A geometric double roof promotes natural cooling at this Tropical Chalet

November 23, 2020 by  
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After three years of design and construction, Singapore-based firm G8A Architecture & Urban Planning has completed the Tropical Chalet, a naturally cooled home with a beautiful and functional “double roof facade.” Located in the Vietnamese coastal region of Danang, the four-bedroom family villa takes advantage of its lakeside location with a porous brick moucharabieh facade that brings in cooling cross breezes and also gives the beautiful home its distinctive appearance. The predominate use of rough brick — which covers the roof, walls and a portion of the open-air interior — is also a nod to Danang’s historic use of baked brickwork that dates back to the fourth century. Set on a roughly rectangular plot facing a lake, the Tropical Chalet lives up to its name with an indoor/outdoor design approach. A lush garden and spacious, landscaped backyard surrounds the L-shaped home, which opens up to the outdoors on all sides. Operable glazing, a porous brick facade and a recessed gallery help bring in natural light and ventilation while protecting against unwanted solar gain and mercurial coastal weather conditions. Related: Lush living plants engulf the green-roofed Pure Spa in Vietnam “Materials were were chosen not only for their sturdiness and climate resistance, particularly bricks with their high insulation qualities,” the architects explained. “But also, their minimal and natural aesthetic, once again blending with the surrounding landscape. A strong presence of wood, textured concrete and rough brick highlight the organic nature of the concept.” The building’s undulating roof is also engineered for natural cooling with a shape informed by site conditions; the geometry of the roof has led to a folded waxed concrete ceiling below that hides the structural framework of the terracotta-lined roof. The 400-square-meter Tropical Chalet rises to a height of two stories and includes a floor that’s partly buried underground and opens up to a sunken sculpture garden. + G8A Architecture & Urban Planning Photography by Oki Hiroyuki via G8A Architecture & Urban Planning

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A geometric double roof promotes natural cooling at this Tropical Chalet

Affordable and sustainable fashion trends for fall

October 26, 2020 by  
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The changing of the seasons always signals a change in style. But no season is as hard to dress for as fall. You have to be prepared for all kinds of weather, yet you still want to look put together. With the ongoing pandemic, it’s also important to be cozy and comfortable as you spend more time at home. So how can you dress for fall, dress for style and make sure you’re still doing it with comfort and sustainability in mind? There are many clothing brands that are dedicated to ethical, eco-friendly clothing that won’t break your budget. Jeans Jeans are truly the cornerstone of great fall fashion. They’re perfect in all weather situations, and they complement every fall 2020 trend from velvet blouses to platform boots. MUD Jeans is committed to maintaining an environmental standard with every pair of jeans it produces. It uses eco-friendly materials like recycled cotton and non-toxic dyes. As a company, MUD jeans closely monitors health and safety issues for all employees as well as its own supply chain to ensure that sustainable practices are followed. PETA has rated MUD Jeans as vegan . Activewear Activewear is really shining in 2020 as more people turn to yoga pants for lounging or workout clothes to keep up their fitness routines at home. Workout clothes are a great go-to for casual autumn outfits. They’re already designed to work well in layered outfits, and they’re available in a wide range of colors and designs so you can show off your personality. Vege Threads offers cotton activewear that is 100% certified Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Vege Threads clothing is made in Australia, where all products are certified by Ethical Clothing Australia. The supply chain is audited to ensure that all workers are treated and compensated ethically and fairly. Jewelry An outfit just isn’t complete without a little jewelry , which can also elevate any outfit for your next virtual meeting or happy hour. With the ongoing pandemic, jewelry has become one of the simplest ways to elevate your work-from-home outfit. Complete your wardrobe with jewelry from makers like Bario Neal . This ethical designer makes handmade rings with conflict-free gems and diamonds. Using recycled jewelry and recycled packaging, Bario Neal traces its entire supply chain and sources fair-trade materials. Article22 is another company to consider when purchasing jewelry for your fall outfits. This jewelry is handmade in Laos using recycled materials — namely shrapnel from the Vietnam War. Article22 ‘s mission is to not only provide beautiful jewelry but to improve social conditions in Laos by turning shrapnel into jewelry and clearing contaminated land. Accessories The scarf is fall’s quintessential accessory. A scarf can instantly add personality and class to any outfit. Frances Austen makes ethical cashmere scarves that are soft, beautiful and sustainably made with spun yarn. Each scarf is completely traceable all the way to the source. Cashmere is wrinkle-resistant and with Frances Austen, it’s responsibly sourced. The company’s clothing and accessories are made in Scotland in a family-owned factory that has been in business for 200 years. Related: These biodegradable sweaters ditch fast fashion in favor of sustainable cashmere New to this season, masks are the “it” item for fall 2020. By now, plenty of people and brands are making comfortable, stylish and eco-friendly reusable masks to match any outfit. Check Etsy for a wide range of handmade options, from plain to patterned to embroidered. Footwear Your choose can make or break a fall outfit. For one, fall footwear needs to be functional. As the weather turns cold, you want shoes that can keep your feet warm and hold their ground when ice and snow are around. It doesn’t hurt to have shoes that are stylish to boot, whether you go with flats, sneakers, mules or boots. If you’re on the hunt for a new pair to invest in for your fall wardrobe, you can find all of these styles at Everlane . This sustainable fashion company maintains a policy of “Radical Transparency”, so you know where its materials come from and how the products are made. This footwear is ethically made with recycled materials and a strong commitment to sustainability. Dresses Take all the guesswork out of getting dressed with cute dresses from Pact . No need to stare at your closet, wondering which separates will pair best together. Pact offers comfortable, chic and ethically made dresses that will look just as cute while you are at the pumpkin patch as they will when you are on the couch. Pact clothing is made in factories that follow fair-trade clothing guidelines. Everything is also made with organic cotton . Outerwear Fall weather isn’t always warm and welcoming. On those blustery days, you need jackets and vests to keep yourself warm. Patagonia has a gorgeous selection of outerwear items in varying styles. That includes puffy parkas, short jackets, hooded coats and vests, all of which are on-trend for fall 2020. Patagonia even offers a Worn Wear program , wear you can purchase used gear to save money and the resources required in making new garments . Best of all, Patagonia is a champion of change. This company engages in activism to prevent mining, protect public lands and save the planet. Patagonia is all about being active, getting involved and doing its part to promote not just sustainable clothing but also global change. Images via Ryan Wheatley / Vege Threads, Orders Mudjeans (MUD Jeans), Article22, Austin Wade and Adobe Stock

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Affordable and sustainable fashion trends for fall

Middelkerke Casino blends into the surrounding Belgian sand dunes

October 22, 2020 by  
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Great architectural design provides function for indoor spaces but also considers the effect on the surrounding outdoor space. This is especially true in a sensitive habitat, like that along the coastline of Belgium, where a massive casino will meld into the curving landscape while bringing an economic boost to the region. As winner of a recent Design & Build Competition, Nautilus consortium plans to honor both the history and the landscape with the new building, which will be located in the municipality of Middelkerke. Related: Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnam’s beaches The primary design goal was to create visual appeal that blends into the seascape rather than standing out against it, with a focus on building placement and integration. For example, the event hall, restaurant and casino will be situated behind transparent facades that offer views of the beach, sea and horizon beyond. From the outside, the wood structure of the ‘boulder’-shaped hotel is striking, with a light, natural appeal that contrasts the surrounding glass- and concrete-clad buildings and merges seamlessly into the surrounding flora. Energy savings are incorporated into every phase of the design, including the cantilevered dune on top of the ground floor and the terraces of the hotel tower, which protrude over the facade, creating shade during hot summer months. In addition, the layout takes advantage of the cooling sea breezes. Material waste is avoided wherever possible, and recycled materials are incorporated throughout construction. Structurally, the campus addresses flood risk through dike reinforcement while also providing a public space that is pedestrian-friendly . The upper seawall area is a car-free zone focused on bicyclists and foot traffic; an underground parking garage offers convenience and keeps cars out of sight. “With this project our coast will be enriched with a new architectural anchor, that accurately represents the character of Middelkerke,” said Mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker. “It transmits strength and soberness as well as sophistication, with a lot of love for the sea and the dunes. In addition, this project may mean the beginning of the renewal of Middelkerke’s town centre as an appealing place to live and visit.” Nautilus consortium is a collaboration between developer Ciril, chief designers ZJA (architecture) and DELVA ( landscape architecture ), OZ (casino and hotel design), executive architect Bureau Bouwtechniek and contractors Furnibo and Democo. They are assisted by experts from COBE, VK Engineering, Beersnielsen, Witteveen+Bos, Plantec, MINT and Sertius. + ZJA Images via Nautilus Consortium

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Middelkerke Casino blends into the surrounding Belgian sand dunes

The Redress Design Award is making sustainable fashion an industry standard

September 23, 2020 by  
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Who doesn’t love a good fashion contest? Competition has always been a great way to introduce new styles to the world and for new designers to show off their skills. The Redress Design Award is using competition to shine a spotlight on sustainable fashion and make eco-friendly style something that all designers strive to achieve. Redress is the biggest sustainable fashion design competition in the entire world, an event that helps to create and motivate the best and brightest eco-friendly designers in the industry. Through events like this, Redress hopes to raise awareness about the waste crisis happening in fashion. Related: Seaweed Girl explores seaweed as an eco-textile for sustainable fashion Redress founder Christina Dean says that the crisis “can’t be swept under the carpet any longer.” Redress saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to bring more attention to the concept of the circular economy as it applies to the fashion industry. With so many issues with transporting supplies and manufacturing during the panemic, Redress took the chance to stress the importance of using all materials and wasting nothing. The circular economy is all about reducing and repurposing in order to eliminate waste. It’s the eco-friendly version of that classic style sentiment, “Less is more.” The Redress Design Award isn’t just a thrilling fashion design competition. This is also an event that is designed to educate up-and-coming designers about sustainable fashion. The 2020 Redress Design Award wrapped with two winners. Menswear designer Le Ngoc Ha Thu of Vietnam created designs that stood out among hundreds of entries from 48 countries. Thu said the competition was “a nourishing and beneficial experience.” Thu will collaborate with VF Corporation’s Timberland to learn more about creating sustainable fashion. Juliana Garcia Bello of Argentina won the womenswear design award. “I have learned so much during my participation in the Redress Design Award and have definitely come out of this with a reinforce feeling that collaboration is the key,” Bello said. “We designers need to share our strengths and be inspired by each other.” Bello will work alongside The R Collective, an award-winning brand focused on upcycling . These two are the 10th winners of the award after being chosen from 10 finalists from 10 regions. The contestants completed a series of design and business challenges that were focused on real-life sustainability. This year’s competition also focused on COVID-19 waste. Redress focuses on designs that are made for low waste and recyclability using low-impact processes and materials. Redress also publishes a magazine that highlights sustainable fashion and all of the designers who compete for the coveted Redress Design Award. It’s contests like these that will help make sustainable fashion the industry standard rather than the exception. + Redress Images via Redress

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Surprising ways seaweed benefits the environment

August 19, 2020 by  
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While the news often mentions the terrible things in the sea, such as gyres of plastic and other trash, the oceans also hold an extremely valuable resource: seaweed. This renewable and easily harvestable organism is used for everything from food to spa treatments to a possible  COVID-19 medicine. This eco-friendly ingredient also features in many common products, including paint, toothpaste, ice cream and beer. Farming seaweed People collect seaweed both wild and cultivated from seaweed  farms . Wild picking involves either wading into the seawater to gather the slippery crop or picking it up off the shoreline. Especially abundant harvests usually come post-storm when seaweed washes onshore. For centuries, people gathered seaweed using this traditional method. Nowadays, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 96% of global seaweed production comes from farms instead of wild gathering. Depending on the type of seaweed grown, farming may involve attaching the seaweed to rope lines suspended in the sea just off the coast, or growing the seaweed in nets. Seaweed farming in Japan started in the 1600s, and the practice may date back to the 15th century in Korea. Other parts of Asia, including  China , Indonesia and the Philippines, also produce seaweed for food and other products. In the Philippines alone, about 40,000 people made their living from seaweed production in the late 90s. When it’s time to harvest seaweed, people in most seaweed-growing countries use boats and machinery like rakes or trawlers. While easier than hand collection, harvesting with these tools can adversely affect habitats and wreck sea animals’ homes. To combat this, farmers in Norway devised a rake method that only removes the floating top canopy of seaweed, this avoiding seabed disruption. Seaweed helping the environment Farming seaweed might even improve the sea’s health, according to findings from Chinese researchers in a 2019 issue of  Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment . Research found that seaweed aquaculture can help combat eutrophication, the process whereby water becomes so overly enriched with nutrients that it causes excessive algae growth and oxygen depletion. The study discovered that seaweed aquaculture removed more than 75,000 metric tons of nitrogen and more than 9,500 metric tons of phosphate from coastal waters. Seaweed aquaculture also sequestered and absorbed a large amount of CO2 and released more than a million metric tons of oxygen. As a natural filter, seaweed helps remove pollutants from the environment; this does mean people should eat seaweed in moderation, though, as it can contain high levels of metals and iodine. In addition to keeping oceans healthy, seaweed also helps terrestrial farmers. When used as fertilizer, seaweed helps farmers avoid using nearly 30,000 tons of chemical fertilizers. Summarizing these benefits, the seaweed study’s authors wrote, “These results demonstrate that Chinese seaweed aquaculture has turned the  pollutants  that cause eutrophication into nutrients, which generates considerable environmental benefits as well as socio-economic values.” Seaweed in cosmetics and medicine Diverse parts of the world use seaweed in  cosmetics , too. Many Tanzanian women farm seaweed for export to China, Korea, Vietnam and other countries that use it as an ingredient in cosmetics and skincare products.  Even Ireland has harvested seaweed for hundreds of years. A 12th-century poem recounts how monks distributed edible seaweed to hungry poor people. In the early 20th century, the Irish coast housed nearly 300 seaweed bathhouses. You can still find some places in County Sligo to take a traditional seaweed bath. “This is our traditional spa treatment,” said Neil Walton, owner of Voya Seaweed Baths in the town of Strandhill. Scientists continue searching for more health benefits from  seaweed . The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York has even explored using seaweed extract to treat COVID-19. This extract contains variations of heparin, a common anticoagulant. Though heparin usually comes from animal tissue, this seaweed alternative may become popular. If so, this could lower costs for seaweed as a biofuel resource. Seaweed as biofuel Seaweed aquaculture may also increase the use of biomass as  renewable energy . In 2015, biomass-derived energy accounted for about 5% of U.S. energy use . Biomass energy encompasses plant and animal-derived energy, such as food crop waste, animal farming, human sewage, wood or forest residue and horticultural byproducts. So far, seaweed as biofuel has garnered little commercial interest, and the market remains mostly unexplored. But the industry holds great potential. According to Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a United States government agency that funds and promotes research and development of energy technologies, U.S. seaweed cultivation could reach 500 million tons and provide more energy than 23 billion gallons of gasoline. Seaweed farming paired with other industries Seaweed farming can also work with other industries, such as fish farming. Some environmental experts worry that open-sea fisheries negatively impact ecosystems due to the excess fish feed and fish feces floating in the water. Integrating seaweed production into fish farms could help reduce nitrogen  emissions  and break down other pollutants. A seaweed farm could also pair well with an offshore  wind farm . The first such operation is being built by Belgian-Dutch consortium Wier & Wind this year. The company plans to grow patches of seaweed for biofuel between large turbines 23 km off Zeebrugge in Belgium. This combination may lead to a genius symbiotic relationship. Seaweed production would make use of large open spaces between turbines, and the turbines would prevent ships from running over floating seaweed. Images via Pixabay,  Rich Brooks ,  Ronald Tagra  and  Gregg Gorman

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Surprising ways seaweed benefits the environment

Villa in Vietnam prioritizes natural light and green space

July 1, 2020 by  
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Step into K-Villa+, located in C?n Th?, Vietnam. Finished in 2020, this villa maximizes open spaces for natural light and prioritizes environmentally-inclusive design with a  green roof  and tropical-style garden. The villa is located near the Mekong River in the center of H?ng Phú, a newly-established residential area close to public transportation. Designed by Space + Architecture, the roughly 19,375-square-foot villa boasts a low building density, a green roof and a rainwater collection system. K-Villa+ is one of few private residences in the country to be certified by the Vietnam Green Building Council. The garden space incorporates a variety of  trees  native to the local area, including mango, palm, milkfruit, bougainvillea and plumeria. An ecological fish pond on the property features aquatic plants such as lotus, water lily and centella. Related: A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam Going with the overall eco-friendly theme, the designers paid specific attention to  natural ventilation  for the project. This area of Vietnam experiences a typical monsoon season with natural circulating air, which the designers worked with, using wide-open spaces, breeze block walls and a specific door layout to maximize airflow. Controlled air flows into the building to help keep the interior cool, and the green roof helps reduce thermal radiation. Additionally, the tropical weather in the region presents excellent opportunities for  natural light . Large windows and openings work harmoniously for regulated airflow and light, along with an indoor garden and skylight. An artfully-designed spiral staircase exposes the interior to even more light, while the property fence is made of a combination of cut out steel and glass. At nighttime, occupants can switch to an automatic lighting system and energy-efficient LED lights. The villa employs a  rain reuse system  to help irrigate its many plants, with plans to turn the system into a drinking water source. The gardens are landscaped with grasscrete brick to reduce concrete surfaces, increase natural plant composition and help to drain rainwater. Eco-friendly materials such as un-baked brick and certified-sustainable wood were painted with non-VOC paint to avoid harmful emissions. + Space + Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Space + Architecture

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Villa in Vietnam prioritizes natural light and green space

A cluster of serene bungalows is tucked into Vietnamese rice fields

April 1, 2020 by  
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When it comes to serene vacations, the hospitality sector is finally realizing that true luxury comes in different forms. For those looking to enjoy peace and quiet while being completely immersed in nature, the beautiful Ruong resort in Vietnam, designed by studio H.2 , features an intimate complex of bungalows built with natural materials  and tucked behind miles of expansive rice fields. Located near a popular beach resort in the Phuoc Thuan commune, the Ruong complex is set off the beaten path into expansive rice fields that have been harvested by generations of local families. According to the architects, the idyllic location set the tone for the project’s design, creating a tranquil “place to return, rest and escape from the smog, noisy, hustle and bustle life in the city.” Related: Solar-powered eco hotel in Portugal offers surfers ocean views from green-roofed bungalows The small-scale resort features several individual bungalows arranged around a central area. Although the bungalows vary in size, they are all crafted from natural materials, such as wood and iron truss frames covered with tile and straw roofs, that have been used in traditional Vietnamese constructions for generations. H.2 collaborated with local workers to construct the buildings. Each bungalow is positioned to provide stunning views of the surroundings. Most of them have sliding glass doors that open up to wooden decks. These outdoor areas, as well as the glass walls that line the bungalows, create a seamless connection with nature while also welcoming natural light into the guest rooms. The duplex suites, which are directly connected to the rice fields via elevated decks, feature slanted roofs that mimic the silhouettes of kites soaring over the landscape. When guests can finally manage to pull themselves away from the spectacular views and comfy rooms, they can enjoy the resort’s communal spaces. At the heart of the complex is a thatched-roof restaurant and a large swimming pool. + H.2 Images via H.2

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A cluster of serene bungalows is tucked into Vietnamese rice fields

A green lung brings sunlight and air into a narrow Vietnamese home

January 7, 2020 by  
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In the tightly packed cities of Vietnam, residential houses are often placed close together on long, narrow plots of land — a setup that can make it hard for residents to get access to natural light and ventilation. When VRA Design was tapped to design a home on a plot tightly sandwiched between two others, the Hoi An-based architecture firm inserted a large courtyard to bring fresh air and light deep into the house. Built to the edges of its narrow and long plot, the HH Green Lung house spans three floors over 270 square meters. The main communal rooms, including the living room and kitchen, are located on the ground floor while two bedrooms, a prayer room and a relaxation room are placed above. Rather than install a courtyard that spans all three floors of the home, the architects instead designed a double-height courtyard located on the second floor — “if the courtyard is too deep, it would have made people who stand in it feel uncomfortable,” according to the architects — and cut out nine holes on the courtyard floor to let light and views into the living room below. Related: A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam “These holes are created not only to allow the light that can penetrate the ground floor, but we also want to look [at it] as a symbolic representation of the fusion between the sky and the earth of the eastern notion,” the team explained. “This space is like a buffer space between outdoor space and indoor space .” Filled with plants and open to the sky, the interior courtyard serves as a “green lung” that brings natural ventilation and sunlight into the rooms through operable glazing. To protect the home from heavy rain or high winds, the architects have also installed an operable roof cover that can be programmed to open or close depending on the time of day and weather conditions. + VRA Design Photography by Ha Phong DANG via VRA Design

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A green lung brings sunlight and air into a narrow Vietnamese home

An eco-travel guide to Bend, Oregon

January 7, 2020 by  
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Bend, Oregon is a sunny spot in a state known for rain. This area of central Oregon is the fourth fastest growing region in the country. About nine people move there daily, often because they want a healthy outdoor lifestyle and a smaller town. Tourists love this town of 81,000, too. If you’re venturing that way, leash up Fido; Dog Fancy magazine once nicknamed it Dog Town, USA. Bend outdoors Start your Bend adventure with an easy walk around downtown. Incorporated in 1905, Bend has many attractive, century-old buildings that now serve as cafes and boutiques. Crow’s Feet Commons is a must-visit for outdoorsy types who stop in for ski boot fitting, bike shopping and Oregon craft beers. If you’re ready to pick up the pace, check out Bend’s 51 miles of in-town trails. For a short run, the 3-mile Deschutes River Trail loop is very pretty, and you don’t even have to leave town to enjoy it. Visiting runners can pick up trail maps and connect with locals at FootZone , a running shoe store that sponsors running events. Bend is probably best known as a magnet for rock climbers. About 25 minutes outside of Bend, the 651-acre Smith Rock State Park attracts climbers from around the world. It offers challenges for all levels, from newbies taking their first lessons with local climbing schools to pros ready to tackle the 500-foot volcanic rock walls. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly planted on a trail, the park also offers a lovely, flat trail along Crooked River and a steep climb to the tops of cliffs. Seventy miles southeast of Bend, the Fort Rock State Natural Area makes for a geologically intriguing day trip. Fort Rock is a volcanic tuff ring that rises 325 feet above the surrounding high desert plain. This is a magical, quiet place, with soft, sandy trails, scrubby bushes and orange and chartreuse lichen coating the rocks. The nearby Homestead Village Museum is an interesting collection of old buildings, including a small church and a one-room schoolhouse. Did you bring Fido? After a day of exploring Bend and environs, stop by Pine Nursery Park so he can cool off on the seasonal splash pad. Join a canine-friendly canoe adventure with local outfitter Wanderlust Tours . Don’t forget a doggy life jacket made by the Bend-based company Ruff Wear. Bend wellness Jinsei Spa is a local favorite for facials, massages and body treatments using natural and organic ingredients. Namaspa Yoga Community offers public yoga classes in the Baptiste power and yin styles, as well as yoga for groups such as seniors, people in recovery and inmates at the local jail. They also provide Reiki, massage, cupping and energetic healing. Those who like to drink while doing yoga will enjoy Bend Beer Yoga . While these teachers usually hold classes in craft breweries, they may also add the odd cocktail, cider or glass of wine . Plant-based restaurants in Bend For vegan burgers, milkshakes and fries, visit the original location of the Bend-based chain Next Level Burger . Its house-made burger patties feature combinations of quinoa, mushrooms, beans, chia seeds and other nutritious ingredients. Taj Palace has an excellent lunch buffet with several vegan dishes. In addition to curries, Taj Palace also serves South Indian specialties like idlis, vadas and dosas. The cheery interior and friendly staff make it an extra nice place for a meal. Bethlyn’s Global Fusion is a cute cafe with a wide-ranging menu. Vegan choices include a Thai coconut curry bowl or a Vietnamese lettuce wrap. Lots of menu items can be made vegan upon request. For a fancier night out, Joolz is a Mediterranean-themed restaurant that uses the tag line “where the Middle East meets the Wild West.” Delicious menu items include dukkah nuts, an appetizer of toasted bread, olive oil and crushed mixed nuts flavored with coriander and cumin. The vegetarian platter provides a good variety of Mediterranean foods, such as tiny stuffed grape leaves, garbanzo beans and roasted cauliflower. Ice cream-lovers flock to Bonta Natural Artisan Gelato . The shop crafts inventive flavors, including a few sorbets and coconut-based ice creams for those avoiding dairy. Bend’s public transit While a car is very convenient for traveling outside Bend to places like Smith Rock, it’s possible to fly into Bend and get around town without driving. Cascades East Transit provides bus service in Bend and to nearby towns. It also operates recreation-based shuttles, including the Ride the River bus during the summer for folks floating the Deschutes River and the Mt. Bachelor shuttle in winter for skiers . The Ride Bend shuttle cruises around downtown and the Old Mill District during summer. There’s also a bike share program run by Oregon State University – Cascades. It’s open to the public as well as students. Uber and Lyft operate in Bend, too. Sustainable hotels in Bend The Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend is especially known as a chic, boutique eco-hotel. It was built with sustainable materials and operates on 100 percent renewable energy . The Riverhouse on the Deschutes is Oregon’s only LEED Silver hotel and convention center, featuring high-efficiency HVAC and renewable energy. If you want to go for LEED Gold, the Helios Eco-House is available as a vacation rental. The McMenamins Old Saint Francis School is a 1936 schoolhouse that was turned into a hotel . Highlights include a movie theater and an extensive collection of works by local artists . Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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An eco-travel guide to Bend, Oregon

A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam

December 17, 2019 by  
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In Vietnam’s coastal region of Quang Ngai, a one-of-a-kind home with a roof topped with fresh vegetables has infused new life into a rural village. Designed by Ho Chi Minh City-based architecture firm TAA DESIGN , the recently completed home — dubbed The Red Roof after its red facade and eye-catching roof — is the residence of a married couple who grew up in the area and sought a unique home conducive to their traditional cultural lifestyle. Designed with an emphasis on connecting with nature, the home features a flourishing vegetable garden on its roof and multiple courtyards for seamless indoor-outdoor living. Located along the main road of the village, The Red Roof is a compact residence of 80 square meters that stretches east to west on a long and narrow plot. Accessed from the west end, the entrance leads past a gated front yard with a bicycle repair space to a covered porch that opens up to a double-height living room. Tucked behind is a kitchen and dining area next to a small interior courtyard and bathroom. A set of stairs to the mezzanine and the rice storage area separates the kitchen from the master bedroom in the rear; this space leads to the small backyard. Related: This self-sustaining Australian home harvests its own food, energy and water A second bedroom with a bathroom and an alter room are located on the mezzanine level. The alter room has access to a courtyard and the terraced vegetable gardens on the roof. The vegetable garden not only gives the couple ample opportunities to indulge in their love of gardening and cooking, but it also helps tighten bonds with the community, who benefit from the harvest. “In Vietnamese traditional landscape, ‘the red roof’ house represented for a time of regional local architecture,” the architects said in a statement. “However, now new multi-story houses with steel roofs seem to have lost the identity of village landscape.” The architects used a stair-step method as to not overwhelm the urban landscape with another towering, steel structure. Instead, the stair-step design “establishes the communication between the space on the roof and the space under the road. ‘The red roof’ has the intent to keep, to store and remind the familiar rural lifestyle.” + TAA DESIGN Images via TAA DESIGN

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A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam

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