robinson MBE and is celebrating its 20 year anniversary this month. Since then, Robinson, a medical veterinarian who is recognized as the world’s leading authority on the cruel bear bile industry, has been devoted to ending the longstanding eastern tradition of bile farming. “We eagerly await LeBON, Kim, Mekong, Star and Mai’s arrival at their new home at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre,” Robinson announced shortly before their arrival. “They will never suffer behind bars again. This is an important step in our work to remove all of the bears who remain on farms in Vietnam from their cages and bring them to sanctuary . It is a new day for these innocent bears who will now finally enjoy some of the freedoms they were denied so long ago.” Related: Polar bears could go extinct sooner than scientists previously thought The Vietnamese government has been compliant with the NGO’s efforts, even signing a groundbreaking memorandum in 2017 agreeing to the removal and relocation of approximately 800 bears from bile farms to sanctuaries such as the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre. Social media support of the #FiveAlive mission has been pouring in with growing encouragement to donate to the bears’ care for the remainder of their — now free — lives. + Animals Asia Images via Animals Asia

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Freedom for 5 moon bears held captive for 21 years on a bile farm

Beautiful bamboo arches breathe new life into a bland concrete building

June 27, 2018 by  
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Vietnamese architecture firm Vo Trong Nghia has unveiled their latest example of bamboo brilliance at Nocenco cafe, a renovated rooftop restaurant in the city center of Vinh in central Vietnam . The client asked the firm to insert a unique and eye-catching addition to the top of a seven-story concrete building using local materials. After studying several options, including brick and stone, the architects settled on bamboo to create an airy and lightweight space with dramatic vaulted ceilings. Completed in May of this year, the renovated Nocenco cafe covers an area of 4,700 square feet across two floors; both levels frame vistas over the surrounding low-rise houses, the river, and forest beyond. Most buildings in the area were damaged in the Vietnam War and subsequently renovated with colonial-style concrete facades. Rather than change the building’s existing envelope, Vo Trong Nghia was asked to create an addition that would look iconic and dramatically different from the local building norm. The architects decided to use bamboo and craft a structure that could be easily recognized from the street. “Through our experience, we know bamboo is [easy] to access in this tropical climate which reduces construction time and budget,” says Vo Trong Nghia. “The essence of using bamboo in this project is ‘lightness’…bamboo…can be lifted up by a few workers and easily [transported] to the highest floor by a crane. In addition, it is possible to install the bamboo structure without any additional structural support.” Related: Gorgeous bamboo hall welcomes visitors to a relaxing coastal oasis in Vietnam Bamboo was inserted on the rooftop as well as in the restaurant’s seventh floor. A series of bamboo columns were carefully placed to conceal parts of the existing structure and to divide the restaurant into different programmatic functions. The lower level boasts a curvaceous ceiling, while the L-shaped rooftop features two sweeping bamboo vaults and a soaring domed space for spectacular effect. + Vo Trong Nghia Images by Trieu Chien

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Beautiful bamboo arches breathe new life into a bland concrete building

Russia just launched a 70 MW floating nuclear power plant to the Arctic Ocean

May 1, 2018 by  
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Russia recently launched a floating nuclear power station on the Baltic Sea. The 70-megawatt Akademik Lomonosov plant will journey north around Norway to the Arctic town Pevek, and it could ultimately provide power for around 100,000 people . However some fear its environmental impact — Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe nuclear expert Jan Haverkamp referred to the plant as a “nuclear Titanic”. “Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment which is already under enormous pressure from climate change ,” Haverkamp said in a statement . State-owned company Rosatom built the Akademik Lomonosov, which has been in the works for years. The floating nuclear plant has two reactors and is towed by two boats. Akademik Lomonosov will replace the Bilibino nuclear power plant, constructed in 1974, and the 70-year-old Chaunskaya Thermal Power Plant. Ars Technica said Bilibino was once the world’s northernmost nuclear power station, and the Akademik Lomonosov will claim that title when it starts operating. Related: NASA just unveiled a tiny nuclear reactor for future Mars residents In Pevek, construction of onshore infrastructure is underway. The pier, hydraulic engineering structures and other buildings important for mooring will be ready to go when Akademik Lomonosov arrives. The plant will provide electricity for remote industrial plants, port cities and offshore oil and gas platforms. Rosatom said the nuclear processes at the floating plant “meet all requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency and do not pose any threat to the environment .” But environmental groups aren’t happy. Haverkamp said, “Contrary to claims regarding safety, the flat-bottomed hull and the floating nuclear power plant’s lack of self-propulsion makes it particularly vulnerable to tsunamis and cyclones .” This isn’t the world’s first floating nuclear power station. The United States had a floating nuclear plant between 1968 and 1975 in Panama that powered nearby communities and the military during the Vietnam War. + Rosatom + Greenpeace Via Ars Technica and Engadget Images © Nicolai Gontar/Greenpeace ( 1 , 2 )

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Russia just launched a 70 MW floating nuclear power plant to the Arctic Ocean

This caf in Vietnam is a modern-day Hanging Gardens of Babylon

March 22, 2018 by  
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This glass and steel building in Vietnam –a present for the owner’s wife- is filled with beautiful hanging plants that bring life into the interior. Architecture studio Le House designed An’garden Café as a mix of industrial design inspired by Vietnam’s traditional coffee shops and a dream-like interior landscape. With its verdant interior, the building reminds of Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Providing a serene environment amidst the noisy streets of Ha Noi, the project is an exclusive space that brings visitors enjoyment from both coffee fragrance and picturesque surroundings. Related: Beijing cafe shaped like a greenhouse is filled with air-purifying plants The glass-and-steel structure, along with simple cement walls, are placed in an almost decorative and seemingly random way. Plants were introduced to soften the rough industrial look of the place and harmonize the indoor environment. An’garden Café has two floors with a mezzanine suitable for those who want to focus on their work. A wooden-framed curtain on the ceiling partly blocks natural light , with the top floor receiving the most sunlight during the day. A small pond with aquatic plants is placed right under the staircase, on the ground floor. + Le House Via Archdaily Photos by Hyroyuki Oki

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This caf in Vietnam is a modern-day Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnams beaches

February 12, 2018 by  
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The Vietnamese government has given the green light to Mui Dinh Ecopark, a massive eco-resort expected to become one of Asia’s largest hospitality and leisure developments. Designed by architecture firm Chapman Taylor’s Bangkok studio, the mega-project will span 1,800 acres and comprise seven hotels for a total of 7,000 rooms in addition to a theme park, 500 villas, casino, beach club, and mountain clubhouse. The project is envisioned as a “sustainable destination.” Set on southern Vietnam’s beautiful white sandy shores in Mui Dinh, the enormous eco-resort will take inspiration from the local area’s rich history while paying careful attention to the environment. Little has been revealed on how the massive development plans to reduce its environmental footprint, but the renderings provide some clues: the buildings appear to take cues from the local vernacular with thatched roofs and natural materials rather that concrete construction. The visuals also show an idyllic verdant setting thick with trees while the larger buildings take the form of rounded mountains. Related: Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials “Set on a beautiful site on the east coast of Vietnam, Mui Dinh Ecopark is designed to reflect the key elements of the surrounding environment – sand, sea, salt and sun,” wrote the architects. “Intended as an unrivalled hospitality-led mixed-use development in Asia , the development is inspired by the rich local history of Mui Dinh, particularly that of the Cham tribal culture and architecture as well as the lost world of the last dynasty.” + Chapman Taylor Via ArchDaily Images via Chapman Taylor

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David Chipperfield Architects reveal designs for Hamburgs tallest tower

February 12, 2018 by  
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Hot on the heels of Herzog & de Meuron’s recently completed Elbphilharmonie , David Chipperfield Architects has revealed designs for the German city’s next big architecture project: Elbtower. Towering above the skyline at 230 meters (755 feet), the sculptural mixed-use building will be the tallest building in the city and serve as a counterpoint to Elbphilharmonie to the west. David Chipperfield Architects’ designs for Elbtower won an international design competition that sought a building that was modern yet also captured the historic and unique character of the riverfront location. Its sculptural form features a long multi-level podium that then curves upwards to form a 230-meter-tall tower with tapered edges. The podium will comprise a bar, hotel, restaurant, retail, and exhibition areas. The building will also enjoy easy access to the train and underground station as well as a bicycle bridge. Related: Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie Plaza is the highest public square in northern Germany “We are delighted to have won the competition for the Elbtower project together with SIGNA and are happy to be invited to work in Hamburg again, especially on such an important site,” said David Chipperfield. “As architects we are increasingly aware that the city depends on the quality of projects from the private sector to create a strong civic dimension that engages with the complexities of the city. We look forward to positively embracing this responsibility with the Elbtower project.” The Elbtower will be sheathed in a specially designed glass facade equipped with lighting technology—designed by by Studio Other Spaces in collaboration with Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann—that will transform the building into a “kinetic sculpture” at night. + David Chipperfield Architects Via ArchDaily Images via David Chipperfield Architects

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David Chipperfield Architects reveal designs for Hamburgs tallest tower

Soldiers reportedly kill forest defenders in Cambodia after they challenged illegal loggers

January 31, 2018 by  
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Government forces reportedly attacked a forest protection ranger, conservation worker, and military police officer in a part of northeastern Cambodia that grapples with illegal logging, the Associated Press reported . The soldiers killed the forest defenders in what seemed to be retaliation after the three-person team seized equipment from illegal loggers , according to officials. Senior environmental official Keo Sopheak said, “The three were killed not by robbers or a guerrilla group but they were shot by government armed forces who backed the illegal timber cutting.” The three-person team had been patrolling the Keo Seima wildlife sanctuary , according to the Associated Press, which described them as the latest victims in a trend of environmental defenders murdered by people seeking to exploit natural resources for financial gain. They’d confiscated motorcycles and chainsaws from Vietnamese people illegally logging, Sopheak said. Per the Associated Press, security forces in Cambodia sometimes work with illegal loggers who then smuggle the timber into Vietnam nearby. Related: 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize recognizes 6 activists who risk life and limb to protect the environment On their page about the Keo Seima wildlife sanctuary, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia said the Seima Protection Forest (SPF) “boasts more than 60 species that are Globally Threatened, Near-threatened, or Data Deficient by IUCN criteria. The area is home to 25 different species of carnivore, including Tiger and seven other species of wild cat. The SPF is of international importance for the conservation of primates , Asian elephants, wild cattle, and several species of birds.” Sopheak said the civilian killed was a WCS Cambodian employee. Illicit wood trade is a multimillion dollar affair across southeast Asia , per the Associated Press, with China as a major market. The Keo Seima sanctuary reportedly contains valuable timber alongside threatened wildlife species. Via The Associated Press on The Guardian Images via Flickr ,  Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Soldiers reportedly kill forest defenders in Cambodia after they challenged illegal loggers

World’s first biofuel flight between the US and Australia powered by mustard seeds

January 31, 2018 by  
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The world’s first biofuel flight between the United States and Australia landed in Melbourne after a 15-hour trip. The Guardian reported the blended fuel was 10 percent derived from brassica carinat, which Qantas describes as a “non-food, industrial type of mustard seed.” They said the use of blended biofuel in the flight would save about 18,000 kilograms, or around 39,683 pounds, of carbon emissions . A Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 soared between Los Angeles and Melbourne in the trans-Pacific biofuel flight. The trip saw carbon emissions reduced by seven percent compared against Qantas’ usual flight over the route. Per the airline, “Across its lifecycle, using carinata-derived biofuel can reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent compared to traditional jet fuel .” Related: Watch a Boeing 737 and a Tesla Model S battle it out Brassica carinata works as a fallow crop , meaning it can be cultivated between regular crop cycles, per The Guardian. Qantas said the crop can be sown in fallow areas, and is water efficient. Steve Fabijanski, CEO of Agrisoma , the agricultural-technology company behind the crop, said in a statement, “Biojet fuel made from carinata delivers both oil for biofuel and protein for animal nutrition while also enhancing the soil it’s grown in.” The crushed seeds can produce a high-protein meal for livestock, poultry, and dairy markets, according to Qantas. One hectare of the seed yields 2,000 liters, around 528 gallons, of oil, according to Qantas. That can produce 400 liters, or around 106 gallons, of biofuel, and 1,400 liters, around 370 gallons, of what the airline described as renewable diesel. University of Sydney agriculture expert Daniel Tan told The Guardian farmers can use mustard seeds as a source of sustainable fuel , saying, “Almost within a day after harvesting, they can press the oil out in their own shed and use it straight into their tractors.” Field trials have shown the crop should do well in Australia’s climate. + Qantas Via The Guardian Images via Qantas ( 1 , 2 )

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World’s first biofuel flight between the US and Australia powered by mustard seeds

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